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08-25-2013, 12:35 PM   #136
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QuoteOriginally posted by monochrome Quote
You still have it backwards. Ricoh will make whatever K-mount wrapper will sell the most K-mounts. Then they'll design, make and sell whatever lenses are best suited to that K-mount wrapper. That isn't supposition - it comes directly from Pentax.

If that wasn't true there would have been a FF camera years ago.
And I still don't agree! To sell cameras of a particular type, you need the lenses corresponding to that particular type. You won't even sell that type of camera if the lenses aren't there or at least on the way. You won't get the chance to sell those cameras then have years to design and make suitable lenses, because people won't buy those cameras if they have to wait that long. (Why should they?)

Any sensible company, (which I think includes Ricoh/Pentax), looks ahead with some sort of coherent system strategy. K-mount cameras are not all equal where lenses are concerned. They will eventually have different sensor sizes needing overlapping but different sets of lenses. A weather resistant camera ideally needs equivalent lenses. Or at least if you want to sell WR lenses you had better be selling WR cameras at the relevant price.

Whatever interpretation is put on what some Ricoh/Pentax spokes-person says, I believe they internally have a better plan than that. Having worked in R&D in a computer company, I know how little to believe a marketer or sale-person or senior manager when they are talking about R&D vision and strategy and planning to the press or to users.

08-25-2013, 12:45 PM   #137
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QuoteOriginally posted by Barry Pearson Quote
Whatever interpretation is put on what some Ricoh/Pentax spokes-person says, I believe they internally have a better plan than that. Having worked in R&D in a computer company, I know how little to believe a marketer or sale-person or senior manager when they are talking about R&D vision and strategy and planning to the press or to users.
They are actually talking? I always thought it's just gibberish.
08-25-2013, 12:53 PM   #138
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QuoteOriginally posted by Kunzite Quote
As a business case, I'm not sure there is one. That it helps selling Leica lenses? Pentax needs to sell their lenses, not Leica's; including high quality and expensive Limiteds. An advantage over the competition? Nope, NEX and 4/3 can use Leica lenses with an adapter; and rumors says Sony is preparing a FF NEX. The M-mount market is quite small, and not worth fighting for.
Well it is all about the business case. If it is to small it won't work. With an M-mount camera in line-up some fine Pentax lenses can be made in M-mount selling them to new customers and those who own a Leica M.
08-25-2013, 01:01 PM   #139
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QuoteOriginally posted by Barry Pearson Quote
And I still don't agree!
Note that I wrote "design, make AND sell . . .". Clearly, they won't make or sell a FF camera until they have FF lenses - actually a FF system of lenses and accessories - to back it up. That system word is prohibitive right now. But they also won't make and sell a FF camera or any other camera until they think that's a better way to get the most K-mounts into the market than what they're doing now.

We have no way to know whether they have complete designs and manufacturing processes fully prepped and ready to go, should they decide to market any number of innovative ideas.

But the only thing that makes Pentax unique, the only thing that will cause more people to purchase another lens or proprietary accessory (and then upgrade to a newer camera to use with that proprietary gear) is to have the largest possible installed base of K-mounts already in the market.

Q User Group interview with James Malcolm

"We asked about Third-Party lens makers releasing in K-mount and he explained that the problem isnt so much current sales of Pentax bodies, which may be sufficient, as it is that the total installed base of Pentax bodies is insufficient to encourage these manufacturers. He went on to explain that use of color on mid-range bodies (K-30) and on Q10 is as much about stimulating purchase of an additional body in a Household as it is about acquiring a new customer. He described the placement of the 100 Colors of Q kiosks in Dealer locations as a very effective merchandising tool, especially for custom orders that stimulate gift giving. He also described an effort to market in college towns in the body colors of the school colors (not an NCAA licensed body, just in the colors), especially during August. As these non-traditional sales are made market share and installed base increases and these sales count every bit as much as black bodies do."

I submit what applies to third-party lens makers also applies to Pentax.


08-25-2013, 01:02 PM   #140
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QuoteOriginally posted by RonHendriks1966 Quote
Well it is all about the business case. If it is to small it won't work. With an M-mount camera in line-up some fine Pentax lenses can be made in M-mount selling them to new customers and those who own a Leica M.
Hold your horses. Pentax selling lenses to Leica M users? You mean, special lenses like the 43mm Special, with rangefinder couplings and dedicated viewfinders? And same lenses should also have electronic contacts, and support AF?
This means adding cost and precise calibration requirement for all those lenses, even if only few would be sold to Leica M users.
It's like a Rube Goldberg machine.
08-25-2013, 01:09 PM   #141
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QuoteOriginally posted by Kunzite Quote
About the idea of a MILC, modernized M-mount, short registration distance based on K-mount or a completely new mount, same story. Talking a lot about how it would be, neglecting the "why". But how could we talk about "why", when it's all about pushing personal preferences and biases on a traditional SLR manufacturer? The idea is "good" and it would "work" just because some people likes MILCs.
Pentax (Ricoh Imaging) cannot get sidetracked by marginal ideas like these. There is a much more effective strategy, expanding the K-mount system upwards in FF territory, with all the obvious advantages.
Something that amuses me is the confidence I have that whatever we discuss here has already been discussed within Ricoh/Pentax! Decisions that we think are up for grabs may sometimes have been made there some time ago.

Just get the right 3 or 4 people in Ricoh/Pentax together in a room, and they will identify and analyse and cost and come to decisions about everything I have suggested. They are blindingly obvious possibilities to be discussed, then either accepted, rejected, or deferred. Someone will have done a detailed analysis of the Four Thirds versus Micro Four Thirds sales and markets and opportunities. Someone with knowledge of the K-01 will have a feel for whether an FF MILC is viable. There are people who know what R&D is needed for the larger optical viewing system for an FF camera, and can advise on the development cost, the size, weight, fps, sales cost, etc. Others will know how many of the components for a short-registration K-mount are available off the shelf, and how much is new. And hopefully there will be someone who can take the long view, and can identify ways of getting there from here.

I wonder if they share the same views about "cannot get sidetracked by marginal ideas like these"? Ricoh/Pentax "got sidetracked" into the Q system, apparently with success. They "got sidetracked" into supporting DNG as well as PEF, have started to deliver cameras that only use DNG, not PEF, and will eventually drop PEF. I expected several years ago that that would happen, but I was criticised for suggesting such "nonsense".

Ricoh/Pentax are fully aware of the following:

1. If Ricoh/Pentax don't bring out an FF, lots of Pentax users will have apoplexy.

2. If Ricoh/Pentax bring out an FF, whatever its specification, lots of Pentax users will have apoplexy.

Ricoh/Pentax know that there is no perfect solution. They are going to upset a lot of people. I hope they are taking a long(ish) view, and not focusing just on next year's sales figures. I hope they don't settle for stagnation.
08-25-2013, 01:22 PM   #142
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QuoteOriginally posted by Barry Pearson Quote
I concur with what you say about the Q. (I've never handled a K-01).

"Quirky" is the wrong word: "Given to quirks or idiosyncrasies; strange in a somewhat silly, awkward manner, potentially cute".

The Q system is serious, high standard, and well thought out. It is also being evolved in a systematic way: 3 cameras, 2 sensors, 7 lenses with 2 on the way, etc. It shows Pentax at its confident, imaginative, best, not its "what were they thinking of?" or "hurry up, will you" worst.
Let's not get sidetracked: I was talking about other people's views of the Q and K-01, not mine. I own a Q and I agree that it's a camera system that is very well designed and made. It is, nonetheless, the result of thinking about things differently, and coming up with something that is admired by a comparative few, and dismissed by many. The same goes for the K-01.

Without getting further sidetracked, I also understand full well the industry meaning of the terms "standard" and "quality". What I perhaps neglected to say was that a future Pentax system also needs acceptance, no matter how different it may be.
08-25-2013, 01:23 PM   #143
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QuoteOriginally posted by monochrome Quote
Note that I wrote "design, make AND sell . . .". Clearly, they won't make or sell a FF camera until they have FF lenses - actually a FF system of lenses and accessories - to back it up. That system word is prohibitive right now. But they also won't make and sell a FF camera or any other camera until they think that's a better way to get the most K-mounts into the market than what they're doing now.

We have no way to know whether they have complete designs and manufacturing processes fully prepped and ready to go, should they decide to market any number of innovative ideas.

But the only thing that makes Pentax unique, the only thing that will cause more people to purchase another lens or proprietary accessory (and then upgrade to a newer camera to use with that proprietary gear) is to have the largest possible installed base of K-mounts already in the market.

Q User Group interview with James Malcolm

"We asked about Third-Party lens makers releasing in K-mount and he explained that the problem isnt so much current sales of Pentax bodies, which may be sufficient, as it is that the total installed base of Pentax bodies is insufficient to encourage these manufacturers. He went on to explain that use of color on mid-range bodies (K-30) and on Q10 is as much about stimulating purchase of an additional body in a Household as it is about acquiring a new customer. He described the placement of the 100 Colors of Q kiosks in Dealer locations as a very effective merchandising tool, especially for custom orders that stimulate gift giving. He also described an effort to market in college towns in the body colors of the school colors (not an NCAA licensed body, just in the colors), especially during August. As these non-traditional sales are made market share and installed base increases and these sales count every bit as much as black bodies do."

I submit what applies to third-party lens makers also applies to Pentax.
And I submit it doesn't! Ricoh/Pentax don't control those other lens makers - those lens makers will make their own decisions according to their own business priorities, many of which don't involve Pentax. They need to see Pentax cameras in use so they can judge how much market is there.

But Ricoh/Pentax do control their own lens makers, and their plans can and should be consistent with plans for K-mount bodies. Their own lens makers don't wait for the cameras to be in use - they need to be ready to help those bodies be sold and get into use. And, of course, Ricoh/Pentax are more concerned about selling their own lenses than whether other lens makers sell their lenses, often in place of a Pentax-made lens.

08-25-2013, 01:46 PM   #144
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All right, let's try something different - a challenge, actually. I will try to make a case for a FF K-mount DSLR line, and let's see if you can beat that.
1. larger potential market; DSLRs to MILC: almost 5:1 globally (5.8:1 outside Japan), DSLRs higher in value.
What does it means? If Pentax were to have 5% of the DSLR market, that would be equivalent in units sold to 25% of the MILC market (more than Sony NEX or Panasonic - according to BCN 2012 market share data). With 6%, they would also surpass Olympus. Simply put, they can survive with a much lower market share.
And here's the best part: they already have a part of the DSLR market, which leads us to:
2. installed APS-C userbase, DSLRs users which would be the main target of a more advanced K-mount camera. The camera won't have to get new customers by itself, and even in large enough quantities to make itself viable - this job would be done by the much higher volume APS-C!
2.a. installed APS-C userbase - K-mount FF lenses would be used in large numbers on APS-C cameras, by APS-C users. This means it will be much easier to launch new lenses.
As a side effect, the new FF lenses would also strengthen the APS-C camera subsystem, making it more desirable.
3. pre-existing native lenses. Limiteds, compatible DAs... they can make a good start with just 2-3 new lenses at launch, effectively about a dozen (and a consistent roadmap).
4. instead of giving the wrong message (i.e. that K-mount would be phased out), it would be clear that they're keeping and developing it long-term. The K-mount is their main source of income, and unless a proper replacement is found (proved to generate more income - can't be the case with MILCs, see #1) should not be hurt in any way.

If you can't think of a better, more effective MILC-based strategy, don't bother answer (except to admit it). Thank you.

P.S. I would not have an apoplexy when Ricoh Imaging will launch a K-mount FF DSLR, by the way
08-25-2013, 02:14 PM   #145
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QuoteOriginally posted by Kunzite Quote
All right, let's try something different - a challenge, actually. I will try to make a case for a FF K-mount DSLR line, and let's see if you can beat that.
1. larger potential market; DSLRs to MILC: almost 5:1 globally (5.8:1 outside Japan), DSLRs higher in value.
What does it means? If Pentax were to have 5% of the DSLR market, that would be equivalent in units sold to 25% of the MILC market (more than Sony NEX or Panasonic - according to BCN 2012 market share data). With 6%, they would also surpass Olympus. Simply put, they can survive with a much lower market share.
And here's the best part: they already have a part of the DSLR market, which leads us to:
2. installed APS-C userbase, DSLRs users which would be the main target of a more advanced K-mount camera. The camera won't have to get new customers by itself, and even in large enough quantities to make itself viable - this job would be done by the much higher volume APS-C!
2.a. installed APS-C userbase - K-mount FF lenses would be used in large numbers on APS-C cameras, by APS-C users. This means it will be much easier to launch new lenses.
As a side effect, the new FF lenses would also strengthen the APS-C camera subsystem, making it more desirable.
3. pre-existing native lenses. Limiteds, compatible DAs... they can make a good start with just 2-3 new lenses at launch, effectively about a dozen (and a consistent roadmap).
4. instead of giving the wrong message (i.e. that K-mount would be phased out), it would be clear that they're keeping and developing it long-term. The K-mount is their main source of income, and unless a proper replacement is found (proved to generate more income - can't be the case with MILCs, see #1) should not be hurt in any way.

If you can't think of a better, more effective MILC-based strategy, don't bother answer (except to admit it). Thank you.

P.S. I would not have an apoplexy when Ricoh Imaging will launch a K-mount FF DSLR, by the way
Well I'm not even disagreeing with your analyses. The FF K-mount dslr would be the main course off the dinner.

Still as a side dish a FF K-mount MILC (FF K-01) would not eat out off that customerbase if it is profatable. Since I don't see the K-01 driving K-mount users out off the house.
08-25-2013, 02:34 PM   #146
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A side dish based on a failed concept. Would it really be profitable as a much more expensive FF, than it was as an APS-C camera? I doubt it, and the dramatic price cut is proof.
Maybe a remade "K-01" (APS-C of course) would prove itself to be viable, then we'll talk.
08-25-2013, 02:48 PM   #147
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QuoteOriginally posted by Kunzite Quote
A side dish based on a failed concept. Would it really be profitable as a much more expensive FF, than it was as an APS-C camera? I doubt it, and the dramatic price cut is proof.
Well, at least it wasn't "quirky", apparently.
08-25-2013, 04:02 PM   #148
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QuoteOriginally posted by Kunzite Quote
A side dish based on a failed concept. Would it really be profitable as a much more expensive FF, than it was as an APS-C camera? I doubt it, and the dramatic price cut is proof.
Maybe a remade "K-01" (APS-C of course) would prove itself to be viable, then we'll talk.


Failed? They sold out their stock and brought it back for another color iteration after it was discontinued. The camera has Mark Newson's signature on it. It was never intended to be a ubiquitous consumer product like a Rebel Ti or even a K-50. It's a designer camera, and besides, the Prime M engine is really good, a lot better than the K5.

Last edited by konraDarnok; 08-25-2013 at 04:08 PM.
08-25-2013, 04:40 PM   #149
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QuoteOriginally posted by Kunzite Quote
A side dish based on a failed concept. Would it really be profitable as a much more expensive FF, than it was as an APS-C camera? I doubt it, and the dramatic price cut is proof.
Maybe a remade "K-01" (APS-C of course) would prove itself to be viable, then we'll talk.
Well the K-01 sold as good as Canon EOS M did in Europe and North America, but maybe that wasn't K-01's problem to start with.

I didn't nessacery mean it to be in the same design (even if I like it).
08-25-2013, 06:14 PM   #150
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Ricoh didn't buy Pentax.

Ricoh bought Pentax's only real asset:

The K-mount.
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