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11-01-2013, 11:39 AM - 10 Likes   #1
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Visit to the Quebec city Photo Expo. Discussion with reps, many interesting things!

I just came back from the Quebec city Photo Expo. It's a nice show with most of the serious brands. Sony had an immense kiosk, Canon and Nikon pretty big ones, Pentax smaller but quite nice.

I had a chance to talk with the guys there, when they learned I was an optical designer they were all quite eager to discuss and show me stuff.

I'll have images comparing the size of the AF-540 flashes (old and new), The new one is impressively smaller, the zoom head is more silent, and everything seems to operate faster.

I had a lot of time to test the K-3. I love it, a serious improvement over my K20D. It's heavier than I would have thought, but smaller. My Nikon friend was amazed that it could be so small. Live view AF is a breeze, never seen anything like it. Regular AF is lightning fast, about twice as fast as my K20D in those conditions. The menus are super intuitive, the numerous new AF modes are great. In particular, you can select a 3x3 grid of AF points and move it around. All the buttons are super intuitive and functional, the top LCD has a HUGE amount of info on it, it's all good.

I was able to test the HD 21mm and compare it with my SMC, I'll upload pictures later. Hard to tell from my camera's screen. The rep said the coatings were "40% better at letting light through". Apart from that they were the same. I don't really like the new lettering, seems cheaper, but that's just me.

Here's where it gets interesting. I asked a few questions. Here's the verbatim as I remember it.

-I saw on a forum this morning a leak about a new 20-40 limited zoom. Can you comment on this?

-I don't know, sorry, where did you see this?

-Pentaxforums. There's such a lens on your roadmap.

-The client roadmap is not the same as our internal roadmap. I'll look it up.

-What's on your internal roadmap then?

-Much more WR lenses in the coming year, updates to several current lenses (way to go!). Some new lenses models. Also definitely a full frame for 2014.

-REALLY? That's pretty huge news. People will go wild if that ahppens.

-It happens in 2014 except if they change what they tell us.

(Later) -How do you feel about the Ricoh takeover?

-It's a blessing. Hoya was like crossing a desert. Now there's momentum, the sales forces are growing, it's pretty exciting. We see good things ahead.

SOOOO... there you go. The guy knew his stuff, the competition, the products. Lotsa fun.

There were other kiosks of course, I did a short tour of them all. People whining at Pentax's lack of response to SDM issue should look at the Nikon D600 uproar. People get oil on their sensors, Nikon won't acknowledge the problem, the reps said it didn't exist, that there was no such thing, and lied outright about the repair procedure for an eventual defect. My friend was there to contradict him firsthand. So everything isn't green on the other side of the fence.

11-01-2013, 11:43 AM   #2
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Very good summary of your visit !

Seems that you'll soon be the owner of a new K3 ?

JP
11-01-2013, 11:51 AM - 1 Like   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by jpzk Quote
Seems that you'll soon be the owner of a new K3 ?
Yes but I'll wait for the price to drop down a bit. Although the 100$ show rebate was interesting.

One thing I forgot to write is how 40% better coatings translates in real life. Here's the physicist talking.

Roughly, a glass interface reflects about 4% light. For a lens with say 5 elements, that's 10 interfaces (I'm simplifying a lot). So you get 40% reflection. Not really because all the surfaces after the first one also reflect part of the reflected light back again towards the sensor. But for such a lens, it's safe to say that without coatings, you would get at least (at LEAST) 20% light loss (I'm not taking into account the resolution loss because those reflected light rays do not travel to where they should).

Any half-decent coating will reduce the reflections from 4 to 1%. A VERY good coating (like SMC) can be expected to lower reflections to, say, 0.1% Say the HD is 40% better, that means reflections on one glass element would be about 0.06%. That's over the full visible light spectrum.

For my theoretical 5 elements lens, all things being equal the SMC coating would, approximately, have 1% light loss, with the associated resolution loss. The HD would thus have 0.6% light loss, a small difference, but also slightly improved perceived sharpness (and contrast). Considering the release of a 24MP sensor, this is probably WHY Pentax released the new HD lenses. All because of that new ludicrous-resolution sensor.
11-01-2013, 11:57 AM   #4
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K-3 autofocus is about twice faster than K20 is NOT a good comparison....
I would say K5IIs is already twice as fast as my K200D. K-3 should be twice as fast as K5II.

11-01-2013, 12:28 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by LFLee Quote
K-3 autofocus is about twice faster than K20 is NOT a good comparison....
I would say K5IIs is already twice as fast as my K200D. K-3 should be twice as fast as K5II.
Well it's hard to tell, it was not a rigorous test. I had a SMC DA21 on my K20D and a HD DA21 on the K-3. I tested on contrasted items and raised the camera towards the lamps on the ceiling. What amazed me most was the high ISO performance, just astounding. ISO 6400 is easily as good as my K20D's ISO 800.
11-01-2013, 12:35 PM - 1 Like   #6
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11-01-2013, 12:37 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by LFLee Quote
K-3 autofocus is about twice faster than K20 is NOT a good comparison....
I would say K5IIs is already twice as fast as my K200D. K-3 should be twice as fast as K5II.
I've never had a serious issue with the autofocus speed of my K-5 - it's pretty snappy, dependent on lens, of course. The problems I've encountered seem to stem from the size of the autofocus points (particularly when I'm trying to focus on someone's eyes, when the camera decides it's the nose I should be interested in), and tracking, where confusion seems to set in pretty quickly. With 25 autofocus points in the central cluster, the K-3 will have much finer AF points; the tracking may be better, but we'll need to learn from the experience of others (I'm still waiting for my K-3). I also use a D800 and though the AF isn't perfect on that either, I do get a greater percentage of keepers, especially when it comes to quickly moving things like birds in flight.
11-01-2013, 12:38 PM   #8
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Great report and all good news. Did he have any more specifics on the full frame? For those of us who are getting our K-3's on Monday from B&H we may be a little depressed but it might be good to know what new features we will get to see a year from now when we buy another Pentax/Richo camera! $! $! $

11-01-2013, 12:41 PM   #9
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Col, I can't see your image.

Another thing to mention : there were a LOT of people on the Pentax booth. Many people came to see what were the cute and tiny colourful cameras (Q7). And they stayed to ask about the rest.

I'd say about a third of the people asked questions about the WG something, a third about the Q7, and a third about DSLRs. But almost everyone was shown a DSLR before they left


I'm surprised no one took the FF bait so far.
11-01-2013, 12:42 PM   #10
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I'm much more interested/intrigued by the "more WR lenses" comment than by the "definitely a full frame for 2014" one...

But the best news of all is the Ricoh vs Hoya ownership comparison, IMHO
11-01-2013, 12:50 PM   #11
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Excellent news. Thanks for the information. I'm already pleased with the Ricoh take over and it sounds like many things are in development.
11-01-2013, 12:51 PM   #12
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Well after spending many years in product marketing, the LAST people we would tell about real products in development is our own salesforce. Their job is to sell what we have to sell, not futures. We don't want that guy to say, "pssst, don't buy that K-3. There's a full frame camera coming out in 9 months or so."
11-01-2013, 12:52 PM   #13
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Great news!
11-01-2013, 01:15 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by bdery Quote
I had a chance to talk with the guys there, when they learned I was an optical designer they were all quite eager to discuss and show me stuff.

-Much more WR lenses in the coming year, updates to several current lenses (way to go!). Some new lenses models. Also definitely a full frame for 2014.
Well I knew this Thanks for your advices last years. Looks like some great news to me.
11-01-2013, 01:50 PM   #15
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Then I guess the next lenses to be updated will be the FA ltds.
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