Forgot Password
Pentax Camera Forums Home
 

Reply
Show Printable Version Search this Thread
08-11-2014, 12:22 AM - 1 Like   #1
Site Supporter
Cynog Ap Brychan's Avatar

Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: Gloucester
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 1,092
What Should Pentax Do?

I've just watched an interesting video on YouTube from the Camera Store where the two guys debated the future direction of Canon and Nikon. They bemoaned the fact that neither company had produced anything innovative in some time: since the 5D Mark II and the D800, in fact. It got me thinking about what Pentax needs to do. Does it remain in the APS-C DSLR arena, or is mirrorless the way to go?

Pentax is not an alternative to Nikon or Canon: it doesn't have a full-frame camera, nor the range of lenses or accessories needed to compete, let alone the fact that professional support is patchy, to say the least. While development of higher end Canikon APS-C sensor DSLRs seem to have stagnated, that could change at any time. And now Canon is rumoured to be entering the MF field, where they are bound to make an impression.

On the mirrorless front. the Q does not really compete with the Olympus, Fuji, Sony and Panasonic offerings. It is in this field that we are seeing most excitement generated, even though replacing the mirror and optical viewfinder with what is essentially a duplicate of the screen on the rear does not seem like a big deal to me. Having tried out some, I really dislike their EVFs: I have high-acuity vision, and I can see the pixels, even when there are over two million of them (or perhaps I'm imagining that). But hey, thousands would disagree with me. But a four/thirds sensor is too small for my taste, but I digress. Surely it can't be impossible to produce a full-frame DSLR not much bigger than an MX, though I agree either the body would have to be thicker to accommodate the rear display, or would need a sort of tube like protrusion behind the lens mount to maintain the registration distance. Pentax has shown with the Q that they can pack an awful amount of functionality into a small space. I also wonder if it's it possible for a camera to have the best of both worlds, with the option of an mirror and OVF, and an overlaid, fully functional EVF that comes into play when the mirror is flipped up, as in live view? That way, it may even be possible to get rid of the bulky rear display and use the EVF for checking exposure, etc. As for WiFi, I can take it or leave it, but instead of a eye-fi/flu-type card, why not have an optional WiFi adapter that slots away into the body like the battery does now, so that it doesn't stick out. Built in GPS, I would go for, however.

I think Ricoh/Pentax needs to be clear about its future direction, and quickly too, if it's not too late already. Now is a good time to make an impact as the camera market is in flux. I think Ricoh-branded cameras could go down the EVF mirrorless route, while Pentax could stay in the DSLR arena, but not with conventional cameras. They have said they want to be different, well now's their chance. I just want Pentax to be around in five to twenty years, because I suspect that some of the established names may not be. Unless they make cameras that are innovative and capture the public's imagination, I fear they may not be.

Apologies if this thread is not in its proper place.

08-11-2014, 12:31 AM - 1 Like   #2
Administrator
Site Webmaster
Adam's Avatar

Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Arizona
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 43,030
After reading this ad:
1981 Pentax 15mm F 3 5 Linear Super Wide Angle Lens Ad | eBay

Even if only 37 photographers will buy their full-frame each year, Pentax needs to make one, otherwise how can they call themselves a serious photographic company?

I kid of course. But I really hope that Pentax is able to surprise us, perhaps with new iteration of the GR, or with a Q packed with a high-speed processor, or with something along the lines of a compact full-frame, as you mentioned. They could also go down the innovative route: similar to what they did with the Theta, but perhaps a little more mainstream.

Even though everyone is saying the camera market is suffering, I don't think it will ever go away or even shrink in the long term. All it needs is a little transformation, away from the remnants of the film era and closer to what the latest technology can deliver. After all, with the advent of social media people are taking more pictures than ever before, and there's only so much a cell phone can pull off.

What I don't want to see (for Pentax's sake) is Pentax playing catch-up, or releasing more intermediate models than needed without introducing something of essence. They did a great job with the 645Z IMO in terms of features vs value, so they should keep that ball rolling and steer it in the direction of the consumer market.
08-11-2014, 12:41 AM   #3
Veteran Member




Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: Canberra, Australia
Posts: 401
I think Ricoh has shown it's hand in terms of their short-term plans and I think it's very intelligent:- a conservative approach of improving on the Pentax strengths (APS-C, 645, and Q) before venturing into any sort of risky 'experiments'.

I expect the next move to be into FF, which will take them several years of building a strong system (new lenses etc).

BUT, my own reading of the situation is that 'conservative and careful' are the name of game. I certainly don't expect anything earth shattering from them, not for at least five years.

---------- Post added 08-11-14 at 05:50 PM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by Adam Quote
After reading this ad:
1981 Pentax 15mm F 3 5 Linear Super Wide Angle Lens Ad | eBay

Even if only 37 photographers will buy their full-frame each year, Pentax needs to make one, otherwise how can they call themselves a serious photographic company?

I kid of course. But I really hope that Pentax is able to surprise us, perhaps with new iteration of the GR, or with a Q packed with a high-speed processor, or with something along the lines of a compact full-frame, as you mentioned. They could also go down the innovative round: similar to what they did with the Theta, but perhaps a little more mainstream.

Even though everyone is saying the camera market is suffering, I don't think it will ever go away or even shrink in the long term. All it needs is a little transformation, away from the remnants of the film era and closer to what the latest technology can deliver. After all, with the advent of social media people are taking more pictures than ever before, and there's only so much a cell phone can pull off.

What I don't want to see (for Pentax's sake) is Pentax playing catch-up, or releasing more intermediate models than needed without introducing something of essence. They did a great job with the 645Z IMO in terms of features vs value, so they should keep that ball rolling and steer it in the direction of the consumer market.
Classic ad!!! The irony

I think both the K-3 and the 645Z demonstrated what Ricoh's intentions are. As you said, features vs value (and quality). I don't expect that to change for future releases.

They just seem to be moving a LOT slower than most of us (myself included) would like. Get on with it already!!!!!
08-11-2014, 12:53 AM   #4
Veteran Member
robjmitchell's Avatar

Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Melbourne Aus
Posts: 1,147
Interchangeable lens digital cameras come in different formats.
Q, 4/3rd, APS-C, 35mm, MF
Pentax appears to be leading it three of five formats at the moment.
Why are people convinced they haven't got it right?

08-11-2014, 01:12 AM - 3 Likes   #5
JPT
Pentaxian




Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: Tokyo
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 1,251
I think there's a tendency to imagine that there's a particular killer product that Ricoh has to release to be more successful. The fact is they have some really good cameras in their lineup, as we know. The problem is what happens after they launch those products. The K-3 sells okay for a Pentax, but not as well as it should do considering how good it is. If Ricoh has 30 good K-mount lenses on the market that don't sell very well, launching a 31st good lens doesn't seem to get to the root of the problem.

Distribution and marketing were the main problems and I think Ricoh is doing something about it. Unfortunately, while the effort is apparent here in Japan, it clearly isn't the same everywhere.

Note that Canon and Nikon posted some poor financial results for cameras, while Ricoh's results appear to be better. I don't think there's any need to worry about the future for Pentax for now.
08-11-2014, 01:56 AM - 1 Like   #6
Pentaxian




Join Date: Sep 2010
Posts: 2,651
Professional support really is only a thing for sports photographers, isn't it? Other professional users wouldn't get support anyway. I'd say ignore the sports crowd, the cameras aren't suitable for that anyway. I do think plenty of professional users need good video. They may be hired to do both at the same time, and if they can't, well, there's a competitor that does it. Job offers I've seen recently more or less say "people who don't do video too need not apply".


Pentax is not competitive in the video sector, and it does not matter how good they are for stills. In any case any DSLR takes good enough stills, and has for the past 5 years at least.


The weird thing is that it's mostly software tweaks that could make Pentax competitive. Nikon uses pretty much the same hardware and gets better results. Sony too, though their processor is a better one, giving them a nice advantage. Invest a bit in the firmware, hire people who actually do video and know what is needed on the semi-professional to professional market (instead of thinking video users are absolute beginners in that segment).


Canon can't go all in on video, because they intend to sell cameras at 2x the price because they have a few firmware tweaks optimizing them for video, and they have really expensive cameras to protect. Sony is in a similar position, though I don't see how they artificially limit the pretty amazing A7S (unlike Canon, who does do that). Panasonic has a professional video arm too, but is still able to do such a hybrid camera with a reasonable price tag. Olympus seems to start to get it, Nikon has gotten the memo but is moving a bit slow. Pentax seems to not care, not notice, I don't know.


EVFs do get better all the time. I could imagine a 3 color OLED screen that uses a prism or so to combine the colors (i.e. 3 CCD/CMOS sensor cameras in reverse). That way you can stack the 3 different colours on top of each other, drastically improving pixel density. The A7 is already pretty good, though I still, at this point, prefer a good OVF.


Sony is just randomly trying things, throwing them at a wall, and see what sticks, but that works well. (But Pentax is probably not in a position to do so).


I'd be excited by a 4K APS-C Pentax DSLR or mirrorless with improved shake reduction (especially towards rotation). Basically the sensor has to be exactly 4096 pixels wide (and 2730 high), i.e. an 11 MP sensor.


Video stuff:
Enable shake reduction for video. Clean HDMI with 4K resolution (4096x2160) and 10 bit video. That way a 1.9:1 aspect ratio 4K video for movie productions can be used with 1:1 pixel mapping, leading to a very sharp picture devoid of aliasing etc. (Other resolutions, like 16:9 would simply be cropped). 11 MP is plenty (just look at the Sony A7S everyone goes ooooh and aaaah over), in turn you get pretty good low light capabilities and dynamic range. Not as good as the A7S, but better than most other cameras. The same camera could also be offered with a different sensor, like 24 MP, for people who require more stills resolution, rather than better low light capabilities. Basically "imitate" the Sony A7 A7R A7S family. A minimum of 3 options for 1080p recording: 1. Read all pixels, bin them together. Gives a sharp picture with minimum aliasing and moire. Rolling shutter just like in 4K mode. Very low noise, good dynamic range. 2. Only read the needed pixels. Very fast readout allowing high frame rates as well as eliminates rolling shutter, at the expense of artefacts like aliasing and moire, noise, etc.. Sometimes one, sometimes the other is preferable (if you're moving very fast with the camera, in a shaky handheld way, you won't ever notice the aliasing or moire, but you will very much notice the rolling shutter wobble. 3. Punch in zoom... take a 1920x1080 crop from the center of the sensor. 4. Varying steps between 1 and 2.
Allow fine control over the shake reduction, again giving several options at least. In 1080p there can be no SR (uncropped or cropped sensor turning it into a 2x crop/mFT size), movie SR (electronic, sensor cropped (2x crop)) and sensor shift based SR (cropped or uncropped), as well as a hybrid SR (cropped, having the sensor shift balance out fast movements, and the movie SR do slow movements as well as moving the sensor back into center position). Different amounts of stabilization can be configured, from handheld look to glidecam/steadicam look, with a button being available to indicate the camera one is going to pan now (so the sensor doesn't bounce back after a pan). On screen indicators telling where the sensor is in relation to the range of motion it has.



Allow different recording options, ranging from h264 (with various quality settings, including 10 bit h264) for regular consumers/when you need to take a lot, to MJPEG or h264 with I-frames only, to ProRes or raw. Give plenty of options. Heck, why not let users plug in a SSD to the USB 3.0 socket and let them write videos and photos onto that?


Stills stuff:
Implement features that for example take a few photos in short succession with the sensor being shifted slightly, in order to increase resolution once the photos are processed ON THE COMPUTER. The sensor could for example pixel, to eliminate the need for a bayer filter (in this case it could probably stitch the raw file in camera, with color information for every pixel, like that Foveon sensor). Likewise a mode that shifts the sensor as much as possible in order to if possible fill a full frame image. No processing needed on the camera. Though a preview would be nice perhaps (like a preview button that does it in liveview and quickly stitches the photos so you get an idea of the frame).


I also liked the idea of using a bigger viewfinder, maybe full frame sized, on an APS-C camera. Use a custom LCD screen to create overlays marking down the frame you'd get in the stitching mode, or that you get with APS-C (with what's outside being either being dimmed down or a line around the APS-C frame). That way you get something like what rangefinder users enjoy... an idea of what's almost in the frame, what is going to be in the frame soon, etc. Makes it easier to await the right moment.


Built in GPS is a given, it would be very neat. Likewise WiFi with an API (!) that lets others write software for smartphones, tablets and computers to control the camera. The amount of control must be excessive. Basically it would be very neat to write scripts for the camera or have a UI that lets you click one, combining things like the pixel shifting with exposure rows (automated perhaps? The camera takes a test photo and then determines what the optimal exposures are to get everything well exposed), sensor shift to extend the frame, focus stacking etc. Let people get creative and extend the functionality of the camera. Heck, Pentax could do an app store and earn a bit through these. The camera could take 3D photos automatically through such a system, create depth maps, i.e. Would that be something everyone would use? Of course not. But some people would. And depending on the functionality that gets added there could be something for everyone. A product photographer for jewellery could set up everything once, create a script/use a program that takes a photo with the right amount of DoF and high dynamic range and sharpness, start the script, the camera takes several photos, replace the product and start the script again. File names would be named so it's clear what belongs together and what the settings were (to make it easier to join the data). An interior photographer could have the camera take wider angle photos, and create a "video" by taking several photos with a predetermined motion, shifting the sensor from one side to the other (so it looks like the camera was on a slider). Astrophotographers can track stars (they can already with the GPS unit, but I'd guess you can do more if it's controlled by a computer).


Mirror lock up with electronic shutter, for street photographers perhaps. Or wedding photographers who are trying to shoot in a church without having the camera make a massive noise.




Basically move the camera up a notch, make it a professional tool for people who seriously invest in achieving the best quality/an optimized workflow. Later they can do the same camera with a larger sensor, and they can integrate the same stuff in the 645Z (to a certain extend, especially the API, and maybe the sensor shift, which may be used less to do shake reduction than to allow the other things it makes possible) successor. Such a move could also hurt Canikon, as they don't provide high end APS-C cameras. And Pentax would leave the K-50/500 more room to breathe.


Now people may criticize these ideas for being too nerdy and difficult, complicating the camera, that they just want to take great photos... Your computer is able to do a ton of stuff. Your smartphone too. Depending on your needs you install what you need. You activate what you need. There's no reason why Pentax could not have an option that lets you select which features you want to be able to access. Or levels of user, i.e. you can say if you're a beginner, intermediate, professional etc. user for both stills and video. Have a mode that goes excessive in terms of options, that holds nothing back out of fear it may confuse users. A Here be Dragons mode.


Oh, and of course their distribution and marketing team needs to really get going. Where are the incentives for sales people in shops? Pay them to push the cameras out there, Canikon does it. Get the cameras in stores.

Last edited by kadajawi; 08-11-2014 at 02:09 AM.
08-11-2014, 02:13 AM - 1 Like   #7
Pentaxian
JimmyDranox's Avatar

Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Ploiesti, Romania
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 1,611
I think that one or two cameras don't make a brand. Pentax need a FF camera, or better two FF cameras with different sensors. Also some replacement of K-50 and K-500, and an upgrade for K-3, or better a video oriented K-3. This are, IMO, the needs for the next year, or faster.

Personally I don't care if a FF camera will be bigger than K-3. More, from an ergonomic point of view, a bigger body for a FF with a lot of MP is better. Can help to take steady shots.
08-11-2014, 02:16 AM   #8
Pentaxian




Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: Romania
Posts: 9,310
Two FF cameras are too much. Don't forget the goal is to have a healthy, profitable company - Ricoh will invest into it (see this year's 42 million USD for increasing production capacity), but they won't sink money into a black hole.
We will see new APS-C models, soon; I'm not sure about a K-3 replacement.

08-11-2014, 02:54 AM   #9
Site Supporter
Aristophanes's Avatar

Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Dartmouth, Nova Scotia
Photos: Albums
Posts: 3,922
What Should Pentax Do?

QuoteOriginally posted by robjmitchell Quote
Interchangeable lens digital cameras come in different formats.
Q, 4/3rd, APS-C, 35mm, MF
Pentax appears to be leading it three of five formats at the moment.
Why are people convinced they haven't got it right?

And the 1" CX sensor which Nikon uses.

The Q is a terrible seller being at the very bottom of mirrorless sales anywhere I can find. P&S sensors are a liability in the smartphone era.
08-11-2014, 03:00 AM   #10
Pentaxian




Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: Romania
Posts: 9,310
QuoteOriginally posted by Aristophanes Quote
The Q is a terrible seller being at the very bottom of mirrorless sales anywhere I can find.
Try Japan
08-11-2014, 03:03 AM   #11
Pentaxian
mecrox's Avatar

Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Oxford, UK
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 2,115
TBH, I just don't care. It's not my business. I think the whole Japanese camera industry has been trying its best to spurn the wave of software + comms which has changed all the other industries it's touched, and now the consequences of that are arriving big time as we see month by month in the industry's sales figures.

As for Pentax, the basic issues are still the same as they were when I bought my first model in 2006. Where I live, the brand is mostly not known (other than among oldies) and rarely on sale. It's simply outmarketed by the other main brands and loses out to them for retail space. Great cameras, yes, but the hard-faced retail men have only a single question: "Where's the money?"

I suppose the next few years could offer Ricoh opportunities if other camera-makers with empires built up in the fat years turn out to have overextended themselves and get into a mess. However, all the things we hear on here - cautious, conservative, old school, low risk, averse to competition, slowly does it, a few dollars here and there - sound more like a recipe for sinking like a stone when the challenge is to move from dumb boxes to smart cameras.

Anyway, what Pentax should do is 100 per cent up to Ricoh, thank heavens. If it were up to me, I'd cull all the old crusties and replace them with twenty- and thirty-somethings who Just Get It (TM), on the grounds that things are so dire there really isn't anything to lose. I'd suggest they do whatever they like and however they like providing a) they don't embarrass HQ by losing a lot of money, and b) from time to time, they produce wonderful things which reflect well on the name of Ricoh. Probably just as well it will never be up to me.
08-11-2014, 03:19 AM - 1 Like   #12
Pentaxian




Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: Romania
Posts: 9,310
Those youngsters would transform a company making excellent photographic tools into a hipster toys-making machine.
I'm more than fine with Pentax being conservative. Contrary to what you say, there's much to lose - Pentax itself.
08-11-2014, 03:34 AM   #13
Veteran Member
bossa's Avatar

Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Adelaide
Posts: 4,546
Seeing as the DA*200 is really a retooled FA*200 I fail to see why Pentax (Ricoh) can't rejig some of the lenses from their previous FF film range. Surely they have the means to update that range of lenses?

Between CAD and 3D printing there must a way for get a FF body up and running using K-3 components. Not to mention a mirrorless MF the size of a D800.
08-11-2014, 03:46 AM   #14
Veteran Member
starbase218's Avatar

Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Planet Earth, Sol system, Milky Way galaxy, Universe
Posts: 1,110
I'd like Pentax to integrate the GPS receiver into the camera, or at least into the grip, which would give me another reason for getting one in the first place. I now have the O-GPS1 receiver, but you can't use the flash when it's on and I forget putting it on all the time.

Having said that, the K-3 is a great camera and I don't see myself buying a new model for at least the next 2 years. So no integrated GPS for me in that timeframe anyway.

As to what Pentax should and should not do in order to survive for the next 5 to 20 years, I really don't know. Ricoh has always been an unconventional company though, so I hope that, in time, they can come out with surprising new models. I have been thinking of a concept where you don't have a memory card slot anymore, but instead, the camera connects to a tablet using 802.11ac (which is very fast) to create a totally new work flow. Of course, you don't always have your tablet or laptop with you, so it would need some build-in memory that is large and fast enough to shoot a few days' worth, and allows competitive burst rates.

One area I would like to see them improve things in the short term is lenses. Both in terms of AF performance and in terms of their focal length/max aperture offerings.
08-11-2014, 03:48 AM - 1 Like   #15
Pentaxian
cxdoo's Avatar

Join Date: Apr 2014
Location: Limassol, Cyprus
Posts: 1,092
I'd say Pentax is in a better position than either Canon or Nikon, at least until they take the hit for unwinding of the market.
Bulk of those lost sales were P&S and entry level DSLRs, none of which were Pentax's strong suit. And IMHO Pentax users are more loyal to the brand as in many cases they had to actively seek and order their gear. How many of all those people carrying lens hoods backwards on their kit lens carry a Pentax?


Funny thing not emphasized enough in these Pentax is Doomed discussions is that Ricoh was (is?) actually investing in increase of production capacity at this time.


Finally, slow down in technology improvements would give Pentax time to improve AF and add some lenses, instead of running to spit out new bodies. All other things being equal, I still think Pentax has the best ergonomy (at least in mid to prosumer market, I don't know anything about high end stuff).
Reply

Bookmarks
  • Submit Thread to Facebook Facebook
  • Submit Thread to Twitter Twitter
  • Submit Thread to Digg Digg
Tags - Make this thread easier to find by adding keywords to it!
645z, ad, camera, cameras, canon, display, dslr, evf, features, ff, film, full-frame, glass, lens, lenses, market, mirror, mirrorless, money, nikon, pentax, pentax news, pentax rumors, results, sensor, time, value, vs
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
This is what Pentax should do Rekusu Pentax Medium Format 19 01-12-2015 01:10 AM
What should I do? kodai84 Photographic Industry and Professionals 4 01-05-2014 08:49 AM
Focusing on Pentax K-Mount only - Or what should I do with my M42s antipattern Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 5 01-30-2013 10:26 AM
What Should I Do? tabl10s Pentax K-5 8 10-16-2012 03:55 AM
what Pentax should do nathancombs Pentax DSLR Discussion 12 07-06-2007 01:39 AM



All times are GMT -7. The time now is 04:19 PM. | See also: NikonForums.com, CanonForums.com part of our network of photo forums!
  • Red (Default)
  • Green
  • Gray
  • Dark
  • Dark Yellow
  • Dark Blue
  • Old Red
  • Old Green
  • Old Gray
  • Dial-Up Style
Hello! It's great to see you back on the forum! Have you considered joining the community?
register
Creating a FREE ACCOUNT takes under a minute, removes ads, and lets you post! [Dismiss]
Top