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06-13-2008, 09:39 AM   #1
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Ned Bunnell interview at PhotoReporter.com

Nothing groundbreaking, but for those among us who have been speculating about the possibility that Pentax will be offering an "entry-level," low(er)-priced, compact, light-weight, digital equivalent of a K1000 to compliment those wonderful pancake lenses, you might want to note this part of the interview:
PRM: The Pentax K1000 was “the” student camera in the 1970s and ’80s. Are there any plans to try to recapture the younger market?
NB: I don’t think it’s relevant to compare the K1000 to what’s happening in the digital marketplace today—times are different. And, despite the fact that Pentax had great success with the K1000 in the ’70s and ’80s, as the photography student’s first SLR, when it was time to upgrade, many of them moved up to another brand. So we never gained a long-term relationship with these customers. With that in mind, we’re taking a different approach this year.

If you look at the K200D, which is priced at $799, we are clearly not positioning this as a bare-bones entry-level camera. While other companies are releasing lower cost DSLRs, they are very limited in the advanced features they offer. They’re really point-and-shoot cameras in an SLR body. What we tried to do in the K200D is to combine easy-to-use shooting modes and advanced camera features, all in one body, rather than going just for a price point. Our feeling is that someone who is new to using a DSLR can explore and expand their photography skills with our K200D. And as they become more accomplished as a photographer, they’ll appreciate all the advanced features they can take advantage of in the K200D, rather than having to buy a new camera body.
It would appear that the K200D is, and will remain for some time, your entry level Pentax DSLR. You may resume, without reservation, your consideration of the Olympus E-420 with the 25mm pancake.

I know I'm going to.

Photo Reporter - Photography Industry News

-XM

06-13-2008, 10:35 AM   #2
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Thanks for the link

Thanks for posting the link. I read the interview a week or so ago but lost the link. As I said in this thread:
https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/pentax-news-rumors/29540-next-generation-2.html
"That sounds like a good game plan, or one heck of a spin as to why they don't have an entry level priced unit."

If Ned was being honest in the interview I'd say considering the E-420 makes sense if that is the type of unit you want. Pentax doesn't have enough resources to bring out the bodies that are needed. My hope a year ago was they would be able to offer different type bodies for specific needs, I.E. a travel body. It's becoming more obvious the wait for these models is going to be longer than some of us are willing to put up with.

You want a travel unit and are now forced to look at Oly. I wanted fast AF and wound up buying a Sony A700. I'm not giving up my K10D but running two systems is not an ideal answer, workable but not ideal. After rereading the interview I'm still convinced any new unit from Pentax will not address my needs for faster AF so the A700 was a good move. When I'm ready for a travel unit it looks like I'll be eying the E-420 also. To bad, Pentax could have made me a multiple body owner.

Ken
06-13-2008, 11:03 AM   #3
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What did you expect? Ned stating that a lower end body is coming so nobody will buy a K200D? C'mon...

His declaration does not contradict in any way a potential K1000D/K2000D or whatever... It neither does mean there wil be one. But I see no antagonism.
06-13-2008, 11:20 AM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by regken Quote
You want a travel unit and are now forced to look at Oly. I wanted fast AF and wound up buying a Sony A700. I'm not giving up my K10D but running two systems is not an ideal answer, workable but not ideal. After rereading the interview I'm still convinced any new unit from Pentax will not address my needs for faster AF so the A700 was a good move. When I'm ready for a travel unit it looks like I'll be eying the E-420 also. To bad, Pentax could have made me a multiple body owner.

And that's the thing, Ken. What I really want is to buy another Pentax camera: I don't have any intention of starting a new "system" per se; my exclusive interest outside of Pentax is the E-420 and the 25mm pancake. To the extent that I'm hesitant, it's because I can't get over the impracticality of making a "one shot" purchase that's incompatible with what I've already got.

At least now I can make my decision without the looming possibility that Pentax will themselves introduce something which would serve as a compact "street-shooter."

-XM

06-13-2008, 11:42 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by XMACHINA Quote
And that's the thing, Ken. What I really want is to buy another Pentax camera: I don't have any intention of starting a new "system" per se; my exclusive interest outside of Pentax is the E-420 and the 25mm pancake. To the extent that I'm hesitant, it's because I can't get over the impracticality of making a "one shot" purchase that's incompatible with what I've already got.

At least now I can make my decision without the looming possibility that Pentax will themselves introduce something which would serve as a compact "street-shooter."

-XM
Look at it this way. You buy the Oly and if Pentax ever comes up with a street shooter you can sell the Oly for maybe a $200 loss. Think of it as a rental for the 2 years minimum it's going to take Pentax to come up with what you want.

Ken
06-13-2008, 11:50 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by thibs Quote
What did you expect? Ned stating that a lower end body is coming so nobody will buy a K200D? C'mon...

His declaration does not contradict in any way a potential K1000D/K2000D or whatever... It neither does mean there wil be one. But I see no antagonism.
As a matter of fact it does. He clearly states Pentax's philosophy is that the customer is better off buying a $799 camera than a $499 model. If that is what they believe they will not sell a $499 unit. A good story, let's see how he justifies a $499 unit if they come out with one. What's the sales pitch going to be, "Well we have a $499 model but you shouldn't buy it".

If you follow his logic there is room for Pentax to come out with a small "Street shooter" or "Travel" body but it won't be a low priced item. It will be a feature rich body at a price close to or maybe even above the K200D.

Ken

Last edited by regken; 06-13-2008 at 12:11 PM.
06-13-2008, 11:57 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by thibs Quote
What did you expect?
His declaration does not contradict in any way a potential K1000D/K2000D or whatever
It hadn't occurred to me that the K200D and this mythical K2000D would appeal to the same market segment. Every other DSLR manufacturer has (at least) three model tiers: Canon seems unconcerned that this new XS will cut into XSi sales; Nikon has had great success with their relatively tiny entry-level models; Sony has the A350/A200 entry-level units along with the mid-range A700; and Olympus pushes the compactness of the E-420 without apparent concern that there won't be interest in the E-520.

So, in response to your question, I expected that if Pentax had any intention of doing what their competition has done regarding the offering of current generation entry-level models, that Bunnell would be more than eager to report that Pentax intended to offer just such a thing.

But you may be right: maybe Bunnell is just putting on a poker-face to conceal what's really in the works. He has, however, successfully bluffed me, and that may result in me taking my camera-buying dollar (near-worthless as it is at present) to another table.

If that turns out to be the case, I hope I'm the only one to get fooled.

-XM
06-13-2008, 12:03 PM   #8
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Well, he says were taking a different approach this year.

In effect, asking the first time buyer to prepurchase the upgrade, rather than introduce them on a low margin entry-level, and then TRY to get an upgrade later...

That said, if it doesnt seem to work.. i.e. the market crystal balls tell them that new users buy low and that C, N and S are getting upgraders to stay in system, they might conclude that they have to release a lower entry model.

06-13-2008, 12:24 PM   #9
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Pentax travel body=Pentax *ist DS

why buy a new camera? Get a used DS. Unless you need more resolution or want to do action its a great little camera.

No SR, but then the olympus doesn't have that either.

Pentaprism viewfinder almost as good as the old Super A/ME supers. Great for manual focusing. Small, compact, takes AA batteries.

Perfect travel camera. A lot of friends don't even realise its and SLR until I start changing lenses!

I laugh at all the poor reviews when it came out now. Its a cult classic IMO.
06-13-2008, 01:03 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by pentaxkat Quote
why buy a new camera? Get a used DS. Unless you need more resolution or want to do action its a great little camera.

No SR, but then the olympus doesn't have that either.

Pentaprism viewfinder almost as good as the old Super A/ME supers. Great for manual focusing. Small, compact, takes AA batteries.

Perfect travel camera. A lot of friends don't even realise its and SLR until I start changing lenses!

I laugh at all the poor reviews when it came out now. Its a cult classic IMO.
I second that.. even a DL is OK for that use. No need to invent a new, there's enough DS/DL cheap in second hand.
06-13-2008, 01:31 PM   #11
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It is (painfully) obvious that Pentax is happy with their position in the market, and in fact may not even care if they lose more of it. That's sad.

General Motors founded the marketing scheme of starting off first time buyers with something that fit their budget, namely the Chevrolet. From there, they had stepping stones: Pontiac, Oldsmobile and Buick, until you reached the pinnacle, Cadillac. It was a marketing strategy that worked well for them, (until Roger Smith screwed it up - but please don't get me started down that path!) and works well with other types of goods.

Pentax already acknowledged that offering new buyers an inexpensive SLR brought new users in, but they claimed the users then jumped ship. With a little ingenuity they could have kept a lot of them from moving to other brands. For instance, how about sending the new user a $50 or $100 off coupon for a new lens 6 months or a year after they bought their camera? Follow that up with a discount coupon when a new model camera is introduced, to encourage them to trade up. Buyers today, especially younger folks are no longer brand loyal unless they have a good reason to be, and Pentax needs to be more proactive in that regard. They need to work on keeping customers, not just getting them. Both of my DSLR's were registered with Pentax, but I've never received a thing from them - period. No "thank you for buying", no list of available lenses, no buyer incentive coupons. Few people (especially myself) buy a DSLR without buying additional lenses or other accessories, but apparently Pentax doesn't care.

It's sad.
06-13-2008, 01:57 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by pentaxkat Quote
why buy a new camera? Get a used DS. Unless you need more resolution or want to do action its a great little camera.

No SR, but then the olympus doesn't have that either.

Pentaprism viewfinder almost as good as the old Super A/ME supers. Great for manual focusing. Small, compact, takes AA batteries.

Perfect travel camera. A lot of friends don't even realise its and SLR until I start changing lenses!

I laugh at all the poor reviews when it came out now. Its a cult classic IMO.
Good point.


We discussed it in an older Thread :
Presenting : The Pentax Pancake limited edition cam: Pentax SLR Talk Forum: Digital Photography Review

The Zuiko Digital 25 mm 1:2.8 Pancake, weighs 95 grams, and in FF has the equivalent speed of f/5.6. Lens Diameter x Length is 64 x 23.5 mm.

The DA 40/2.8 AL Limited weighs 90 grams, can be used for film cams, but in crop format has the equivalent speed of f/4.2. Lens Diameter x Length is 63 x 15 mm

Final measurements for *Ist DS sized camera with DA40 lens, would be (Width x Height x Depth : 125 x 92.5 x 71 (mm)).

Final measurements for K100 Super with DA40 lens, would be (Width x Height x Depth : 129.5 x 92.5 x 85 (mm)).

Final dimensions of the new Oly 420 with Zuiko digital 25 mm, would be : 129.5 x 91 x 76,5 mm.

So a K100 Super would have 1 cm more depth, but else be about the same dimensions; (though weigh more).

The Oly 420 weighs 380 g (475 g with lens), so around a 100 grams lighter than *Ist DL at 470 grams (560 g with lens), and the K100 at 485 grams (575 g with lens).

Pairing the *Ist DS to the new Oly 420; (both with lenses), would have the Pentax win on width and depth. The Oly would win in height and weight.



Btw, rumour has it that two more DSLRs might be announced at Photokina in September. Of cause Ned cannot disclose this now
06-13-2008, 03:57 PM   #13
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Jumping to Conclusions

People do realize that Ned Bunnell is in charge of Pentax USA, right? Pentax USA does not design or manufacture any hardware, including cameras. Ned's job is to promote and distribute Pentax cameras in the US, and products that are actually available sell a lot better than future, unreleased products. If there is a K2000 in the works, Ned would certainly NOT be allowed to pre-announce it. There may or may not be a smaller/cheaper body in the works, but the intereview linked by the OP is not grounds for any kind of real conclusions as to future product releases.
06-13-2008, 05:06 PM   #14
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@GaryM

"People do realize that Ned Bunnell is in charge of Pentax USA, right?"


Some people do, Gary. But my mom, for example, hasn't any clue.

"Ned's job is to promote and distribute Pentax cameras in the US, and products that are actually available sell a lot better than future, unreleased products."

Fair enough.

"If there is a K2000 in the works, Ned would certainly NOT be allowed to pre-announce it."

Someone in my position isn't necessarily waiting to hear a product announcement. A general indication of an intended market direction would suffice. And that's exactly what Bunnell provided during his interview; it just so happens that the direction he indicated isn't what this particular consumer wanted to hear.

I would hardly consider it "jumping to conclusions" to accept an explicit statement made by a corporate executive concerning his organization.

You may rightly accuse me of nativity, or perhaps gullibility, but not faulty reasoning.

-XM
06-13-2008, 05:41 PM   #15
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I may be the minority but I agree 100% with Ned's assessment. Pentax does not need a pared down low cost model. The approach to offer feature laden cameras that caters to varying photographic skill level is a sound approach applicable for the present.
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