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09-13-2008, 02:43 AM   #136
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What I find interresting is that contrast detection autofocus needs lenses that can autofocus very fast, otherwise it will be painfully slow - beacuse it is "live focusing" when DSLR's autofocussystems calculates focus first and then the lens moves to the calculated focus point and then it is re-calculated - and we all know that this can introduce back and front-focus errors. So this "live focusing" - a more constant check while the lens focuses, or appears to be constant since the checks happens so fast - means no focus errors, but the lens has to be very fast focusing.

Now, relate this to the title of this thread - Will Pentax compete?
Let me rephrase it - can Pentax compete now?
I believe the answer is no, simply because the lenses are too slow focusing.
Nikon has the same problem with slow AF lenses, that is why it's contrast detection AF is so slow. Some Olympus lenses for the 4/3 are also too slow, that is why they will be manual focus only on the micro 4/3 with the adapter.

It is therefore not possible for Pentax, at this stage, to release a body with only contrast detection autofocus, because it will be too slow.
If Pentax goes for a micro K-mount with no optical viewfinder, no mirror and therefore not the phase decection AF system, the current lenses won't autofocus on the micro body, they will all be manual focus. Like some Olympus lenses for 4/3 will be on micro 4/3. (Panasonics own lenses for 4/3 are already fast enough).

This will be a big drawback, especially considering Pentax reputation for fine compatibility.

It is more logic to have Samsung make a micro K-mount, they don't have so much reputation invested in mount compatibility as Pentax have.

It's hard to predict the future now, the micro 4/3 mount was a surprise for me but I can see the logic and the benefits from it. But I believe Pentax can compete better by using the existing K-mount. Trouble is - how to go down in size while keeping the optical viewfinder and mirror that is a must for the current autofocus lenses?

But in the end, I do believe Pentax eventually needs to offer a fast contrast detection autofocus - because everyone else will be doing it. And a new lineup of super fast autofocus lenses for this. (I don't believe the SDM lenses are fast enough for contrast detection AF, but I may be wrong).

Pentax may need to offer SR-in-lenses to get the size of the body down. This will also mean that Pentax super-small lenses will have to be larger for SR to fit in the lenses, but perhaps a smaller body is more important than a super compact lens?

09-13-2008, 05:54 AM   #137
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QuoteOriginally posted by ogl Quote
there is no Leica brand marks on lenses...:ugh:
only LUMIX.
Wrong...

Leica Camera AG - Photography - Digilux 3
Leica Camera AG - Photography - Digilux 3

And AFAIK all Panasonic lenses are made by Leica and developped specialy for 4/3 system.
09-13-2008, 06:35 AM   #138
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QuoteOriginally posted by RMabo Quote
What I find interresting is that contrast detection autofocus needs lenses that can autofocus very fast, otherwise it will be painfully slow - beacuse it is "live focusing" when DSLR's autofocussystems calculates focus first and then the lens moves to the calculated focus point and then it is re-calculated
This is a temporary thing.

I have developped contrast AF software for the semiconductor industry and it focusses spot on with only 3 to 4 focus steps needed (100ms with capable microscopes!). It calculates best focus from the given contrast at two focal points. It would be better if you could predict the correct start direction (which you can't w/o history, so I first did a test focus to compute the direction). Maybe, I should patent the algorithm in the US (algorithms aren't easily patentable in Europe...)?

So, contrast AF will have less demanding requirements on lenses in the future.
09-13-2008, 06:49 AM   #139
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QuoteOriginally posted by thibs Quote
Wrong...

Leica Camera AG - Photography - Digilux 3
Leica Camera AG - Photography - Digilux 3

And AFAIK all Panasonic lenses are made by Leica and developped specialy for 4/3 system.
Wrong. First, all Panasonic lenses were (past tense) "developed" by Panasonic and Leica but "made" (produced) by Panasonic. Leica just paid some engineers to show up and "oversee" Panasonic's lens development (and there's very little indication that Leica contributed ANYTHING to Panasonic lens development based on the actual lens designs).

The "partnership" between Panasonic and Leica was just one of mutual aid: Panasonic needed a brand with true photographic heritage so photographers would take their cameras seriously. Leica needed an electronics giant to handle the design and production of compact digital cameras so Leica didn't have to waste money developing point-and-shoot digital cameras to keep their business out of bankruptcy (YES, if Panasonic wasn't developing and producing Leica point-and-shoot digital cameras over the last few years then Leica NEVER would have had the money needed to develop the M8).

Now that Panasonic has partnered with Olympus for DSLRs, the partnership with Leica is dying. Leica and Panasonic are still working together on point-and-shoot digital cameras, but not for much longer.

The Leica-Panasonic partnership in the DSLR space is DEAD ... unless execs at Panasonic and Leica change their minds.

Similarly, the Leica-Panasonic partnership in the point-and-shoot digital space is "knocking on death's door." Don't be surprised if there are no more Panasonic-Leica point-and-shoot digital cameras after Q1 2009.

09-13-2008, 06:54 AM   #140
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This is the best photo I've found that really puts it into perspective how much size is saved with the new MFT system:

http://images.dpnow.com/5159/product_views/DMCG1_02.jpg

Keep in mind those two cameras have virtually identical tech specs. And here's a photo with the upcoming 20mm pancake mounted on:

http://www.digitalcamera.jp/html/HotNews/image/2008-09/12/20mmF17-L.jpg

RMabo made some nice points about Pentax's current technology level, and I may be way off base here, but it's not hard to see how this new system could seriously cut into Pentax's street shooter user base. IMO they are going to have to do something. Besides, this is an intentionally "large" MFT's camera, and we're comparing it to the smallest DSLR's ever made, and it is still smaller. Imagine what Olympus will produce. Let's just say I think they will have to give away Sigma DP1's in the near future.

Speaking of the future, I honestly think we are looking at it. Assuming they have worked out the kinks with AF speed and EVF quality, and it sounds like they have, I see absolutely no reason for a mechanical mirror box anymore. Pentax will simply have to progress or regress and go the Leica route and cater to the ant-technology crowd.
09-13-2008, 08:44 AM   #141
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QuoteOriginally posted by RMabo Quote
It is more logic to have Samsung make a micro K-mount, they don't have so much reputation invested in mount compatibility as Pentax have.
Exactly! I think for Pentax to compete in FF, APS and Micro APS, and perhaps MF is beyond their production capacity as each requires dedicated lenses.

I do think the M4/3 and M-APS formats are very interesting and will generate a lot of interest, especially as LCD technology improves. But your right, this is where companies like Panasonic and Samsung have the advantage since they do not have to accommodate the legacy lens market. I think this segment may well dominate in the consumer market for people wanting something better than their compact P&S, where previously the entry level D-SLR was the model of choice. This may well hurt sales of entry level D-SLRs from all manufactures where I suspect your typical consumer doesn't give a hoot about legacy lenses as they are moving up from a compact P&S.

If Leica introduce a camera like the Digilux 3 but in in M4/3 format, it would make for a very interesting street and vacation camera.

Last edited by MikePerham; 09-13-2008 at 08:54 AM.
09-13-2008, 10:52 AM   #142
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It woulb be nice that the Samsung interchangeble lens camera, the small one , to have a M bayonet compatible one (with AF and stuff, of course).
This way one could use the dedicated AF lenses, the K pentax lenses through an adapter and more, all those excellent quality M bayonet lenses and/or LTM lenses+adapter in manual focus mode only. Now that would be a great system
Having the shape of the Sigma DP1 would be also great and not like the Pana G1 which is in fact a smaller dSLR and a bigger bridge camera.
09-13-2008, 01:20 PM   #143
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Dedicated Lenses

QuoteOriginally posted by MikePerham Quote
Exactly! I think for Pentax to compete in FF, APS and Micro APS, and perhaps MF is beyond their production capacity as each requires dedicated lenses.
Dedicated lenses for different cameras would destroy one primary advantage of interchangeable lenses so I hope Pentax doesn't try to compete. I initially bought a DS with a DA40 because I figured a P&S would be 100% throw-away. I would prefer to be able to use any lens I buy on any camera from 'entry-level' to 'pocketable' to 'advanced amateur' models.
With Samsung talking about FilmFrame sensors and a new mount, I think they don't 'get' it. I'm not very happy about that... I dread that Hoya will change the way Pentax has always focused on photographers, not technology so much. But, apparently that approach wasn't working. We'll see what happens.

09-13-2008, 01:45 PM   #144
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Could this be the next digital rangefinder (in that it's quiet) for the masses? Anyone know how quiet this thing will be, not having a mirror?
09-13-2008, 01:50 PM   #145
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I can understand this system being introduced for a few reasons.

1. current "compact" cameras cannot compete with DSLR's on IQ due to the limited size of the sensor
2. Bridge cameras still only use compact sensors, so again IQ is compromised in spite of the extra flexibilty of these types.
3. Four thirds format is going nowhere in the DSLR arena, and cannot compete with APS, let alone FF size sensors, so it makes sense for the four thirds champions to look at other ways of utilising a good format in another way rather than against DSLR's
4. having a compact camera in your pocket rather than a DSLR, but still want a superior level of IQ to take pics will be and advantage.

I cannot see that Pentax, nor Canon/Nikon/Sony will see this as a threat to DSLR's as it still won't compete with IQ, but as a mid range compact system to complement the DSLR, might be a good idea, with superior IQ. We might actually see the death of the Bridge camera, rather than the DSLR.
09-13-2008, 02:23 PM   #146
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I'd have to disagree. Despite the marketing spin about APS-C/FF being better than 4/3, in the segment Micro 4/3's is competing (sub-$1000), the differences in IQ between APC-C and 4/3 are so inconsequential to be a a non-issue. I see this camera directly attacking the D40/Rebel/K200/A200 market share.
09-13-2008, 03:22 PM   #147
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I disagree Clawhammer, I have seen images from various sources such as 4/3 APS-C and FF.

100ISO is good, but when you go above 400ISO the drop off in quality from 4/3rds is incredible. Only when APS-C gets to 1600 does FF still give you quality over everything.

I do like the 4/3rds format as a concept, but it is going nowhere. Where for instance is the sensor over 10mp? Should the Olympus E-3 be a lot more than 10mp when it claimed that it was a rival to full pro cameras? Should it not have been bigger?

The reality is that due to the better size of APS-C and FF, the pixel count and micro lenses can and are better the 4/3rds. If Olympus were to really compete with APS-C, then the E-3 would already be around the 13mp mark (looking at the microlenses technology currently)

And if you think the sensor size is a fallacy as per you comment, I have a Fuji S6500 bridge at 6.3mp, and a *ist DS at 6.1mp, but of course the Pentax sensor is APS-C and the fuji is only 1/1.7inch sensor.
Which has the better IQ? the Pentax of course, even with kit lens.
09-13-2008, 04:00 PM   #148
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I totally agree with you that 4/3's hasn't shown equivalent IQ in the high-end market, but what I was trying to say is that the people who are buying these cameras (step-up P&S buyers, new photographers) probably won't notice/need the difference in IQ.
09-13-2008, 08:17 PM   #149
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QuoteOriginally posted by clawhammer Quote
I totally agree with you that 4/3's hasn't shown equivalent IQ in the high-end market, but what I was trying to say is that the people who are buying these cameras (step-up P&S buyers, new photographers) probably won't notice/need the difference in IQ.
I agree with that, but I also wouldn't write off this system as just something P&S users and soccer moms would be interested in. I myself am far from a pro, but I do have a photography degree and it is a very important hobby for me. I feel as though I can get by just fine with a MFT's system. The IQ advantage APS-C offers are so minimal it's not worth worrying about to me. Besides, I post process the shit out of any photo I care about anyway.

I simply see this type of camera as the future. I have no need for a mirror box what so ever. I manually focus over half the time anyway. Besides, from what I've read the G1's AF speed is right on par with entry level SLR's. Plus AF accuracy isn't too important for me since I mainly shoot inanimate objects, landscapes, and street scenes anyway. I could easily make due with a MFT's system for the next decade until FF mirrorless cameras start coming out. Even then I would want to be in both systems, one for portability, one for high IQ.

I'm all for Pentax's rich tradition of supporting legacy systems, but at some point technology will force them to drop that if they want to advance; and mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras are the future. Their only real drawback at the moment is AF speed and no optical VF. However, EVF's will continue to progress and so will AF speed. Eventually the mirror box will be as archaic as the dry plate is now.
09-13-2008, 10:42 PM   #150
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Pentax could make a mirror-less body that accepts all k-mount compatible lenses by creating an adapter that restores the original flange distance, just like Oly/Panasonic have done for MFT. So you can have your K-mount cake and eat it too

That being said, I love a ground-glass image (4x5 ground glass images are a work of art in and off themselves), so they'd have to get a REALLY high-res EVF before I'd give up the optical viewfinder. Could they do this in 5 or 10 years? Probably.
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