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03-12-2007, 07:39 AM   #1
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Translation from PMA Pentax Interview - new DSLR body this year and company strategy

Hi, this is a rough translation I did of the Watch Impress (Japanese online multimedia magazine) interview of Pentax management at PMA.

Some very interesting information regarding the successors to the current bodies, pro level equipment etc.

I did this fairly quickly so there may be some grammatical errors but the essence of the interview will be intact.

I have just one small request - please do not copy and paste this text, or provide a direct link at Dpreview. They have just banned another contributor to the Pentax Talk forum there. At the moment I can't stand the place. Not posting there is my own way of a little protest. On the other hand I don't want to hide this information from fellow Pentax users, so if anyone wants to point Dpreview members to this translation, please just provide a link to our PentaxForum index page( https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/pentax-dslr-discussion/ ). Thank you.

P.S. All copyrights etc, belong to Watch Impress. The original Japanese text is here: yPMA07z1”N”‚ƒ‚ƒfƒ‹ƒ`ƒFƒ“ƒWƒTƒCƒNƒ‹‚’‚‚‚


Translation starts here
WI = Watch Impress
=======================================



[PMA 07] Model Change Cycle of 1.5 Years is Too Long
Interview with Pentax: Mr. Torigoe Kyo & Mr. Tatamika Koshi

Target: To provide the latest technology in K Series, 1 year model change cycle.

Following the successful launch of the hit products K10D, K100D, and promises to her users at last year's Photokina, on March 6th Pentax released the new Lens Roadmap showing off their strength in the line up, adding 2 new DA* lens to the line up.

Is it really feasible for them to launch 10 new DA/DFA lens this year? We chatted with Senior Executive Director Mr. Torigoe Kyo and Imaging System R&D Dept. 2 Developer Mr. Tatamika Koshi on topics such as development progress. Who would have guessed, the contents surprised us!


* 1 Year Cycle for Updating SLR Technology
WI: Last year Pentax released hit after hit in its product line up, it must be encouraging for the R&D developers. Surely the next product will follow in these footsteps? Although it has not been long since the last product launches, it would still be interesting to hear about the development progress for the next series.

Torigoe: We concentrated all our effort into developing the K100D and K10D, wanting our user to feel the energy and passion we put into them. The result is we are having great positive feedbacks from the users, and this certainly warmed all our hearts. However, we'd like to be even more cautions when receiving accolades from our customers in the future.

Because of these great expectations from our users, we must avoid the same mistakes we made in the past. Such as not able to provide enough product at the launch, resulting in inconvenience to both our customers and dealers. We must not let this happen again. Not only was it missed business opportunity, it caused so much trouble for users who placed orders but was not able to receive the product even after long waits. Even the R&D staffs are feeling the blue and depressed because of this.

WI: Pentax DSLRs, during the *ist D, DS era, were all well received. However when DL/DL2 came out, there was a feeling of lack of direction. Will you try to avoid the repeat of this kind of product upgrades that has no new added value?

Torigoe: We feel we shouldn’t have made that kind of small trivial changes. I personally disliked these so called updates. We are not going to do it any more without enough substance.

Tatamika: During the DL and DL2 development, we followed information from the sales point- "We are not going to be able to sell the next model unless....", that kind of stuff. The result was we followed those directions, i.e., making the new model smaller and lighter only. We ended up with no interest from customers. It was because we changed this kind of development methodology, we had the fruits of the K series. (Translator's Note: Hear Hear, I work in a tech firm, and my experience is, NEVER, EVER listen to Sales people, they don't know what they are on about 99% of the time).

Torigoe: You mentioned earlier the DS was well received. The truth is its sales result wasn't as expected either. The machine built on our confidence wasn't selling, and we panicked. Thus we got into a vicious circle. Currently, not only internally, even our external partners are paying us great attentions, we are pushing our business in a great positive cycle. But, we still need to remain on our toes, using (end of) this year as a time limit, deliver the best we can achieve from current technology.

WI: This year? Are you talking about this year??! K100D launched in July 2006, K10D wasn't launched until November. The usual development cycle for DSLR is about 1 and half years, to launch this year, to be ready for the holiday shopping season, that's got to be a very fast product update! It's already March, and if you haven't finished any prototype samples, it's probably not going to be enough time.....

Torigoe: The truth is, the next generation is almost ready. The 1.5 year product generation upgrade cycle (consider the evolution of digital sensor, image processor etc) of common sense is just too long for us. Plus, the K10D got delayed until November thus affected its sales result. To be able to join and be ready for the holiday shopping season, we must ensure customers able to purchase the product when they want to (Translator's note: i.e., enough production capacity to fill the demand, and launch early enough to take advantage of the shopping season), so we are going to challenge that time cycle. We plan to build such an environment: To provide the latest technology around the end of year shopping season, to provide enough product to meet the demand at any time. This has become the common goal for all our Development staff, to expand our business. But, as mentioned above, currently the R&D staff are somewhat depressed (Translator's note: hopefully it was because they were depressed because of the delay in K10D, not the perceived uncertain future and their job security after HOYA take over), we must do something to rectify this.

* The high end body is still under development planning, but it's definitely coming
WI: Not making just trivial updates, that does require caution from the developers, we can understand that, but can users also accept that?

Torigoe: Of course, we want our customers to think "The next generation is a valuable upgrade to the current machines". So when we choose to launch our new products at shopping season near the end of every year, we realize the small trivial changes won't cut it, and we are not going to do it.

WI: About the new products, are you developing successors to the K100D and K10D in parallel?

Torigoe: Yes, we will provide upgrades for both groups of our customer.

WI: previously, you have mentioned a higher lever machine that sits above K10D. How goes the development on that front? Would it depend on sensor development time table?

Torigoe: First step is to provide suitable products for entry level users, the next step is providing a product for beginner users to grow in to, an advanced armature product. The next logical step, in order to expand product portfolio, is highend machines, and we are definitely following that. But currently we are taking our steps one by one, concentrate on one machine at a time, thus we haven't anything firm on it yet.

Tatamika: A highend machine is certainly in the product planning. We have the ability to make a highend body, however we need to accurately understanding the need and requirement for such a machine. If K10'd users want a higher level machine, we need to determine the kind of performance level, features, and how to maximize the spread of cost from listening to voice of the market. (Translator’s note: get out your pen folks, and write down what's important to you and send them to Pentax.)

WI: The biggest subject for Pentax this year is expanding the lens product line up. There will be 21 new DA/DFA lens, 10 being launched this year, how is the progress on that?

Torigoe: Very smoothly, The development is going very well, K100D, K10D are both selling above our expectations worldwide, becoming hot products, thus caused shortage in lens supply (Translator's note: Pentax, you have ALWAYS had lens shortage, K10D and K100D just underlined the problem!). Thing is, we had already made somewhat more than planned, and the ability to manufacture extras at any time if necessary. but customer orders ever out striped thas scale. In order to supply the demand, we had to strengthen our production ability, we are currently working on solving this issue. (Translator's note: HOYA, if you are clever, you should see your help and input can really strengthen Pentax on this issue and make it a larger player.)

Tatamika: Currently we have 9 DA lens, 2 DFA lens on the market. The 2 DA* lens announced on PMA will be on the market in a few days. Thus in our plan to launch 10 lens this year, we still have 8 to go, we are trying our best in their development. There are 9 lens in the Lens Roadmap, our target is to get 8 of those on market this year, making it 21 lens in total. But we feel these 21 lens still won't cover the whole focal range, and there are several other plans in progress, please watch this space.

WI: When mentioning Pentax, customarily there have been a lot of demands for small, light bodies. Products like Nikon's D40, Olympus E410 etc small light machines have been following one another on to the market. Do you have products planned under such a school of thought?

Torigoe: For beginners and experienced armature users, the most important topic is to gain their acceptance. Only on that kind of base is opportunity to providing highend machine, We need strong Pentax trunk products to grow healthy branches. In other words, if we can ensure the growth of a trunk, we will have chance to challenge ourselves to develop those kind of small light machines with film qualities.

Tatamika: One of Pentax's feature is small and light. Thus we will try our best to achieve this goal. We will hold our belief in developing miniaturization.

Torigoe: In my head, our mid term projection is to sell 1 to 1.5 million a year. Some say I'm making this up. But from the report of CIPA this year DSLR's sale will reach 6 million. 2, 3 years later it will grow to about 8 million a year. Our target is to reach 20% of market share, reaching 1 ~ 1.5 million sales in not a joke. Having this kind of large market and customer base, with continued growth, we feel specific miniaturized specialty machine will have a share in this space.



=======================================
End of Translation

Some of facts and my thoughts after reading this interview:
- There will be at least 2 new DSLR launch this year (if everything goes well), the K10D and K100's successors are coming before November.

- Well, if things don't go well, Pentax's Camera R&D knows that's not an option and means the sale of the camera dept and their jobs will be on the line. So this year is a do or die year for Pentax.

- I have every bit of confidence Pentax will pull this through.

- In the future, there will be a camera body generation update each year.

- I have a mixed feeling about this, it will ensure a healthy and competitive Pentax that keeps up and even lead the market. On the other hand releasing too many machines will alienate some users because they will be upset their latest camera will not be cutting edge in just a year.

- Personally, I think this is a good thing, or at least the benefit over weights the negatives. I don't need a new camera every year, and I can always jump over a generation or 2 then upgrade. but people who always want the latest toy will be upset.

- Pentax also mentioned these updates won't be trivial changes to LCD screen size etc, Let's hope they are good on their words.

- It looks like they will also plan enough production capability for these new machines - great news.

- The K10D/ K100D successor is almost ready! Maybe Pentax learned to be clever and hold back their spec announcement to as late as possible, unlike a before, when they need to announce the k10D well early in order to keep up the interest of D/DS/DL owners as not to loose customer. Now they have a very strong machine on the market already and can afford to keep back their secrets for longer as to not tip off their competitors, great move! My guess is we will see prototype this Photokina.

- hope this news won't stop potential K10D/K100D buyers from holding out - look, you have 2 great cameras in the shops waiting for you to take home to take photos, the successors maybe great but they are not out yet, and you can't use them to take pics, so my advice is buy now and support Pentax.

- K1D is still in planning stage, and nothing solid at all yet, not a problem.

- They want to concentrate on their main line products, i.e., the 'vanilla' K10D/k100D class machines and ensure good sales result, before branching out to specialty bodies like the E410. good move again.

- The lens dev are going well, and there are even more lens we don't know yet up coming.

- A rumor on Japanese camera forums is the 645D shown at PMA is a working sample and not just a mock up - behind closed doors.

What an exciting year this is going to be for a Pentaxian, I'm very glad I will be witness all this amazing changes later this year - can't wait.


Last edited by Katsura; 03-12-2007 at 08:00 AM. Reason: gramma error correction
03-12-2007, 07:51 AM   #2
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Good work, and thanks

Looks good, sounds interesting. Looking forward to see what this year holds, i may have to sell a kidney.
03-12-2007, 08:01 AM   #3
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I have a kidney I would love to get rid of. It keeps making stones. Don't tell the buyer, though.
03-12-2007, 08:01 AM   #4
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Very interesting. Thank you so much for this translation. This must have taken you a fair bit of time, so I really appreciate it.

03-12-2007, 08:10 AM   #5
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Thanks tranq78.
03-12-2007, 08:27 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by Katsura Quote
Hi, this is a rough translation I did of the Watch Impress (Japanese online multimedia magazine) interview of Pentax management at PMA.

Some very interesting information regarding the successors to the current bodies, pro level equipment etc.

I did this fairly quickly so there may be some grammatical errors but the essence of the interview will be intact.

I have just one small request - please do not copy and paste this text, or provide a direct link at Dpreview. They have just banned another contributor to the Pentax Talk forum there. At the moment I can't stand the place. Not posting there is my own way of a little protest. On the other hand I don't want to hide this information from fellow Pentax users, so if anyone wants to point Dpreview members to this translation, please just provide a link to our PentaxForum index page( https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/pentax-dslr-discussion/ ). Thank you.

P.S. All copyrights etc, belong to Watch Impress. The original Japanese text is here: ?yPMA07?z1”N”‚ƒ‚ƒfƒ‹ƒ`ƒFƒ“ƒWƒTƒCƒNƒ‹‚’‚‚‚


Translation starts here
WI = Watch Impress
=======================================



[PMA 07] Model Change Cycle of 1.5 Years is Too Long
Interview with Pentax: Mr. Torigoe Kyo & Mr. Tatamika Koshi

Target: To provide the latest technology in K Series, 1 year model change cycle.

Following the successful launch of the hit products K10D, K100D, and promises to her users at last year's Photokina, on March 6th Pentax released the new Lens Roadmap showing off their strength in the line up, adding 2 new DA* lens to the line up.

Is it really feasible for them to launch 10 new DA/DFA lens this year? We chatted with Senior Executive Director Mr. Torigoe Kyo and Imaging System R&D Dept. 2 Developer Mr. Tatamika Koshi on topics such as development progress. Who would have guessed, the contents surprised us!


* 1 Year Cycle for Updating SLR Technology
WI: Last year Pentax released hit after hit in its product line up, it must be encouraging for the R&D developers. Surely the next product will follow in these footsteps? Although it has not been long since the last product launches, it would still be interesting to hear about the development progress for the next series.

Torigoe: We concentrated all our effort into developing the K100D and K10D, wanting our user to feel the energy and passion we put into them. The result is we are having great positive feedbacks from the users, and this certainly warmed all our hearts. However, we'd like to be even more cautions when receiving accolades from our customers in the future.

Because of these great expectations from our users, we must avoid the same mistakes we made in the past. Such as not able to provide enough product at the launch, resulting in inconvenience to both our customers and dealers. We must not let this happen again. Not only was it missed business opportunity, it caused so much trouble for users who placed orders but was not able to receive the product even after long waits. Even the R&D staffs are feeling the blue and depressed because of this.

WI: Pentax DSLRs, during the *ist D, DS era, were all well received. However when DL/DL2 came out, there was a feeling of lack of direction. Will you try to avoid the repeat of this kind of product upgrades that has no new added value?

Torigoe: We feel we shouldn’t have made that kind of small trivial changes. I personally disliked these so called updates. We are not going to do it any more without enough substance.

Tatamika: During the DL and DL2 development, we followed information from the sales point- "We are not going to be able to sell the next model unless....", that kind of stuff. The result was we followed those directions, i.e., making the new model smaller and lighter only. We ended up with no interest from customers. It was because we changed this kind of development methodology, we had the fruits of the K series. (Translator's Note: Hear Hear, I work in a tech firm, and my experience is, NEVER, EVER listen to Sales people, they don't know what they are on about 99% of the time).

Torigoe: You mentioned earlier the DS was well received. The truth is its sales result wasn't as expected either. The machine built on our confidence wasn't selling, and we panicked. Thus we got into a vicious circle. Currently, not only internally, even our external partners are paying us great attentions, we are pushing our business in a great positive cycle. But, we still need to remain on our toes, using (end of) this year as a time limit, deliver the best we can achieve from current technology.

WI: This year? Are you talking about this year??! K100D launched in July 2006, K10D wasn't launched until November. The usual development cycle for DSLR is about 1 and half years, to launch this year, to be ready for the holiday shopping season, that's got to be a very fast product update! It's already March, and if you haven't finished any prototype samples, it's probably not going to be enough time.....

Torigoe: The truth is, the next generation is almost ready. The 1.5 year product generation upgrade cycle (consider the evolution of digital sensor, image processor etc) of common sense is just too long for us. Plus, the K10D got delayed until November thus affected its sales result. To be able to join and be ready for the holiday shopping season, we must ensure customers able to purchase the product when they want to (Translator's note: i.e., enough production capacity to fill the demand, and launch early enough to take advantage of the shopping season), so we are going to challenge that time cycle. We plan to build such an environment: To provide the latest technology around the end of year shopping season, to provide enough product to meet the demand at any time. This has become the common goal for all our Development staff, to expand our business. But, as mentioned above, currently the R&D staff are somewhat depressed (Translator's note: hopefully it was because they were depressed because of the delay in K10D, not the perceived uncertain future and their job security after HOYA take over), we must do something to rectify this.

* The high end body is still under development planning, but it's definitely coming
WI: Not making just trivial updates, that does require caution from the developers, we can understand that, but can users also accept that?

Torigoe: Of course, we want our customers to think "The next generation is a valuable upgrade to the current machines". So when we choose to launch our new products at shopping season near the end of every year, we realize the small trivial changes won't cut it, and we are not going to do it.

WI: About the new products, are you developing successors to the K100D and K10D in parallel?

Torigoe: Yes, we will provide upgrades for both groups of our customer.

WI: previously, you have mentioned a higher lever machine that sits above K10D. How goes the development on that front? Would it depend on sensor development time table?

Torigoe: First step is to provide suitable products for entry level users, the next step is providing a product for beginner users to grow in to, an advanced armature product. The next logical step, in order to expand product portfolio, is highend machines, and we are definitely following that. But currently we are taking our steps one by one, concentrate on one machine at a time, thus we haven't anything firm on it yet.

Tatamika: A highend machine is certainly in the product planning. We have the ability to make a highend body, however we need to accurately understanding the need and requirement for such a machine. If K10'd users want a higher level machine, we need to determine the kind of performance level, features, and how to maximize the spread of cost from listening to voice of the market. (Translator’s note: get out your pen folks, and write down what's important to you and send them to Pentax.)

WI: The biggest subject for Pentax this year is expanding the lens product line up. There will be 21 new DA/DFA lens, 10 being launched this year, how is the progress on that?

Torigoe: Very smoothly, The development is going very well, K100D, K10D are both selling above our expectations worldwide, becoming hot products, thus caused shortage in lens supply (Translator's note: Pentax, you have ALWAYS had lens shortage, K10D and K100D just underlined the problem!). Thing is, we had already made somewhat more than planned, and the ability to manufacture extras at any time if necessary. but customer orders ever out striped thas scale. In order to supply the demand, we had to strengthen our production ability, we are currently working on solving this issue. (Translator's note: HOYA, if you are clever, you should see your help and input can really strengthen Pentax on this issue and make it a larger player.)

Tatamika: Currently we have 9 DA lens, 2 DFA lens on the market. The 2 DA* lens announced on PMA will be on the market in a few days. Thus in our plan to launch 10 lens this year, we still have 8 to go, we are trying our best in their development. There are 9 lens in the Lens Roadmap, our target is to get 8 of those on market this year, making it 21 lens in total. But we feel these 21 lens still won't cover the whole focal range, and there are several other plans in progress, please watch this space.

WI: When mentioning Pentax, customarily there have been a lot of demands for small, light bodies. Products like Nikon's D40, Olympus E410 etc small light machines have been following one another on to the market. Do you have products planned under such a school of thought?

Torigoe: For beginners and experienced armature users, the most important topic is to gain their acceptance. Only on that kind of base is opportunity to providing highend machine, We need strong Pentax trunk products to grow healthy branches. In other words, if we can ensure the growth of a trunk, we will have chance to challenge ourselves to develop those kind of small light machines with film qualities.

Tatamika: One of Pentax's feature is small and light. Thus we will try our best to achieve this goal. We will hold our belief in developing miniaturization.

Torigoe: In my head, our mid term projection is to sell 1 to 1.5 million a year. Some say I'm making this up. But from the report of CIPA this year DSLR's sale will reach 6 million. 2, 3 years later it will grow to about 8 million a year. Our target is to reach 20% of market share, reaching 1 ~ 1.5 million sales in not a joke. Having this kind of large market and customer base, with continued growth, we feel specific miniaturized specialty machine will have a share in this space.



=======================================
End of Translation

Some of facts and my thoughts after reading this interview:
- There will be at least 2 new DSLR launch this year (if everything goes well), the K10D and K100's successors are coming before November.

- Well, if things don't go well, Pentax's Camera R&D knows that's not an option and means the sale of the camera dept and their jobs will be on the line. So this year is a do or die year for Pentax.

- I have every bit of confidence Pentax will pull this through.

- In the future, there will be a camera body generation update each year.

- I have a mixed feeling about this, it will ensure a healthy and competitive Pentax that keeps up and even lead the market. On the other hand releasing too many machines will alienate some users because they will be upset their latest camera will not be cutting edge in just a year.

- Personally, I think this is a good thing, or at least the benefit over weights the negatives. I don't need a new camera every year, and I can always jump over a generation or 2 then upgrade. but people who always want the latest toy will be upset.

- Pentax also mentioned these updates won't be trivial changes to LCD screen size etc, Let's hope they are good on their words.

- It looks like they will also plan enough production capability for these new machines - great news.

- The K10D/ K100D successor is almost ready! Maybe Pentax learned to be clever and hold back their spec announcement to as late as possible, unlike a before, when they need to announce the k10D well early in order to keep up the interest of D/DS/DL owners as not to loose customer. Now they have a very strong machine on the market already and can afford to keep back their secrets for longer as to not tip off their competitors, great move! My guess is we will see prototype this Photokina.

- hope this news won't stop potential K10D/K100D buyers from holding out - look, you have 2 great cameras in the shops waiting for you to take home to take photos, the successors maybe great but they are not out yet, and you can't use them to take pics, so my advice is buy now and support Pentax.

- K1D is still in planning stage, and nothing solid at all yet, not a problem.

- They want to concentrate on their main line products, i.e., the 'vanilla' K10D/k100D class machines and ensure good sales result, before branching out to specialty bodies like the E410. good move again.

- The lens dev are going well, and there are even more lens we don't know yet up coming.

- A rumor on Japanese camera forums is the 645D shown at PMA is a working sample and not just a mock up - behind closed doors.

What an exciting year this is going to be for a Pentaxian, I'm very glad I will be witness all this amazing changes later this year - can't wait.
Your translation has really struck a chord and may in fact cause some serious ripples amongst the management at C&N. I find it interesting that Pentax in France alluded to some of the points brought up in this interview, specifically Pentax's determination to provide the user with a pro benchmark as a precedent for all camera's in their line as well as providing a kind of F1 (race car analogy) version camera. They also alluded to the fact that "...we are all looking to a FF frame solution in the future..."

I was also was banned from DP Reviews for announcing my change of sponsorship from Canon to Pentax...That's another issue however.

None the less you may wish to read my prediction of where I think Pentax might be in two years... I am quite certain that we will see a 1.25 sensor soon...It looks like Pentax may have to replace my K10D shortly, perhaps before the "Photo Show" in Paris this October 2007. By the way if anyone is in Paris for that, I will be there as one of the sponsors for the Pro-Division of Pentax, France.

Thanks for taking your time to share this interview with us..very insightful to say the least.

Last edited by benjikan; 03-12-2007 at 07:47 PM.
03-12-2007, 08:34 AM   #7
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Thank you for the translation. A very interesting interview indeed.
03-12-2007, 08:39 AM   #8
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Thank you for the effort, a work well done and appreciated.

There is some information of value (and I'm happy I'm not that DPR oriented anymore).

03-12-2007, 08:41 AM   #9
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Great work, thanks for the translation!
03-12-2007, 08:52 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by benjikan Quote
...and yes I was banned for announcing my change of sponsorship from Canon to Pentax while I was at DP Reviews...
Benjamin,
Your ego is showing, I don't believe he is talking about you when he mentions someone being banned from DPReview, he is talking about someone who was banned over the weekend...
03-12-2007, 08:53 AM   #11
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Thanks for the translation. A very ambitious agenda. Sony must be willing to let Pentax have the new sensor faster than I thought. There are certain features if added to the present sensors that would get me to buy a new body. There are other features I'd want if the sensor is larger. It sounds to me as though a smaller body is at least 2 years away.

Gearing the releases for the holidays is a very smart move. Anybody have an address I can send my “new feature” wish list to?

Regards,
03-12-2007, 08:59 AM   #12
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I add to the thank you:s with another thank you.
03-12-2007, 10:14 AM   #13
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Thanks for the translation!!!

and whoaaa, this really sounds good, looks like that Pentax Hoya tieup will work out well indeed.
03-12-2007, 10:23 AM   #14
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Thanks Katsura for doing this

I was going to ask my sister to translate it tonight for me but now, obviously I don't have to. Appreciate the time and effort you spent on this. I'm not sure how long they can sustain a significantly new body every year tho. I'd just be happy if I could find a DA 12-24 or a FA 77 ltd.

NaCl(but I like the idea that they are willing to think differently than C & N)H2O
03-12-2007, 11:08 AM   #15
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Jack Simpson

QuoteOriginally posted by SGT Quote
Benjamin,
Your ego is showing, I don't believe he is talking about you when he mentions someone being banned from DPReview, he is talking about someone who was banned over the weekend...
I was aware of the fact that it was Jack Simpson who was banned...Another person at DP Reviews said that it was the second time a contributer to the Pentax Forum's was banned and made a reference alluding to a situation that was similar to mine. My ego sometimes speaks loudly, but I'm afraid this time it wasn't...
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