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03-18-2010, 10:39 AM   #46
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Great as the LX was, it was a late and feeble attempt to produce a professional grade SLR against what Canon and Nikon were already offering. The LX can't compare in robustness against the venerable workhorse of the Nikon F3. Frankly the pre-Hoya Pentax management didn't capitalize upon the early mass market successes, were hopeless when AF film cameras were introduced and largely made forgettable crap 35mm film cameras when film was on the way out. If not for Hoya, Pentax would have been insolvent and gone the way of many defunct photo equipment companies like Bronica.

03-18-2010, 02:02 PM   #47
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QuoteOriginally posted by 24X36NOW Quote
I never suggested that Pentax not market to low end consumers; rather, that they should not forget about high end consumers. There's a big difference.
I can accept that, assuming there is enough capital to allocate to both markets. Capital scarcity has been a perpetual problem (until recently) for Pentax.

QuoteOriginally posted by 24X36NOW Quote
As for your comment about the LX not being a professional system, you've GOT to be kidding. You can argue about the "support" and logistics that existed all you like snip . . .
My bad I didn't state clearly what I meant. Purely as a camera, the LX qualifies as professional level when that was defined by options, features and flexibility in the film era.

The problem I was alluding to is endemic to Pentax. When they have a success they stop there - specifically I cited the Spotmatic series as their peak. They fumbled their lead, allowing Canon, Nikon and Olympus to leapfrog their technology and erode their markets - then Monlta did it, too.

Comments RE: LX from B. Dimitrov:
"Virtually no other camera has ever offered so much flexibility, robustness, and low-light capabilities in such a small and light package. Add the silky-smooth operation of every button and each lever and the astonishing system of accessories, and you get a masterpiece. But an unfinished one. The biggest problem with the LX is that Pentax never introduced a successor for it — a camera built on the same principles but with modern features and improved components. For example, they could have added a spot meter, even if this is difficult to integrate in the OTF metering system. They could have made the complex shutter quieter and faster, or they could have found a way to allow concurrent use of MLU and the self-timer."
I have owned and used Pentax cameras without interruption since 1970. My brother is an Olympus guy (OM-1 ->). I had an Olympus E-20n (at the time a very nice camera,m BTW) that I finally sold to buy my K10D. I am not a Canon fanboy but I am a realist. Canon correctly timed thier entry into the explosively-growing sports/action media market, and has continually upgraded their product for the last 40 years. Pentax has had some brilliant introductions and successes during that time. But they never follow on with the next big improvement.

As I stated, they made the LX for 21 years but they never upgraded it's mount to communicate with A lenses. The F1, introduced in 1971 (when Pentax introduced the Spotmatic F) lasted for 10 years. The F1n improved dramatically on the original design in 1981, at which time the LX was, precisely, 1 year old (as was the Nikon F-3).

Canon also invested heavily in the professional support network for sports, action and wildlife photographers globally, and purchased endorsement deals such as the Lake Placid and LA Olympics.

Pentax had a great system camera, the LX (the BEST meter ever) - but they never had a professional's camera system.

I make these statements to point out change - to ask whether Hoya is laying the groundwork to actually compete with Canon - I think they are, but I also think it is a long race to where they HOPE the puck is going to be. I think it possible they are going to leapfrog the FF sensor altogether (that is, never make a FF camera) since they have already missed the opportunity.

Last edited by monochrome; 03-18-2010 at 02:09 PM.
03-18-2010, 02:10 PM   #48
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QuoteOriginally posted by creampuff Quote
Great as the LX was, it was a late and feeble attempt to produce a professional grade SLR against what Canon and Nikon were already offering. .
Really? The LX was release one month after the F3. That was late indeed....
03-18-2010, 02:16 PM   #49
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QuoteOriginally posted by RioRico Quote
What are the consumables in the digital era? Throwaway cameras? Inkjet carts and paper? Throwaway LCD albums? Batteries? What will induce consumers to regularly, repeatedly part with their money? How about pulling a Polaroid, with an onboard printer so you can quickly hand out hardcopy? Or just a second card slot, so you can copy images onto a card to hand off? But that benefits the card/chip makers, not the cam maker. What will generate continuing revenue? I don't know. Do you?
I really don't know - if I were Steve Jobs I would know - but what is the anaolg in photography to what iPod/iTunes did to the record industry, iPad/iBooks is about to do to the publishing industry (and Amazon, B&N, etc.) and iTV/iMovies (internet movies on demand to Apple TV) will someday do to the TV hardware/cable network television industry?

Or is the iPhone/iEverything already the camera category killer? (iPhone has 2% share of the global handset market, btw, and Apple announced yesterday they will sell in China).

03-18-2010, 02:39 PM   #50
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Nikon F launched in 1959

Nikon F launched in 1959

Canon F-1 launched in Fall 1970

and when did LX launch ???

if I reall right wasn't it 1980 ???

Whether you consider cameras with film backs, interchangeable screens, motor drives, speed finders as pro caliber. people in Canikon consider Nikon F and Canon F-1 as "pro"

Heck, it took Canon 11 years to respond to Nikon F, and Pentax took almost 21 years.

One year after Canon F-1 launched Nikon responded with Nikon F2. And Pentax still made slower to mount & dismount screw mount lenses and screw mount cameras. Another half decade would pass with Pentax offering the m42 screwmount system while Nikon kicked Canon's butt. And Nikon and Canon together dominated Pentax, the prior #1 brand in the 1960's.



QuoteOriginally posted by Pål Jensen Quote
Really? The LX was release one month after the F3. That was late indeed....

Last edited by Samsungian; 03-18-2010 at 02:49 PM.
03-18-2010, 05:06 PM   #51
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QuoteOriginally posted by Samsungian Quote
Nikon F launched in 1959

Canon F-1 launched in Fall 1970

and when did LX launch ???

if I reall right wasn't it 1980 ???

You can not compare the LX to the Nikon F or the Canon F-1. They had no more features (apart from interchangeable finders) than the Pentax MX. The LX can be compared to the F3 and the new F-1 and outperforms both. When the Canon F-1 was released Pentax sold more SLR cameras than Nikon and Canon combined!
03-18-2010, 06:26 PM   #52
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QuoteOriginally posted by Pål Jensen Quote
You can not compare the LX to the Nikon F or the Canon F-1. They had no more features (apart from interchangeable finders) than the Pentax MX. The LX can be compared to the F3 and the new F-1 and outperforms both. When the Canon F-1 was released Pentax sold more SLR cameras than Nikon and Canon combined!
Uhhh, you have just precisely stated my point about the fall of Pentax.
03-18-2010, 07:51 PM   #53
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QuoteOriginally posted by monochrome Quote
The problem I was alluding to is endemic to Pentax. When they have a success they stop there - specifically I cited the Spotmatic series as their peak. They fumbled their lead, allowing Canon, Nikon and Olympus to leapfrog their technology and erode their markets - then Monlta did it, too.

Comments RE: LX from B. Dimitrov:
The biggest problem with the LX is that Pentax never introduced a successor for it — a camera built on the same principles but with modern features and improved components.
Pentax has had some brilliant introductions and successes during that time. But they never follow on with the next big improvement.
QuoteOriginally posted by monochrome Quote
Uhhh, you have just precisely stated my point about the fall of Pentax.
And you're actually reinforcing mine...I think you're actually helping me make my point. Thanks!

I agree that they stop short and don't follow through. Personally, I think the LX was their peak. (I may be somewhat biased in that respect, but I'll stand by the remark ) I agree with Dimitrov's quote about the biggest "problem" with the LX WAS that they never introduced a modernized successor to it, and that actually speaks precisely to my point. Pentax began "bottom feeding" and starting to neglect the high end of the market. The result? They withered away.

At least in the film era, no matter what whiz-bang features a camera did or didn't have, with some knowledge and skill you could take pictures with equal image quality with ANY camera body, assuming the lens is reasonably comparable. Digital has changed that landscape, since now the camera body and the sensor and the algorithms and so forth have created differentiation between cameras in terms of image quality. No longer can you just load the same film and get the same quality - the camera actually matters. FF dSLRs are more than twice the format size as APS-C, and this represents a significant advantage in image quality, i.e., either less noise with a similar pixel count, or more resolution without adding noise, AND due to the optical advantage of a bigger format, i.e., the lens is worked much harder in smaller formats. No, the comparisons are not precise (lots of variables), but I submit there is truth to those basic rules. The end result being that not only is not producing a FF dSLR a blunder for Pentax, but it is an even bigger blunder than the failure to offer high end products to follow up the LX in film days, because now the failure actually does have a negative impact on relative image quality. It also has other "hardware" disadvantages that are unavoidable, such as the crappy little viewfinders.

I don't agree that the medium format entry in any way alleviates the need to produce a FF dSLR product; few people are looking for such a specialized camera like the 645D as compared with 35mm format, and few are going to swallow the price tag (and still fewer are going to swallow it multiple times for upgrades). Again, if Pentax wants to repeat their past mistakes, they can continue to just ignore FF and surrender more of the market to Nikon and Canon.

03-19-2010, 04:00 AM   #54
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QuoteOriginally posted by 24X36NOW Quote
And you're actually reinforcing mine...I think you're actually helping me make my point. Thanks!

I agree that they stop short and don't follow through. Personally, I think the LX was their peak. (I may be somewhat biased in that respect, but I'll stand by the remark ) I agree with Dimitrov's quote about the biggest "problem" with the LX WAS that they never introduced a modernized successor to it, and that actually speaks precisely to my point. Pentax began "bottom feeding" and starting to neglect the high end of the market. The result? They withered away.

At least in the film era, no matter what whiz-bang features a camera did or didn't have, with some knowledge and skill you could take pictures with equal image quality with ANY camera body, assuming the lens is reasonably comparable. Digital has changed that landscape, since now the camera body and the sensor and the algorithms and so forth have created differentiation between cameras in terms of image quality. No longer can you just load the same film and get the same quality - the camera actually matters. FF dSLRs are more than twice the format size as APS-C, and this represents a significant advantage in image quality, i.e., either less noise with a similar pixel count, or more resolution without adding noise, AND due to the optical advantage of a bigger format, i.e., the lens is worked much harder in smaller formats. No, the comparisons are not precise (lots of variables), but I submit there is truth to those basic rules. The end result being that not only is not producing a FF dSLR a blunder for Pentax, but it is an even bigger blunder than the failure to offer high end products to follow up the LX in film days, because now the failure actually does have a negative impact on relative image quality. It also has other "hardware" disadvantages that are unavoidable, such as the crappy little viewfinders.

I don't agree that the medium format entry in any way alleviates the need to produce a FF dSLR product; few people are looking for such a specialized camera like the 645D as compared with 35mm format, and few are going to swallow the price tag (and still fewer are going to swallow it multiple times for upgrades). Again, if Pentax wants to repeat their past mistakes, they can continue to just ignore FF and surrender more of the market to Nikon and Canon.
Sincerely, apart from people stating that they need a FF, because you know a FF is better. I don't see any good reasionning in your MF bashing. Once upon a time, a "true" pro was expected to work with MF gear. 35mm SLR was for amateurs and the only "valid" camera with that film format was a Leica.

At the moment, all Internet is speaking about FF and how it's much better than anything else. But the truth is that FF implies bigger and heavier cameras and this will remain true. MF is the benchmark for picture quality.

Hardware landscape will change over the years, the photo-market is moving toward the selling of larger prints as way to compensate for traditional revenue falling (magasines, newspapers) for the moment, it has not been a full success.

With its 645D, Pentax have certainly produced a game changer. Such a camera becomes "affordable" for populations of pros who were on FF before because previous MF cameras were just too expensive. I'm thinking of wedding, art and nature photographers. As the FF cameras are becoming more and more affordable, this may be also some kind of "poor man" anwser to the amateurs buying FF (the real answer has always been the quality of photos themselves, but it's much easier to show some credibility with some visible hardware)

Pentax chose not to compete directly with Nikon and Canon, or the established (and yet struggling) MF makers. Their 645D spec sheet has a lot of appeal for a significant population of pros and wealthy amateurs. I wouldn't be surprised for them to have to push to max their 500 unit a month capacitiy.

Now if this camera is not for you, this is another story.
03-19-2010, 04:10 AM   #55
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QuoteOriginally posted by Pål Jensen Quote
You can not compare the LX to the Nikon F or the Canon F-1. They had no more features (apart from interchangeable finders) than the Pentax MX. The LX can be compared to the F3 and the new F-1 and outperforms both. When the Canon F-1 was released Pentax sold more SLR cameras than Nikon and Canon combined!
The problem with the LX was that it was simply too good - or at least it was for this amateur - Pentax couldn't sell me a single camera body between 1982 and 2007 because the LX covered my needs :-)

(Hm. Maybe it's time to buy a roll of film again - just hope the sticky mirror hasn't got any worse lately)
03-20-2010, 11:18 AM   #56
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QuoteOriginally posted by ghelary Quote
Sincerely, apart from people stating that they need a FF, because you know a FF is better. I don't see any good reasionning in your MF bashing. Once upon a time, a "true" pro was expected to work with MF gear. 35mm SLR was for amateurs and the only "valid" camera with that film format was a Leica.

At the moment, all Internet is speaking about FF and how it's much better than anything else. But the truth is that FF implies bigger and heavier cameras and this will remain true. MF is the benchmark for picture quality.

Hardware landscape will change over the years, the photo-market is moving toward the selling of larger prints as way to compensate for traditional revenue falling (magasines, newspapers) for the moment, it has not been a full success.

With its 645D, Pentax have certainly produced a game changer. Such a camera becomes "affordable" for populations of pros who were on FF before because previous MF cameras were just too expensive. I'm thinking of wedding, art and nature photographers. As the FF cameras are becoming more and more affordable, this may be also some kind of "poor man" anwser to the amateurs buying FF (the real answer has always been the quality of photos themselves, but it's much easier to show some credibility with some visible hardware)

Pentax chose not to compete directly with Nikon and Canon, or the established (and yet struggling) MF makers. Their 645D spec sheet has a lot of appeal for a significant population of pros and wealthy amateurs. I wouldn't be surprised for them to have to push to max their 500 unit a month capacitiy.

Now if this camera is not for you, this is another story.
I don't recall doing any medium format "bashing;" Rather, I have reacted to posts that make the spurious argument that the Pentax medium format offering somehow substitutes for, or makes unnecessary, a Pentax FF offering, which it does not. Different tools with different capabilities for different purposes. Arguing that the 645D makes a FF DSLR unnecessary is like arguing that they should have stopped making 35mm film cameras when they introduced the 645, or that they should have stopped making the 645 when they introduced the 6X7.

FF does not imply bigger and heavier cameras, that is a myth. Comparing high spec APS-C and FF cameras made by the same camera makers illustrates this plainly. APS-C dSLRs are essentially FF dSLRs with undersized sensors (and viewfinders), they are not built around a purpose-made mount, mirror box, registry distance, etc. based on the APS-C sensor size. No meaningful difference in size/weight exists between APS-C and FF dSLRs of similar specification. Pentax film SLRs tended to be smaller and lighter than their Nikon and Canon competitors of their day; compare the LX to the Nikon F3 or Canon F1, for example. People have short memories. Pentax has always had the penchant for making things smaller and lighter that Canon and Nikon, and there is no reason to expect anything different as respects a FF dSLR.

There are plenty of pros that are using FF but are buying the cheaper models because of how overpriced the top-line models have been, mainly due to lack of competition. Those pros won't find a $9,400 camera inexpensive any more than they found a 1DS Mk III or D3X inexpensive. Time will tell how the 645D sells, but it's not a FF replacement by any means.
03-20-2010, 03:51 PM   #57
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Next Step

Personally I think FF is the obvious next step for Pentax. I think it's really the only tooth missing from their bite. If they could offer a FF camera that is the size of the K7 it would be a huge hit. Wedding photographers want small lightweight cameras that aren't a workout to haul around all day, not to mention hikers and sports enthusiasts as well. If they could keep the price under $2000 and then have a 16-50 f2.8 and a 50-135 f.2.8 as initial lens offerings I think they could capture a segment of Canikon users. I think some people today are thinking that eventually they might like to take a stab at going pro in photography and it's hard to justify starting out on a platform that does not have a pro option. I think Pentax has been wise in the way that they have handled the 645D. If they step into the water the same way with a FF camera I think it could really pay off for them. The main thing is to keep designing cameras and lenses that people want. Every level of consumer needs a carrot and I think right now the next carrot would be FF.
03-20-2010, 04:16 PM   #58
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QuoteOriginally posted by FunkyMonk Quote
Personally I think FF is the obvious next step for Pentax. I think it's really the only tooth missing from their bite. If they could offer a FF camera that is the size of the K7 it would be a huge hit. .
That is the only way for Pentax to make an FF camera in my opinion. That will set it apart from the competition, something that is particularly important at this level as I doubt Pentax will undercut them significantly in price...
03-20-2010, 04:56 PM   #59
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QuoteOriginally posted by Pål Jensen Quote
I doubt Pentax will undercut them significantly in price...
I think that really depends. If Pentax can produce them inexpensively enough, and count on lens sales to drive more revenue, a $2000 price-tag would give them a unique business advantage.

When you can undercut your competition by an order of magnitude while not necessarily offering less in terms of features, it's market disruptive (in your favor). It's the sort of thing that *could* boost Pentax back into more mainstream consumption.

In the meantime, people start feverishly buying Pentax gear, and the competition has to scramble to figure out how to reduce their prices to bring them into competition; which quite simply, isn't always possible.
03-20-2010, 05:39 PM   #60
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One angle of attack Pentax could pull off successfully would be to make a FF dSLR with a viewfinder that is in the class of the old manual focus film SLR viewfinders, i.e., 95% magnification instead of 72 or 76%. That would set it apart (and above) Canon and Nikon competitors without being a difficult hurdle, since they've done it before. This would also serve to play up the extensive backward compatibility of the K Mount, making the camera more enjoyable with manual focus lenses than Nikon (Canon doesn't even compete on this one!). It would coincidentally make Pentax's FF dSLR the most enjoyable dSLR to use with those beautifully crafted Voigtlander and Zeiss manual focus lenses.

Last edited by 24X36NOW; 03-20-2010 at 05:48 PM.
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