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10-24-2011, 07:56 AM   #496
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QuoteOriginally posted by Rondec Quote
In other news: 62 percent of statistics are made up.
For large values of 62 ....

10-24-2011, 08:10 AM   #497
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QuoteOriginally posted by Aristophanes Quote
Or wait until FF sensor fabs come down in cost and the ability to compete on sensor size makes more financial sense.

Losing money for 5 years in today's climate, all for 4% of a 5% installed base, using inferior AF and other features compared to the competition will guarantee that the market for a Pentax FF never grows beyond core Pentaxians. By definition it cannot take market share from Canon, Nikon, or Sony.

So why lose money for 5 years on that inevitability? Huge risk. It may very well be a permanent loss.

FF is actually getting more expensive relative to APS-C. That makes selling enough units even more difficult, especially relative to Pentax's minuscule installed base.

The only way for FF to make a breakthrough for Pentax is for the price range to fall well below $2,000 per unit with features equivalent to the previous generation of FF bodies. At this point profitability is achievable. This starts with sensors.

And Pentax DSLR sales are still increasing per unit volume. There's growth without FF. For every FF defector there's still 2-3 more people buying into DSLR's through Pentax.

Sometimes the best strategy is to say no to some of your customers in order to stop bleeding.
So why did Sony elect to lose money on FF development for 5+ years? Because they know that the long term benefits exceed the short term lose.

Why do you think FF is getting more expensive. There has been only 2 FF bodies released in the last 2 years. The Sony A850 which is the cheapest FF, and the 1DX which is less than the 1DsIII or the D3x. Both of those offer a lot for the money. My Canon 5D originally sold for over $3,000, but the 5DII sold for $2,700.00. Most of the price increases we have seen are due to inflation and currency exchange rates.

Pentax has already "stopped the bleeding". They have been increasing their market share in small steps. The K-5 has been a huge success for the company. Pentax has momentum and they need to build on that.

Using your logic Pentax would have never brought the 645D to market. MF is even a smaller market than FF with more expensive sensors and less growth potential....... BUT the 645D has been a big success. There are still people on waiting lists to get the camera. All of your arguments against Pentax bringing a FF to market apply to the MF market to an even greater extent. Pentax will be successful if they bring a good product to the market.
10-24-2011, 08:27 AM   #498
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QuoteOriginally posted by Aristophanes Quote

...(long post, translated to) :

Tactical: Keep afloat for another 18 months in your 5% of an aps-c DSLR base being shrunk from below by disruptive technology and very soon from above by reduced-cost FF sensor bodies. Smooth sailing for at least another 18 months, don't worry. Something new and great will present itself, something that no-one else has available to them. If that new thing is a margin-friendly affordable FF body a couple years from now, leap suddenly into that market with great success, somehow having all the FF lenses you didn't start making in the previous three years.

Strategic: See Tactical.


.

Which brings to mind...

Thom Hogan:
QuoteQuote:
Pentax: Last year I wrote: continues to plug along the same path as before and continues to get the same results. Hmm. I don't think I need to rewrite anything here ;~). .... Now that Nikon's not driving Sony's sensor production, Pentax is going to be looking for sensors, too...

Last edited by jsherman999; 10-24-2011 at 08:35 AM.
10-24-2011, 08:48 AM   #499
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QuoteOriginally posted by Winder Quote
So why did Sony elect to lose money on FF development for 5+ years? Because they know that the long term benefits exceed the short term lose.

Why do you think FF is getting more expensive. There has been only 2 FF bodies released in the last 2 years. The Sony A850 which is the cheapest FF, and the 1DX which is less than the 1DsIII or the D3x. Both of those offer a lot for the money. My Canon 5D originally sold for over $3,000, but the 5DII sold for $2,700.00. Most of the price increases we have seen are due to inflation and currency exchange rates.

Pentax has already "stopped the bleeding". They have been increasing their market share in small steps. The K-5 has been a huge success for the company. Pentax has momentum and they need to build on that.

Using your logic Pentax would have never brought the 645D to market. MF is even a smaller market than FF with more expensive sensors and less growth potential....... BUT the 645D has been a big success. There are still people on waiting lists to get the camera. All of your arguments against Pentax bringing a FF to market apply to the MF market to an even greater extent. Pentax will be successful if they bring a good product to the market.
In defense of Aristophanes, the 645D was released on the market only after Pentax knew they could get the right amount of performance and sell for the right price to earn money. Pentax could have release the 645D in 2006 and decided not to because they knew it would be at loss.

Same story for the Q, apparently Pentax had it under development for a few year before getting the right sensor and the right moment to release it.

Most likely Pentax is still developping a FF, and is waiting for the right moment to release it. They are not first comers on a market, which is wise IMO given their size.

I agree that the FF market will get bigger and bigger accross time compared to APSC, but the question that Pentax need to ask themselves is "when?" In a couple of year we'll get even better APSC, for the "diffraction limit" argument is kind of b*llsh*t, picture resolution will still increase, albeit slower. At some point, having a 30Mpx APSC camera doing an acceptable 24 000 iso, what do you need more?
For massive prints, for fashion, the MF lineup is actually more relevant than FF. Pentax already has it.
For movies, APSC is actually a better format, closer to the classic 35mm movie format (90 compared to still picture) and it will be easier to fight against moire and jello on APSC sensors.
For sports and photojournalism, Pentax don't address this highly competitive market, where there is much more than sensor format. (the 1Dx has a freakin' Gigabit Ethernet port...)

At the end, FF is lot about "me too", and "I have a bigger camera than you". But this is not the philosophy Pentax is defending. Pentax is about more features in a smaller package. The K5 is much smaller than the D300s or the 7D, and on the same price level as the D7000 and the 60D.
Most likely, the reason Sony failed with the Alpha 900/850 is that they couldn't differenciate themselves from the competition. It was just a "me too" camera. Now that they have successfully differenciated themselves with the pellicule mirror, they may try again.

Provided there is a sensor available, Pentax must be asking themselves a lot of questions at the moment...

10-24-2011, 08:50 AM   #500
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QuoteOriginally posted by ghelary Quote
Pentax is about more features in a smaller package
And thus essentially losing this market to mirroless cams.
10-24-2011, 09:11 AM   #501
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QuoteOriginally posted by Aristophanes Quote
FF is about 4% of all DSLR camera sales. Pentax is 5% of the DSLR market. Do the math.
...They (Sony and Canon and Nikon), like their 40% margins.
Well, if there is such high margin, why not to enter that market, even if it's just 4% of DSLR? Do you think that only privileged companies have right to enter ?

QuoteOriginally posted by Aristophanes Quote
At the most Pentax could sell maybe a couple of thousand FF DSLR bodies per year. And for $2,000 the size will likely not differ too much from what the other companies do. There are design limitations.
You may be right with the size and design limitation. Anyway $2,000 FF camera market is DEFINITELY bigger than couple of thousand pcs.


QuoteOriginally posted by Aristophanes Quote
There is no longer a single camera form factor and design principle like the SLR that can work for the market in consensus and volume. Not on this forum. Not in this thread, even.
That's just fine. Pentax may choose its own strategy and not everybody will be happy. At least somebody. They just have to be different and not to produce those FF bricks. Otherwise it's maybe better to wait until better technology comes. But strategy decision must be done right now.

QuoteOriginally posted by Aristophanes Quote
When it comes to FF....99% of customers of Pentax simply do not care. That's the reality. As 99% of people no longer print, APS-C delivers "good enough" IQ for 99% of Pentax's customers and therefore revenues. Pentax's real issue is mirrorless possibilities in APS-C (and how/when Ricoh will kill the GXR).
99% of Canikon customers also don't care.
I would say Pentax would be silly to focus just on Pentax customers. Again, they have to be different and find the right FF market gap.

Last edited by Jan67; 10-24-2011 at 03:06 PM.
10-24-2011, 09:14 AM   #502
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QuoteOriginally posted by Emacs Quote
And thus essentially losing this market to mirroless cams.
Nothing to lose.This market is flexible.
10-24-2011, 09:26 AM   #503
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QuoteOriginally posted by Winder Quote
Will Pentax lose money on a FF camera for the first 5+ years? Probably. Sony could not sell enough to make it profitable, but that does not mean they did not do it. You have to start some where.

Let's be careful about the phrase 'lose money'. Pentax could put the D3x sensor in a K-5 modified with a slightly larger mirror box and viewfinder housing, sell it for $1700 and still probably make a small profit per body (source: Thom Hogan's sensor cost information.) That sensor is fantastic, but older-gen, and probably much more expensive at introduction than the newer fabs at this point. There are other reasons why you wouldn't want to do that particular config, but my point is that if the per-unit numbers work at $1700, they work even better at $2000, especially with the newer sensors. And frankly we'd probably expect a Pentax FF body to debut a bit higher than $2K, because it will probably include an updated AF module also. (in the following years, a very profitable sub-$2K FF body is a real possibility though.)

A ROI schedule is not 'losing money', it's applying your unit profits back towards R&D to make the initial investment pay off for the company. "Losing money" implies a loss leader (OK in some circumstances,) or an execution so screwed up that all your margins get blown (never OK.)



.


Last edited by jsherman999; 10-24-2011 at 11:00 AM.
10-24-2011, 11:09 AM   #504
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Are you sure about that? (talk about being careful... )
Even if Thom Hogan's estimation is correct, it's nowhere near as easy as you describe it. You know, if you'd just put a D3x sensor into a K-5 body you'll get nothing more than a K-5 body with a D3X sensor inside
It won't be just a K-5 "modified with a slightly larger mirror box and viewfinder housing"; they'll need to:
- redesign the mirror box, mirror and the associated mechanisms for the bigger format
- redesign the viewfinder housing including the viewfinder from the matte screen to the eyepiece and all the components inside (metering system, AF points indicators) - with a significant increase in size
- new, bigger shutter (people would be mad if the X-sync won't be any faster)
- new, bigger sensor module which also means a newly designed SR system
- new electronics designed to work with that sensor; most likely a new PRIME
- a new AF system - physically larger as well
- try to stuff all above into the K-5 body and, surprisingly, discover they won't fit; so:
- a new body
- firmware changes. No, they aren't free nor trivial.
- lots of "fine tuning"
I'm sure I'm forgetting other, very important things and I'm not even talking about lenses.
It amazes me how some people are talking about such a task as if it were trivial. "Just put a sensor into a camera" - no kidding? If it's so easy, why only a handful of companies are able to do that?
10-24-2011, 11:26 AM   #505
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QuoteOriginally posted by Kunzite Quote
Are you sure about that? (talk about being careful... )
Even if Thom Hogan's estimation is correct, it's nowhere near as easy as you describe it. You know, if you'd just put a D3x sensor into a K-5 body you'll get nothing more than a K-5 body with a D3X sensor inside
It won't be just a K-5 "modified with a slightly larger mirror box and viewfinder housing"; they'll need to:
- redesign the mirror box, mirror and the associated mechanisms for the bigger format
- redesign the viewfinder housing including the viewfinder from the matte screen to the eyepiece and all the components inside (metering system, AF points indicators) - with a significant increase in size
- new, bigger shutter (people would be mad if the X-sync won't be any faster)
- new, bigger sensor module which also means a newly designed SR system
- new electronics designed to work with that sensor; most likely a new PRIME
- a new AF system - physically larger as well
- try to stuff all above into the K-5 body and, surprisingly, discover they won't fit; so:
- a new body
- firmware changes. No, they aren't free nor trivial.
- lots of "fine tuning"
I'm sure I'm forgetting other, very important things
I know, I was being succinct with that because I was just trying to highlight what the sensor cost delta would add to the body cost, without itemizing all the other needful things. Aside from the AF (which I left out of the $1700 figure on purpose,) none of those things are rocket science nor do they represent any significant R&D. I'm sure the bigger box, bigger shutter, sensor module, etc are already done now in prototype.

If the $1100 K-5 is making a profit now, add $450 for the sensor delta, and you have a $1550 FF body. Add $150 or $200 for the additional mirror/VF/socket/body mod/etc costs (not AF,) and you arrive at that $1700 body, with profit built in. Pad another $300 for good measure, and you're at that $2000 body. A newer FF sensor probably even costs less than that $450 delta (because that's the direction they've gone since that sensor was introduced.)

As I said, you probably don't want to make a modified K-5 with the A900 sensor at this point, just pointing out that the per-unit costs don't suggest that you require a $3000 body to make a profit, or even indicate that a $2000 body 'loses money'.


.
10-24-2011, 11:29 AM - 1 Like   #506
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I would be very unlikely to buy a full frame Pentax dSLR. I have had the opportunity to use a D3 since they first came out and have yet to take advantage of that opportunity (wife did once though). I shoot film more often than digital (more digital images perhaps) and understand shallower depth of field when using MF or 4X5 and especially 5X7.

To me it is important that Pentax continues to be profitable and substainable as a company making photographic gear. If making a full frame camera makes it a better company go for it, however if it drags down the ability to produce products in a more profitable section and slows down and impeeds its competitiveness in the current format as well as the new ones than I would hope they decline to go that route.

What matters the least to me is Pentax's market share, as long as they are profitable and produce a very competitive camera (and lenses) why should I care that more people buy Canons or Nikons or even Sony? I do see others shooting Pentax dSLRs but no where near as common as the others but I use a Pentax as my lenses fit it and I like the combination of size and value. I would not select a dog based on what is the most popular breed, my car based on which is the best seller and certainly not my burger by who sold the most billions of them. If the camera market collapsed the way the film market did unfortunately, then there would be more concern but as it is still what seems a healthy and changing market then as long as they do the right things to keep the company going and making good products I will be happy. For products that they do not make I will look elsewhere as I do not expect any company to be a total supplier of what I want.

I agree with others who commented on the good part about Richoh listening and responding.
10-24-2011, 12:07 PM   #507
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QuoteOriginally posted by jsherman999 Quote
I know, I was being succinct with that
Well, IMO you were too succinct
You're only thinking about one component, because everything else is not "significant" or it's "already done" - I can't agree with that.
There would be significant R&D involved, and lots of additional costs - which would have to be recovered by a smaller profit margin, from a reduced number of cameras. Your numbers would be valid only if it would sell in same numbers as the K-5 - we know this can't be the case, assuming the R&D expenses would be identical, and by using the K-5's initial selling price and not the actual one.
In short - there's no reason to believe Pentax can perform a miracle and launch a much cheaper FF camera. By the way, was the K-5 much cheaper?
10-24-2011, 12:07 PM   #508
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QuoteOriginally posted by Aristophanes Quote
Or wait until FF sensor fabs come down in cost and the ability to compete on sensor size makes more financial sense.

Losing money for 5 years in today's climate, all for 4% of a 5% installed base, using inferior AF and other features compared to the competition will guarantee that the market for a Pentax FF never grows beyond core Pentaxians. By definition it cannot take market share from Canon, Nikon, or Sony.
Why not? Why couldn't a Pentax full frame camera appeal to an existing Nikon, or Canon APS-C OR flull frame shooter? As you are quick to point out, these two companies have huge user bases, many times the size of Pentax's. You think all of them are happy? Many photographers who I know would leave those brands in a heartbeat for a smaller, weather sealed camera with less expensive glass, and in-body SR.

I dislike pulling unresearched figures from thin air, but for the sake of argument let's say they were able to steal 1% of the users each from Canon, Nikon and Sony; have you any idea how much that would grow Pentax's business?

QuoteOriginally posted by Aristophanes Quote
So why lose money for 5 years on that inevitability? Huge risk. It may very well be a permanent loss.

FF is actually getting more expensive relative to APS-C. That makes selling enough units even more difficult, especially relative to Pentax's minuscule installed base.

The only way for FF to make a breakthrough for Pentax is for the price range to fall well below $2,000 per unit with features equivalent to the previous generation of FF bodies. At this point profitability is achievable. This starts with sensors.

And Pentax DSLR sales are still increasing per unit volume. There's growth without FF. For every FF defector there's still 2-3 more people buying into DSLR's through Pentax.

Sometimes the best strategy is to say no to some of your customers in order to stop bleeding.
What you are describing is the risk involved in releasing a full frame camera, but what you are not considering is the cost of inaction and the intangible benefits of being seen as a professional camera manufacturer. You can see it as 'bleeding money' but, at the end of the day, is there really a difference between loosing money, and not making money?

The defectors of whom you speak are folks looking to go pro, people capable of producing amazing quality photographs, photographs that influence aspiring photographers. Imagine the brand recognition that could be generated by a Joe McNally or a Dave Hobby using a Pentax K-1 (or whatever this hypothetical camera is to be called).

It has to start somewhere. Until Pentax cowboys up and invests the dough to produce a camera that professionals want to use, they will be forever relegated to the entry level and enthusiast market. The 645D was a huge step in the right direction, but it's cost is prohibitive to all but an established working professional, someone who was likely already with the brand from the film days (I don't think many Hassy shooters have defected as of yet). There needs to be an option for the up-and-coming professional as well as the working professional who doesn't want to invest in a MF system. It's hard to measure the effect of professional brand image in dollars and cents, or yen, but without it, Pentax must be content with the table scraps from Canikony<--(New word), and I don't think they're willing to do that. Besides, we've got rich uncle Ricoh now.
10-24-2011, 12:21 PM   #509
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I would like to think that a Pentax FF would be about the same size as a Nikon D700, just handled my friends D700 the other day. Im impressed, thats a damn fina camera.

With the Nikkor 50 1,4 G lens it had almost the same weight as my K-7 + 31 Ltd. The grip on the D700 has a perfect height IMO with a nice rest for the pinky finger. The only thing that actually sticks out in terms of size on the D700 is the viewfinder housing, wich is really big compared to K-7.

So... i would have no problem with a Pentax FF just like the D700
10-24-2011, 01:31 PM   #510
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A Pentax FF will never be like a D700. Forget it. It will not be a me-too camera but it will have all the goodies and bells and whistles (and then some) of the other contenders, but in a smaller and more user friendly package. Like a... Pentax.
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