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12-18-2012, 12:34 AM   #736
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QuoteOriginally posted by vonBaloney Quote
By choice -- there is no technical reason that is so. At least image quality wise -- AF systems are certainly not as good (and there are technical reasons for that), and the lack of optical viewfinder is either a drawback or not depending on your preference. But Pentax's own K-01 is DSLR quality with no mirror.

Everybody wants a camera they can comfortably use...
Some people have larger hands than others, so larger may be better, provided it does not weigh ten pounds of course. As far as the quality, perhaps when they have larger sensors that will be different, or further refine the particulars of the newer technology. I can't remember where I saw the imagery comparison between two similar cameras, one mirror and one not, the difference was subtle but it was there. I realize the mirrorless is supposed to be better at longer exposures due to no mirror slap. Maybe I could compare it to offset printing vs digital. Offset still has many advantages, many due to the longer time to refine the technology over the years. Still maybe a somewhat apples to oranges comparison though.

12-18-2012, 12:47 AM   #737
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QuoteOriginally posted by bigrex Quote
As far as the quality, perhaps when they have larger sensors that will be different, or further refine the particulars of the newer technology.
Well, that's the only reason -- because they've been putting small sensors in the mirrorless cameras to keep them compact. The K-01 has the same sensor as the K-5, and so quality is about the same.
12-18-2012, 01:19 AM   #738
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QuoteOriginally posted by bigrex Quote
My guess is that Pentax literally did not have the money to make a full-frame camera at this time, and/or they don't have the ability to turn one out quickly. Maybe we'll see one in 2013, perhaps, or not. I think the reason you have a Pentax k-5 II and K-5 IIs is a calculated strategic move to maximize savings while offering something somewhat new in order to generate more revenue.The more the new versions of the K-5 sell, the more funds they will have to proceed with a full-frame camera design.
I think it is unlikely that Ricoh bought Pentax intending to let it stagnate. That would be an idiotic move on the part of a large corporation, something like stuffing a mattress with their shareholders' money. Ricoh has money, so I would assume that it is making a substantial investment in product development. As I've said elsewhere, it takes time to rejig a company and develop major new product lines.

My personal guess is that they are working on something that is interesting and will give them leverage in developing markets such as China and India.

The current DSLR market is too tight to be cracked easily by a me-too product marketed to the current user base. If I were Ricoh I would do an end run using innovative products combined with development of a new user base in hitherto underutilized markets.

If I were doing it I would have a marketing strategy based on very strong customer service, including a major educational component such as frequent workshops and highly accessible company reps.

In my view Pentax's notable characteristic with digital cameras has been the ability to design solid cameras that offer good value, under the constraint of limited funding during the Hoya period and prior to that. I presume Ricoh saw this as demonstrating potential for development of quality, affordable offerings for new markets. I don't know why they would have bought Pentax otherwise.

Personally, I'm very curious about where Pentax will go over the next year or two. I'm not overly concerned. If Ricoh is smart and makes good investments, we'll all have fun. If not, well, I can always put my Takumars on a Canon.
12-18-2012, 02:10 AM   #739
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QuoteOriginally posted by Laurentiu Cristofor Quote
The problem is that when you are behind, you cannot simply aim for doing the same thing as those ahead of you - you need to do much more.
It depends on what your target is. If you want to overthrown Canikon, yes, you need to do much, much more. But what if you have a more realistic goal?
Doing much more is the most expensive and risky thing to try; if they don't have the funds and if they won't succeed, it means death. A more gradual, self-sustainable, healthy growth is prefferable; and indeed, their target - for now - is more like "doubling the sales in 2013", rather than "become #1".

QuoteOriginally posted by Laurentiu Cristofor Quote
Meanwhile, MILC market is expanding very nicely. Some people here don't want to believe that, but look at what lenses came out this year just for MFT mount (these are just those I kept track of):

Panasonic 35-100/2.8
Olympus 15/8 cap lens, 17/1.8, 60/2.8 macro, 75/1.8
Tokina 300/6.3 mirror
Sigma 19/2.8 and 30/2.8
Voigtlander 17.5/0.95

Also, some lenses were announced for the future: Panasonic 45/1.2 and 150/2.8; Schneider Kreuznach 14/2, 30/1.4, and 60/2.4 macro; SLR Magic 23/1.7 and 35/1.4.

That is a very active product development compared to Pentax. It really helps to have third party support from pretty much all manufacturers. And it is great to have a common platform shared by two camera manufacturers.
Pentax is doing quite well, on R&D's side: 8 K-mount lenses + 1 TC, 4 645D lenses and 4 Q ones (the 2012-2013 roadmaps). Pentax launched in 2012 a total of 6 lenses, the same amount as for Olympus and Panasonic combined.

QuoteOriginally posted by Laurentiu Cristofor Quote
I don't see any future in which DSLRs continue to be relevant. Sure, some people will stick to them like others stuck to film and film cameras, but now we know how such stories end. Pentax has no compelling offering in this market yet. Ricoh tried something different with the GXR, but it is too different. I don't see Ricoh well if they don't announce an interesting MILC system in 2013. Whether it will be APS-C or FF is less important - they could just start with APS-C but with ability to use a FF sensor in the future. And they might announce some DSLRs too while they are at it, but I don't see how they could funnel development resources in parallel, so the DSLRs may just be of K-5III variety. They will need to make some tough choices and some people here will be disappointed. Or, they will not make the tough choices, and then the disappointment will come up in the long run.
And I don't see MILCs threatening the DSLRs, at enthusiast level. I'm in fact convinced their so-called success is mostly due to being dirt cheap, which makes the MILCs a not-so-lucrative market.
Those "some people" to be disappointed are every K-mount users, right?

12-18-2012, 04:37 AM   #740
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Size and weight do matter but a well built relatively lightweight and ergonomically sound camera body will do better than both a hefty one and a paperweight MILC that is difficult to handle especially in tough shooting conditions.
12-18-2012, 04:38 AM - 1 Like   #741
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It is probable that mirrorless cameras will eat into APS-C SLR sales over time, but I really doubt that they will bother full frame SLR sales for quite a long time. Even on an APS-C camera, there is only so much savings in space that you gain by getting rid of the mirror and the lenses remain decent sized. Stick an f2.8 zoom on a full frame mirrorless camera and see how it handles. Or even an 85mm f1.4. Honestly, a K5 sized body would be the smallest I would want to go for a full frame camera. Shrink it more and I am not interested...

The big difference then is an EVF versus an optical viewfinder and on full frame, it will be quite awhile before an EVF can measure up to the big and bright viewfinders available on full frame cameras. On four thirds and even on APS-C, an EVF doesn't have to be as good in order to beat their standard viewfinder (particularly pentamirrors).

Last edited by Rondec; 12-19-2012 at 04:23 AM.
12-18-2012, 06:02 AM   #742
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I'll be a little contrarian. I think folks are reading too much into Ricoh. Ricoh may have seen in Pentax an inexpensive way of sorting out their own, under-performing camera division but not a huge amount beyond that. They soon put Pentax management in charge of their Ricoh camera operations, not the other way round so one has to assume they are happy with Pentax's conservative DNA. Sure, Ricoh have money and are putting in investment but their expectations are fairly modest (perhaps realistic is the better word) and they aren't expecting to take over the world.

For myself, I expect roughly more of the same, which is fine with me. I like to feel that if I spend a lot of money on a lens it is not going to be rendered instantly useless because its maker has suddenly decided to drop everything and go off making instagram cams and lawnmowers instead. The new and substantial differences may come from what used to be Ricoh cameras, which might be relaunched with a new range of products, rather than from Pentax and/or the FF insanity virus. Personally I hope that Pentax/Ricoh introduce a solid range of MILCs because without them they are likely to cut themselves out of swathes of the camera market over the next few years. The camera which Pentax have done very well with this year is the Q, not the K5 series. All cameras are luxury accessories and none is cheap in that sense. Forgetting that 300 or 400 bucks is a substantial investment for the vast majority of families, who don't want a geeky box just a reliable camera with a touch of pizzaz to it, is a great way to put yourself out of business.

If Ricoh were really intent on going for broke and busting the bank, etc., one would expect them to have expanded their worldwide sales and marketing network for all things photographic. Is there any evidence of that? If you look at their corporate site - see this: Global Site | PENTAX RICOH IMAGING - you will see that unlike Canonikon/Sony's network of global offices and websites, Pentax have no presence in Latin America, Oceania (Australasia), Asia (India, Indonesia, e.g.), the Middle East, the Russian Federation, Africa. And their presence even where they are - Europe, North America - is fairly modest (can't say what they have in China). To me, Pentax/Ricoh are a small company still primarily focused on their home, Japanese market - unlike Canonikon/Sony who have morphed into true multinationals. If you like Japan, Japanese culture and a Japanese design aesthetic (barring the K-01 adventure) rather than multinational no-man's-land then this is the company for you.

Last edited by mecrox; 12-18-2012 at 07:41 AM.
12-18-2012, 08:32 AM   #743
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Allow me to present a more optimistic version.
Ricoh realized they can't move forward with their own camera division, so they bought Pentax - this in itself was a huge step forward, from "niche" to "mainstream".
It was logical to put in charge those with experience in managing a much larger scale of operation, than the niche-oriented Ricoh camera division. But this doesn't mean Pentax is meant to stay as it is! On the contrary, it is well known they're more ambitious. Haven't I told you about "doubling the sales in 2013"? That was from one of those interesting interviews...

It's also quite obvious that Ricoh didn't bought Pentax to make completely different things; the K, 645D and Q lines are here to stay. Are they preparing to launch a FF, I can't say - but "FF" means K-mount full-frame so it could fit their strategy. What doesn't - is the new MILC system people are nagging about.

I'm not very sure Q did better outside Japan.

12-18-2012, 10:17 AM   #744
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QuoteOriginally posted by Laurentiu Cristofor Quote
Meanwhile, MILC market is expanding very nicely. Some people here don't want to believe that, but look at what lenses came out this year just for MFT mount (these are just those I kept track of):

It may be expanding, but the three big players the MILC market, Sony, Olympus, and Panasonic, are all losing money on cameras. Olympus's camera division hasn't made money in six years. Panasonic's and Sony's debt rating is barely above junk status, and their camera divisions continue to be a drain on the overall company. Panasonic's President Kazuhiro Tsuga has declared that any business failing to earn margins of at least 5% will likely be shut down. Although I doubt he'd carry out that threat against Panasonics m4/3rd business, if he sticks to his word, Olympus could end up having the m4/3 all to themselves. In short, if you look at whose making money, the future of mirrorless doesn't necessarily look so rosie. DSLR's (particularly DSLR systems) are still making the lion's share of the profits in the camera business.

QuoteOriginally posted by Laurentiu Cristofor Quote
I don't see Ricoh well if they don't announce an interesting MILC system in 2013
Does the market really need another MILC system? Given that m4/3, Sony NEX, and Samsung MILCs are not generating profits, this would almost certainly be a bad move. There's no hurry about MILC. If mirrorless is the future, it won't be exclusively compact mirrorless: it will also include larger mirrorless cameras like the K-01 (except with a VF) and the Sony SLTs (except without the mirror). DSLR makers like Canon, Nikon, and Pentax cannot abandon their SLR mounts because they have too many of their customers who have already made big investments in their glass and would simply leave the brand if they abandoned them. Moreover, much of that glass is too big to be comfortably used on a compact camera in any case. (Nor is an adapter strategy a viable option, as we've learned from the attempt to use 4/3rds SLR glass on m4/3 cameras.) So the best strategy is for Pentax to keep with their DSLRs. If larger MILCs with SLR mounts become popular, it won't be any trouble for Pentax to make one. Indeed, they've already done so (with the K-01); they can do so again when (or rather if) a market demand should arise for such a product.
12-18-2012, 04:16 PM   #745
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QuoteOriginally posted by northcoastgreg Quote
It may be expanding, but the three big players the MILC market, Sony, Olympus, and Panasonic, are all losing money on cameras. Olympus's camera division hasn't made money in six years. Panasonic's and Sony's debt rating is barely above junk status, and their camera divisions continue to be a drain on the overall company. Panasonic's President Kazuhiro Tsuga has declared that any business failing to earn margins of at least 5% will likely be shut down. Although I doubt he'd carry out that threat against Panasonics m4/3rd business, if he sticks to his word, Olympus could end up having the m4/3 all to themselves. In short, if you look at whose making money, the future of mirrorless doesn't necessarily look so rosie. DSLR's (particularly DSLR systems) are still making the lion's share of the profits in the camera business.



Does the market really need another MILC system? Given that m4/3, Sony NEX, and Samsung MILCs are not generating profits, this would almost certainly be a bad move. There's no hurry about MILC. If mirrorless is the future, it won't be exclusively compact mirrorless: it will also include larger mirrorless cameras like the K-01 (except with a VF) and the Sony SLTs (except without the mirror). DSLR makers like Canon, Nikon, and Pentax cannot abandon their SLR mounts because they have too many of their customers who have already made big investments in their glass and would simply leave the brand if they abandoned them. Moreover, much of that glass is too big to be comfortably used on a compact camera in any case. (Nor is an adapter strategy a viable option, as we've learned from the attempt to use 4/3rds SLR glass on m4/3 cameras.) So the best strategy is for Pentax to keep with their DSLRs. If larger MILCs with SLR mounts become popular, it won't be any trouble for Pentax to make one. Indeed, they've already done so (with the K-01); they can do so again when (or rather if) a market demand should arise for such a product.
Maybe the MILC manufacturers are losing money because they just can't come up with a compelling product at an attractive price. Right now, I only see two camera models in the vast MILC ocean that are worth owning -- E-M5 and NEX 6 -- and both have their own problems. The Oly is way north of $1000 while the Sony is almost as expensive and relies on dedicated lenses for SR.

I still think the market is wide open for a truly good offering.
12-18-2012, 08:32 PM   #746
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QuoteOriginally posted by bigrex Quote
Some people have larger hands than others
I remember this argument from when the K-7 came out. It didn't work for it or for the K-5 and it doesn't work for MILCs either.

QuoteOriginally posted by Kunzite Quote
And I don't see MILCs threatening the DSLRs, at enthusiast level. I'm in fact convinced their so-called success is mostly due to being dirt cheap, which makes the MILCs a not-so-lucrative market.
Some are cheap, some are not. Some are small, some are not. Being more compact than DSLRs is the main advantage perceived so far. It's what appeals to Canon and Nikon users. Some see the inexpensive aspect as appealing. But MILCs are the future not for these reasons but simply because they offer functionality that either is not available at all on a DSLR or that becomes available only by using the DSLR as a MILC. The future is digital, not analog. Any analog technology has only survived until a digital replacement has become available. And MILCs are the fully digital replacement of the analog-digital DSLR hybrid.

QuoteOriginally posted by northcoastgreg Quote
It may be expanding, but the three big players the MILC market, Sony, Olympus, and Panasonic, are all losing money on cameras.
They are losing money on compact cameras, not on MILCs.

Olympus is explaining their earnings drop as being:

QuoteQuote:
due to the compact digital camera market shrinking faster than originally assumed
If you look at their financial report they describe the E-M5 sales as "strong", the TG-1 ones as "firm", and the compact camera market as declining and responsible for the operating loss of that division.

I haven't checked Panasonic and Sony, but I expect their situation is similar as they each have strong presence in the P&S market.

It shouldn't surprise anyone that compact cameras are disappearing. All these changes in the market put pressure on the camera divisions to restructure, but that will be over soon. Earlier this year, Samsung was already retooling one of their P&S factories to produce NX cameras.

MILCs cannot be a money loser because they are easier to produce than DSLRs and that accounts for the lower prices. Manufacturers don't need to forego their profits to offer those lower prices.
12-18-2012, 09:00 PM   #747
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QuoteOriginally posted by Kunzite Quote
Pentax launched in 2012 a total of 6 lenses, the same amount as for Olympus and Panasonic combined.
Yes, but not for K mount.

For K mount they just introduced:

560/5.6 - the only new lens designed by Pentax and it won't be a big seller
18-270 - a rebadged Tamron, so not really a Pentax lens

Sigma came with a 180/2.8 I believe. But yes, I now see it's not available for K mount so scratch that.

There seem to be a couple new Sigma lenses, but they're not available yet. Let's count them though. 150/2.8 and 120-300. They were announced for other mounts in 2011; we're running out of 2012 and they're still not available for Pentax.

Ok, that's 4 with 3rd party help. You may notice that Sigma supports the K-mount with more lenses than Pentax does - that is a unique situation across mounts AFAICT.

It doesn't look good to me. Ricoh has spent their effort on releasing one product of dubious value. I can only hope it was because they are working on introducing a new mount and that the 560 was already designed, so they could just put that out as a sign of life while they kept their engineers occupied with real product development. Or maybe Hoya fired most of the Pentax engineers, so Ricoh just got a bunch of plans and no people to make new ones.
12-18-2012, 09:08 PM   #748
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QuoteOriginally posted by mecrox Quote
I'll be a little contrarian. I think folks are reading too much into Ricoh. Ricoh may have seen in Pentax an inexpensive way of sorting out their own, under-performing camera division but not a huge amount beyond that. They soon put Pentax management in charge of their Ricoh camera operations, not the other way round so one has to assume they are happy with Pentax's conservative DNA. Sure, Ricoh have money and are putting in investment but their expectations are fairly modest (perhaps realistic is the better word) and they aren't expecting to take over the world.
Can't like another of your posts again so here's a +1 on this one. This is a plausible scenario. Pentax was a relatively small investment at 125 million USD and I was always impressed by how little they paid for the camera business.
12-18-2012, 09:10 PM   #749
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QuoteOriginally posted by Laurentiu Cristofor Quote
The future is digital, not analog. Any analog technology has only survived until a digital replacement has become available. And MILCs are the fully digital replacement of the analog-digital DSLR hybrid.
Until the day something comes along to replace ground glass lenses, we'll continue to have SLR cameras. That's my prediction anyway. I seriously doubt that the big lens on small camera setup is going to win the photography world over, unseating SLR cameras in the process. Sure, MILCs will continue to grow in popularity but DSLRs will persist, just like laptops haven't meant the end of desktop PCs, despite the predictions. That analogy, admittedly, may not be the best though as smartphones, tablets, and cloud computing pose a new and different kind of competition to both the desktops and laptops. No doubt advances in technology will continue to change photography but I'm quite skeptical that MILCs are going to be what spells doom for DSLRs, especially anytime soon.

Last edited by TomTextura; 12-18-2012 at 09:25 PM.
12-18-2012, 10:18 PM   #750
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QuoteOriginally posted by Laurentiu Cristofor Quote
I remember this argument from when the K-7 came out. It didn't work for it or for the K-5 and it doesn't work for MILCs either.
I'd still be happy with a K10D/K20D body frame and I have smaller hands. Smaller is not better IMO. I'd be just as happy handholding a 645D (I've done that and it indeed is a fine piece of engineering as well as an easy to handle camera). Durability to me is also more important than being light, but too much more weight on a FF body (to the level of the 5D/D800) and Pentax would have a hard time giving such a body a decent selling point.

dSLRs are mechanical digital rather than 'analog/digital hybrids'. There is nothing wrong with some physical mechanics in a camera - I think the dSLR vs MILC debate is more of a personal preference issue rather than a vie for superiority.
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