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01-01-2013, 05:50 AM   #1066
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@snake:
I agree they should be careful, but I doubt they are cheapening the brand. The idea is to raise the market share (and most importantly, sales) as a support for future development, while Hoya wanted to raise the margins of the then Imaging Systems division to what they considered a reasonable level. It is normal thus to target different price points.
I'm afraid the "cheapening" was done long time ago, when Pentax attempted (and failed) to gain market share through pricing; because of this the price increase was a shock to people used to the image of a "bargain" brand. Fighting this would be pretty much impossible, without high end products and a sensible strategy to tell a different story.
But aren't we expecting good things for this year?

P.S. Happy New Year, everyone!

01-01-2013, 06:10 AM - 2 Likes   #1067
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QuoteOriginally posted by Kunzite Quote
No, I'm just refusing to accept such unsupported claims. I've put some numbers on the table; show me yours, which suggest what you say.
By the way, both Q and the K-01 started to really sell after significant price cuts.
OK, here's how I came up with that viewpoint. It starts with your info and only relies on two reasonable assumptions.

DSLRs outsell MILCs 4:1 in units and 5:1 in revenue (your info).

Basic math indicates the average selling price for a DSLR is 125% that of the MILC average.

Assumption #1: The pro segment of the DSLR market is 15% of the total DSLR market (it's 0% with MILCs)
Assumption #2: The average pro DSLR price is 2.5X the average non-pro DSLR price (pretty reasonable when you compare T3 and D3200 prices to 1D, D4, D800, etc. It really may be greater than 2.5X)

Let's just pick a figure for the average MILC price. It really doesn't matter what we pick but i'll use $700 (all non-pro).
So that makes the average DSLR price $875 (mix of pro and non-pro).

If we use the two assumptions above, the average price for a pro DSLR works out to $1785 and the average non-pro price works out to $714 -- not much different than the average MILC price.

And that is the core of the point I was attempting to make. MILCs only compete with non-pro DSLRs because there currently isn't a pro MILC camera made by anyone. With those two reasonable assumptions above plus your data, the mathematics work out to a conclusion that the current MILC market is very close in price to the non-pro DSLR market. That's why I didn't agree with your conclusion that MILCs only sell at fire sale prices. If true, then non-pro DSLRs only sell at fire sale prices, too, which I don't think anyone believes.

Make more sense now?
01-01-2013, 06:18 AM   #1068
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QuoteOriginally posted by Kunzite Quote
@snake:
I agree they should be careful, but I doubt they are cheapening the brand. The idea is to raise the market share (and most importantly, sales) as a support for future development, while Hoya wanted to raise the margins of the then Imaging Systems division to what they considered a reasonable level. It is normal thus to target different price points.
I'm afraid the "cheapening" was done long time ago, when Pentax attempted (and failed) to gain market share through pricing; because of this the price increase was a shock to people used to the image of a "bargain" brand. Fighting this would be pretty much impossible, without high end products and a sensible strategy to tell a different story.
But aren't we expecting good things for this year?

P.S. Happy New Year, everyone!
I agree, too. You cheapen the brand with lousy products, not low prices. In retrospect, the actions taken by Hoya are common to companies who buy a business for a low price with the intent of selling it off near to mid term at a higher price to another company. The quickest way to improve the financials is with price even if ruins the business longer term.
01-01-2013, 07:12 AM   #1069
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Thank you, it's much better now - that I can follow your logic. Now we can discuss.

It is quite dangerous to make assumptions about what some numbers could be. In Japan, for example, the FF market share is probably much lower; using the bcnranking top 20 data the FF DSLRs have about 6.2%, with 3.6% not covered. 7-7.5% would be a much more realistic estimation, IMO, than your 15.

Of course, there's the question about how relevant is this, when talking about the entire world. Is the Japanese market much more price-sensitive? I've gone back to the CIPA data, and computed the average ILC prices for Japan (43211 Yen), Europe (32195 Yen), Americas (36671 Yen) and Asia (44303); and it seems that it's the European and American markets that are more price sensitive.

The third assumption is interesting: "MILCs only compete with non-pro DSLRs because there currently isn't a pro MILC camera made by anyone."
Is it really so? I would rather say that MILCs only compete with non-pro DSLRs because they have no place in the pro arena. It is not an unfair advantage of the DSLRs, but the MILCs themselves are lacking (I'm excluding niche products - see below).
It's not like the FF MILCs are completely missing; there are those Leicas, then the RX1 and apparently a non-video NEX will follow. Leica will remain niche, but we'll see what will happen with the Sony.

Well, Hoya's intention - in their defense - was not to buy cheap/sell high (which probably didn't happen anyway), they had to buy the Imaging Systems together with the medical division. And it's not like they did only bad things, for example now Ricoh don't have to do any cost cutting, just focusing on growth. I have the same feeling about "improving the financials" vs longer term strategies.

01-01-2013, 07:47 AM   #1070
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QuoteOriginally posted by IchabodCrane Quote
I agree, too. You cheapen the brand with lousy products, not low prices.
...and Pentax has those, too. Just look at their compact line. Sadly, to many, this is the only exposure Pentax will have and it's not a good one.
01-01-2013, 09:05 AM - 1 Like   #1071
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QuoteOriginally posted by IchabodCrane Quote
OK, here's how I came up with that viewpoint. It starts with your info and only relies on two reasonable assumptions.

DSLRs outsell MILCs 4:1 in units and 5:1 in revenue (your info).

Basic math indicates the average selling price for a DSLR is 125% that of the MILC average.

Assumption #1: The pro segment of the DSLR market is 15% of the total DSLR market (it's 0% with MILCs)
Assumption #2: The average pro DSLR price is 2.5X the average non-pro DSLR price (pretty reasonable when you compare T3 and D3200 prices to 1D, D4, D800, etc. It really may be greater than 2.5X)

Let's just pick a figure for the average MILC price. It really doesn't matter what we pick but i'll use $700 (all non-pro).
So that makes the average DSLR price $875 (mix of pro and non-pro).

If we use the two assumptions above, the average price for a pro DSLR works out to $1785 and the average non-pro price works out to $714 -- not much different than the average MILC price.

And that is the core of the point I was attempting to make. MILCs only compete with non-pro DSLRs because there currently isn't a pro MILC camera made by anyone. With those two reasonable assumptions above plus your data, the mathematics work out to a conclusion that the current MILC market is very close in price to the non-pro DSLR market. That's why I didn't agree with your conclusion that MILCs only sell at fire sale prices. If true, then non-pro DSLRs only sell at fire sale prices, too, which I don't think anyone believes.

Make more sense now?
I agree. It seems that too many decisions about our photographic products are being made by accountants and committees - leading to bland products. When camera companies are putting out half-way interesting MILCs, the enthusiasts (and pros judging by some pro websites) are responding with rave reviews. Sony's NEX system is an interesting case, because the Company never intended the camera to be much more than a "better camera for the PS crowd", but the enthusiasts responded to the large sensor, small design features, interchangeable lenses, and bought it - much to the surprise of Sony, reportedly. But Sony saddled the Nex with a clunky operating system (no use of Sony's more highly thought of Alpha system from their DSLRs). Imagine what could have occurrred if Sony had put more thought into the original NEX. Fuji is an interesting study in an attempt to build a quality MILC from the ground up (rather than a belated attempt such as Sony's to add better features after the initial design had been established). Enthusiasts have responded to Fuji's MILC in a big way, paying prices for an aps size sensor camera that rivals a D600's current price.

Sony's effort with a FF Nex model, subsequent models to the Nex7 and Fuji's efforts will demonstrate to the photography world whether larger sensor MILC's have market clout or not. I doubt that Pentax will make a successor to the K01, altho i wish they would. I don't think its necessary for any of us to push APS and FF MILCs, they will stay the course and eventually displace a lot of DSLRs, once their quality and features are improved.

Meanwhile, Nikon seems to struggle in selling enough D600's, a cautionary example of what not to do with FF.
01-01-2013, 09:14 AM   #1072
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Interesting, because even the K-01 sold better than the Fuji. (and I'd bet the "struggling" D600 sold better, too)
01-01-2013, 10:33 AM   #1073
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Pentax's pricing policy should be that for whatever dollar amount you are going to spend, you are going to get more bang for your buck with Pentax. So if it is a new offering, it shouldn't be priced high just because it is new -- it should be priced to beat feature-wise whatever else is on the market for the price they put on it. So if you can get x,y,&z from Canon or Nikon for $1500, then if Pentax wants to sell it for $1500 it better have x,y,&z plus some good features to boot. Or be priced less. And then later in the cycle when new offerings from the competition have come out and their $1500 cameras have gone down, Pentax should also go down.

But basically, I want the most bang for my buck from Pentax at any given time for the amount I'm prepared to spend -- compared to the majors anyway. If Olympus or Sony or Fuji has something interesting at around the same price or less as Pentax, well then that will be a choice between small-share brands and they can compete on build quality and brand loyalty and quirkiness with those guys.

01-01-2013, 10:40 AM   #1074
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QuoteOriginally posted by Laurentiu Cristofor Quote
The K mount is a hodge-podge of changes made over several decades. On one hand you have electronic contacts that appear inside the mount as well as on the mount surface itself (I don't think there is any other modern mount that has its contacts on the actual mount surface). On the other hand you get mechanical levers for aperture control and the lack of one of these (the K mount crippling) is breaking full backward compatibility. If you want to see how a modern mount looks, check what Pentax did for the Pentax Q (it's similar to the Canon EF and the MFT mounts - all electronic contacts inside the mount); the 645D looks similarly as well, although it had to keep an aperture lever for backward compatibility; even the Nikon mount has its contacts inside. The K mount is serviceable, but it's not the perfect choice and it is not the mount that Pentax would build if they would start their camera business now.
The electrical contacts are placed as outboard as possible (making faster lenses easier) while maintaining ability for WR. Sounds like an awesome design to me.
01-01-2013, 10:43 AM   #1075
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QuoteOriginally posted by IchabodCrane Quote
And that is the core of the point I was attempting to make. MILCs only compete with non-pro DSLRs because there currently isn't a pro MILC camera made by anyone
The reason there are no pro MILCs is that such cameras are too small to be used adequately with the type of glass favored by pros. Pros (and wealthy advanced amateurs) gravitate toward the FF f2.8 zooms. Wedding photographers often need to use speedlites powerful enough to bounce off ceilings and walls. Those flashes are big and heavy as well, and can only be used comfortably on a larger camera. Professional photographers are often event photographers. They need to be able to shoot quickly under stressful conditions. The last thing they want is to be fiddling with a miniaturized interface, accidentally pressing wrong buttons and missing shots.

For Pros, compact MILCs can never be adequate replacements for DSLRs, for the simple reason that most professional work requires a larger camera. When a pro buys and uses an MILC, it's not to replace his DSLR, but (more likely) to replace his Canon G series compact.

QuoteOriginally posted by IchabodCrane Quote
That's why I didn't agree with your conclusion that MILCs only sell at fire sale prices. If true, then non-pro DSLRs only sell at fire sale prices, too, which I don't think anyone believes.
I don't think anyone's arguing that MILCs only sell at fire sale prices; only that they are more prone to fire sale prices than DSLRs. The Olympus E-PL1 is still selling for $130. The cheapest Olympus P&S that you can buy at Walmart is $139. Olympus, Panasonic, and Sony are bleeding money, at least partly, if not largely, due to their entry level MILCs. And it's these entry level MILCs that inflate MILC numbers in Japanese sales and trigger predictions of the imminent demise of DSLRs. But worldwide, DSLRs, as has been shown in this thread, still dominate. Consider ILC shipments in 2012 (through October):

DSLR shipments Japan: 814k (6%)
DSLR shipments outside Japan: 12.9m (94%)
Mirrorless shipments Japan: 582k (19.1%)
Mirrorless shipments outside Japan: 2.46m (80.9%)

Japan exported 5 times as many DSLRs than MILCs. Does this mean that DSLRs outsold MILCs by a ratio of 5 to 1 outside of Japan? Probably not. The numbers suggest something closer to a 4:1 margin. What accounts for the discrepancy? MILCs shipped in previous years are making up the difference, and those MILCs are precisely the ones likely to be sold at fire sale prices.
01-01-2013, 10:48 AM   #1076
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Chinese partner?

Does anyone think that a chinese partner in K-mount would help? To broaden the K-mount to have a Chinese manufactuer to make camera's with K-mount. They make the cheap one and Pentax the more expensive one. I still think it is strange that there are no Chinese involved in the brandings in camera's.

Last edited by RonHendriks1966; 01-01-2013 at 01:24 PM.
01-01-2013, 10:56 AM   #1077
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But wouldn't that restrict Pentax sales? They need money to build high-end products...
Besides, I'm not aware of any Chinese manufacturer able to make such complex products (while retaining a high quality, otherwise the plan would backfire). Should Pentax invest lots of money into such a Chinese manufacturer, only to have their sales/income dramatically reduced?

northcoastgreg, IMO a significant part of the MILCs shipped are the future fire sales items.
01-01-2013, 11:00 AM   #1078
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QuoteOriginally posted by RonHendriks1966 Quote
Does anyone think that a chinese partner in K-mount would help? To broaden the K-mount to have a Chinese manufactuer to make camera's with K-mount. They make the cheap one and Pentax the more expensive one. I still think it is tsrange that there are no Chinese involved in tghe brandings in camera's.
If you listen to actuality and history, then you are quickly convinced that there are very few if not zero chances that such a cooperaton happens any time...
01-01-2013, 12:19 PM   #1079
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QuoteOriginally posted by northcoastgreg Quote
The reason there are no pro MILCs is that such cameras are too small to be used adequately with the type of glass favored by pros. Pros (and wealthy advanced amateurs) gravitate toward the FF f2.8 zooms. Wedding photographers often need to use speedlites powerful enough to bounce off ceilings and walls. Those flashes are big and heavy as well, and can only be used comfortably on a larger camera. Professional photographers are often event photographers. They need to be able to shoot quickly under stressful conditions. The last thing they want is to be fiddling with a miniaturized interface, accidentally pressing wrong buttons and missing shots.

For Pros, compact MILCs can never be adequate replacements for DSLRs, for the simple reason that most professional work requires a larger camera. When a pro buys and uses an MILC, it's not to replace his DSLR, but (more likely) to replace his Canon G series compact.
The profession that made high speed zooms standard for professional work is photojournalists, which is a small and shrinking segment. You still see long-fast zooms for birding and wildlife togs, but again those are small segments.

In the film days these zooms were great, but we are talking about the future. A 48MP sensor will allow you to crop to a 2x and still have enough resolution to print and way more than you need for web-based media. A big expensive zoom can be replaced by a faster, smaller prime lens and you can "zoom" in post or zoom digitally. Technology will slowly replace the need for mechanical zooms in many applications.

Sensor technology is also reducing the need for those big speed-lights for many people. RAW processors like LR allow me to add fill-light and adjust overall lighting without degrading the quality of the image. As the sensor dynamic range increases to the point it exceed human perception you will be able to do more in post and replace the need for big bulky equipment.

If you build a professional grade MILC it will be at least as big as a K-5 since you will need a lot more processing power (at least 2 processors), battery, memory for buffer, 2 card slots and probably some form of WiFi. If you are moving 36MP RAW images at 5+ frames per second while using AF tracking (which for CDAF is handled by the image processor) you will need 3-4x more processing power.

Most professional work does not require large lenses. I can shoot an entire event with 2 primes and for portraits you really don't need a big lens. There are only a couple of small segments in the industry where big glass is the norm. There is a lot of technology coming to digital images in the near future. We already have first generation light field cameras that allow you to change to focus point of the image in post processing. We have first generation technology that allows you to change the Depth of Field in post. These technologies are young and still not professional grade, but it is only a matter of time before they are refined.
01-01-2013, 12:27 PM   #1080
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And all these means there would be no significant size savings, in going with such a camera. Then, why a MILC?
The technology is not up there yet, and won't be in the next years. The battery consumption issue needs to be solved; the AF needs to be improved (the dedicated PDAF systems can now focus from EV -3), EVF lag is noticeable, a flash is still needed, in many situations.
The champion of "not up there yet" is the Lytro-like technology, which dramatically reduce the image resolution (and I suppose it's more difficult to implement with larger sensors).

So, are we talking about what can be achieved within a short timeframe, or about some distant future?

Last edited by Kunzite; 01-01-2013 at 12:33 PM.
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