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09-06-2013, 10:01 AM   #286
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In this context I'll make my confession yet again. In the 70's and 80's I went with the herd, based on what I read in Modern and Popular (I subscribed to Modern)... Pentax at the time, despite the 645, was in 35mm SLR's an amateur's brand. Never mind that perhaps their cameras actually may have suited my amateur needs better than those of the cachet brands -- which at the time were Nikon, Canon, Olympus.

I was enough of a contrarian that I didn't want a Nikon or Canon. Olympus was sexy, and Olympus was hot, and I learned photography with a Pen FT. So that's what I was pre-sold on. When I went to 47th Street Photo (at the time, it was up there with B&H and Adorama in reputation) the salesman tried to sell me a Minolta instead. No sale, I walked out of that store with an OM 2sp.


The reason I'm telling this story is that there's a similar market set up right now -- Pentax can't remain an 'amateur' brand, a sensible alternative to the other cameras out there, without having market trouble. Canon and Nikon are Canon and Nikon, they get that 'pro' cachet. OIympus is doing its innovation which gives it excitement. And Sony is putting a lot of different new stuff out there, seeing if something will stick.

So maybe it doesn't have to be full frame, but Pentax needs to have something exciting coming that helps it differentiate in a positive way.

09-06-2013, 12:56 PM   #287
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QuoteOriginally posted by AndyN Quote
I am at the point I am ready to upgrade from my K10D. I do a lot of shooting in low light and I am looking at a FF camera. Personally I think that is where the future is going to be. I have been using a Pentax for over 30 years and I am now considering going to Nikon. I will wait until the end of the year but if a full frame offering is not in the works then I will make the switch. I think Pentax is going to find more people making the switch as FF camera prices are coming down to were it becomes more affordable.
I completely agree. Back when used 5d II and d700's were $2300+ pentax k5 was a very popular choice. Now refurb D600s/6D for $1500 make quite a compelling argument to go full frame.
09-06-2013, 03:12 PM   #288
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I keep saying that Pentax FF will come when the price point drops to the ~US$1750 space.

They have to do it in a way that makes it possible for their loyal base to wait while they ramp up lens production.
09-06-2013, 07:31 PM   #289
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Now you're noticing, or finally admitting, the problem with your previous positions.

QuoteOriginally posted by Aristophanes Quote
I keep saying that Pentax FF will come when the price point drops to the ~US$1750 space.

They have to do it in a way that makes it possible for their loyal base to wait while they ramp up lens production.
.

Or, they could have been planning better, looking forward to this tipping/inflection point - albeit hard to being on the giving end of two acquisitions - and had the lenses ready via a robust and forward-looking roadmap.

Lenses the aps-c shooters would have been buying all along anyway... keeping more of them in the fold.

There have been a few people suggesting that for a few years now around here - and a few people finding reasons to resist it.

.

09-06-2013, 08:17 PM   #290
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QuoteOriginally posted by jsherman999 Quote
.

Or, they could have been planning better, looking forward to this tipping/inflection point - albeit hard to being on the giving end of two acquisitions - and had the lenses ready via a robust and forward-looking roadmap.

Lenses the aps-c shooters would have been buying all along anyway... keeping more of them in the fold.

There have been a few people suggesting that for a few years now around here - and a few people finding reasons to resist it.

.
Some of the lenses look like they can be tweaked for FF if need be, especially in the mid-ranges from 35mm+.

But FF is going to require zooms, and those are not so sure. 18-135...no. 17-7-...no. 16-50...not good enough. 50-135....that's an APS-C FL. 60-250...likeliest candidate...sort of a prototype L-glass.

Primes don't sell DSLR's. Zooms do. Wide, and long, and fast zooms. Things no Fuji, or m43 or P&S can do. Not the low hanging fruit mid-FL primes. Those necessary zooms do not appear to be on the roadmap and, frankly, looking at Ricoh and Pentax's current output, I am not sure they have the manufacturing capacity, even with some outsourcing. It would be an enormous effort, almost 4x increase in lens production all when the DSLR biz is expected to shrink vis-a-vis mirrorless and fixed lens etc.

I don't see a robust, forward looking roadmap. Even the DA 35/2.4 and 50/1.8 look to be reactions to a spate of Canon, Nikon, and Sony lenses suddenly shoved into the market. And then it stalled (save for the weird 40 XS). I don't see any cohesiveness with Pentax, not since the Limiteds.You cannot even tell from country to country which lenses are still officially in production or inventory. It's all a big, black box dissuading customer loyalty.

Between that and Nikon sucking up all the sensors at prices Pentax volume could never compete with no wonder we are blue in the face.

Last edited by Aristophanes; 09-07-2013 at 05:49 AM.
09-07-2013, 05:59 AM   #291
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QuoteOriginally posted by Aristophanes Quote
Between that and Nikon sucking up all the sensors at prices Pentax volume could never compete with no wonder we are blue in the face.
Sensor prices have been falling. Sony has capacity to make M4/3 sensors just for Olympus. Panasonic makes sensors and they have been partnering with Fuji. Toshiba is making sensors for Nikon. Aptina makes sensors for Nikon. Sony makes sensors for Nikon. Canon makes their own. Samsung makes sensors and has plenty of capacity.

If you have some evidence that there is a shortage of sensors because Nikon has cornered the market I would like to see it. Nikon is buying from at least 3 different suppliers. There is more competition now than than has ever been on the market.
09-07-2013, 06:36 AM   #292
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QuoteOriginally posted by Winder Quote
Sensor prices have been falling. Sony has capacity to make M4/3 sensors just for Olympus. Panasonic makes sensors and they have been partnering with Fuji. Toshiba is making sensors for Nikon. Aptina makes sensors for Nikon. Sony makes sensors for Nikon. Canon makes their own. Samsung makes sensors and has plenty of capacity.

If you have some evidence that there is a shortage of sensors because Nikon has cornered the market I would like to see it. Nikon is buying from at least 3 different suppliers. There is more competition now than than has ever been on the market.
FF sensors are a different issue due to the much lower yields. At a minimum they cost 2.45x more based on size alone vs APS-C, with a much higher % of loss due to defect rates.

That makes FF a much higher price point than APS-C by a significant factor, especially when you add in the larger memory and processing.

What we do know is that Sony makes the superlative sensors; their tech is ahead of all others. Nikon has had a hand in designing a number of sensors in their brand. Fuji and Canon both use Sony as well. So it's hard to see where it is an open market because it is not an off the shelf product. There's no shortage, but there are built-in price constraints due to yield and loss, plus the purchaser requires some design input and likely cost-sharing up-front. These all cap capacity because you have to be absolutely certain you have enough customers at the FF price point to buy enough product to amortize those yields and losses. It's a volume market (especially CMOS) and that means it is price sensitive. Nikon and Canon carry the volume. Pentax...not so sure.

And for almost 2 years Sony stopped making FF sensors for anyone but Nikon. Sony even stopped the manufacture of their own FF cameras. For the primary years establishing FF Nikon bought 100% of Sony's capacity. That tells you something.
09-07-2013, 01:16 PM   #293
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QuoteOriginally posted by Aristophanes Quote
FF sensors are a different issue due to the much lower yields. At a minimum they cost 2.45x more based on size alone vs APS-C, with a much higher % of loss due to defect rates.

That makes FF a much higher price point than APS-C by a significant factor, especially when you add in the larger memory and processing.

What we do know is that Sony makes the superlative sensors; their tech is ahead of all others. Nikon has had a hand in designing a number of sensors in their brand. Fuji and Canon both use Sony as well. So it's hard to see where it is an open market because it is not an off the shelf product. There's no shortage, but there are built-in price constraints due to yield and loss, plus the purchaser requires some design input and likely cost-sharing up-front. These all cap capacity because you have to be absolutely certain you have enough customers at the FF price point to buy enough product to amortize those yields and losses. It's a volume market (especially CMOS) and that means it is price sensitive. Nikon and Canon carry the volume. Pentax...not so sure.

And for almost 2 years Sony stopped making FF sensors for anyone but Nikon. Sony even stopped the manufacture of their own FF cameras. For the primary years establishing FF Nikon bought 100% of Sony's capacity. That tells you something.
Let me repeat that:

If you have some evidence that there is a shortage of sensors because Nikon has cornered the market I would like to see it.

09-07-2013, 10:28 PM   #294
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Skating to where the puck was... a moment ago

QuoteOriginally posted by Aristophanes Quote

I don't see a robust, forward looking roadmap. ....
That's..... exactly the point I was making.

In the past you've advocated a wait until sensors are cheap, then dive in strategy, and I (and others) have been saying that you can't do that, or rather you can but it's enormously expensive to do so suddenly, with existing factory capacity... And what's equally bad: while idling in this limbo-section of the strategy timeline, customers walk away, and other companies carve up the market like a Texas state-senate gerrymandering committee.

What I and a few others have been calling for is a robust, forward-looking lens roadmap that fleshes out the FF offerings over a period of 3 or 4 years- a strategic plan for that point in time when Pentax would be ready to buy the sensors and make it happen (which also should have been this body generation - not the next.... or the next.) In other words, that roadmap should have been born two years ago. And as I said above, the aps-c buyers would have been excitedly buying the new lenses all along the way, while saving cash for what they saw as the inevitable Pentax FF body. Now a lot of those folks are shooting a Canon or Nikon.

.

Last edited by jsherman999; 09-07-2013 at 10:41 PM.
09-07-2013, 10:39 PM   #295
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QuoteOriginally posted by Aristophanes Quote
And for almost 2 years Sony stopped making FF sensors for anyone but Nikon. Sony even stopped the manufacture of their own FF cameras. For the primary years establishing FF Nikon bought 100% of Sony's capacity.
That tells you something.
It doesn't tell us what you imply it does. Nikon bought 100% of Sony's output - not capacity - for a period of about 18 months, and that's because Sony decided to retool & shift to SLT and NEX, and Canon makes their own sensor, and no-one else has a FF body. I think you're confusing a strategy-change-driven gap in Sony's product lines with a capacity restraint.

.
09-08-2013, 11:11 AM   #296
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QuoteOriginally posted by Aristophanes Quote
At a minimum they cost 2.45x more based on size alone vs APS-C, with a much higher % of loss due to defect rates.
Not necessarily, this is not how manufacturing works. To make something, say, 10 % bigger does not always mean the price of this item will automatically be 10% more expensive.

You must be sitting on a lot of boards to have all this intimate knowledge and if you do I am surprised you are at liberty to divulge this info.

Greetings
09-08-2013, 12:17 PM   #297
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QuoteOriginally posted by Schraubstock Quote
Not necessarily, this is not how manufacturing works. To make something, say, 10 % bigger does not always mean the price of this item will automatically be 10% more expensive.

You must be sitting on a lot of boards to have all this intimate knowledge and if you do I am surprised you are at liberty to divulge this info.

Greetings
It is how sensor manufacturing works. FF is 2.45 larger in physical area so the yield per photolithographic session is that much lower.

Worse, the defect rate also scales to that dynamic leading to a higher % of loss. So a 10% loss on the wafer translates to a 15% loss of the APS-C sized chips but a whopping 40% of the FF.

There isn't 1:1 a linear relationship. The curve gets worse for each step of larger sensor. That's why medium format digital cameras are so expensive.

The only way to combat this is to make it up in volume and larger photolithographers forl larger wafers (non-stiitched). Those fabs are very expensive, as in a hundred million of $'s for the full white room and everything.

FF runs smack into other holdbacks adding cost: battery power, processing power, buffers and pipes, file size (assuming FF pixel density will stay relative to smaller sensors), and a generally larger size, and for DSLR's, a larger prism and banging mirror. This at a time when the size of cameras is an issue and mirrorless adds pressure.

The market separation between APS-C and FF is driving APS-C down to commodity volumes and FF is tracking behind. Where the 'floor' is we're not sure, but APS-C looks to be IMO about $45 per sensor after 24 months on the market and FF about 6x that only for the sensor and its wired support. Because an FF body is only about 15% more mass than APS-C the non-sensor cost differences are not as dramatic as the sensor cost differences in total camera price.

If the APS-C 'floor' for a DSLR camera body is say US$650 on initial offering (what it seems to have stabilized at recently), it is suspected that FF will be about 2x that when all is said and done. The FF market shrinks when the form factor and lens sizes kick in to the total cost of ownership. File size and networking will also be issues against 'big'. There is some advantage to a smaller sensor camera being cheaper and easier to nail volume. 15% on distribution costs like shipping adds up.

The problem most people here have is not understanding that household disposable income drives camera sales. Cameras over $1,000 are actually quite a rare purchase in the greater scheme of things. If APS-C can lodge in profitably well below US$1,000 per unit there's a long term future of this format being the most cost-effective for the mass market. But if you are Pentax, even all that volume may not be enough margin, so they still need to be at higher price points to stay relevant and give their user base an upgrade path. That mans Pentax has no choice but to supply FF soon.
09-08-2013, 12:26 PM   #298
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QuoteOriginally posted by jsherman999 Quote
It doesn't tell us what you imply it does. Nikon bought 100% of Sony's output - not capacity - for a period of about 18 months, and that's because Sony decided to retool & shift to SLT and NEX, and Canon makes their own sensor, and no-one else has a FF body. I think you're confusing a strategy-change-driven gap in Sony's product lines with a capacity restraint.
What we do know is that Sony didn't output any FF sensors to anyone but Nikon for almost 2 years. They had the fabs and used them only for one purchaser and in re-tooling abandoned the DSLR market for their SLT concept. And Pentax did nothing with that defining generation of FF sensors. I think Sony restrains capacity to maximize prices, which is very common in industrials. Their sensor low read-out noise is so good that it is hard to compete so they can do this. Even Olympus is sourcing from them. Leica is not (dumb). Sony had no need to create another competitor to SLT and I doubt Pentax could offer the volume to make it affordable.
09-08-2013, 12:33 PM   #299
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QuoteOriginally posted by Aristophanes Quote
It is how sensor manufacturing works. FF is 2.45 larger in physical area so the yield per photolithographic session is that much lower.

Worse, the defect rate also scales to that dynamic leading to a higher % of loss. So a 10% loss on the wafer translates to a 15% loss of the APS-C sized chips but a whopping 40% of the FF.

There isn't 1:1 a linear relationship. The curve gets worse for each step of larger sensor. That's why medium format digital cameras are so expensive.

The only way to combat this is to make it up in volume and larger photolithographers forl larger wafers (non-stiitched). Those fabs are very expensive, as in a hundred million of $'s for the full white room and everything.

FF runs smack into other holdbacks adding cost: battery power, processing power, buffers and pipes, file size (assuming FF pixel density will stay relative to smaller sensors), and a generally larger size, and for DSLR's, a larger prism and banging mirror. This at a time when the size of cameras is an issue and mirrorless adds pressure.

The market separation between APS-C and FF is driving APS-C down to commodity volumes and FF is tracking behind. Where the 'floor' is we're not sure, but APS-C looks to be IMO about $45 per sensor after 24 months on the market and FF about 6x that only for the sensor and its wired support. Because an FF body is only about 15% more mass than APS-C the non-sensor cost differences are not as dramatic as the sensor cost differences in total camera price.

If the APS-C 'floor' for a DSLR camera body is say US$650 on initial offering (what it seems to have stabilized at recently), it is suspected that FF will be about 2x that when all is said and done. The FF market shrinks when the form factor and lens sizes kick in to the total cost of ownership. File size and networking will also be issues against 'big'. There is some advantage to a smaller sensor camera being cheaper and easier to nail volume. 15% on distribution costs like shipping adds up.

The problem most people here have is not understanding that household disposable income drives camera sales. Cameras over $1,000 are actually quite a rare purchase in the greater scheme of things. If APS-C can lodge in profitably well below US$1,000 per unit there's a long term future of this format being the most cost-effective for the mass market. But if you are Pentax, even all that volume may not be enough margin, so they still need to be at higher price points to stay relevant and give their user base an upgrade path. That mans Pentax has no choice but to supply FF soon.
OK, that all sounds plausible, except the part where Pentax has to supply an FF soon. Without going into the details, I'll just say, "No they don't." and leave it at that.

QuoteQuote:
The problem most people here have is not understanding that household disposable income drives camera sales. Cameras over $1,000 are actually quite a rare purchase in the greater scheme of things.
Actually the problem you have is you don't realize that though most people want to spend less than $1000 on their initial purchase, most Pentax users want to spend less than another $1000 the next year on lens upgrades, and maybe keep doing the same until the next time they feel the need to upgrade the sensor. The Pentax user is looking forward to the process of filling in their lens lineup which gives Pentax an endless source of premium upgrade dollars, without going to an FF camera.
09-08-2013, 01:06 PM - 1 Like   #300
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Pentax doesn't have to have a FF body, but they have to do something.

If Pentax does decide that APS-C is the future of the company then they need to get to work on some really serious glass that is optimized for APS-C. Glass that is fast and sharp at wider apertures. The support technologies need to be upgraded and SDM needs to be improved.

Pentax use to be the high quality, compact prime, camera king. Companies like Olympus and Fuji are currently doing a better job at producing compact high quality systems. Pentax needs to find its identity again..... if it ever had one.
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