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06-14-2013, 06:25 AM   #61
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Take 'pro' out of the FF vernacular. It doesn't matter!

QuoteOriginally posted by Aristophanes Quote
But Nikon and Canon have established pro markets and support systems. They have institutional buyers. Pentax has very little of that subsidy.
Which is a small part of the reason they would expect 10% of Nikon's volume in FF, as I (and Thom) wrote.

And the pro 'subsidy' as you wrote (good word) is just that - a subsidy. The 'pro' buyer is actually a small % of the D600/D800/6D/5DIII market, and up a half-tier there are not enough pros to account for the D4 sales alone. So it's not even a necessary component in terms of volume... yet that myth sticks around. (People actually still repeat, "Well, FF is bought mostly by pros...", which is ridiculous.)

I suspect the 'pro' market is valued for Nikon/Canon for the same reason the pro athlete market is important for Nike/Adidas. Visibility, giving the effect of endorsement. Yes, it would be nice for Pentax to get this visibility, but that's the only reason they'd need the 'pros', and that effect can be offset with more marketing than we've seen and the shine that comes with a new product.

06-14-2013, 07:02 AM   #62
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QuoteOriginally posted by jsherman999 Quote
Which is a small part of the reason they would expect 10% of Nikon's volume in FF, as I (and Thom) wrote.

And the pro 'subsidy' as you wrote (good word) is just that - a subsidy. The 'pro' buyer is actually a small % of the D600/D800/6D/5DIII market, and up a half-tier there are not enough pros to account for the D4 sales alone. So it's not even a necessary component in terms of volume... yet that myth sticks around. (People actually still repeat, "Well, FF is bought mostly by pros...", which is ridiculous.)

I suspect the 'pro' market is valued for Nikon/Canon for the same reason the pro athlete market is important for Nike/Adidas. Visibility, giving the effect of endorsement. Yes, it would be nice for Pentax to get this visibility, but that's the only reason they'd need the 'pros', and that effect can be offset with more marketing than we've seen and the shine that comes with a new product.
I never said FF is bought mostly by Pros. The market for all camera gear is prosumer in volume. Leica has even abandoned the idea that their M cameras are marketed to pros.

But that subsidy is pretty large. They buy new at MSRP. They participate in development feedback loops and provide marketing muscle, like Scott Kelby selling Photoshop.

The whole FF system camera market is made viable by pros.

Pentax just doesn't have that. So the "pro" level pricing and all the cachet that comes with it kind of vanishes and Pentax looks like the same price for less of a system and no "real " pros using it. There's no halo.

And they don't want to fall into Sony's predicament with a discounted FF camera too few buy because there's no halo and its a camera body looking for glass.

OTOH Ricoh has the street shooter cred of the GR. Canikon have none of that.

Daido Moriyama now uses the Ricoh GR | Ledesma Photography
06-14-2013, 08:40 AM   #63
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QuoteOriginally posted by Aristophanes Quote
The whole FF system camera market is made viable by pros.
I'm sorry, but I think this ^^ is just a variation on the same myth.

The FF market is not made 'viable' by pros, the pro market mostly serves as an endorsement arm of the marketing departments, and it's probably self-sustaining at best. Their volumes don't matter much, and I think that the feedback, equipment trials, etc 'pros' provide are really just visible elements of that same marketing and don't really change many things that the engineers end up doing. (In other words, it provides a "See? Scott Kelby is testing our product for us! Maybe you want to be like him?")

The vastly larger enthusiast market who buy FF cameras contain a component that just probably like to say they're buying a 'pro' camera when they step up to that counter, or click 'add to basket"... And that's fine, because they are, technically - because the pros buy them too.

Even the $10,000+ uber-lenses that get funded by employers don't sell in enough volume (no more than 500 units/year) to make a difference to Nikon/Canon's bottom line, no matter what the margins are. They're products that exist to attract and support the pros, who exist to provide visible marketing. It's self-sustaining, volumes are low but margins are high enough that it doesn't lose money, it's useful, but it's not necessary and it's not a blocking factor to entering FF. (Simply not having the lenses ready because internal political momentum and executive sponsorship was sticky on a venture that involves some risk was reason enough for that.)

.
06-14-2013, 09:09 AM   #64
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QuoteOriginally posted by jsherman999 Quote
I suspect the 'pro' market is valued for Nikon/Canon for the same reason the pro athlete market is important for Nike/Adidas. Visibility, giving the effect of endorsement.
I had an unexpected reaction the other day. I showed my K-01 to a friend who's not into photography at all, and she said : "Pentax ? Never heard of this brand, must be for the pros right ?"

Me : "Yeah, kind of..."

06-14-2013, 09:21 AM   #65
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QuoteOriginally posted by NickLarsson Quote
I had an unexpected reaction the other day. I showed my K-01 to a friend who's not into photography at all, and she said : "Pentax ? Never heard of this brand, must be for the pros right ?"

Me : "Yeah, kind of..."
True Story. Using Q at 40th Reunion:

Classmate to Me -- "Is that tiny thing an Interchangeable lens camera?"
Me: Yeah - pretty neat, huh? And the IQ is good too.
Classmate, looking closer: Oh, well, of course. It's a Pentax.

Looks at me. Looks at camera. Looks at me.

Classmate: Can I try it?

Some approximation of that conversation happened over and over again for two days. Granted, we're in our late 50's and we all started with Spotmatics before we moved on to Nikons (some of us anyway), but PENTAX still means something to older folks.
06-14-2013, 09:28 AM   #66
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For those who said PENTAX don't have FF because they know not many people going to buy it, this doesn't make sense.... they come out with 645D and do you think FF sale will less than 645D sale?

strange logic.
06-14-2013, 09:34 AM   #67
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QuoteOriginally posted by LFLee Quote
For those who said PENTAX don't have FF because they know not many people going to buy it, this doesn't make sense.... they come out with 645D and do you think FF sale will less than 645D sale?

strange logic.
The problem with the comparison is that there is a lot more margin in a 645D sale, as well as the lenses for 645 system (have you priced them?). In addition, the market does not demand high end auto focus, tracking, etc on a 645D, where as they do on full frame. The 645D actually shares the auto focus module with the K7 and nobody put up a fuss. I can't imagine what would happen if Pentax released a full frame camera with an 11 point auto focus module that was shared with the K5 II.

Last edited by Rondec; 06-14-2013 at 10:02 AM.
06-14-2013, 09:42 AM   #68
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QuoteOriginally posted by LFLee Quote
For those who said PENTAX don't have FF because they know not many people going to buy it, this doesn't make sense.... they come out with 645D and do you think FF sale will less than 645D sale?

strange logic.
With the tough competition on FF, Pentax might have to sell 10 FF cameras to generate the same profit they make on one 645D.

06-14-2013, 10:11 AM   #69
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QuoteOriginally posted by jsherman999 Quote
The vastly larger enthusiast market who buy FF cameras contain a component that just probably like to say they're buying a 'pro' camera when they step up to that counter, or click 'add to basket"... And that's fine, because they are, technically - because the pros buy them too.
My point.

Viable because the pros buy them. Which Scott Kelby types use Pentax and clear the path?

Pretty much none. In part because the glass is not there.

So people buy Canikon.

That's Sony's problem too.

How do you make the pro association a lessened factor?

Price.

And since Pentax does not control a lot of the input prices for their camera bodies, especially the sensor, they are limited in their ability to be profitable at a sub-$2,000 price point. The market is simply not there. And the 2 local news facilities who do subsidize here with their fleet of reportage FF cameras will never take their $$$'s to Pentax either, unless Pentax big glass suddenly appears equivalent to Canikon. That's $30k per year in sales times 3,000 small markets like that worldwide shut to Pentax. Institutional purchasing of cameras is declining, but it's still there and it is some pretty big $$'s which funds a pretty pervasive marketing machine,. Every ad break in the Stanley Cup playoffs is Nikon or Canon. Funded by pros to sell to prosumers. The Canon ads are unabashed; they show pros taking risky shots (adventure photography) and say right out that you should buy a Canon because the pros do. Pentax cannot demonstrate a scrum of pro photogs at the World Cup and see a Pentax.

There's self-sustaining and there's chasing your tail. Sony chased their tail. Pentax watched and, rightfully, is very hesitant to jump into a product category that could kill your bottom line. I am waiting to see if overall DSLR sales stall and then see what the price drop on the D600 is like. That's the harbinger. That's what we are waiting for.
06-14-2013, 10:16 AM   #70
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I'm unsure if top pros actually buys their gear; if they do, it's not at MSRP. I see supporting them a marketing expense, which Pentax might not able to afford (yet).
06-14-2013, 10:44 AM   #71
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QuoteOriginally posted by LFLee Quote
For those who said PENTAX don't have FF because they know not many people going to buy it, this doesn't make sense.... they come out with 645D and do you think FF sale will less than 645D sale?

strange logic.

The 645D fills/filled a huge gap in the market. Canikony don't compete AT ALL in the lower price range MF segment. Mamiya/Leaf/P1 don't compete AT ALL in the lower price range MF segment. Hasselblad don't compete AT ALL in the lower price range MF segment.

It's a small segment to be sure, but they have plenty of room to play there.
06-14-2013, 11:07 AM   #72
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QuoteOriginally posted by Kunzite Quote
I'm unsure if top pros actually buys their gear; if they do, it's not at MSRP. I see supporting them a marketing expense, which Pentax might not able to afford (yet).
Their clients pay. And many news organizations and pro independents are heavily invested in system glass. they are a walking, college teaching, lecturing, advertisement for Canon and Nikon.
06-14-2013, 11:09 AM   #73
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QuoteOriginally posted by NotaxPen Quote
The 645D fills/filled a huge gap in the market. Canikony don't compete AT ALL in the lower price range MF segment. Mamiya/Leaf/P1 don't compete AT ALL in the lower price range MF segment. Hasselblad don't compete AT ALL in the lower price range MF segment.

It's a small segment to be sure, but they have plenty of room to play there.
The entire MF digital segment is probably under 8,000 units/year:

How Leica Camera Is Reinventing The Medium-Format Market On Its Own Terms - Forbes

Do the math and the 645D series makes paltry revenues. I know a local drycleaner chain that makes more.
06-14-2013, 11:26 AM   #74
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QuoteOriginally posted by Aristophanes Quote
My point.

Viable because the pros buy them.
Fair enough, if that's what you meant by 'viable' and not 'we need the pro-buying volume'... because we don't. So many people still assume that's necessary.


QuoteQuote:
How do you make the pro association a lessened factor?
I think that you think that 'pro association' factor is more valuable than it actually is - I said 'a component' of the enthusiast market is affected by it, not the entire market.., but let's assume that it does hold some value.


QuoteQuote:
Price.

And since Pentax does not control a lot of the input prices for their camera bodies, especially the sensor, they are limited in their ability to be profitable at a sub-$2,000 price point.
I think it makes more sense to start at $2500 - $3500 (with new lenses) at first. The main thing is to prepare for the eventuality of DSLR (read: K-mount) becoming the domain of larger sensors, and for Pentax to be positioned for that they have to start building their lens lineup now and offer a D800-like body very soon to establish some mindshare and market share. They need to skate to where the puck will be, as Wayne Gretsky would say.

QuoteQuote:
.
The market is simply not there. And the 2 local news facilities who do subsidize here with their fleet of reportage FF cameras will never take their $$$'s to Pentax either, unless Pentax big glass suddenly appears equivalent to Canikon. That's $30k per year in sales times 3,000 small markets like that worldwide shut to Pentax.
Think about your arithmetic for a second The Chicago Sun-times, second largest paper in the Chicago area, which is one of the top three markets in the US, just laid off it's entire photography staff - and that amounted to 28 people. Say there's another 30 at the Tribune, and then it drops off precipitously as the circulation gets smaller, so maybe there are 100 total employer-subsidized PJ's in the Chicago area. Multiply that by the top 15 markets (and there are going to be less employed at the papers in the lower half of that 15, but...) and we have around 1500 PJ's in the top 15 markets in the US. Let's be generous and estimate 25 staff PJs on average in the next 30 markets, and we have another 750 employer-subsidized journalists. That's maybe 2300 PJs in the top 45 media markets in the US.

So if we estimate that Canon gets half and Nikon the other half (it's probably more like 70-30, but..) and the papers buy a new FF camera for an individual PJ on average once every three years, we have Nikon for example selling 1150 / 3 = 385 cameras per year to the PJs that make up the top 45 markets in the US.

If the entire PJ industry in the top 45 markets in the US went away tomorrow, It just wouldn't matter that much to Nikon/Canon's bottom line. Pentax wouldn't even need to care about stuff like that.

.

.
QuoteQuote:
Institutional purchasing of cameras is declining, but it's still there and it is some pretty big $$'s which funds a pretty pervasive marketing machine,.
One buyer I wonder about - the US Government. I'm thinking of Mike Johnston's story of going to a Gov't surplus sale in college and finding a crate of 16 unopened & boxed Leica's and lenses. I think he could have bought the crate for $300, but had to go scrape up the cash and missed out on a huge windfall when someone else bought them... The government doesn't care about price and can buy in wasteful volumes, a vendor's best friend!

.

Last edited by jsherman999; 06-14-2013 at 11:33 AM.
06-14-2013, 11:40 AM   #75
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QuoteOriginally posted by Aristophanes Quote
There's self-sustaining and there's chasing your tail. Sony chased their tail. Pentax watched and, rightfully, is very hesitant to jump into a product category that could kill your bottom line. I am waiting to see if overall DSLR sales stall and then see what the price drop on the D600 is like. That's the harbinger. That's what we are waiting for.
Supposedly (confirmed by Jim Malcolm) both Canon and Nikon have maintained production schedules in the face of front end sales declines - and thus have experienced an unintentional inventory build. Pentax has avoided this, which is good for the company. However, should there be a Canikon FF price drop to liquidate involuntary inventory that would not be good for the eventual introduction of a Pentax FF.

Just sayin'.
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