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08-22-2013, 02:16 PM   #121
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QuoteOriginally posted by Aristophanes Quote

You also kill the Nikon D400 vapourcamera.
I agree almost entirely with all of your posts with respect to Pentax and strategy. Pentax cannot enter FF with a meagre offering and a promise of more to come. They need to get their AF and flash systems cleaned up and enough high quality lenses available from the start.

I don't agree with killing the d400. There is absolutely no reason a full featured pro built crop camera cannot be sold for more money than a stripped down full frame. Not everyone wants the size, weight and glass costs of FF. That 80-400 is a pretty compelling piece of glass for the aps-c wildlife shooter similar size and price is hard to come by for FF, at least I haven't seen a 120-600 on the market.

Pentax needs to start an initiative called "the Pentax Commitment" which would be a road map to which they would hold themselves and deliver product by. The market outside of Pentax enthusiasts have no clue about the company and see no commitment to their needs so will not buy in. All their needs, except perhaps price, can easily be met by another system.

Yes you can argue no one else has this pentax feature and this pentax lens. True. But chances are I can add that feature and that lens to a second system by buying an entry level Pentax body and the lens if I need it that badly for less than $1500. If I already own a complete Canikon system, $1500 isn't much of a stretch.

Pentax, time to get busy living or get busy dying, but quit coasting.

08-22-2013, 02:26 PM   #122
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QuoteOriginally posted by Aristophanes Quote
"Self-employed photographers typically do not earn as much than salaried photographers. This is because independent, freelance photographers usually have to buy and use their own personal equipment and this costs money."

Itself a repost of the same Bureau of Labour:

Photography Careers, Jobs, and Employment Information - CareerOverview.com | CareerOverview.com
Well last year I made the portraits off our womens soccerteam for the news paper (paid). This year that budget vaporised and the team is expected to deliver these portraits for free. So there are things changing and fast!!!!
08-22-2013, 04:17 PM   #123
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QuoteOriginally posted by RyanW Quote
I agree almost entirely with all of your posts with respect to Pentax and strategy. Pentax cannot enter FF with a meagre offering and a promise of more to come. They need to get their AF and flash systems cleaned up and enough high quality lenses available from the start.
Actually Aristophane's point was that Pentax should make an incredible cheap, crippled FF camera, because they're supposedly unable to do better
However, they are able to do better, and they don't need to launch everything at once (waiting for years before being ready, and then discovering some products are obsolete before launch, and have to be redone). Pentax entered the DSLR market with one camera and no new lens; one FF DSLR and 2-3 lenses would make a nice start.
08-22-2013, 04:47 PM   #124
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QuoteOriginally posted by Kunzite Quote
Actually Aristophane's point was that Pentax should make an incredible cheap, crippled FF camera, because they're supposedly unable to do better
However, they are able to do better, and they don't need to launch everything at once (waiting for years before being ready, and then discovering some products are obsolete before launch, and have to be redone). Pentax entered the DSLR market with one camera and no new lens; one FF DSLR and 2-3 lenses would make a nice start.
I never said crippled.

I said a K-5 FF with as good an AF as they can get (slightly larger due to a larger prism, VF, and more circuits). Which to me means more cross-points and better tracking algorithms.

I do think that trying to clone a dual-SD card, all the bells and whistles D800 is utter foolishness because Pentax cannot get the premium glass a premium, high-rez monster requires. Even a notch below that and the glass is not there.

Primes are relatively easy. It's the zooms that are the problem. If you release a model above the D600 and aim for the rump "pro" market you're going to need f/2.8's from 16mm (maybe even 14mm) all the way to 200mm.

Then for the more budget conscious who will make up 2/3 of your sales anyway, you'll need variable zooms and f/4's. It's a diabolical mix supporting all those aspirants from a single FF camera body and small market base.

So my point is Pentax should drop the higher end in BOTH bodies and lenses and aim below the D600. The same 24MP sensor will work (K-5 vs D7100). I have never bought into the nonsense that if you drop features like video you'll make a cheaper FF. That's not the problem.

The goal is to get the last gen K-5 owners to buy FF. It won't work if you tell them they have to pay another $1,000 over the last flagship price. Too few can afford that especially when they can buy Canikon and get at their lens stable for LESS money, like a D600 or a used D700 or D800. But $300 over (say a $1799 price) and you buy loyalty and time to get the lens array right and enough just might current Pentaxians might upsell themselves.

Or be daring and K-50 your FF model. Articulate the rear LCD and do away with the top LCD. get the form factor down and stake your ground there with some stellar f/4 glass (16-35, 28-70, 70-200). A little bit could go a long way. Take the Nikon 16-35/4. It's partly expensive because it's VR. In-camera SR and you might have not only a smaller lens, but a cheaper one.

The real drag is having to compete against FF f/2.8 big glass which is above the D600 price point. It's hugely tough to see the current Pentax base going from an APS-C 12-24 at $790 to buying a 16-35/2.8 at $1,700. Prices like that will not drag a lot of the current Pentax value brand crowd to FF.

08-22-2013, 04:53 PM   #125
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QuoteOriginally posted by Aristophanes Quote
"Self-employed photographers typically do not earn as much than salaried photographers. This is because independent, freelance photographers usually have to buy and use their own personal equipment and this costs money."

Itself a repost of the same Bureau of Labour:

Photography Careers, Jobs, and Employment Information - CareerOverview.com | CareerOverview.com
So you use the word "unequivocally" in reference to these two sentences? We go from "typically" & "usually" to "unequivocally"?

The reason for the low average or/and median income is that there are a huge number of self-employed photographers who only work part-time. I know several wedding togs who are primarily stay at home moms who book 6-8 wedding a year. They often work together and assist each other on jobs. They are charging $3,000+ per wedding and if they were to invest the time to do 20 weddings a year plus events they would have a decent business.

Being a professional photographer doesn't mean you are full-time. The world is full part-time photographers who are self-employed professionals.
08-22-2013, 05:14 PM   #126
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QuoteOriginally posted by Winder Quote
So you use the word "unequivocally" in reference to these two sentences? We go from "typically" & "usually" to "unequivocally"?

The reason for the low average or/and median income is that there are a huge number of self-employed photographers who only work part-time. I know several wedding togs who are primarily stay at home moms who book 6-8 wedding a year. They often work together and assist each other on jobs. They are charging $3,000+ per wedding and if they were to invest the time to do 20 weddings a year plus events they would have a decent business.

Being a professional photographer doesn't mean you are full-time. The world is full part-time photographers who are self-employed professionals.
The reason for the low wages is in the data.

Pros compete against DIY.

Professional photography now is not lucrative enough with part-timers to drive a market expecting to sell almost 20 million ILC's per year.

That means a huge majority of those cameras are being bought for non-pro purposes. If that's your market, that's who you design for.
08-22-2013, 05:58 PM   #127
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QuoteOriginally posted by Aristophanes Quote
Pros compete against DIY.
I always get a kick out of this argument.... If your work is no better than a DIY guy then your right..... you can't compete. Pick another career. The professionals who can actually produce something of higher quality that the DIY'er, can demonstrate that higher quality, and is actually competent enough to run a business (pick the right market) doesn't compete against the DIY'er.
08-22-2013, 06:24 PM   #128
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QuoteOriginally posted by Winder Quote
I always get a kick out of this argument.... If your work is no better than a DIY guy then your right..... you can't compete. Pick another career. The professionals who can actually produce something of higher quality that the DIY'er, can demonstrate that higher quality, and is actually competent enough to run a business (pick the right market) doesn't compete against the DIY'er.
The photography business was about the cost effectiveness of the guy who could waste the least film getting the best shots, taken and processed properly. That was the economic reason for hiring a pro. They were simply more efficient with the film and he gear helped them. AF wasn't developed to make amateurs better; it was developed to help pros make money by increasing their shot by shot efficiency.

In digital, the lab and film component is gone, replaced for the higher-end by Photoshop (and for an example of pro pricing just look at Adobe's new subscription model separating the men from the boys).

And the cameras have gotten so much easier to use. Automation is everywhere, hardware and software. AF is now so good that many formerly "pro" shooting situations are easily handled by a DIY with a little skill and practice. Today a pro is about lighting from what I can tell, which is not a bad thing. But $3,000 per day wedding weekend shoots are not lucrative enough to fund more than a hobbyists equipment much less make a full-time living. It's really not a "profession" but an artistic vocation, like the talented wood carver. Very few "pro" wood carvers. Photography meets Lee Valley.

So the playing field has levelled in what is effectively an art form. When it becomes an art, then it's largely subjective and the DIY guy is perhaps better than the pro. Some DIY wildlife photos have limited, esoteric sales appeal but are phenomenal. Go to Fred Miranda and see some of the long lens work posted there for free. These guys are the creme de la creme and I don't think anyone is paying them for their work. Tim Kuhn for example:



40,000th POST!!!!! - FM Forums

Free online wildlife photos have largely killed many coffee table book sales. I am not sure being a "pro" will get better photos. Some DIY hobbyists are so invested they outgun the pros.

It's a tough field.

08-22-2013, 09:27 PM   #129
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QuoteOriginally posted by Aristophanes Quote
It's a tough field.
That statement is closer to the point. It is about markets more than it is about the talent or the level playing field of the digital world. Markets like wildlife and landscape are saturated. Even sports has so many people that the images flood the internet and destroy value. People watch sports on video not in stills. The magazines are going digital and HD video has replaced the still for sports.

Professionals who work in markets that have value are still doing pretty well. If you love photographing GI Joe action figures it going to be really hard to ever get paid for it. There is no market for that work. If you are in a market that has demand you can still make good money. The market has shifted, but this is still a visual world and images have value. I live in a market where $3,000 is a pretty common rate for a wedding and I know professionals who are knocking down 30 wedding a year and doing event work. Its a grind, but the quick math puts them well above the median per-capita income. Canon designed the 5DII specifically for the wedding professions just as Nikon designed the D3 and D4 specifically for PJs. Sony designed the A900 to go after wedding professionals, but got completely blind-sided by the HD video revolution and the 5DII. Canon makes a specific 7D that works with a bar-code reader just for the guys who shoot high school year books. The professionals still drive the upper end of the market.

Pentax doesn't need to try to jump into the 1DX class, but they better be going after the D800 and 5DIII. They need to build a FF that has the build quality/performance/features to compete in the $2,500 price range.
08-23-2013, 12:05 AM   #130
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QuoteOriginally posted by Winder Quote
Pentax doesn't need to try to jump into the 1DX class, but they better be going after the D800 and 5DIII. They need to build a FF that has the build quality/performance/features to compete in the $2,500 price range.
Just a comment: 2 amateurs (not even casual earners) in my local photographic society have the 1DX, plus appropriate lenses. But I also know a professional using the K-5IIs.

I'm not disagreeing with anyone - just observing that the dilemma for Ricoh/Pentax is mind-boggling.

And while I, as an amateur, can imagine buying an FF, it is harder to imagine that I will buy top-end f/2.8 lenses. I typically want top-quality f/4 zooms, as I have at the moment.
08-23-2013, 01:39 AM - 1 Like   #131
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QuoteOriginally posted by Aristophanes Quote
I never said crippled.
You didn't say the word, but who can make a $1650 FF camera without cutting corners? That's $450 less than the D600's launch price, and Nikon had to reuse an APS-C AF.

A K5-level FF with a better, dedicated AF would be higher class than the D600. I'd say they should go even higher, co-developing a new APS-C high end camera, a FF and a new 645D - 3 formats sharing the same platform. After making the camera that's it, for several years; they aren't upgraded often. Several years with a product make with cutting corners, or with a decent camera?

And I'm still waiting for an answer: would you buy that cheap, crippled FF camera?
08-23-2013, 03:20 AM - 1 Like   #132
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QuoteOriginally posted by Kunzite Quote
You didn't say the word, but who can make a $1650 FF camera without cutting corners? That's $450 less than the D600's launch price, and Nikon had to reuse an APS-C AF.

A K5-level FF with a better, dedicated AF would be higher class than the D600. I'd say they should go even higher, co-developing a new APS-C high end camera, a FF and a new 645D - 3 formats sharing the same platform. After making the camera that's it, for several years; they aren't upgraded often. Several years with a product make with cutting corners, or with a decent camera?

And I'm still waiting for an answer: would you buy that cheap, crippled FF camera?
I agree, using same parts over several platforms is a great way of reducing R&D and production cost, but I doubt it will be enough to make a first generation FF with as low R&D and production cost as on Canon 6D and Nikon D600. And as Pentax will sell FF in much lower volumes, they probably need higher margins on FF to make a profit.

It's very unusual with a first generation product that are low end low price. First generation is high end for a reason, as cost is highest on first generation. Later generation can be made much cheaper as it takes much less cost to trim down specification of an already existing product, than to design it from scratch. So it will be hard to be competitive with a first generation product at low price.
08-23-2013, 05:40 AM   #133
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QuoteOriginally posted by Fogel70 Quote
It's very unusual with a first generation product that are low end low price. First generation is high end for a reason, as cost is highest on first generation. Later generation can be made much cheaper as it takes much less cost to trim down specification of an already existing product, than to design it from scratch. So it will be hard to be competitive with a first generation product at low price.
That reminds me of the *istD. It was expensive, and the next few Pentax dSLRs were cheaper versions. It was some time before they got back on track with the K10D.

And the same may be true of the Q series. The original Q was expensive. The next model was a cheaper version. It was the 3rd model that started to reveal the true potential of the Q-mount.
08-23-2013, 05:51 AM   #134
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QuoteOriginally posted by Kunzite Quote
You didn't say the word, but who can make a $1650 FF camera without cutting corners? That's $450 less than the D600's launch price, and Nikon had to reuse an APS-C AF.

A K5-level FF with a better, dedicated AF would be higher class than the D600. I'd say they should go even higher, co-developing a new APS-C high end camera, a FF and a new 645D - 3 formats sharing the same platform. After making the camera that's it, for several years; they aren't upgraded often. Several years with a product make with cutting corners, or with a decent camera?

And I'm still waiting for an answer: would you buy that cheap, crippled FF camera?
That's a solid price.

All the K-5 features with an FF. Sure. There's not much more a DSLR can do to improve the interface and tech. It's a very mature system.

I'd like a better tracking AF but don't require 12 FPS or a 1/250 flash sync. Those are apparently very expensive to achieve. Dual-SD slots? Waste of space. Better to have wi-fi. The AF system has been the Pentax Achilles' Heel for over a decade now and should be reworked to be on par with Nikon for all DSLR offerings; not FF exclusive.

I think prosumers will see value in getting the best sensor without MP overkill. In fact the market is ripe for an emphasis on a smaller form factor FF if possible even if that means dropping some current "pro" features like a top LCD, and a smaller battery. Canon is doing similar with the SL1 on APS-C and that has caught a lot of attention. Pentax has always been known for compactness. This is about the only area left in the SLR format to differentiate and Pentax can either lead or follow.

That's not crippled. That's just moving your customers from one model to the next efficiently.

APS-C will soon be a sub-$1,000 camera regardless. So that will leave FF as the only option to maintain revenues. I've always maintained for 4 years now that Pentax will have an FF camera, but it will solely depend on a sub-$2,000 price point.

QuoteQuote:
Fogel wrote:
It's very unusual with a first generation product that are low end low price. First generation is high end for a reason, as cost is highest on first generation. Later generation can be made much cheaper as it takes much less cost to trim down specification of an already existing product, than to design it from scratch. So it will be hard to be competitive with a first generation product at low price.
Wrong analogy.

FF is not a first gen product. Pentax would be the 5th entrant after Leica, Sony, Canon, and Nikon. Pentax will use the exact same sensor as Sony and Nikon almost certainly.

This is an established product category. To borrow an automobile analogy, Pentax is more like Hyundai who moved into SUV's and mini-vans later than the competition with lower priced models but well-featured that got near equivalent reviews. Using that basis they've chewed away market share, which is the Pentax problem.

Take smartphones. Apple's iPhone (and Nokia tried this as well) went in high-end in an emerging sector. But now it is established all the talk is about lower end products at the expense of margins. The utility is no longer worth the same premium from 5 years ago. The first Android phones specifically advertised lower prices than the iPhone, prompting Apple to drop prices.

The camera biz right now is saturated and volumes are declining.

So for late entrants to a mature sector it makes sense to come in lower. That is how Pentax has survived as a camera company.

Do the math:

A flagship APS-C Pentax system:
K-5ii + 12-24 + 16-60 + 50-135 is ~$5,000 with a flash + tax

The D800 is designed around this concept:

D800 + 14-24 + 24-70 + 70-200 all f/2.8.

That's close to $10,000 with a flash + tax.

So in a stumbling market, how many flagship, loyal, Pentax customers are going to spend 2x what they last spent? Even if you drop the 14-24 and got to the 16-35 option you're only shaving off maybe $400. People buy D800's to shoot that f/2.8 awesomeness. Saving $400 on an in-between Pentax FF model is nowhere near enough wiggle room to make a difference.

The vast majority of households cannot make that leap even if they wanted to. Photography is primarily a disposable income dependent hobby market.

So the Pentax dilemma is even worse because it would only shift a minority % of its current base to FF while still struggling to maintain revenues from it bread and butter APS-C, and can therefore only grow by taking customers from other brands. Brands with better flash systems and more lenses and nearby service centres, and lower cost D600's, used D800/700's, etc.

So go back to the title of this thread and ask yourself which lenses do we need for FF and then design and price a body around that. Tackling it from the objective of the body first is backwards.
08-23-2013, 06:35 AM   #135
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QuoteOriginally posted by Aristophanes Quote
Wrong analogy.

FF is not a first gen product. Pentax would be the 5th entrant after Leica, Sony, Canon, and Nikon. Pentax will use the exact same sensor as Sony and Nikon almost certainly.

This is an established product category. To borrow an automobile analogy, Pentax is more like Hyundai who moved into SUV's and mini-vans later than the competition with lower priced models but well-featured that got near equivalent reviews. Using that basis they've chewed away market share, which is the Pentax problem.
It's not the parts Pentax buy that add most of the cost (even though Pentax will have to pay more for part than Nikon, as Pentax will buy in much lower volume). It's the parts where Pentax need to spend money and time on R&D that add most cost. FI a new FF version of the SR might have a larger R&D budget than a whole new APS-C DSLR. And as FF sells in much lower volume the R&D cost add much more on FF.

How do you expect Pentax to produce FF DSLR cheaper than Nikon when Pentax has to pay more for parts, and R&D cost will be higher on each sold camera?

QuoteQuote:
Take smartphones. Apple's iPhone (and Nokia tried this as well) went in high-end in an emerging sector. But now it is established all the talk is about lower end products at the expense of margins. The utility is no longer worth the same premium from 5 years ago. The first Android phones specifically advertised lower prices than the iPhone, prompting Apple to drop prices.
There are many new high end Smartphone coming all the time, and now days there are many high price Android devices. Many of the costing more than iPhone. But I don't think this has much to do with Pentax.

QuoteQuote:
The camera biz right now is saturated and volumes are declining.
Which probably lead to lower margins, and in the end, higher prices.

QuoteQuote:
So for late entrants to a mature sector it makes sense to come in lower. That is how Pentax has survived as a camera company.
That is probably only interting for high volume sales, but for low volume niche products it might not be possible.

QuoteQuote:
Do the math:

A flagship APS-C Pentax system:
K-5ii + 12-24 + 16-60 + 50-135 is ~$5,000 with a flash + tax

The D800 is designed around this concept:

D800 + 14-24 + 24-70 + 70-200 all f/2.8.

That's close to $10,000 with a flash + tax.

So in a stumbling market, how many flagship, loyal, Pentax customers are going to spend 2x what they last spent? Even if you drop the 14-24 and got to the 16-35 option you're only shaving off maybe $400. People buy D800's to shoot that f/2.8 awesomeness. Saving $400 on an in-between Pentax FF model is nowhere near enough wiggle room to make a difference.
FF don't replace APS-C for most users, and they only get FF if it's a major advantage for the. The price of upgrading to FF will be too expensive for most users, but that is mostly because it's too expensive too replace APS-C glass with FF glass.
Having a APS-C system you only need to upgrade the camera, but upgrading to FF you might have to replace all your glass too.

QuoteQuote:
The vast majority of households cannot make that leap even if they wanted to. Photography is primarily a disposable income dependent hobby market.

So the Pentax dilemma is even worse because it would only shift a minority % of its current base to FF while still struggling to maintain revenues from it bread and butter APS-C, and can therefore only grow by taking customers from other brands. Brands with better flash systems and more lenses and nearby service centres, and lower cost D600's, used D800/700's, etc.

So go back to the title of this thread and ask yourself which lenses do we need for FF and then design and price a body around that. Tackling it from the objective of the body first is backwards.
FF is not for the vast majority of users, but only for a small group of users.
It probably take 5-10 more years before FF will be close to being able to replace APS-C.

Last edited by Fogel70; 08-23-2013 at 06:59 AM.
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