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06-21-2014, 09:50 AM   #106
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Releasing a full frame camera does seem to make sense for Pentax on a number of levels. Rightly or wrongly, there are many users of Pentax and other brands who believe that a system must include a full frame camera in order to be considered 'serious'. The 645 system helps with this also, but is never going to be a realistic proposition for most people. Having a credible FF camera will keep a certain body of Pentax users who are thinking of switching to other brands on board and remove one of the barriers to users of other systems moving to Pentax. Even if this camera sold fairly poorly I believe the benefits to the brand as a whole would be worth the cost.

To my mind, this FF camera need not be particularly ground-breaking in order to have a valid place in the market. If we imagine a camera which is more-or-less a K-3 with a 24MP FF sensor and a few sensible improvements, at a price point around 50% higher, we already have a camera which has moderate improvements in detail, clarity and noise rendering, bigger and brighter viewfinder, which allows a return to the 'classic' field of view at a given focal length, and depth of field at a given aperture. I believe that these things alone will be enough for many to be prepared to stump up the extra cash over a K-3. This is likely to hit K-3 sales a bit, but since these users are still buying Pentax, overall profit margins are unlikely to suffer given the overall boost to the brand.

A 36MP sensor would take the camera into another price bracket entirely and would expose performance deficiencies in the current and legacy lens lineups to too great an extent, I suspect. Best to hold off until this situation improves.

Thinking about the specifications of this FF camera, I think the APS-C crop mode would be an essential one to get right. Being able to use DA lenses along with FF lenses and still get excellent 12MP raw files would be a must for many I think. This would require an LCD frameline overlay and to be truly usable, the viewfinder magnification would need to be as large as possible - at least as big as the D800 (preferably bigger, which would become a major unique selling point if they could pull it off). I'll also add that an LCD overlay should allow the turning off of all AF area marks, which just get in the way if you manually focus. Having an 'intermediate' crop option might also be worth considering, since many DA lenses have an extended image circle.

Personally I wouldn't mind if the camera was a little bigger than the K-3, as it would probably need to be if SR was maintained. As long as it was still a little smaller than the Canikon FF offerings it would maintain that particular Pentax difference. A larger body makes sense to allow for a better grip for supporting FF lenses and would also allow for more/better spaced external controls.

I do have a specification wish list but for the most part, these are not particular to a FF release, so I won't say much about them here. One which has been mentioned which I fully support is AF bracketing (a no-brainer in my view). Video has been talked about quite a bit. Personally I think that throwing R&D money into this would be a waste. A few incremental improvements are still necessary but nobody who's serious about video is going to be buying a Pentax any time soon. It's not just about the camera it's about the infrastructure and availability of peripherals, which just aren't there currently.

Lenses are of course an important issue, as discussed extensively here. My own view is that between the current FAs, legacy and third-party glass, combined with crop lenses in crop mode to fill in the gaps, there's enough currently available to make a FF camera viable already. I have no doubt that the third party manufacturers would make their FF lenses available in Pentax mount within a short time frame following release. That would buy some time for Pentax to develop the standard and telephoto zoom options necessary to make it start to look like a complete system.

06-21-2014, 03:26 PM   #107
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while I agree on most of jonbys points, I think third-party manufacturer would not make their FF glass available in K-mount immediately. As you mentioned, sales volume of a Pentax FF would be low so there would not be more reasons to release them in K-mount than with aps-c lenses (and still they release just a few in K-mount ... think of tele lenses) - it simply would not turn out for them to be profitable or they could not offer K-mount lenses in equivalent prices.

However, besides large aperture (f/1.4) and wide angle (FF-)glass Pentax should also stick to their small-sized lenses ... they should offer some nice tiny full frame lenses, probably f/2.8 or similar (or my absolute dream: a 15mm limited sized full frame 18 or 21 mm f/5.6)
06-21-2014, 05:10 PM   #108
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There's about 20 lenses available on the shelf now from Tamron/Sigma that are full-frame.

...more support than any newly released mount has ever had.
06-21-2014, 06:16 PM   #109
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QuoteOriginally posted by infoomatic Quote
while I agree on most of jonbys points, I think third-party manufacturer would not make their FF glass available in K-mount immediately. As you mentioned, sales volume of a Pentax FF would be low so there would not be more reasons to release them in K-mount than with aps-c lenses (and still they release just a few in K-mount ... think of tele lenses) - it simply would not turn out for them to be profitable or they could not offer K-mount lenses in equivalent prices.

However, besides large aperture (f/1.4) and wide angle (FF-)glass Pentax should also stick to their small-sized lenses ... they should offer some nice tiny full frame lenses, probably f/2.8 or similar (or my absolute dream: a 15mm limited sized full frame 18 or 21 mm f/5.6)
The percentage of Pentax FF buyers who'd be ready to buy one or two lenses right away would be much higher (and the median price of the lenses much higher) than APS-C buyers.

06-21-2014, 08:57 PM   #110
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QuoteOriginally posted by jonby Quote
A 36MP sensor would take the camera into another price bracket entirely
I don't think the megapixel race need necessarily impact on price too much.


All good points though. I keep coming back to video because the hardware is all there for it right now, and all it needs is a decent tweak to pull it all together. Not FF specific, but I do wish they'd just listen to the customers and tweak the bits they've done so far. Yes, no one is going to jump to Pentax for it's current video offering, but at the same time it could be a heck of a lot better pretty damn easily.
06-22-2014, 07:26 AM   #111
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QuoteOriginally posted by richandfleur Quote
I don't think the megapixel race need necessarily impact on price too much.
I guess it's hard to be sure about this. The Sony A7R and Nikon D800 are both significantly higher in price than their 24MP counterparts, but it's unclear how much of this price difference is due to the cost of the hardware and how much is market-related. It is perhaps reasonable to assume that a good portion of the difference is the latter - there to differentiate between the two bodies in the marketplace. Assuming Pentax would only have the one body you could be right that a 36MP sensor could be included at a lower price point. This still begs the question of whether a 36MP resolution would be the best option however. The majority of currently available lenses will get very blurry towards the edges of the frame even at 24MP. If the camera was 36MP I would definitely want to have the option to record downsized raw files to avoid storing vast amounts of unnecessary data. On the positive side, 36MP would allow for 16MP crop lens shots, which would be seen as a strong advantage by many.

QuoteOriginally posted by richandfleur Quote
I keep coming back to video because the hardware is all there for it right now, and all it needs is a decent tweak to pull it all together.
A fair point. It does seem as though just a few more improvements in the video area could take Pentax out of the 'not worth considering for video' bracket. I just think that getting the stills side of things right is absolutely crucial and R&D money should go on that first.

QuoteOriginally posted by infoomatic Quote
I think third-party manufacturer would not make their FF glass available in K-mount immediately.
Yes this was a bit of an assumption on my part. Sigma and Tamron have chosen not to make their more full-frame specific lenses available for Pentax recently, but I think there's a good chance that a FF Pentax release may tip them towards changing this eventually. Even if they don't, there are already a lot of third party FF lenses available, as pointed out by ElJamoquio.
06-22-2014, 10:14 AM   #112
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QuoteOriginally posted by jonby Quote
A fair point. It does seem as though just a few more improvements in the video area could take Pentax out of the 'not worth considering for video' bracket. I just think that getting the stills side of things right is absolutely crucial and R&D money should go on that first.
Agreed; stills come first. I used to be dead-set against video in stills camera; but two things changed my mind:

1. If you don't do it well, you lose market.
2. I actually tried it on my K-5 and like the results. I wish for more, though...

To get Pentax out of the 'You-call-that-video-mode?' joke department it would take a few things;

- 1080 60p (and 120p slo-mo?) & 4k modes; and the processing hardware to keep up
- Raw HDMI output for offboard storage during record.
- User editable/uploadable gamma curves; no stupid-silly modes; I just want a nice 'flat' raw file I can deal with in post. And by flat I mean a user tweakable response curve, if that makes sense.
- propper audio and video realtime response curves overlay/display/adjustment.
- anything else?

I don't know if that's in the cards or not. It looks like the 645z is going to have only the consumer-clown-only video, which is a shame given the sensor size and what it could bring. So maybe not in this generation (ie the K-3 firmware generation).
06-22-2014, 10:29 AM   #113
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QuoteOriginally posted by infoomatic Quote
I think third-party manufacturer would not make their FF glass available in K-mount immediately.
I think they would simply because there will be a vacuum that needs to be filled, and Pentax will have to do it over a couple of years. Lenses like the new Sigma 24-105 F/4 Art are perfect walk around lenses for a FF and there is nothing in the Pentax line up to compare and is priced at a point that many enthusiasts could afford.

One of the Pentax Full Frame rumors actually came from an interview with a Tamron executive where they talked about working with Pentax.

06-22-2014, 01:02 PM   #114
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QuoteOriginally posted by noser Quote
It looks like the 645z is going to have only the consumer-clown-only video, which is a shame given the sensor size and what it could bring.
just for information, the "so-praised-Pana-GH4" only use the very middle part of the sensor to produce the video. to be clear : it crops like hell the area used ! In 4k video mod, the 14mm (that "equal" a 28mm FoV in FF terms) become a 37mm (again in FF Fov equivalency).

A french magazine did the test : Bonus : Panasonic GH4, cadrage et distorsions - Le Monde de la Photo



the whole frame : RAW file
the blue frame : the JPEG file with the distorsion correction
the yellow one : the 16/9 movie mod
the green : the 4k mod.

To be honest, if the 645z can do 1080p/i (choose the right one) using the whole sensor, that would be absolutely great for a strater ! But i don't think it will be the case.
06-22-2014, 02:10 PM   #115
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QuoteOriginally posted by Winder Quote
Lenses like the new Sigma 24-105 F/4 Art are perfect walk around lenses for a FF and there is nothing in the Pentax line up to compare and is priced at a point that many enthusiasts could afford.
Yes indeed. This lens is reportedly as good as or better than the Canon 24-105 f4 L, which is superb. I actually think that there are a good bunch of APS-C shooters also who would be interested in this lens (and others like the Tamron 24-70 f2.8) simply because the performance across the frame is so good, and better than most existing options. The Tamron 28-75 seems popular already for this reason, and the lenses starting at 24mm can only be more attractive. So I don't think interest in a Pentax version would be limited only to those with the FF camera, making the market for such lenses bigger.
06-22-2014, 03:50 PM   #116
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QuoteOriginally posted by aurele Quote
just for information, the "so-praised-Pana-GH4" only use the very middle part of the sensor to produce the video. to be clear : it crops like hell the area used ! In 4k video mod, the 14mm (that "equal" a 28mm FoV in FF terms) become a 37mm (again in FF Fov equivalency).

A french magazine did the test : Bonus : Panasonic GH4, cadrage et distorsions - Le Monde de la Photo



the whole frame : RAW file
the blue frame : the JPEG file with the distorsion correction
the yellow one : the 16/9 movie mod
the green : the 4k mod.

To be honest, if the 645z can do 1080p/i (choose the right one) using the whole sensor, that would be absolutely great for a strater ! But i don't think it will be the case.
Cool info.

I wouldn't expect edge-to-edge use from any stills/video combo cameras; it strikes me that pixel selection to meet standard formatting sizes and scaling would always leave a bit unused. But nice to see.

For the 645z I checked my browser history, since it struck me that I'd heard the same, and here is what I found:

News Shooter | Is the Pentax 645Z a serious option for Medium format video? we get some answers

So it's almost the full width. 80%, or about 35mm wide. Huh, interesting number...
06-23-2014, 02:03 AM   #117
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I would point out that video, contrary to what has been said is not without cost.
It is tied to live view, which means a terrific drain on batteries and even worse, increases heat and hence image noise. I will not be surprised if manufacturers release a 'stills only' camera in the interst of the ultimate image quality. Will that be Pentax? I don't know, but they sure have precious little to loose in the video department.
06-23-2014, 02:24 AM   #118
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QuoteOriginally posted by eyeswideshut Quote
I would point out that video, contrary to what has been said is not without cost.
It is tied to live view, which means a terrific drain on batteries and even worse, increases heat and hence image noise. I will not be surprised if manufacturers release a 'stills only' camera in the interst of the ultimate image quality. Will that be Pentax? I don't know, but they sure have precious little to loose in the video department.
Considering the Nikon DF, which sell quite well as far as i know, Pentax can do that.

In fact, suppressing the video mod (but keeping the LV), would probably allow to reduce the size of the camera (thickness) due to the lesser need of dissipating heat. A small camera with a silent shutter
could be very appealing.

They can put video in another iteration of the body then.
06-23-2014, 02:55 AM   #119
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QuoteOriginally posted by aurele Quote
Considering the Nikon DF, which sell quite well as far as i know, Pentax can do that.

In fact, suppressing the video mod (but keeping the LV), would probably allow to reduce the size of the camera (thickness) due to the lesser need of dissipating heat. A small camera with a silent shutter
could be very appealing.

They can put video in another iteration of the body then.
Good point. Completely forgot about the Df - but then it is not my cup of tea anyway.
06-23-2014, 03:13 AM   #120
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QuoteOriginally posted by eyeswideshut Quote
I would point out that video, contrary to what has been said is not without cost.
It is tied to live view, which means a terrific drain on batteries and even worse, increases heat and hence image noise. I will not be surprised if manufacturers release a 'stills only' camera in the interst of the ultimate image quality. Will that be Pentax? I don't know, but they sure have precious little to loose in the video department.
Surely that's simply not an issue if you're not using the video mode. Having video on a camera doesn't impact one iota on your stills performance, configuration, usability, battery life if you don't use it etc. It's like any other of the operational modes that you chose to use or not on the mode dial. If Pentax just made some smarter decisions on how they implemented video (stop assuming we want a substandard bitrate to save file size for instance?!) then even their existing products would compete much better.


Not having video makes it niche, which is cool and all, but you might as well drop live view, electronic levels, focus peaking etc as forms that aren't pure etc. The video mode just uses the same hardware in a different fashion, taking multiple pictures with an electronic shutter. It doesn't detract in a practical way at all. FF, being the same size as traditional film, seems like an ideal platform to go stills only though, given that would mimic traditional film most accurately. Frankly I expect they'd sell more of the video enabled product though, unless you want to compete directly with the Df from the get go?


The major obvious point of Pentax FF difference is to go mechanical stabilisation. They've done that for years, and it's in the Q even.
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