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10-04-2014, 03:26 PM   #76
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QuoteOriginally posted by noser Quote
Count me in the part time pro group. In fact, count me in to the same situation as yourself almost 100%

I didn't buy into Pentax to become a pro; I bought in as an enthusiastic amateur and really liked it. The pro aspect came later, and now I feel I'm stuck - it seems such a waste to throw away all that gear to start again. I guess if I got 50-70% on it I might get one nice lens from another mount for it all, since most of it is so old.

I'm still strongly considering the 645Z; aside from framerate and the typically poor Pentax video mode it's actually excellent as an all-round shooter.

But I have only 3 non-AF 645 lenses. I have 10x more K mount lenses, most of which are FF.

Maybe Pentax reads this forum; maybe they don't.

I'd like to think they have a room of interns, each who is a native speaker of a different language, who read and report from all the online forums. But they all report to a manager that doesn't go to meetings, so no one else at Pentax ever hears what the rest of the world/market wants.

So we only get 'upgrades' when they put a Miffy decal on last years body.

But I do think FF is very soon to come, based on the new lenses and company comments. What I suspect though is it may not be a D750 competitor. And it may not be a Leica competitor.

So if those two exist on a single continuum (and that may be a wrong assumption) where the Leica is on the far left, as a one-shot-uber-expensive-let-make-some-art body, and the D750 is pretty far away on the right side ( almost where the 1D and D4's live ), which are more in the monster-feature-do-anything-for-anyone cameras, where does Pentax fit?

Is there an entire dimension to the graph I'm ignoring? It sounded like in the interview the CEO really, really, really cared about making terrific images... so more to the left?
Cheers mate.

I'm certain that there are quite a few people in our situation. Probably not in enough numbers to provide adequate sales for the FF alone, but it all adds up. I have also considered (briefly) the 645z, but the financials don't even nearly stack up right now.

In terms of where the FF might fit into the market, I personally do think the spot the D750 occupies is a reasonable guess (or between that and the D800). Or to put it another way, lets look at what they've done in the recent past to extrapolate the strategic approach.

The K-3 was pitched as a high-quality, feature rich and value-for-money offering in direct competition to the D7100 and 70D. It was relatively conservative, and focused on being highly refined, and easy to use with the (apparent) aim being to provide a real and attractive alternative to the big two.

So, a reasonable guess would be:

- High quality and refinement (both build and user interface);
- Feature rich (perhaps pitched more as a stills than a videographer's camera, with emphasis on ISO performance);
- Conservative. As one Ricoh exec put it, it'll be a "straight ball" (likely to be a DSLR, at least for their first foray);
- Several differentiating features: IBIS?; High ISO stills performance?; Selectable anti-aliasing?; Some other use of Sensor shift, such as dual pixel AF (recently patented by Ricoh)?
- Very competitively priced vs features, to make it an attractive financial proposition to potential new customers

I think the natural competitors will be the likes of 5d Mkiii, D800, and D750 (more so this 'second tier' rather than the 1DX and D4S level). So I would expect it to be competitive in terms of features with those bodies, whilst having a few unique qualities, and an attractive price point (circa $2,500 has been bandied about).

10-04-2014, 03:41 PM   #77
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Just don't forget Ricoh is profitable on small volume. They actually can't afford to make a large volume camera and lens system right now - they don't have the capacity.

Maybe down the road, but not now.

Also don't forget they're not really marketing aggressively in the West yet - they'll sell everything to us we will buy, but they're not going out of their way to entice anyone away from the other guys. They can't afford to.

Remember, this is a first step. It won't be the only FF camera or lens they release unless it is received like the K-01 was received).

Given those constraints, if they have a business model where they can make and sell a profitable FF camera and lenses that is part of a LONG-TERM strategy to grow the brand - then they'll do it.
10-04-2014, 04:15 PM   #78
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QuoteOriginally posted by monochrome Quote
Just don't forget Ricoh is profitable on small volume. They actually can't afford to make a large volume camera and lens system right now - they don't have the capacity.

Maybe down the road, but not now.

Also don't forget they're not really marketing aggressively in the West yet - they'll sell everything to us we will buy, but they're not going out of their way to entice anyone away from the other guys. They can't afford to.

Remember, this is a first step. It won't be the only FF camera or lens they release unless it is received like the K-01 was received).

Given those constraints, if they have a business model where they can make and sell a profitable FF camera and lenses that is part of a LONG-TERM strategy to grow the brand - then they'll do it.
I think the marketing approach (and resultant sales) for the K-3 patently disproves your assertions.
10-04-2014, 04:21 PM   #79
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QuoteOriginally posted by Poit Quote
I think the marketing approach (and resultant sales) for the K-3 patently disproves your assertions.
What was the K-3/K-50/K-500 manufacturing volume and marketing expense versus Canon or Nikon ASPc range?

They aren't playing the same game as Canon and Nikon - the aren't competing with them any more than Subaru competes with Toyota, Honda and Hyundai.

10-04-2014, 04:30 PM   #80
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I don't know, it's not really relevant.

They put as much money and effort into producing and selling the K-3 as they could. To suggest that they deliberately held back on selling it because of their production capacity is ludicrous.

You suggest that they aren't trying very hard to entice customers. I think you're incorrect in that assumption, and that they're doing everything they can to entice customers. If demand consistently outstrips supply they will upscale, that's how businesses grow.

I'm certain they won't be designing a FF system thinking: "now be careful, we don't want this to be a best-seller"...any more than Suburu doesn't want each of their cars to be best sellers, and would upscale production if demand was adequate.

Last edited by Poit; 10-04-2014 at 04:39 PM.
10-04-2014, 05:37 PM   #81
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QuoteOriginally posted by Poit Quote
I don't know, it's not really relevant.

They put as much money and effort into producing and selling the K-3 as they could. To suggest that they deliberately held back on selling it because of their production capacity is ludicrous.

You suggest that they aren't trying very hard to entice customers. I think you're incorrect in that assumption, and that they're doing everything they can to entice customers. If demand consistently outstrips supply they will upscale, that's how businesses grow.

I'm certain they won't be designing a FF system thinking: "now be careful, we don't want this to be a best-seller"...any more than Suburu doesn't want each of their cars to be best sellers, and would upscale production if demand was adequate.
That's the ENTIRE point. You don't just snap your fingers 'upscale production' out of thin air.

Ricoh does not have the capacity to compete on a high-volume business model basis with Canon and Nikon. They're profitable doing preceisely what they are doing, which is making 1/10th the units of the big two in their existing facilities.

Subaru cannot not make the 600,000 cars they could sell - they're running at capacity making 430,000. Subaru is growing 20% a year - and they're having a hard time meeting the demand. Toyota bought 8% of Subaru a decade ago specifically to gain access to the Layfayette, IN plant, which now makes Camrys and which at the time was idle. Until they can kick Toyota out in 2016, Subaru can't make any more cars than they are already making.

The Pentax factory in a park was a prime asset pursued by Hoya that isn't ever mentioned - it was idle. Hoya got it for functionally nothing. Ricoh can't use it to expand production now that they can sell more K-3's and 645's.

Low volume - high margin is a choice forced upon them as much as it is a choice of preference.

Ricoh will add capacity if and when they need it - but not until they're certain they won't find themselves in Canon and Nikon's predicament two yeas later.
10-04-2014, 06:23 PM   #82
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QuoteOriginally posted by monochrome Quote
That's the ENTIRE point. You don't just snap your fingers 'upscale production' out of thin air.

Ricoh does not have the capacity to compete on a high-volume business model basis with Canon and Nikon. They're profitable doing preceisely what they are doing, which is making 1/10th the units of the big two in their existing facilities.

Subaru cannot not make the 600,000 cars they could sell - they're running at capacity making 430,000. Subaru is growing 20% a year - and they're having a hard time meeting the demand. Toyota bought 8% of Subaru a decade ago specifically to gain access to the Layfayette, IN plant, which now makes Camrys and which at the time was idle. Until they can kick Toyota out in 2016, Subaru can't make any more cars than they are already making.

The Pentax factory in a park was a prime asset pursued by Hoya that isn't ever mentioned - it was idle. Hoya got it for functionally nothing. Ricoh can't use it to expand production now that they can sell more K-3's and 645's.

Low volume - high margin is a choice forced upon them as much as it is a choice of preference.

Ricoh will add capacity if and when they need it - but not until they're certain they won't find themselves in Canon and Nikon's predicament two yeas later.
Not knowing anything about the automotive industry, or Suburu in particular, I did a quick search and happened upon the following article: Subaru blows away rival Toyota?s sales results - Torque News

Three things struck me as being particularly relevant to our current discussion:

1) The line "it's a great problem to have". I'm sure Ricoh/Pentax would not deliberately hold back on selling their products to avoid being in a situation similar to Suburu's. In fact I'm sure they would love to be in a similar position;
2) Suburu outsold Toyota (who you claimed were too big for Suburu to compete with). Again, I'm sure Ricoh would love to be in similar position against Canon and/or Nikon; and
3) As a result of their success, Suburu are investing $230 million to upscale capacity. Ricoh would do the same.

My point is that, contrary to your own opinion, I'm sure Ricoh would love to have droves of Canikon users queuing to buy Pentax DSLR's, and I'm sure that they are not holding back on their marketing to prevent such a thing occurring. If it did happen, it would take time to upscale, but "it would be a great problem to have"
10-04-2014, 06:24 PM   #83
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QuoteOriginally posted by monochrome Quote
Just don't forget Ricoh is profitable on small volume. They actually can't afford to make a large volume camera and lens system right now - they don't have the capacity.

Maybe down the road, but not now.

Also don't forget they're not really marketing aggressively in the West yet - they'll sell everything to us we will buy, but they're not going out of their way to entice anyone away from the other guys. They can't afford to.

Remember, this is a first step. It won't be the only FF camera or lens they release unless it is received like the K-01 was received).

Given those constraints, if they have a business model where they can make and sell a profitable FF camera and lenses that is part of a LONG-TERM strategy to grow the brand - then they'll do it.
It all looks very difficult. Say the plan envisages a ramp up over 3 years or more. It's not really likely they can make a straight profit on FF from day one. Even Nikon and Canon took quite a while to cover all the bases. Ricoh won't have the lenses and accessories to tempt many people for a while. Problem is that the DSLR itself may well not have that much time left before it starts to stale and morph into something else. So Ricoh may not have long enough to make a start, bed down and turn in the right numbers before changing circumstances render the whole system increasingly unviable. If Ricoh want to do things straight up and conservative, it may simply be too late (as others have suggested). Something that is less like a DSLR or even a leap into mirrorless may be a better long-term bet. Don't know of course, but perhaps Ricoh will have to bite the bullet sooner or later over continuing to please the K-mount-or-die folks and building a company for the future. Yes there might be uproar from some over "tampering with the K-mount", but there will be an much louder uproar if the whole company goes down in five or six years' time because it is making the kind of camera folks no longer want to buy. Plain vanilla DSLRs aren't going to last for ever, but will they last long enough for Ricoh?


Last edited by mecrox; 10-04-2014 at 06:33 PM.
10-04-2014, 06:43 PM   #84
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QuoteOriginally posted by Poit Quote
Not knowing anything about the automotive industry, or Suburu in particular, I did a quick search and happened upon the following article: Subaru blows away rival Toyota?s sales results - Torque News

Three things struck me as being particularly relevant to our current discussion:

1) The line "it's a great problem to have". I'm sure Ricoh/Pentax would not deliberately hold back on selling their products to avoid being in a situation similar to Suburu's. In fact I'm sure they would love to be in a similar position;
From your (dated) article, Subaru sales in the first seven months of 2013 were up 27%. Toyota sales were up 17%. That is not at all the same thing as Subaru selling more cars than Toyota. Toyota is the largest car manufacturer on Earth. Subaru isn't even in the top 10.
QuoteOriginally posted by Poit Quote
2) Suburu outsold Toyota (who you claimed were too big for Subaru to compete with). Again, I'm sure Ricoh would love to be in similar position against Canon and/or Nikon;
No, they didn't. See above. Pentax didn't outsell Canon or Nikon, but their sales were up a larger percentage than either.
QuoteOriginally posted by Poit Quote
and
3) As a result of their success, Suburu are investing $230 million to upscale capacity. Ricoh would do the same.
The Subaru BRX (the reason Subaru sales are up globally) is a rebadged, rear-drive Toyota - the first non 4-wheel-Drive Subaru has ever sold, which is produced for the USA market in the Layfayette, IN plant referenced above along side the Toyota version. Ricoh invested in new evaporators for the HD coatings - have they invested anything else? When they aree absolutely certain constant sales warrant, they will add overall capacity.
QuoteOriginally posted by Poit Quote
My point is that, contrary to your own opinion, I'm sure Ricoh would love to have droves of Canikon users queuing to buy Pentax DSLR's, and I'm sure that they are not holding back on their marketing
They clearly do not purchase TV ads, 20 pages in every magazine, shelf space in B&M stores, celebrity endorsements and other volume-supporting marketing.
QuoteOriginally posted by Poit Quote
to prevent such a thing occurring. If it did happen, it would take time to upscale, but "it would be a great problem to have"
From the lips of James Malcolm, directly to my ears, Ricoh intentionally held back production of Pentax cameras in 2013 to avoid being in the situation Canon and Nikon find themselves today. Ricoh is not going to build production capacity for peak - volume sales and then have to service debt for unused capacity when volume declines. Their strategy is to maintain lower production volume and make a higher profit margin than Canon and Nikon. They will grow the company in a controlled, patient, managed fashion.

They actually do not want to have more demand than they can meet - like the 645Z created. It upsets other production and product plans. Sure, we all think we'd want to have such problems, but a conservative company views such problems as risks.

Last edited by monochrome; 10-04-2014 at 07:07 PM.
10-04-2014, 06:55 PM   #85
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QuoteOriginally posted by mecrox Quote
It all looks very difficult. Say the plan envisages a ramp up over 3 years or more. It's not really likely they can make a straight profit on FF from day one. Even Nikon and Canon took quite a while to cover all the bases. Ricoh won't have the lenses and accessories to tempt many people for a while. Problem is that the DSLR itself may well not have that much time left before it starts to stale and morph into something else. So Ricoh may not have long enough to make a start, bed down and turn in the right numbers before changing circumstances render the whole system increasingly unviable. If Ricoh want to do things straight up and conservative, it may simply be too late (as others have suggested). Something that is less like a DSLR or even a leap into mirrorless may be a better long-term bet. Don't know of course, but perhaps Ricoh will have to bite the bullet sooner or later over continuing to please the K-mount-or-die folks and building a company for the future. Yes there might be uproar from some over "tampering with the K-mount", but there will be an much louder uproar if the whole company goes down in five or six years' time because it is making the kind of camera folks no longer want to buy. Plain vanilla DSLRs aren't going to last for ever, but will they last long enough for Ricoh?
It is a straight dSLR. Plain and simple. It isn't mirrorless. It isn't magic. Ricoh has none of the problems Canon and Nikon have right now, with too much capacity and not enough sales. They can spread R&D, component and distribution costs for identical parts across 645, K-mount APSc and K-mount FF and you and I don't have to pay a dime for Ashton Kutcher, magazine ads, B&M Dealer Credit and Rep support, large US inventory of stock and infrastructure, guaranteed fulfillment contracts to Target/Costco/Walmart/BestBuy or any of the other necessary elements of a high-volume, low-margin business model.
10-05-2014, 02:42 AM   #86
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QuoteOriginally posted by monochrome Quote
Ricoh will add capacity if and when they need it - but not until they're certain they won't find themselves in Canon and Nikon's predicament two yeas later.
For the record, they allocated the equivalent of approx. 40 million USD to "increase production of digital cameras ,etc". Still they won't go head to head with Canon and Nikon, far from it.

QuoteOriginally posted by monochrome Quote
The Subaru BRX (the reason Subaru sales are up globally) is a rebadged, rear-drive Toyota - the first non 4-wheel-Drive Subaru has ever sold, which is produced for the USA market in the Layfayette, IN plant referenced above along side the Toyota version.
I think they're all made in Gunma/Japan?
10-05-2014, 03:38 AM   #87
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QuoteOriginally posted by monochrome Quote
It is a straight dSLR. Plain and simple. It isn't mirrorless. It isn't magic. Ricoh has none of the problems Canon and Nikon have right now, with too much capacity and not enough sales. They can spread R&D, component and distribution costs for identical parts across 645, K-mount APSc and K-mount FF and you and I don't have to pay a dime for Ashton Kutcher, magazine ads, B&M Dealer Credit and Rep support, large US inventory of stock and infrastructure, guaranteed fulfillment contracts to Target/Costco/Walmart/BestBuy or any of the other necessary elements of a high-volume, low-margin business model.
Lol. it all sounds a little like an H.M. Bateman cartoon along the lines of "The man who produced a wonderful camera" - cue scenes of horrified Ricoh executives recoiling at the notion that people might flock to buy it and love to own it. The demand! My dear, It's too awful to contemplate. Seriously, I'm not sure this is the whole picture Of course someone would need to run a business very well, but for us, end-users, well we need an excellent product made with some flair and enthusiasm. Otherwise, why bother? I really hope they don't lose sight of that.
10-05-2014, 08:21 AM   #88
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QuoteOriginally posted by mecrox Quote
Ricoh won't have the lenses and accessories to tempt many people for a while. Problem is that the DSLR itself may well not have that much time left before it starts to stale and morph into something else.
These ^^ two reasons alone basically add together to sum it up - don't even really need to add much more.

Years before Ricoh, Ned Bunnell said, "where are the lenses" when asked about the feasibility of K-FF digital. And Ricoh undoubtedly sees disruption when they look at the market, not stability. So those are the reasons we are where we are right now. Reasons can quickly become excuses, though...

Post-Ricoh, they have the capital, parent revenue and hopefully executive foresight to ramp up capacity or utilize unused capacity enough to intruduce new FF lenses and bodies, to keep K-mount viable past 18 months, or 2, three years.
10-05-2014, 10:18 AM   #89
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QuoteOriginally posted by jsherman999 Quote
These ^^ two reasons alone basically add together to sum it up - don't even really need to add much more.

Years before Ricoh, Ned Bunnell said, "where are the lenses" when asked about the feasibility of K-FF digital. And Ricoh undoubtedly sees disruption when they look at the market, not stability. So those are the reasons we are where we are right now. Reasons can quickly become excuses, though...

Post-Ricoh, they have the capital, parent revenue and hopefully executive foresight to ramp up capacity or utilize unused capacity enough to intruduce new FF lenses and bodies, to keep K-mount viable past 18 months, or 2, three years.
Another post recently linked to the Japan Store site. All the traditional camera accessories are available in Japan, just as the 645 lenses were. That leaves modern FF lenses to produce.

In 2008 - 2009 Pentax introduced, I think, 12 lenses.

I suspect if they do FF now what they plan is to do the complete package - and that's why they haven't done FF yet.
10-05-2014, 04:06 PM   #90
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QuoteOriginally posted by monochrome Quote
They clearly do not purchase TV ads, 20 pages in every magazine, shelf space in B&M stores, celebrity endorsements and other volume-supporting marketing.From the lips of James Malcolm, directly to my ears, Ricoh intentionally held back production of Pentax cameras in 2013 to avoid being in the situation Canon and Nikon find themselves today. Ricoh is not going to build production capacity for peak - volume sales and then have to service debt for unused capacity when volume declines. Their strategy is to maintain lower production volume and make a higher profit margin than Canon and Nikon. They will grow the company in a controlled, patient, managed fashion.

They actually do not want to have more demand than they can meet - like the 645Z created. It upsets other production and product plans. Sure, we all think we'd want to have such problems, but a conservative company views such problems as risks.
Ok ok, what you're talking about is controlled and well managed growth. Which is fine, and a very sensible business approach. I never suggested they should over-produce or flood the market and then heavily discount to keep inventory moving.

What I'm saying is that I don't believe they would deliberately avoid having a successful product, or being in a position where demand is consistently outstripping supply. That's a good position to be in. Companies dream of being so sought after that there's a waiting list, it actually pushes your potential profit margins up.

Sure, their marketing approach is slow and steady, not big and brash, but they also don't hesitate in displaying all the awards the K-3 has won.

I don't believe they saw the unanticipated success of the 645z as an unwelcome occurrence. Similarly, I don't think they would be at all upset if the FF is more successful than projected.

Last edited by Poit; 10-05-2014 at 04:18 PM.
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