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09-23-2014, 05:39 PM - 2 Likes   #1
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Introducing the K-FF, the camera you don't buy

Stardate 04012015, Pentax announce it's first Full Frame DSLR, the K-FF. You shout for joy, spend 79 consecutive hours on photography
forums talking about the event, but in the end, you don't buy. Why?

I was mulling this question today while working in the garden. Admittedly, I'm not clamoring for a FF body. I still own a K10D as my most
current DSLR and will be more than content to upgrade to a K-3 before the year is out. But what if a FF body becomes available before
I get the K-3? Would I buy? There a few key factors.....


1. Price
If I had $10,000 of readily disposable income I'd happily add a 645z to my collection. But I don't and so I don't. But what about the K-FF?
I have little doubt that the K-FF will offer tremendous value for it's price in comparison to virtually any other FF body on the market. But
I also expect Pentax will not release a budget FF body that will compete with it's top end APS-C. Most logical price point is between
the K-3 and 645z and thus the K-FF will likely hit the streets with a MSRP of $2500-$3500. And that is $1500-$2500 more than the
$1000 I'm willing to spend on an upgrade at this time. Price alone will likely stay my hand for the moment.

2. Size
Personally, I think the M-Series represent the ideal sized camera body. Large enough to get a comfortable grip, small enough to carry
anywhere, anytime. My K10D, by comparison, is >BIG<. And it's bigness means that I am less inclined to take the K10D along as a
casual camera. The K10D is largely relegated to the studio and the Q7 and various film bodies see the world. In all likelihood the K-FF
will be at least as big as the K10D, though realistically it will be bigger still. Size alone won't prevent my purchase of the K-FF but
will certainly be a factor. The closer the K-FF gets to D4s dimensions, the less likely I am to buy.

3. Shake Reduction
I've read many of the discussions about SR. I understand the advantages of putting the SR in the lens, particularly for long focal lengths
as well as the possibility that FF SR may not be feasible. I shoot mainly wide to short tele so care less about the drop off in effectiveness
at the long end. And I greatly appreciate the cost and weight savings by not having that feature in every single lens. Whatever the rationale,
no in body SR would be a serious deal buster for me.

4. Video
Lots of noise about video as the present day must have feature for any camera. No video > serious shortcoming > no one going to buy
a camera without it. And it's gotta be 4k whatever, 'cause I wanna know I can shoot a Coca-Cola commercial with my DSLR if asked.
Meh. I've intentionally shot a half dozen videos with my various digital cameras over the past half dozen years. I've probably shot
10 times that many accidentally when the mode dial inadvertently got bumped and subsequently missed my intended still shot. Perhaps
some day I will want to shoot video. But not today. And I really don't want to pay for that feature on my camera. I have no idea what
4k video capability will add to the price of the K-FF, but if it's there I'm going to resent it unless someone can show it's a relatively
costless add-on.

I could add more, but most other features are either relatively insignificant to the decision, (24mp vs 36mp, Ricoh vs Pentax badged, etc),
or likely to be a non-issue to worry about, (the K-FF will be WR, it will be ergonomic and intuitive, etc).

So what about you?

09-23-2014, 06:07 PM   #2
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Very well said! I agree with you 100%! price, weight will definitely stop me from buying one in the near future, unless there is a big change in my life style.
that is why, even knowing pentax ff is coming, I still bought more Sony e mount system. I need cameras that can go with me.
All said, a pentax FF is still nice to have, not in my hand, but available in the market for those who need them.
09-23-2014, 06:15 PM - 1 Like   #3
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My comments.

1. Price
If I could guess, I'd say a Pentax FF price point would be Sony A7s territory, at most Nikon D750 territory, unlikely to be as high as Nikon D810 territory.

2. Size
Pentax will try to keep the FF as compact as possible. I have big hands, so a camera a bit bigger than my K-5 would not worry me in the least. If anything, I'd like it a bit bigger!

3. SR
I cannot see any reason why the Pentax in body SR system could not be upscaled to FF. No technical reason at all.

4. Video
Like you, I can't give a rats behind about video. But, we have to consider that video capability probably adds very little in cost (in terms of the hardware already incorporated) but makes the product appealing to those who want to shoot video.

I would be very surprised if we're looking at a price point beyond US$2,400. I think US$2,100 might be a better price point, in my opinion. It would not be a bad idea either for Ricoh to consider two products - a $2,000 price point and a $3,000 offering - which could go up against the professional cameras quite nicely. I can;t see them making a product that's too top end, but that's just me!

Have you voted in my poll?
09-23-2014, 06:24 PM   #4
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Original Poster
"Have you voted in my poll?"

I believe I have. Thanks for adding your input here. I agree a FF body would add much value to the existing line-up and there are legitimate demands
for it. Nonetheless, I can't help wonder how many are barking with no real intent.

I'm basing my price guesstimate on Pentax/Ricoh's trends. They typically don't bottom feed and they typically offer tremendous value. I quite expect
a FF offering to be loaded to the gills, comparable to a $4000+ body from canikony, but priced well below that mark. Time will tell.

09-23-2014, 06:47 PM   #5
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I expect , price, weight, and the amount of space it takes in my camera bag will all be limiting factors.

Besides, my K-3 is awesome.....it's like a K-5 is what I needed and the K-3 is luxury...
09-23-2014, 06:51 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by tvdtvdtvd Quote
the possibility that FF SR may not be feasible.
The Sony A 99 shows the impossibility of your infeasability!
09-23-2014, 06:58 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by tvdtvdtvd Quote
Nonetheless, I can't help wonder how many are barking with no real intent.
You're so right. If they ever annonce a FF camera, oh-so-many people are gonna be put off by the price. At the moment here (Canada) a decent FF will cost around $2000 (A7R) to $3100 (5dmkIII). A top of the line APSC is between $1100 (k3) and $1400 (A77 and 7D)... So ballpark, a FF should be about twice as much as the leading APSC camera. In Canadian dollar we'd be looking at a $3000 camera at launch.

Too many people want a FF yet won't ever be willing to pay the premium.

And then there will be the lenses... You think the DA* are expensive... Wait till the DFA* (or FA*) get launched (or re-launched). And just wait to see the older FF AF lens prices sky rocket...
09-23-2014, 08:03 PM   #8
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I think it'll be the same weight as the K-3 within 20 grams or so. I think it'll be the same size.

I think the price will be competitive in the marketplace. We don't have specs, but if it competes with the D610, it'll cost that much, and if it competes with the D810, it'll cost that much. It might be a hair higher on release because Pentax is correctly judging early adopters as willing to pay more than 'market rate'.

09-24-2014, 01:14 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by tvdtvdtvd Quote
1. Price
2. Size
3. Shake Reduction
4. Video
So what about you?
I think all critical, but not all that important. I'm currently changing on my photography and doing less sports. Still something I do from time to time. So it needs to be in the package for me. I guess for Pentax there will only be one FF camera, so it has to be versatile to a lot of photographers, mostly hobbyist.

1. Looking at prices for FF (body only) overhere FF body pricelist then for me the Pentax offering has to be at max 1.999 euro, so twice the price of K-3 at max. If it is more expensive not only I will think about a different system, but they won't sell many of them.
2. Size does matter, but this is also in part with the lenses you use. If you want 400mm/f2.8 then camerasize is no issue. For me, I like a K-3 size and not bigger. It can grow to D750 but not larger.
3. I really think that this is the main issue why we don't have a FF yet. A technical matter I think. (aps-h....) No SR means for me not buying.
4. Video has to be in it, but is not the most important thing. I don't think this ads many costs, since sensors are fast enough in pixelstransport due to our 6 fps demands (for me even with sports 4 fps is enough as long as the AF-C can keep up that number). No video, no problem. Pentaxusers are not to much interested in video in general.

5. Lenses. Well I'm ready for FF. Still trying to sell my DA40mmLtd, but the keepers FA31mm, DA*55mm, FA*85mm and DA*300mm are all FF lenses. I just need to ad the converter to be back on track with my 300mm. So there is a need for a wide angle prime and a lens like 135mm and Pentax does have already a great prime lens line for FF.

So will I buy a FF? Currently my answer would be yes when it meets my expectations. If it is some expensive 36 megapixel then probably not.
09-24-2014, 02:45 AM   #10
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Good question! A bit like I always say: The ones that really want and can afford FF, probably already have it.


1. Price
Not an issue. I'm far from rich. But I know how to save up and be patient. Price would only determine WHEN I'm going to get it. The features will determine IF.


2. Size
This is why I am so convinced that FF-MILC is the only way. (For me) Since I own the A7r I'm taking my camera along a lot more often. Even when I don't plan on shooting anything at all. The events where I left my big DSLR at home (whatever the brand or format was) and regretted it becaue a nice photo oppertunity appeared have been reduced to almost zero.

Yes, the A7r misses limited-style lenses. But I can easily slip the body in the right jacket pocket and the lens in the other. And if I or my wife are taking a bag along, it's always in there. And on family outings or whatever, I don't feel like a complete douche anymore, carrying along this giant camerabag.


3. Shake Reduction
My style of shooting causes me to leave the SR off more often then it's on anyway. I wouldn't miss it, not even if no lens stabilisation is offered in return.


4. Video
I'm still very impressed with the video that my K-5 does. The A7r does just as good, but has built in stereo mic. Which enables me to leave the giant Rode mic at home.

When I display the movies from either cameras on my big LED TV I'm convinced it can't get any better. I honestly don't know if I would see the difference between that of the forementioned cameras or 4k. It would probably require some special TV, that I won't be purchasing anyway.

The whole 4k video-thing reminds me of the megapixel war. I don't care if a camera has 24 or 28 megapixels either. Both are more then enough. Heck, I regret getting the A7r so quickly. I would have preferred that A7s with it's 12mp's and extra light sensitivity. That light sensitivy was the extra appeal of FF for me in the first place.


To sum up: Size really is the only dealmaker for me. Sadly I don't see Pentax making something super compact with an FF sensor. A shame, because the A7r system is missing limited lenses.

I still think it would be good for the Pentax brand in general if they would produce a good FF camera in whatever shape or form.
09-24-2014, 02:55 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by tvdtvdtvd Quote
"Have you voted in my poll?"

I believe I have. Thanks for adding your input here. I agree a FF body would add much value to the existing line-up and there are legitimate demands
for it. Nonetheless, I can't help wonder how many are barking with no real intent.

I'm basing my price guesstimate on Pentax/Ricoh's trends. They typically don't bottom feed and they typically offer tremendous value. I quite expect
a FF offering to be loaded to the gills, comparable to a $4000+ body from canikony, but priced well below that mark. Time will tell.
Thanks! Yes, how many will buy is certainly the question - which probably weighs no Ricoh's mind too.

---------- Post added 09-24-14 at 09:56 PM ----------

Actually, of course, the thing I want more in my camera bag is not a new camera - but rather some more nice primes!
09-24-2014, 03:02 AM - 1 Like   #12
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I expect cost of a Pentax full frame to be in the 2500 dollar range. Pricey, but still available to those who need it. f2.8 zooms will be in the 2000 dollar range. I think size will be compact -- K3-ish -- but not tiny. All of the features of a modern digital SLR do take up some space and there is a mirror and pentaprism to deal with as well. Not a problem though -- helps with ergonomics when balancing good sized lenses.

I think shake reduction is something they have been working on. Hopefully they have figured it out. The bigger the sensor, they tougher it must be to do.

Video is necessary and relatively inexpensive. All of these sensors have the capability of putting out video, the question is purely one of software solutions to put it into a video container. People make a big deal that leaving off video would "save money." I don't see how. Pentax licenses a video codec for a dollar or two per camera and then sells fifty percent more cameras because the "video box" is checked on the feature list. I just don't understand the irritation people have with video. If you don't like it, don't use it, but don't act like it adds a bunch of cost to your camera.
09-24-2014, 03:46 AM   #13
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If it competed with the D8100 and cost around $3000, or with the D750 and cost around $2000, I would be all over it.
I have FF lenses to cover everything except the ultra-wide end. I would keep my K-3 for extra reach anyway, so the DA10-17 and DA15 would fill that hole until something else came up.
09-24-2014, 04:17 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by Sandy Hancock Quote
If it competed with the D8100 and cost around $3000, or with the D750 and cost around $2000, I would be all over it.
I have FF lenses to cover everything except the ultra-wide end. I would keep my K-3 for extra reach anyway, so the DA10-17 and DA15 would fill that hole until something else came up.
That DA 10-17 with the hood removed makes a good FF lens though.
09-24-2014, 05:11 AM   #15
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Rangefinder style with at most 6-7 prime lenses, maybe one general purpose zoom. EVF or hybrid VF and the best yet made. Superb for streets and the landscape, i.e. the "field camera" Pentax talk about in their marketing materials. Full WR for mountain tops. Ergonomics and attention to detail to beat Fuji or Sony by a country mile (not hard from what I have seen) The very very best of modern Japanese design but not retro, something Pentax would be proud to set beside a Leica or a Zeiss product. A new line of HD D-FA lenses yield to no one in terms of quality and are WR too. I'd be very tempted by this even if I could not afford it, which would almost certainly be the case, but not at all tempted by another me-tooer DSLR. Too big, too heavy, too me-too. I can't see myself taking one on holiday and negotiating airline hell, for example. A K5/K3 is the max for that, for me, and even then it's too big really. I think these all-purpose DSLRs are great if you want an action cam - going on safari or something - but the long tele lenses and top AF stuff have never been Pentax's strength or style in the digital era, to be fair. Ricoh could establish a web gallery which only features images taken owners of by this camera using the lenses designed specifically for it, and if copyright issues could be fairly sorted out there would be links to the purchase of top-quaility prints and other display materials. A new and quality app to interface the camera with the iPhone would be important, too. No K-mount, at least as was; that is for the larger action-cam arena.

Last edited by mecrox; 09-24-2014 at 05:18 AM.
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