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10-15-2015, 04:54 AM   #1
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Significance of the low K-3 prices

The ongoing round of low price offers on the K-3 and K-3ii leads me to wonder what significance, if any, this may have for the 35FF, to be available in the Northern Spring.

It strikes me that there are three main possibilities, arising from this:
  1. There is no significance to it;
  2. The APSC flagship is being discounted to allow the 35FF to come in at a lower price than its competitors; or
  3. A replacement for the K-3ii is to be announced soon, possibly at the same time as the 35FF.

2 and 3 aren't mutually exclusive, of course.

10-15-2015, 05:19 AM   #2
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I think Ricoh has stated on numerous occasions that they will continue their strong commitment to the APS-C line. There is also little indication that the FF will retail well below $2,000, considering it will likely have a 36 MP or higher resolution sensor. So I see little competition price-wise between the APS-C and FF lines.

And I cannot see the great price drops you're mentioning? The K-3 II was introduced for a suggested retail price of $1099 (US) / 769 (UK). B&H currently sells it for about $900, and WEX Photographic sells it for 669. That's a pretty standard street price after a couple of months.
10-15-2015, 05:20 AM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by RobA_Oz Quote
It strikes me that there are three main possibilities, arising from this: There is no significance to it; The APSC flagship is being discounted to allow the 35FF to come in at a lower price than its competitors; or A replacement for the K-3ii is to be announced soon, possibly at the same time as the 35FF. 2 and 3 aren't mutually exclusive, of course.
For a normally running business (not a case of bankruptcy), dropping prices (and margins) to capture more sales in the short term is not the way to go because it is harder to increase prices of the same product, except if a new product is planned, a new price can be set , justified by new features/specs, and margin recovered.

So, K-3 price drop means three things:
- stimulating sales to maintain a certain revenue and pay the bills
- based on production capacity usage and marginal cost (drop prices if the prod. line is not loaded)
- secure the FF business case by incentives to get people invested in k-mount in one way or another. DFA150-450, DFA24-70 also serve this purpose. After people will buy a DFA24-70, they will more likely wait for a Pentax FF body to mount the lens on it (already hooked), and they'll be less price sensitive. The more time spacing between DFA lenses and FF body releases, the more people already invested in DFA lenses will compare the price of Pentax FF to the cost of switching body and lenses to another brand. If Ricoh was releasing a set of 3 DFA lenses and 1 Pentax FF body at the same time, the cost of Pentax FF upgrade could be compared to switching to Canon or Nikon equivalent setup. But if the Pentax DFA lenses and body are not released at the same time, buying the Pentax FF body only will look cheaper than switching to Canon or Nikon, even is the Pentax FF body is sold at a premium compared to what competitors will release.

In my opinion, following the spin-off of Sony semiconductors, and the introduction of Sony RX1II and A7IIr, and Canon 5Ds, it is very likely that Nikon will release new high-end FF models next year all equipped with 42+ Mpixel sensor and 4K video. So I guess Ricoh intends to release a similar product instead of looking obsolete right at the start (so Pentax FF won't be cheap, so better have Pentaxians already invested in DFA lenses).

Last edited by biz-engineer; 10-15-2015 at 05:33 AM.
10-15-2015, 05:41 AM   #4
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Another possibility is that the whole APS-C line up is being adjusted, with the mass market models being the K-S1 and the K-S2, the K-3ii being the enthusiast model (like a Canon 80D), and a new pro model being introduced to compete with the Canon 7D mk2.

This might seem a bit fanciful, but the K-50 does not really seem to have a direct replacement. So perhaps the K-3 is meant to serve that purpose. Then, if we imagine that the full frame has some new technologies in it, it would be logical to also make an APS-C model that leverages them. That might sit above the K-3, rather than directly replace it.

10-15-2015, 05:57 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by JPT Quote
Then, if we imagine that the full frame has some new technologies in it, it would be logical to also make an APS-C model that leverages them
Agree - you want to spread the cost of your new tech by putting it in as many bodies as you sensibly can - if it took, say, $10 million to develop the new whizbang gizmo, you've got to split that cost among all the bodies that incorporate it; the more there are, the less the price hike on each to have the gizmo inside. Of course what possibly complicates things is the cost of integration into two different designs, but if you are starting from the ground up with a hypothetical APS-C K-1*, that cost is absorbed in ground-up development; putting it into a K-3-IIs (or whatever) would be a different and possibly more difficult/costly affair.

* = assuming this designation is not taken by the full-frame. My guess is they've been saving the even numbers for that, so the first one may be the K-2D or KD-2 (to differentiate it from the original film K2), with ascending even numbers reserved for future FF development. If indeed (as some have hypothesised) high-end APS-C is one day headed for the junkyard (which it will if FF bodies become cheap enough), this leaves ascending K-S and K-(even) numbers for ongoing open-ended assignment to mid-range APS-C and all sorts of full-frame bodies into the foreseeable future.

---------- Post added 15-10-15 at 10:35 ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by RobA_Oz Quote
The ongoing round of low price offers on the K-3 and K-3ii leads me to wonder what significance, if any, this may have for the 35FF
What it suggests to me is that Ricoh KNOW they have a physical camera on the production line RIGHT NOW, and they KNOW they will have enough to release in spring. So the high end is becoming the new mid range. If the FF is too expensive for some people to buy when it comes out, Ricoh are betting that they will say "But OMG look at the price on the K3-II and all the goodies they're packaging with it!" and jump at that. (No, they aren't packaging the K3-II with goodies right now, but that might change. A DA50 or 18-55/50-200 WR set and an entry-level tilt-head flash would make for a pretty good package out the door.)
10-15-2015, 06:14 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by JPT Quote
Another possibility is that the whole APS-C line up is being adjusted, with the mass market models being the K-S1 and the K-S2, the K-3ii being the enthusiast model (like a Canon 80D), and a new pro model being introduced to compete with the Canon 7D mk2.
Considering that Ricoh Imaging is still a rather small player in the camera industry, I doubt they will extend their APS-C line to four models. Besides, the K3 and K3 II are already challenging the Canon 7D Mk II. They are very similar feature wise and in terms of build quality, with the 7D Mk II trashing the K3 for AF.C and subject tracking, and the K3 being firmly ahead in terms of image quality.

QuoteQuote:
This might seem a bit fanciful, but the K-50 does not really seem to have a direct replacement. So perhaps the K-3 is meant to serve that purpose. Then, if we imagine that the full frame has some new technologies in it, it would be logical to also make an APS-C model that leverages them. That might sit above the K-3, rather than directly replace it.
I was always under the impression that the K-S2 succeeded the K50? It offers everything the K50 did (weather sealing, bright 100% viewfinder, two control wheels etc.), with some major improvements. The K3 is situated faaar above the K50, there is no way it was meant as a successor to the K50. If the FF has some cool new features, the K3 II successor will get them. The K3 II was only a minor update over the K3 anyway, so the next update will be more substantial.
10-15-2015, 06:20 AM   #7
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My guess is, while the production line is going, prices stay relatively high, and the sales cover the cost of keeping the line going. Once sales fall below the cost of keeping the line going, they stop and make something else. Then, selling remaining stock which is paid for by the original price structure, is money in the bank, no matter what price they sell it for. So the significance of the price drop could be that the units are no longer in production. By the time K-3s and K-3IIs are gone, or just before they are gone, the next big thing will be released.

Rumours that the extra un-anticipated need for some extra K-3IIs to make up for the small number replaced on warranty led to the delay of FF production, would tend to suggest, it's a really tight production cycle, with very little extra capacity.

But really, I know nothing.
10-15-2015, 07:23 AM   #8
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I think Pentax knows that the K-3 cameras are going to take a hit once the FF comes into the market so they're trying to sell as many now as possible. However, after the initial rush has passed, I expect Pentax to come out with another great APS-C camera to take the place of the K-3. I think that for the time being, Pentax's emphasis will still be on APS-C until the FF camera can convince them otherwise.

10-15-2015, 07:59 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by FantasticMrFox Quote
Considering that Ricoh Imaging is still a rather small player in the camera industry, I doubt they will extend their APS-C line to four models. Besides, the K3 and K3 II are already challenging the Canon 7D Mk II. They are very similar feature wise and in terms of build quality, with the 7D Mk II trashing the K3 for AF.C and subject tracking, and the K3 being firmly ahead in terms of image quality.



I was always under the impression that the K-S2 succeeded the K50? It offers everything the K50 did (weather sealing, bright 100% viewfinder, two control wheels etc.), with some major improvements. The K3 is situated faaar above the K50, there is no way it was meant as a successor to the K50. If the FF has some cool new features, the K3 II successor will get them. The K3 II was only a minor update over the K3 anyway, so the next update will be more substantial.
All good points, and I'm probably wrong, but I see it a bit differently.

Starting with the K-S2, I remember that when the K-30 was released, it was a massive improvement over the K-r. In fact it brought a lot if the features of the K-5 to a lower price point. I don't think you can say that about the K-S2. When you compare it to the K-50, the improvements are mainly convenience features and size reduction at the expense of ergonomics. Not many of the features of the K-3 were handed down to it. In the meantime, the K-3 is pretty cheap and there isn't much space between them.

The K-3ii sells for about 105,000, which is close to the Nikon D7200 and the Canon 70D (sorry I thought there was an 80D by now in my previous post). I know there's an argument to say the K-3 is equal in features to the 7D mark 2, but that camera sells for 150,000 even after a yearn the market. It was a sell out for 200,000 yen on its release. I guess that Ricoh will want a piece of that, and actually, I think Nikon will respond to it too. I don't believe this nonsense that some people talk about FF cameras "killing" high end APS-C, not as long as a healthy market exists for them in Japan. Ultimately, I think it's the price points they are targeting.
10-15-2015, 08:12 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by TaoMaas Quote
I think that for the time being, Pentax's emphasis will still be on APS-C until the FF camera can convince them otherwise.
Yep. If they've got a blow-em-out-of-the-water winner, after the fashion of their medium-format success, we can expect further developments to come quickly. I reckon if you strip out SR and pixel shift, and go mirrorless to free up space and complexity, you could put an FF sensor into an MX-sized body with retro-style control knobs; perhaps a little thicker in the back for a basic screen, or even do without it and present all the necessary data in the OVF. P, M, Av, Tv, TAv if you really, really feel you need it; ISO 80-51,200; hotshoe for flash or GPS unit, green button for stop-down for pre-A mount lenses, SDM contacts for modern lenses, and that's it. Bare-bones, retro lightweight mirrorless full frame, no bigger than some micro 4/3, but compatible with the entire K mount lens range since forever. Slap the DA40 Limited or XS on that and you have a full-frame camera you can drop into your pocket (I've tried it with the 40 Limited and P3; it works). It wouldn't eat into the market for a full-featured full-frame camera, but it would make a big splash in the mirrorless world and might bring some defectors back to Pentax.
10-15-2015, 08:43 AM - 1 Like   #11
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My guess is that Ricoh has decided that they will try to build the base as much as they can by selling K3s at a relatively low price. They certainly aren't losing money on these cameras and every additional person they get to buy Pentax APS-C is a possible person to buy Pentax full frame at some point in the future.
10-15-2015, 10:30 AM   #12
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- The K-3 is already dirt cheap. The $649 Adorama deal includes a flash and 50mm lens. If you kept the camera and sold the lens and flash on eBay, the cost of the camera is only $500 or so. That is a lot of camera for the money. The K-3ii isn't much different outside of the pixel shifting thing. When the FF comes out used K-3s should sell for $400 or less.
- Ricoh priced the 645Z very aggressively.The K-3 was priced similarly to competitor offering, but much better when the weatherproofing is considered. If this aggressive pricing works, and I have no idea what the goals were for Ricoh, we should expect something similar for the FF.
10-15-2015, 12:02 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by RobA_Oz Quote
The ongoing round of low price offers on the K-3 and K-3ii leads me to wonder what significance, if any, this may have for the 35FF, to be available in the Northern Spring.

It strikes me that there are three main possibilities, arising from this:
  1. There is no significance to it;
  2. The APSC flagship is being discounted to allow the 35FF to come in at a lower price than its competitors; or
  3. A replacement for the K-3ii is to be announced soon, possibly at the same time as the 35FF.

2 and 3 aren't mutually exclusive, of course.
I think they may be getting ready to do a "TOC" upgrade to the K3ii that is if the prices are really dropping that much, watch for bundling of flashes etc. like they did just before they came out with the K3ii which was a "TIC" upgrade. In the computer world they have what they call tic/toc upgrades a tic being a small upgrade and a toc would be a major upgrade.
10-15-2015, 12:11 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by MikeD Quote
I think they may be getting ready to do a "TOC" upgrade to the K3ii that is if the prices are really dropping that much, watch for bundling of flashes etc. like they did just before they came out with the K3ii which was a "TIC" upgrade. In the computer world they have what they call tic/toc upgrades a tic being a small upgrade and a toc would be a major upgrade.
K3-IIs? What sort of major upgrade would you be expecting? We've already got internal GPS, pixel shift, no AA filter... Unless they're going over to a higher-MP sensor (unlikely; this would probably warrant a model number change) or have found new tricks to play with the existing one (research spillover from the FF?).
10-15-2015, 12:58 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by FantasticMrFox Quote
…I cannot see the great price drops you're mentioning? The K-3 II was introduced for a suggested retail price of $1099 (US) / 769 (UK). B&H currently sells it for about $900, and WEX Photographic sells it for 669. That's a pretty standard street price after a couple of months.
Yes, the UK and Australia don't seem to have the specials that have been advertised recently in the US. Why they don't is a mystery to me, unless the strategy is to make an impact in the US market, and allow the other markets to benefit from reduced prices off the back of increased US sales.

Adam has been diligently notifying us about the rash of US specials, as have some others, here.
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