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05-01-2017, 02:03 AM - 7 Likes   #1
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Insights from Japanese Interview with KP designers

A magazine/book guide to the Pentax KP is now on sale in Japan, and while I’m not going to buy it, I did have a good look at the contents in the bookshop. The part that caught my interest was a 6-page interview with the designers. I read through some of it, and here are some of the main points I could get out of it. Please note that reading Japanese is difficult for me, especially when I can't cut and paste characters into a translator, so be aware that I could have misinterpreted some parts, and there was a lot more in this interview about technical aspects and lenses that I just had to give up on.

- The idea to make a camera like this goes back 10 years. The idea was to make a digital SP, so it seems like the naming of the KP is intentionally evoking the SP.
- They mentioned that the KP was the project they worked on after completing the K-1, so I get the impression that this is the same design team and that they are not the same people that worked on the K-70.
- It is designed to be the perfect match for the Limited series lenses. The interviewer suggested that the K-7 and K- 5 were supposed to be the perfect match for the Limiteds, but the designers felt they were still too big.
- The controls were designed to be consistent with the K-1, because they hope that it will be popular as a second camera for K-1 users.
- When asked about whether a mirrorless design was considered, the answer was a very definite no. They feel the OVF is a critical part of the experience.
- There were questions about why certain features were included or left out.
Top LCD - Left off for reasons of space.
Flash - It sounds like they had prototypes with and without flashes, and that it was a source of much debate. Their final decision to include the flash was because not including the flash would force many users to carry a separate unit, and that was not in keeping with the concept of being a carry-everywhere camera.
Tilt screen - They were trying to keep the depth of the camera as thin as possible, but in the end they were hearing so many requests for tilt screens that they decided to include it.
- One of the interviewees said that he has a personal preference for the black version, because the camera was originally conceived as a black camera, and the silver variation was made later. Intriguingly, he mentioned that there had been a previous version of this camera concept that was originally designed as a “chrome” camera. In that case he preferred the chrome version to the black. It made me very curious to see that camera.

On other pages of the book, there is some nice photography, including a lot of very good images taken at ISO 12,800. One part I liked was a section on old lenses. The FA*24mm and FA*85mm look great on the KP. I hadn’t seen pictures of that combination, but they have the same two-tone look and just look right together.

Just in case you're interested in seeing the cover, this is a link to the publisher's online store.
PENTAX KP ?????BOOK??????????


Last edited by JPT; 05-01-2017 at 03:15 AM.
05-01-2017, 02:26 AM   #2
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We need an English version.
05-01-2017, 02:49 AM   #3
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They were right about the flash--I stuck with my K-5 because I didn't want to carry a flash while hiking. I pre-ordered the KP, and I am rarely an early adopter. I hope a translation will eventually be published.
05-01-2017, 03:26 AM - 2 Likes   #4
JPT
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I'm pretty sure there is no chance that this interview will be published in English. The book is done by a magazine that only publishes in Japan, and similar interviews in the past have never been translated. Sorry, but incomplete though it is, my summary is the best you're likely to get.

RubyT - You're going to love the KP. I bought a K-5iis not that long ago, so I can't really justify getting another camera so soon, but if I was buying a camera now, the KP is definitely what I'd get. It's like they shrunk the K-5, put most of the tech of the K-3 inside, put the controls of the K-1 on it, and made it look a bit like an old film camera, but not in a cheesy way.

05-01-2017, 04:40 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by JPT Quote
I'm pretty sure there is no chance that this interview will be published in English. The book is done by a magazine that only publishes in Japan, and similar interviews in the past have never been translated. Sorry, but incomplete though it is, my summary is the best you're likely to get.

RubyT - You're going to love the KP. I bought a K-5iis not that long ago, so I can't really justify getting another camera so soon, but if I was buying a camera now, the KP is definitely what I'd get. It's like they shrunk the K-5, put most of the tech of the K-3 inside, put the controls of the K-1 on it, and made it look a bit like an old film camera, but not in a cheesy way.
Well, then, I thank you for your work. I already do love it! I got mine in the first batch shipped, and it's been everything I'd hoped for hiking, and it's quite a jump in high ISO from the K-5. Also, I really like that night-vision LCD option. I had been kind of busy and didn't even know this in the works until it was officially announced and right away I knew it was what I'd actually been waiting for. (Not to dis the K-1, but I'm 5'1" with missing chest wall muscle on one side, so a lighter camera is important to me.)
05-01-2017, 01:29 PM - 1 Like   #6
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The design team wound up making a lot of right decisions, first being to go with having a built-in flash. The concept of a walk-around high-end compact design would certainly be compromised by having to carry a flash unit. Fine that the one guy likes black cameras, and the black KP is also beautiful, but it was a great decision to finally produce a high-end body in silver/black to match the excellent silver-finished Pentax lenses. Makes sense, for a change. And people are liking the beautiful results! The KP does seem to be ideally designed with the Limited primes being a better match-up, and I am looking forward to putting mine on a KP! In terms of performance,including high ISO, it is amazing the degree to which they have succeeded packing so much power into a compact body, that so well complements being a matched APS-C companion to the amazing K-1! If one cannot get a K-1, and/or wants a more compact version, the KP is it!

The jury is still out for me when it comes to the top LCD and dedicated DOF preview control having to make way for the new topside controls design, and also as to the tilt screen vs the swing-out articulating as with the K-S2, K-70. I won't know until I own one for a while and see how I make good use of these new features.

Some people have seen the KP as overpriced. Especially since you can get a new K-3 or K-3 II for less. For one thing, these older models are being discounted as outgoing models to reduce inventory, making room for the next replacement. What they do not take into account is the KP being a completely new design. That means a lot of investment and cost by the company, from R&D to complete retooling. The K-10D was such compared to the next after, the K20D. The K-7 was such, compared to the K-5 series and the K-3 series. If one looks at the initial prices of each completely new design in terms of the dollar value of that time, the price of the KP is reasonable for a newly-developed, uniquely formulated, relatively lighter and compact, high-performing, metal-bodied DSLR. I think it is already proving to be very attractive, and likely to be around for quite a while.

Last edited by mikesbike; 05-01-2017 at 01:36 PM.
05-02-2017, 01:12 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by mikesbike Quote
a high-end body in silver/black to match the excellent silver-finished Pentax lenses
Yes, we had no choice with the K1...
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