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12-26-2011, 02:28 PM   #31
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Remove the pop-up flash, too. Take all the bits related to sensing the environment away - not just the PROM but the hardware sensors, too. Leave only a match-needle exposure indicator.

12-26-2011, 02:38 PM   #32
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QuoteOriginally posted by johnmflores Quote
Add me to the choir of voices calling for a modern day K1000. Stripped down. Cheap. Fully manual. No rear LCD. Sturdy. It will be a niche product for sure, but it may also appeal to schools with digital photography courses. Literally a modern day K1000.

The "no rear LCD" would be controversial for sure, but it might encourage the young photography student to:
Such a camera would have an extremely limited market. Economy of scale would work in reverse for this camera, driving the price up (way up), not down.

Take something simple, like SR. This is a relatively complex hardware mechanism, so one would think that omitting it would reduce the cost. Pentax tried this. Remember the K110D? It was the no-SR companion to the SR-equipped K100D. The list price was $100 less than the K100D. They couldn't give it away.

There is a new generation of photographers growing up, who don't even understand what an optical viewfinder is for. They are perfectly comfortable composing their shots with the camera held at arms length. This market would laugh at a camera without an LCD. And they are where the market growth is going to come from, not us old fogies who remember that quaint historical phenomenon known as film.

If you keep the LCD, you might as well keep the menus, as well. Many of the things that people want to drop, like auto-white balance, auto-bracketing, in-camera HDR, auto-ISO, etc. are all software based. SOFTWARE ADDS ABSOLUTELY NOTHING TO THE MANUFACTURING COST OF A CAMERA. It costs just as much to burn 1MB into the camera's memory as it does 5MB.

The software development costs DO add to the cost of selling a camera. The money spent developing the hardware and software must be amortized over all the units sold. However, in the case of software, I'm sure that it is very modular and is re-used over and over again, modifying only those lines of code that are necessary for the new features. I"ll be my next paycheck that there is firmware code in the K-5 that has been in every Pentax dslr since the *istD. My point is that much of the software development money has already been spent, so leaving the software features out will not lower the selling price of the camera.

The high priced components of a dslr (my guess) are: the sensor; the LCD, the mirror/shutter mechnism; AF: SR; the prism. Only the removal of hardware will lower the manufacturing cost of a camera. Removal of software features would have, at best, a marginal effect on mfg. costs, perhaps a few dollars (under $10) per camera. So, IMHO, the greatest potential for reducing manufacturing costs is a mirrorless camera.

Its already been shown that a dslr without SR is a non-starter. See the K110D. Its already been shown that mirrorless cameras have a significant market. I suspect that a midrange or high end camera without the other hardware features would be a non-seller as well. But I could be wrong.

I also think that any camera that requires a new lens mount is extremely impractical, at least for the foreseeable future. Pentax is already supporting three lens mount systems. They can't afford four.
12-26-2011, 02:52 PM   #33
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QuoteOriginally posted by boriscleto Quote
Silicon Film tried it in the late '90s. Every six months or so they would issue a press release saying real soon now. No one ever saw a working prototype. The original model would have had a 5x crop factor and was limited to the Nikon F3. It had a number of other limitations as well, most of which would likely never have been overcome.
You can find an interview with one of the Silcon Film designers on the web, where he claims they had working prototypes that some kept using after the company folded. He indicated they found that a few variations could cover a large share of popular film cameras.

It technically could be done, but with the acceptance of dSLRs wouldn't have a market now. Also wouldn't justify, as there wouldn't be needed "add-ons" to sell for profit. Just selling a digital film where a customer just bought one would saturate the market quickly.
12-26-2011, 04:13 PM   #34
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QuoteOriginally posted by TomB_tx Quote
You can find an interview with one of the Silcon Film designers on the web, where he claims they had working prototypes that some kept using after the company folded. He indicated they found that a few variations could cover a large share of popular film cameras.
I can claim that I've been to the Moon, that doesn't mean it's true. If it had been a workable concept it would have been done.

12-26-2011, 04:32 PM   #35
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QuoteOriginally posted by noblepa Quote
Such a camera would have an extremely limited market. Economy of scale would work in reverse for this camera, driving the price up (way up), not down.

Take something simple, like SR. This is a relatively complex hardware mechanism, so one would think that omitting it would reduce the cost. Pentax tried this. Remember the K110D? It was the no-SR companion to the SR-equipped K100D. The list price was $100 less than the K100D. They couldn't give it away.

There is a new generation of photographers growing up, who don't even understand what an optical viewfinder is for. They are perfectly comfortable composing their shots with the camera held at arms length. This market would laugh at a camera without an LCD. And they are where the market growth is going to come from, not us old fogies who remember that quaint historical phenomenon known as film.

If you keep the LCD, you might as well keep the menus, as well. Many of the things that people want to drop, like auto-white balance, auto-bracketing, in-camera HDR, auto-ISO, etc. are all software based. SOFTWARE ADDS ABSOLUTELY NOTHING TO THE MANUFACTURING COST OF A CAMERA. It costs just as much to burn 1MB into the camera's memory as it does 5MB.

The software development costs DO add to the cost of selling a camera. The money spent developing the hardware and software must be amortized over all the units sold. However, in the case of software, I'm sure that it is very modular and is re-used over and over again, modifying only those lines of code that are necessary for the new features. I"ll be my next paycheck that there is firmware code in the K-5 that has been in every Pentax dslr since the *istD. My point is that much of the software development money has already been spent, so leaving the software features out will not lower the selling price of the camera.

The high priced components of a dslr (my guess) are: the sensor; the LCD, the mirror/shutter mechnism; AF: SR; the prism. Only the removal of hardware will lower the manufacturing cost of a camera. Removal of software features would have, at best, a marginal effect on mfg. costs, perhaps a few dollars (under $10) per camera. So, IMHO, the greatest potential for reducing manufacturing costs is a mirrorless camera.

Its already been shown that a dslr without SR is a non-starter. See the K110D. Its already been shown that mirrorless cameras have a significant market. I suspect that a midrange or high end camera without the other hardware features would be a non-seller as well. But I could be wrong.

I also think that any camera that requires a new lens mount is extremely impractical, at least for the foreseeable future. Pentax is already supporting three lens mount systems. They can't afford four.
There should be a way to serve a limited market and make a profit. The 645D isn't a mass market item yet Pentax says they've been quite successful with it. Keeping the price of this modern K1000 low would be critical, as is making a camera that can withstand 10 years of abuse by student photographers. Removing parts (SR, AF, LCD) will make it more durable.

Since many schools already use K1000s, the lenses will carry over. The more time students spend looking a scene and composing vs. menu diving and histogram checking and chimping will yield better photographers in the long run.

And who knows ... some of the students that learned to love photography with this camera may become lifelong Pentaxians, as many of us here are...
12-26-2011, 05:24 PM   #36
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The desire to educate the dreamers among us regarding technical details, their relation to production cost, and limited market appeal is understandable, but it entirely misses the point. We KNOW all that stuff; we don't CARE about all that stuff. Facts and rational thought have NOTHING to do with wishing-out-loud.

I do believe that with the right combination of barebones features, though, they could sell the exact same model over the course of several years and do so in an economically feasible way. After all, it would be the one model which never needed upgrading in order to compete. The enduring digital SLR version of what is the most widely produced motorized vehicle ever, the oh-so-humble 50cc Honda Super Cub....which is almost unchanged since the 1950s and which Honda sells the fool out of every year. Now there you have an example of a product which has more than earned back its development and tooling costs over the decades and which remains robustly viable despite being far outclassed by its cousins at the sexier end of the product line.
12-26-2011, 10:24 PM   #37
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QuoteOriginally posted by noblepa Quote
There is a new generation of photographers growing up, who don't even understand what an optical viewfinder is for.
Handed my wife my k-x the other day as she wanted to take some pictures. First thing she said was "how do I turn the viewfinder on?" I told her the viewfinder was the eyepiece at the top. After trying to squint through the optical viewfinder while still holding it at arms length she remarked, "You mean I have to look through this little hole? I can't believe a big expensive camera like this doesn't even have a proper viewfinder."

Now understand, my wife is way smarter than I am. And she isn't just book smart either, she usually picks mechanical things up very quickly. But an optical viewfinder was a complete paradigm shift for her as she has always used point & shoots or super-zooms. We consider liveview to be new fangled and less than an optimum experience. For her liveview or the P&S equivalent is just the way it is done and the optical viewfinder is a "silly cheap #$% way to do things on something that cost that much".
12-26-2011, 10:25 PM   #38
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QuoteOriginally posted by Mike Cash Quote
The enduring digital SLR version of what is the most widely produced motorized vehicle ever, the oh-so-humble 50cc Honda Super Cub....
Ah, but the K(zero)D won't carry you to school. (I had the 55cc version, circa 1965.)

The basic slot filled by mopeds and scooters hasn't changed much. Roads and rules are pretty much the same; some better, some worse. The same basic solution works in 1960-1980-2000-2020 with only the slightest tweaks. Same basic user interface, same workflow: Get on, ride somewhere, get off.

But the photographic environment HAS changed drastically in that time, from M42 and Argus-C3 and Kodachrome dominance, to fone.cams uploading directly to the Cloud. Users demand a lot more speed and features. What's today's simplified camera? The iPhone.

Film ideals, film-based design models, aren't dead. Even film SLRs aren't dead. IIRC Cosina still makes a 135/FF camera labeled Nikon FM10. I also see the Nikon F6 and Canon EOS-1v in the latest B&H catalog. Do you think they sell many? Right.

Could a simplified K1000-type dSLR be built? Sure it could. So could a steam-powered cycle. Enthusiasts DO build such. But not many are sold. A digital K1000 wouldn't be like a Honda Cub; it would be more of a Stanley Steamer.

12-26-2011, 10:39 PM   #39
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I predict there will come a day when component production costs are so low, companies are so out of fresh bells-n-whistles, and the market is so saturated that SOMEBODY somewhere will offer up precisely the sort of vastly de-featured DSLR we're talking about, though.

The target audience may be small, but it is still a non-zero audience. At some point it will become economically feasible to attempt to cater to the niche, and some enterprising soul will try to be the one to do it. May or may not succeed, but at some point it will be attractive enough to at least try.

And those of us who want one had better snag one quick when it happens.
12-27-2011, 02:11 AM   #40
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QuoteOriginally posted by noblepa Quote
There is a new generation of photographers growing up, who don't even understand what an optical viewfinder is for. They are perfectly comfortable composing their shots with the camera held at arms length. This market would laugh at a camera without an LCD. And they are where the market growth is going to come from, not us old fogies who remember that quaint historical phenomenon known as film.
Agreed -- we are in the age of screens/displays. My batch in my school was the last non-digital photography class, the following year they went all digital. That time, P&S cameras offered the convenience of instant review - a convenience film didn't offer- and so the school decided it's the better way to studying photography through dSLRs because going digital speeds up the process. I miss the film experience, but it's something new students today won't remember - it's something they don't have memory of.
12-27-2011, 06:03 AM   #41
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You all have made excellent points that seem well thought out. I do believe there is a limited market out there for us "old school" folks that want a no frills dslr package. If it ever comes, I will be jumping on it first thing. In the meantime I think a k110d (no SR) will fill the bill as I can use my k lenses. The Fuji x100 interests me, but I really do desire the slr format and pentaprism veiwfinder. Just wish I could have my cake and eat it, too.
12-27-2011, 08:59 AM - 1 Like   #42
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In 2004 my oldest daughter was Editor-in-Chief of her High School Yearbook and president of the Journalism Society. Please understand our school district has been for 50 years committed to teaching journalism as a business; both the newspaper and the yearbook compete nationally and winn national awards annually.

She learned photography on ancient K1000's and darkroom. as well, at school. While she was E-i-C of yearbook the publisher offered a 40% discount to any school that submitted artwork digitally rather than pasted up on boards. That was a lot of money for a book printed 6-color web process over a run of only 650 books. While yearbook profits funded film and chemicals, subscriptions had commenced a decline due to the final cost.

DSLR's replaced film in schools because the cost of film and chemicals priced the K1000 out of the curriculum - as long as we accept the fact that school districts purchased dozens of high-end Mac's and Adobe software using "Capital Budget" funds transferred from the US Federal Government as grants. Film and chemicals were allocated to "Operating Accounts."

The operating account savings were sufficient to purchaase all the Canon DSLR's and lenses needed for the entire journalism and photography-as-art class programs. The discount on yearbooks was large enough to lower the end-price so that subscriptions went back up. The Journalism operating budget was back in balance.

The real cost came when the Journalism program realized it needed an additional full-time teacher to instruct the students on computers. All the technical front-end of printing the yearbook had been transferred to the school, thus the discount was offered. The teachers' union loved that outcome!

Part of the reason a DSLR is so complex reflects the fact that all the post-processing must be done either in camera or on a PC and software provided by the user. The camera and conmputer have captured all the capital and skill of the post-processing industry.

A K1000 could only exist in a world where Kodak had fully amortized all the post-processing capital equipment - it cannot exist today.
12-27-2011, 10:07 AM   #43
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QuoteOriginally posted by pichur Quote
After fussing with my brother in law's Cannon, I realize I have no desire to fuss with all of options available on his camera. Why have them if I don't need them? I figure if they make it simple I might also save a buck or two to boot!
I found my Km really simple to use, it was my first DSLR. I used my sister's Canon a couple times and found it much more complicated.

With that said, I LOVE the idea of a K1000D. I would snap this up in a heartbeat. Not saying it would replace my K5, but for those only wanting the basics, or those looking to learn the fundamentals I think it would be perfect, especially at a lower price point.

No idea if this is actually possible, but it would be pretty cool if they could offer a conversion kit that would allow for the k1000 to shoot digitally.
12-27-2011, 11:18 AM   #44
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I think it's pretty well accepted that Pentax has a better menu/button system than Canon, overall. Paged rather than scrolling, and set up in a more intuitive way.
12-27-2011, 11:19 AM - 1 Like   #45
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QuoteOriginally posted by monochrome Quote
Part of the reason a DSLR is so complex reflects the fact that all the post-processing must be done either in camera or on a PC and software provided by the user. The camera and conmputer have captured all the capital and skill of the post-processing industry.

A K1000 could only exist in a world where Kodak had fully amortized all the post-processing capital equipment - it cannot exist today.
+1 Quite right. Film exists sitting upon an external infrastructure of labs and supplies. Digital photography has internalized all that. All PP *can* (but not *should*) occur within the camera, the digital equivalent of a Polaroid SX-70. We can think of our digicams as all possessing their own internal photo-labs for converting latent images into printable pictures. The means of controlling the processing aren't simple. Such complexity can't be erased without killing the camera.

Paraphrased: A film camera can be simple because its image processing is external. A digital camera must be complex because the processing is internal.

QuoteOriginally posted by JenniferLeigh Quote
With that said, I LOVE the idea of a K1000D. I would snap this up in a heartbeat. Not saying it would replace my K5, but for those only wanting the basics, or those looking to learn the fundamentals I think it would be perfect, especially at a lower price point.
As mentioned, a basic camera would have a small audience and thus a higher price. A basic camera is easy to simulate: set the mode dial to Green. Put masking tape over any bothersome confusing buttons, or glue them into place and paint over them. !No hay problemo!

Last edited by RioRico; 12-30-2011 at 10:30 AM.
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