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07-02-2010, 09:47 AM   #31
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QuoteOriginally posted by northcoastgreg Quote
This cuts to the heart of the matter. The decision to introduce an FF dslr must be, in the final analysis, compelling from a business point of view. Pentax must feel comfortable that they can make a profit from such an undertaking. Selling lenses is more profitable than selling cameras, not merely because there tends to be greater margins on lenses, but because you sell more of them.
That *used* to be true back in the day when a camera body like the Minolta X-700 could stay virtually unchanged on the market for 18 years. With that stability in the body, discretionary money went into lenses. A lens flyer I have from 1986 for Pentax has something 52 lenses + bellows etc.

Now, bodies are like cars, with a yearly model expected, but slower turnover on the lenses, especially the big investment glass. That's why the Nikon D3 came out at over $7k and inspired Hitler parodies!

But overall, glass is where the margins are because optical formulas are sunk costs. For Canon, Nikon, Pentax, Sony, and Olympus (less Sony) the crown jewels are their lenses.

07-02-2010, 09:56 AM   #32
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QuoteOriginally posted by northcoastgreg Quote
Now an FF lens like the 14-24 would be +$1,700. Other FF lenses, though not as expensive, would still be pricey. Can they actually make a profit selling such lenses? Is their potential FF market big enough? Maybe, maybe not. It is precisely the uncertainty that Pentax is facing in regards to this question that would make them fearful of entering the FF market.
That's why I suggested aperture trade-offs. A Pentax 14-24 could shave at least 1/3 off the current Nikon comparative price by going to a f/2.8-4. Less "pro" but far more affordable (and smaller, lighter). Also the Pentax version could be WR. And SR, which the Nikon is not.

There's different paths to get there.

The more I look at the market dynamics, the more I realize that falconeye is essentially correct in that they will be forced to move to FF for their mid- to high-end bodies. Within 2 years Sony will be there and we might get a surprise from Canikon this Fall. APS-C will be budget to EVIL (at mid-price points, not low-end; whoever says EVIL is a low-end market is not looking at current price points).

Last edited by Aristophanes; 07-02-2010 at 10:31 AM.
07-02-2010, 10:01 AM   #33
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I would say if anything, APS-C is more of an uncertain proposition than FF. Pentax already has trouble competing in the APS-C market, except on the low end. They are unlikely to release a truly pro body in either FF or APS-c. "Pro" APS-C cameras go for more than $1600. Hobbyist FF cameras go for as little as $2000. There isn't much margin between the 2. While they can't compete in the "pro" APS-C market, they are the only company that can compete in the FF K mount market.

I have a K-7 and there isn't much that could be improved that would make me upgrade within APS-C, regardless of future offerings, and especially if release prices remain around $1300 and only drop to $700-800. Maybe I'm in the minority of K-7 users though. I think it's an excellent camera and it will remain my only DSLR until Pentax goes FF.
07-02-2010, 10:25 AM   #34
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If I were Pentax I would put all my effort into the entry-level market. Why? They need to get their name out there! If they sell 5-7 K-x's for every theoretical full-frame, think how many more people would know their brand name. They need to become a bit more well-known and flesh out their low-end side before they start making pro cameras. The 645D does not follow this because it uses another lens mount and it is a different ecosystem.

07-02-2010, 10:32 AM   #35
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QuoteOriginally posted by sushi warrior Quote
If I were Pentax I would put all my effort into the entry-level market. Why? They need to get their name out there! If they sell 5-7 K-x's for every theoretical full-frame, think how many more people would know their brand name. They need to become a bit more well-known and flesh out their low-end side before they start making pro cameras. The 645D does not follow this because it uses another lens mount and it is a different ecosystem.
They really need to improve their IQ on the P&S line. Much else about that line is very good, except the IQ nets them near last place in most tests.
07-02-2010, 10:53 AM   #36
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Apple has defied the world for years with creative product introductions and secrecy, not to mention nutty high price points.

These products defy typical marketing logic, and what we think people will ultimately buy or not.

Almost every pro review labeled their IPad as worthless and irrelevant, yet look at what the sales figures show.

When it comes to marketing insight, 9 times out of 10, the marketing experts are wrong.
07-02-2010, 11:44 AM   #37
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A Pentax FF wouldn't be a pro camera. It would be a more expensive camera, but not a huge amount more. The Kx and it's successors will always sell better than a FF, at least for the near future. Having a FF camera won't change that or steal entry-level sales. NOT have a FF camera will do no good for Pentax, unless they were dumb and did something like sell it at a loss. Having FF provides something to aspire to for those that come in at the entry-level, and it provides something for the higher end users to move on to, instead of jumping ship and going to another brand, either wholly or as a second system.

The bottom line is that there isn't too much higher to go with APS-C. Sure they could stuff a higher pixel count sensor in a body, marginally improve sensor performance, and improve AF, but what then? What else will they do to make an APS-C body marketable above $1200? Or will they just resign themselves to the lower-end where profit margins start to decrease, and will continue to decrease at the same time as expectations rise?

If they want to remain a (semi)major player in the DSLR game they will have expand to FF at some point. The longer they wait, the further they will be behind in yet another segment of the market. There is obviously a future in FF, and waiting will do Pentax no good.

They could undoubtedly make and profit off of a FF camera. Most of the R&D will have been covered, seeing as they have APS-C and MF DSLRs. The same goes for FF lenses. They have the optical formulae worked out. Would they be market leaders? No. They would be the same niche brand they are today, with incomplete offerings, but reliable, unique products. The same as they will be whenever the get in the FF game.
07-02-2010, 12:44 PM   #38
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New Math

QuoteOriginally posted by sushi warrior Quote
If I were Pentax I would put all my effort into the entry-level market. Why? They need to get their name out there! If they sell 5-7 K-x's for every theoretical full-frame, think how many more people would know their brand name. They need to become a bit more well-known and flesh out their low-end side before they start making pro cameras. The 645D does not follow this because it uses another lens mount and it is a different ecosystem.
I think you're a bit off, here. It would be more like 50-70 new entry-level cameras for a high-end FF. For a point of illustration, we wish we knew the ratio of FF Nikons to D40s.

Your point is exactly right: Pentax cannot sell a second camera to someone until they sell the first to that customer. Hard to sell good Pentax glass to a D3000 owner.

Let's face it - most DSLR users are not active on a forum like this. We are a minority and will not, by ourselves, buy enough gear to keep the Pentax doors open.

Now, if I can get a K-something in my college colors, with the K-X sensor, and a way to tell me exactly where my AF is .... Better yet, instead of having to tell the assembled group to smile for the camera, the new K-something would play a tune of my choice when I press the shutter halfway. That would get smiles.


Last edited by glanglois; 07-03-2010 at 11:23 AM.
07-02-2010, 01:45 PM   #39
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Fullframe Secrecy

Do you remember what happened to the ex-president of Leica, Steven Lee, when he let slip a year in advance that the Leica M9 would be a FullFrame camera? He was promptly sacked.

By announcing a FullFrame camera, Leica customers no longer wanted to purchase M8 (cropped format) cameras and accessories. This left Leica's dealer network calling for his head, killing sales and profits.

Further reading:

Steven Lee fired - Photo.net Leica and Rangefinders Forum

Leica Drama: CEO Steven Lee fired! - 1001 Noisy Cameras

Leica fires CEO after full-frame M speculation from Adorama Learning Center

There were some other reasons, Lee was a little rebate happy which can hurt sales of premium goods. Rebates do have a purpose and can help stimulate sales, but should be used sparingly at the end of a product's life cycle.

A Pentax Fullframe might be coming but it's not for sale yet and can't bring any money in the door. Pentax may also be sitting on a large amount of DA lens stock which might be harder to move once a FullFrame DSLR is announced. Pentax Canada let slip that a number of DA lenses were discontinued but the page was quickly changed.

Here's a link discussing it:

Discontinued Lens List [Page 1]: Pentax SLR Talk Forum: Digital Photography Review

The economy isn't the best right now. Nikon was supposed to release a D700 replacement by June of this year but hasn't. Instead, I noticed a lot of rebates. The same with the Canon 5D Mark II replacement (I've recently read possibly Photokina along with a new Canon 50mm 1.4 prime priced at $700.00). Canon has been rebating the 5D Mark II also. This tells me that Nikon and Canon are still sitting on a lot of stock on both cameras. The new cameras can't be released until the old inventory is cleared out.

Having a smaller market share than Nikon or Canon I see Pentax playing its cards very close to its chest.

I've already noticed some drastic price cuts from Panasonic/Olympus on the M4/3 system. This might be preparation for any new mirrorless announcements at Photokina, (Canon is rumored to be working on an APS-H EVIL). Olympus was already complaining in the past at the close margins and lack or profits in the M4/3 and 4/3 formats. Unfortunately it looks like Olympus put all of its eggs in the 4/3 and M4/3 basket. I did read a rumor (can't locate the link) that Olympus might introduce a larger format camera at Photokina (this may have been a loose threat from Olympus to help Panasonic reach deeper into its pockets to keep its only serious M4/3 partner.

Back to the original topic, I don't see Pentax announcing anything too early. It might hurt current sales. Especially with the K-X selling so well. Pentax should at least make a public commitment that DA lenses will be usable on future cameras (in a cropped mode) to alleviate any buyer anxiety. Nikon FullFrame DSLR's have compatibly with APS-C lenses in a cropped mode, Canon does not.

It's not just FullFrame, I see Pentax developing and bringing out an EVIL camera but am not sure which Pentax will announce or release sooner. Just as long as it's not 4/3 or M4/3 I'll be interested! APS-C is as small as I'm willing to go. Ideally I would love to have a FullFrame mirrorless camera someday to compliment my FullFrame DSLR.

Hurry up already with the FullFrame K mount DSLR Pentax (and some great new D-FA primes), that is what I want to purchase next!




QuoteOriginally posted by Unsinkable II Quote
I would have thought it would work to their favour to announce it early.

Much like the 645D.

There is a ton of MF legacy glass lying around, and people want to know if a digital body can make use of it.

By announcing a FF body early, you'd get the attention of owners of Pentax 35mm glass, many of whom no doubt are currently using other brands.

I would conclude that Pentax isn't going to release a FF body this year.

If they do release one, they boobed by not saying so earlier (am not suggesting revealing full specs, just "there's going to be a FF body!").
07-02-2010, 03:12 PM   #40
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QuoteQuote:

The reason the Sigma 120-300/2.8 is not offered is that it is an FF model by design. When Pentax comes with FF, Sigma would likely offer. Currently Pentax cedes the long zoom market to Sigma and Tamron.
that has not stopped all the other FF lenses for pentax including the 70-200 f2.8 and 300f2.8
07-02-2010, 03:22 PM   #41
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QuoteOriginally posted by Aristophanes Quote
That's why I suggested aperture trade-offs. A Pentax 14-24 could shave at least 1/3 off the current Nikon comparative price by going to a f/2.8-4. Less "pro" but far more affordable (and smaller, lighter). Also the Pentax version could be WR. And SR, which the Nikon is not.
.

Such Pentax lens will never come. Does Canon have one? Hardly anyone shoot wider than 20mm on FF anyway.
The salesvolume for a Pentax 14-24 lens will be very low and hence price VERY high. Perhaps 200 units sold world-wide in 5 years.
What they need is a 24-70/2.8 and maybe a 70-210/2.8. Add an 18mm or 20mm and a 24mm and Pentax would be reasonable well set to introduce FF.
07-02-2010, 03:36 PM   #42
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ira Quote
Apple has defied the world for years with creative product introductions and secrecy, not to mention nutty high price points.

These products defy typical marketing logic, and what we think people will ultimately buy or not.

Almost every pro review labeled their IPad as worthless and irrelevant, yet look at what the sales figures show.

When it comes to marketing insight, 9 times out of 10, the marketing experts are wrong.
Apple hires some of the most keen minds in marketing.

I know some of them and I am a beta tester for Aperture.
07-02-2010, 03:42 PM   #43
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QuoteOriginally posted by Votesh Quote
A Pentax FF wouldn't be a pro camera. It would be a more expensive camera, but not a huge amount more. The Kx and it's successors will always sell better than a FF, at least for the near future. Having a FF camera won't change that or steal entry-level sales. NOT have a FF camera will do no good for Pentax, unless they were dumb and did something like sell it at a loss. Having FF provides something to aspire to for those that come in at the entry-level, and it provides something for the higher end users to move on to, instead of jumping ship and going to another brand, either wholly or as a second system.

The bottom line is that there isn't too much higher to go with APS-C. Sure they could stuff a higher pixel count sensor in a body, marginally improve sensor performance, and improve AF, but what then? What else will they do to make an APS-C body marketable above $1200? Or will they just resign themselves to the lower-end where profit margins start to decrease, and will continue to decrease at the same time as expectations rise?

If they want to remain a (semi)major player in the DSLR game they will have expand to FF at some point. The longer they wait, the further they will be behind in yet another segment of the market. There is obviously a future in FF, and waiting will do Pentax no good.

They could undoubtedly make and profit off of a FF camera. Most of the R&D will have been covered, seeing as they have APS-C and MF DSLRs. The same goes for FF lenses. They have the optical formulae worked out. Would they be market leaders? No. They would be the same niche brand they are today, with incomplete offerings, but reliable, unique products. The same as they will be whenever the get in the FF game.
And if Pentax doesn't go FF, or make plans to do so, they will certainly bleed core customers who want better.

They will take with them lens demand, and that will force Pentax into a commodity, not a Limited, position when it comes to its lens offerings.

That will complicate the image of Pentax as a quality brand, an engineered camera system with hand-crafted Limited lenses, etc.
07-02-2010, 08:28 PM   #44
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Exactly.

My hope for Photokina is that they announce a few things. A new AF system that is drastically improved, which is featured in a FF body that's the smallest FF DSLR yet, priced somewhere near $2000. Then a "new" high end APS-C body that is mainly just a K-7 upgrade with the new AF, and some other incremental upgrades, priced around
$1150. Add a few high quality, FF compatible, WR lenses, and I think they would make a splash.

It seems completely possible to me, but whether it's probable is another issue. I think it would be a logical step in the right direction, and not too risky.

QuoteOriginally posted by Aristophanes Quote
And if Pentax doesn't go FF, or make plans to do so, they will certainly bleed core customers who want better.

They will take with them lens demand, and that will force Pentax into a commodity, not a Limited, position when it comes to its lens offerings.

That will complicate the image of Pentax as a quality brand, an engineered camera system with hand-crafted Limited lenses, etc.
07-03-2010, 03:39 AM   #45
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QuoteOriginally posted by Votesh Quote
Exactly.

My hope for Photokina is that they announce a few things. A new AF system that is drastically improved, which is featured in a FF body that's the smallest FF DSLR yet, priced somewhere near $2000. Then a "new" high end APS-C body that is mainly just a K-7 upgrade with the new AF, and some other incremental upgrades, priced around
$1150. Add a few high quality, FF compatible, WR lenses, and I think they would make a splash.

It seems completely possible to me, but whether it's probable is another issue. I think it would be a logical step in the right direction, and not too risky.
I think we will see an FF Pentax late next year at the earliest. Before that we will see a K-7 replacement with image quality matching some FF offerings currently available. We will also see a camera between the K-8(?) and the K-x....
Just guessing...
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