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07-03-2010, 08:09 AM   #46
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I'm gonna be stunned if Pentax comes out with a FF camera anytime soon. I know folks don't like hearing it, but the way Pentax is positioning themselves right now is EXACTLY how they used to be positioned in the film days....smaller format cameras where the bodies were relatively inexpensive, yet extremely ergonomic, coupled with lenses that were equal to the offerings from any other manufacturer...if you needed something more,you had to jump to MF, where again, they offered affordable, ergonomic bodies coupled to great lenses. I waited more than 30 years for Pentax to compete on the high end with Canon and Nikon. Back in the film days, it wasn't FF that we lusted for...it was competitively priced f2.8 80-200 lenses or even an f2.8 300mm...or f2.8 200mm. Then, as now, for the price you had to pay to get a Pentax lens in that range, it was almost cheaper to go buy a lower end Canon/Nikon body and the lens you wanted, than to shell out the bucks for the Pentax equivalent lens. Even though Hoya is now steering the ship, based upon what I've seen so far, they seem more intent upon using what has worked in the past with the Pentax brand, rather than trying to blaze new trails. I think we Pentax users are going to be faced with the choice of either using the best APS-C cameras on the market, or else bumping up to a really killer MF DSLR. It makes sense when you think about it. 99.9% of the amateurs can get along just fine with a really good APS-C camera. For pros who need something more (those who are shooting weddings, portraits, commercial products, fashion, landscapes, etc...), they can move up to the 645D and write the cost off on their taxes. All Pentax is really doing is ignoring those amateurs who long for FF, but can't write the added expense of the 645D off as a business expense. That narrows things down considerably.

07-03-2010, 11:09 AM - 1 Like   #47
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I don't think it's about what amateurs can get by with. It's about what they want. The FF side of things is less popular than smaller formats, but only because of the price. The price is coming down, and there is less now that Pentax could put in an APS-C body and sell for what their high end bodies typically go for.

Staying committed to APS-C alone, or at least appearing to stay committed, will be a bad idea, even if for only another year. In my opinion, this is the year that it will be crucial to at least announce a FF if they will ever do so. They're gonna lose those at the top that want to know they have somewhere to go, whether they need it or not. The close to $10000 645D isn't an option for most.

A FF Pentax wouldn't have to compete with Canon, Nikon, or Sony FFs. It would undoubtedly be targeted primarily at those using Pentax already, and those that are used to, and expect Pentax's pros and cons.

My prediction is also based on the nature of Pentax lately. The most recent DSLR release was in September, a year before the upcoming Photokina, but it's still selling well so they probably won't replace it. The most recent APS-C lens release was what, the WR kit lenses? That was a year ago and they were only upgrades. The last lens released was a FF lens. The last lens roadmap removed any mention of new APS-C only lenses(DA* 30mm).

They surely wouldn't release a new from the ground up high-end APS-C DSLR this year(the K-7 is only a year old). They don't do that, so if all we can expect is a K-7 super and then maybe a marginal upgrade to the Kx I think most will be disappointed. Would they put in a new sensor for the K-7 upgrade? If so, what sensor, from who? If they kept the same sensor, how would they significantly improve output? What else would they do to upgrade it? New AF, new video?
They can do FF and make a profit. They have decades of FF experience with all the mechanical bits. R&D would be minimal. Trying to get all they can out of APS-C, while putting FF off for the future would not work out well, I imagine. They need to go FF. They could introduce FF lenses to fill the gaps in the APS-C line-up.

The Pentax strategy of the past marginalized them. They seem to be on the way up, and should ride that wave.

That's my rant. It's not meant to be doom and gloom at all, but sooner or later Pentax is going to have to go FF, and the sooner the better, IMO.
07-03-2010, 11:34 AM   #48
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QuoteOriginally posted by Pål Jensen Quote
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.
You sure about those sales #'s on the 12-24? I know of 3 people with them in a small city of 75k in an obscure part of Canada. All bought in the last 2 years. There has been a sales stall on them lately because of rumours of a VR version. not sure why. This is a WA tripod lens for the most part. Worldwide it sells considerably more volume than you think. What are people using their D3's and D700's with? If you put that much into a body, you're going to get the right lenses. A lot of people shoot WA, and the 14-24 is better than many primes.

Yes, Pentax wold need a 24-70. And something longer, like a 28-105. There will also be a market for a traveller's zoom. Whether or not Pentax would let WA be a prime or a zoom market is hard to tell. What is likely is that the traditional range of primes (16, 20, 24, 28, 35, 50, 77, 85, 100, 135, 150, 200, 300, 400, etc.) are simply not possible anymore. Too many pieces for too few customers when some zooms match the IQ of the primes. This applies to WA as equally as it does to tele and mid. Even Sigma offers a 12-24 WA for FF, indicating a market considerably larger than a couple of hundred buyers per year.

Last edited by Aristophanes; 07-03-2010 at 02:36 PM. Reason: tpyo
07-03-2010, 11:34 AM   #49
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QuoteOriginally posted by Votesh Quote
The Pentax strategy of the past marginalized them.
Their past strategies also gave them the largest selling SLR in history.

07-03-2010, 12:44 PM   #50
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Yes, but the K1000 was introduced about 30 years ago. So change past to recent. They lost most of their market share whether the K1000 was still selling well even as it was becoming an long in the tooth. Also, when the K1000 was released they were at, or near the top of the market. They don't have that luxury these days. With less than 5% of the market they need to make sure they keep their higher end users/buyers, that not only spend more on bodies, but also have more to spend on lenses and accessories. Attracting entry-level users is great, but there's no reason not to strive to keep the advanced hobbyists too.

All that said, I won't be leaving Pentax if they don't release a FF soon. I've got 2 FF cameras from Pentax(LXs) that get daily use, generally at the expense of my K-7. I just wish I could have a FF digital too, because I prefer the FOV of my primes on film as opposed to APS-C digital. I would also welcome the IQ advantage that FF would present.
07-03-2010, 02:43 PM   #51
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QuoteOriginally posted by Aristophanes Quote
You sure about those sales #'s on the 12-24? I know of 3 people with them in a small city of 75k in an obscure part of Canada. All bought in the last 2 years. .
Nikon can sell a lot of them with their marketshare and position in the pro market. Pentax can't.
07-03-2010, 02:45 PM   #52
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QuoteOriginally posted by Votesh Quote
Yes, but the K1000 was introduced about 30 years ago. So change past to recent. They lost most of their market share whether the K1000 was still selling well even as it was becoming an long in the tooth.
Pentax sold millions of the Spotmatic, K1000, ME, MX and ME Super...
07-03-2010, 04:17 PM   #53
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QuoteOriginally posted by Pål Jensen Quote
Nikon can sell a lot of them with their marketshare and position in the pro market. Pentax can't.
So Pentax would have a DA WA 12-24 but no WA zoom for FF?

That's not gonna work for the landscape gang. If Sigma cooperates, it's off-brand, if not, then it's major lost sales anyway.

They'll need a WA zoom for FF.

07-03-2010, 04:23 PM   #54
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QuoteOriginally posted by Pål Jensen Quote
Pentax sold millions of the Spotmatic, K1000, ME, MX and ME Super...
And they lost critical markets trying to be "everyone's" camera. They lost the pro market, and that took the emerging prosumer as well, where most of the $$$ is.

Now the K1000 is the "student camera". Are they learning in art school on a Pentax and then graduating to a "pro" camera like Canikon? Sounds like it. How the mighty have fallen.

In their day Pentax was the hipster camera company. Then Nikon and Canon made the real money off the endorsement and the yuppie camera market (there were yuppies in the late 60's and 70's, ask my Mom). Canon in particular went for advertising (as did Minolta which became #3) in key markets, and diversified into other consumer electronics.

It's all history that bears repeating.
07-03-2010, 04:31 PM   #55
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But the camera referenced was the K1000. Also, all of those cameras were released decades ago. Like I said, they WERE at or near the top of the market back then. Now they have 4th place in market share and less the 5% of yearly DSLR sales.

QuoteOriginally posted by Pål Jensen Quote
Pentax sold millions of the Spotmatic, K1000, ME, MX and ME Super...
07-03-2010, 05:25 PM   #56
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12-24mm on APS-C is 18-36 on FF. I'd say they could release a WR 20-35mm f4 using the design they already have.

It would fit with their current APS-C strategy for lenses. That and a 28-70 2.8, plus a few more primes, especially if they were WR, would be a good start.

QuoteOriginally posted by Aristophanes Quote
So Pentax would have a DA WA 12-24 but no WA zoom for FF?

That's not gonna work for the landscape gang. If Sigma cooperates, it's off-brand, if not, then it's major lost sales anyway.

They'll need a WA zoom for FF.
07-03-2010, 07:59 PM   #57
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QuoteOriginally posted by Aristophanes Quote
S

They'll need a WA zoom for FF.
need != need at launch... for the launch it is good enough to have bread and butter 2x-7x/7x-2xx zooms and that's it... for as long as they will not make a new mount FA lims will be good enough as fixed lenses
07-04-2010, 04:53 AM   #58
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QuoteOriginally posted by Votesh Quote
All that said, I won't be leaving Pentax if they don't release a FF soon. I've got 2 FF cameras from Pentax(LXs) that get daily use, generally at the expense of my K-7. I just wish I could have a FF digital too, because I prefer the FOV of my primes on film as opposed to APS-C digital. I would also welcome the IQ advantage that FF would present.
I know it may not seem like it, but that's pretty much the way I feel, too. The only APS-C lens that I have is my 18-55 kit lens. Every other lens I own would work with FF. I'm just saying that it would go against Pentax's traditional strengths to try to compete in the upper end of small format cameras. It was mentioned that Pentax lost the pro market, but the truth is that Pentax never really had much of a foothold in the pro market, except for their medium format cameras, which did quite well.
07-04-2010, 06:09 AM   #59
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QuoteOriginally posted by TaoMaas Quote
I know it may not seem like it, but that's pretty much the way I feel, too. The only APS-C lens that I have is my 18-55 kit lens. Every other lens I own would work with FF. I'm just saying that it would go against Pentax's traditional strengths to try to compete in the upper end of small format cameras. It was mentioned that Pentax lost the pro market, but the truth is that Pentax never really had much of a foothold in the pro market, except for their medium format cameras, which did quite well.
Here's a Pentax advantage as the market stands right now. Pro photography is dying. It will not disappear, but it is shrinking both in # of professionals and revenues.

Photojournalism is down by something like 50% in the last 5 years as citizen-fed via internet photos have come to dominate. Wedding photo pros are under pressure from someone's cousin who has a wicked good DSLR; that's always been the case, but now with automated systems and burst modes it is fa easier for the hobbyist to compete and get the shot. Not to mention all the self-help available on the web.

iStockphotos? That's another one. Even some areas like architectural and product shoots have dwindled due to the realm of secondary skill, not primary skill contracted out. I know of a law firm that has an intern do the photos, and is also articling. In fact, photographic skill was a criteria for the position. The equipment has levelled the playing field to "good enough", even for forensic work.

The key market is the prosumer, not the pro. This is where the LBA exists, where the $$$ are, and . This is why Canon,and to a lesser extent Nikon, have lost market share. Canon in particular relied on its sponsorship and endorsement system to market its products, but the web and consumer generated reviews have damped that approach considerably, as have independent testing facilities not reliant on ad revenues like the older magazines did (did the ever really fails a lens test?).

So the 645D makes a lot of sense because it is on price points where the big difference between fiscally squeezed pros and high-end prosumers can meet. Canikon are not there. As well, they cannot rely on the their traditional revenue streams such as media agencies. This plays to smaller players like Pentax because they can compete at the prosumer level. But this is a fickle, demanding market, and if FF cameras start to get to the US$1,500 price range, APS-C will stop selling within 25% of the MSRP of that price point.

That looks likely to happen, but when? If Pentax is not ready, there will be a severe market issue for the company.
07-04-2010, 07:24 AM   #60
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QuoteOriginally posted by Aristophanes Quote
They'll need a WA zoom for FF.
Sure they do (eventually), but a 14-24/2.8 is not realistic....
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