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View Poll Results: would you invest in the new "back to the basics" k system (please read post)
if price 75% body, 50% lenses 1317.81%
if price 50% body, 75% lenses 1621.92%
when hell freezes over, no thanks. 4460.27%
Voters: 73. You may not vote on this poll

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07-22-2010, 06:54 PM   #1
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the "back to the basics" poll

following a )initially tongue-in-cheek) short discussion on a thread here, i'm curious how many of us would actually be attracted by such an idea. here's the scenario:

pentax forks the dslr system in a new direction: manual focus (effectively smc-a).

- weather sealed bodies, proper mf focusing screen from factory (katzeye style: focusing aid, dof preview friendly, etc).
- new range of lenses, perhaps many based on proven smc-a designs, perhaps weather sealed, nice solid no-nonsense build, no af coupling, relatively cheap, mostly primes, aperture ring. the few zooms would include aperture ring (?) but also contacts to report focal length (to simplify using SR)

initially bodies might include a focusing motor for screwdrive af, for the transition, but let's assume we're talking about the full deal: no motor, no compromise, fully mf camera and lenses. also let's assume it would be aps-c (don't want "false" results from the "full frame freaks" here ).

for simplicity sake, let's assume something like a k7 or k20d for reference.

would you "commit" to such a system if:

1. body would be slightly cheaper (say 75% or reference), lenses would be considerably cheaper (slightly pricyer than the smc-a on the s-h market: say 200usd for the new smc-a 50/1.4); full lineup from ultrawide to mid tele (135 in apsc), in fast primes, 1500 "whatevers" instead of 3000 "whatevers" (12/4, 16/2.8, 28/1.8, 50/1.4, 85/1.4. 135/1.8 , joking, 135/2.8, let's say)

2. body "promotionaly cheaper", say 50% of reference, lenses slightly cheaper than af counterparts. say 2000 whatevers for lineup in fast primes, instead of 3000 whatevers.

3. i don't care, i won't touch such nonsense, want my AF!

of course, if something to add to your choice (as in: "2, but only if it comes in pink with blue stripes") do post.

07-22-2010, 07:10 PM   #2
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Im in... Im 38 years old, and Ive learned to take photos in the manual focus/film era... I wish I could have a camera like the one you describe...
07-22-2010, 07:57 PM   #3
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I'd have liked a couple more options on your poll, but I see where you're going. I enjoy my three old Rikenon lenses with the K-7, though I don't believe I fully understand how they're metering so my exposures are not consistent yet. I'd really like a better screen inside to show my focus more precisely, as I'm not convinced the blinking focus point is deadly accurate (and I'm too new to live view to be comfy with it). A few other 'retro' features would be fun as well - e.g. can we have the LX-5 square format too?

Once the ManFocus craze gets going perhaps someone will start a company that re-coats old lenses; that's the main drawback of classic lenses for me.
07-22-2010, 07:57 PM   #4
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No manufacturer would even consider building such a DSLR. For every person who says they want manual focus only equipment there are hundreds if not thousands wanting faster AF. There would be little incentive for the manufacturer to put out a basic camera when they get a greater return for the value added stuff. They would probably charge more for it because of the low number of units they would sell.

And how basic do you want to go? If price is your major factor you can buy a 3 year old camera for very little, and use it fully manual with lenses set to manual and get excellent image quality.

Why not get rid of that silly modern viewfinder, real photographers don't need a TTL viewfinder. Instead of a focusing ring why not use a bellows and a slide? Why have 12 elements in a lens when 2 will do?

How about instead of a sensor you have a removable glass plate that you have to coat yourself? It doesn't get more basic than that.

I know I'm being silly, but so are the people hearkening for equipment like the stuff they had in the glory days of yesteryear. Those days are gone forever, embrace the 21st century! You will never see a DSLR like that from any manufacturer. Fortunately they still give us bodes that can go fully manual, so we can feel like we are back in the olden days before conveniences like auto focus, presliced bread, and indoor outhouses.

07-22-2010, 08:27 PM   #5
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the same can be said of zoom lenses, for instance (and has been said several times since they came out), still some people want primes, similar for rangefinders vs slrs, the likes of sigma dp (or what it was called) and olympus ep (pen) are also niche products, but it doesn't mean there isn't a market for them. it doesn't mean i want to buy one either. nobody said this will suith everyone, we're talking about a niche market. nobody said pentax would do it, or anybody eles for that matter, either, and that's besides the point anyway: the question was if we would want it, not if anybody would make it. it is not far fetched enough that the question is not worth asking, imho.

besides (if you want to open that can of worms), it could be argued that those hundreds or thousands have already gone to canon or nikon. now what you have left is a community of "screwball" photographers, who seem to be actively seeking out old lenses to buy, and swaping their screens with katzeyes or similar. some because they can't justify 1k bucks for a new premium lens, others because their style simply doesn't suith bothering with af (it annoys me to no end when i shoot landscape for instance, and.. well, every other time too. i like to take my time anyway, and i know i'm not alone). why not go to those people directly, with something suited to them? but that was not the question anyway, the question is would you like it or not, assuming it's here now (by some miracle)
07-22-2010, 08:31 PM   #6
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jimr: get one of those cheap chinese focusing screens for your k-7 (i have the "travor" one, pretty decent). cheap enough that you can afford to just give it a try. for my k20d it also calmed down the metering insanity to a considerable extent (that issue is mostly caused by the focusing screen). for the 20 bucks or so it costs, i think it's worth a shot.
07-23-2010, 05:16 AM   #7
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This is not news or rumor. Moved to DSLR.
07-23-2010, 05:42 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by nanok Quote
following a )initially tongue-in-cheek) short discussion on a thread here, i'm curious how many of us would actually be attracted by such an idea. here's the scenario:

pentax forks the dslr system in a new direction: manual focus (effectively smc-a).

- weather sealed bodies, proper mf focusing screen from factory (katzeye style: focusing aid, dof preview friendly, etc).
- new range of lenses, perhaps many based on proven smc-a designs, perhaps weather sealed, nice solid no-nonsense build, no af coupling, relatively cheap, mostly primes, aperture ring. the few zooms would include aperture ring (?) but also contacts to report focal length (to simplify using SR)

initially bodies might include a focusing motor for screwdrive af, for the transition, but let's assume we're talking about the full deal: no motor, no compromise, fully mf camera and lenses. also let's assume it would be aps-c (don't want "false" results from the "full frame freaks" here ).

for simplicity sake, let's assume something like a k7 or k20d for reference.

would you "commit" to such a system if:

1. body would be slightly cheaper (say 75% or reference), lenses would be considerably cheaper (slightly pricyer than the smc-a on the s-h market: say 200usd for the new smc-a 50/1.4); full lineup from ultrawide to mid tele (135 in apsc), in fast primes, 1500 "whatevers" instead of 3000 "whatevers" (12/4, 16/2.8, 28/1.8, 50/1.4, 85/1.4. 135/1.8 , joking, 135/2.8, let's say)

2. body "promotionaly cheaper", say 50% of reference, lenses slightly cheaper than af counterparts. say 2000 whatevers for lineup in fast primes, instead of 3000 whatevers.

3. i don't care, i won't touch such nonsense, want my AF!

edit note,

I did not address lenses and don't know whether pentax would make any MF only lenses, or perhaps a better approach would be to license the A series designs to a company like samyang who seem to be making lenses similar to the A series lenses presently.

of course, if something to add to your choice (as in: "2, but only if it comes in pink with blue stripes") do post.
I was thinking about this a few days ago, and think there are 2 bodies that might capture attention of people. I am not sure whether this would be a simple cult following, or a real commercial success.

I think if you took a K7 or similar camera, and created two bodies out of it.

One would be an M42 body with full aperture coupling (i.e. spotmatic ES II or similar) that permitted open aperture metering.
the second would be a body with a fully equipped KAF2 mount, which would permit open aperture metering on K mount lenses,

Both bodies would be equipped with TTL flash, have a range of viewfinders including split image by pentax, but all the advanced features of the K7 including focus confirmation.

No AF needed hence no motor, or perhaps the K mount could retain the AF motor and be useable for both MF and AF lenses.

I used to think this idea was nuts, but the more I use my old MF lenses the more I wonder about it. I have essentually made my K10D the second body with a split image any way


Last edited by Lowell Goudge; 07-23-2010 at 06:33 AM.
07-23-2010, 05:56 AM   #9
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I'd love to see the digital version of a K1000. Well with a better focusing screen. My eyes ain't what they use too be.
07-23-2010, 06:07 AM   #10
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For me : when hell freezes over!

On the other hand if there is a market for. But is there a market for? Take a K-7 and take out all the stuff you don't need for basis photography: AF-sensor, screwdrivemotor, moviemode, al the filters inside, no need for hi-speed modus so less electronics inside. Do you oldschoolguys need LiveView or Shake Reduction? How much cheaper can it get?

Last edited by RonHendriks1966; 07-23-2010 at 06:18 AM.
07-23-2010, 06:17 AM   #11
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I have several such cameras already: Pentax Spotmatic, Fujica ST-701, Argus-Chinon CR-3E, Minolta SRT-101, etc. And some even more basic, eg no batteries: Praktica L2 and FX3, FED-5, many folders etc. The most basic are the Prakticas, especially the FX3: no pentaprism, just a top-down groundglass viewscreen. The Vivitar Series 1 Version 1 70-210/3.5 is a bit unwieldy on the FX3 but any smaller M42 lens is quite practicable. It's just wizard with a 24/2 mounted. Et cetera.

So we're trying to chart the course of future non-film cameras, eh? Electronic, sure. Analog electronics... probably not, it'll be digital, until holography becomes more convenient. So, bigger and/or smaller dSLRs? Maximal, minimal, in-between-imal? If minimal, then: mirrorless, motorless, LCD-less, lens-less, how much can be shaved away? If maximal, then how much more stuff can be stuffed into a camera? And how many strange variants might be tested in Japan, that never or only slightly see and influence the outside world? (I read that m4/3 is quite popular in Japan only.)

I own a minimal motorless digicam, a 1mpx fixed-lens Sony DSC-P20 from 2001, an ultimate P&S. No focusing, except to flick the MACRO switch when needed. The lens shield is also hand-cranked. I note that it did not become the wave of the future, that there ain't too many fixed-lens digicams around. That's one strain of minimalism that didn't survive the Darwinian marketplace of cameras. Maybe if it was marketed as hip and flakey, like a Holga or Lomo, it could succeed. Right. And what is the market share of Holga and Lomo? Right.

OK, so somebody (probably not Pentax) might make a non-AF APS-C body, maybe mirrorless -- and it might have a modular mount system, so ANY legacy lens could find a home. And such a body would be welcomed by all us glass-guzzling lens freaks. And what portion of the camera market are we? Right.
07-23-2010, 06:22 AM   #12
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It would be cheaper, easier, and more marketable for them to just create a special MF kit that includes the focus screen installed. Maybe selling it with only a special edition limited lens at 35 or *gasp* 31 to match a unique silver color.

Virtually no R&D just slightly increased marketing costs to reach that audiance.
07-23-2010, 06:57 AM   #13
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I still use my manual lenses. They aren't going anywhere and I will most likely add a couple more as time goes on. That said, I use the AF lenses 80% of the time. I doubt that Pentax or any of the other major manufacturers will make a fully MF camera. It's easy enough to operate our cameras in that manner now if we choose to. There is a niche market for a product like that but the only way any manufacturer could make enough to justify it, the cameras would have an incredibley high price tag. As for MF lenses, the same can be said also. It's the high sales volume that makes our hobby affordable. They would have to be very cheap (think Samyang) or very high quality and expensive (think Carl Zeiss).
07-23-2010, 08:28 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by reeftool Quote
There is a niche market for a product like that but the only way any manufacturer could make enough to justify it, the cameras would have an incredibley high price tag. As for MF lenses, the same can be said also. It's the high sales volume that makes our hobby affordable. They would have to be very cheap (think Samyang) or very high quality and expensive (think Carl Zeiss).
+1
That's why the poll question scenario is very very unlikely. There is little chance they can sell it at 50% of K-7 price. They probably have to make it a "limited" style product and sell for a higher price to have any chance of breaking even on this project.
07-23-2010, 08:57 AM   #15
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I voted when hell freezes over, because my eyes are old and decrepit. My idea of back to basics camera would be one that skips the scene modes and green mode, and just has M, Tv, Av, Tav, and B modes. Oh, and all of the AF lenses should have Quick Shift focus adjustment.
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