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09-30-2010, 01:29 PM   #1
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Is FF going to be viable for 3 mfr?

I'm not in the market for any FF camera, my present K20 exceeds my abilities. However, i would like to upgrade to a Kr or a K5 6 months down the line.

But i do find the machinations of the various camera mfrs to be fascinating.

So there is this guy on dpreview by the name of Ursinho who wrote an interesting report about his subjective observations of 2010 Photokina vice the 2008 which he also attended: (i realize that subjective opinions are just that, but his observations about the seeming lack of show energy about FF cameras seems surprising)

Photokina Report 2010, Part IV: Pentax SLR Talk Forum: Digital Photography Review

Quote from Ursinho
QuoteQuote:
Two years ago I wrote: “I've seen the stands of Hasselblad, and Mamiya, and Rollei, and Leaf, and Phase One. They were all crowded! ... Pentax 645D in early summer '09? Just about time, I'd say… Position it as what it was before, the "wealthy amateur" version of the pro league, get the pricing right (!) and maintain backward compatibility - well, and Pentax will have a pretty comfortable market niche on its own.“ It‘s certainly great that Pentax finally did it and offer the 645D as of January 2011 in Germany and many other countries. The estimated street price of 11,000 € is over the top, though. Why is it that they screw up pricing almost permanently?

Anyway, medium format was a trend two years ago - but not so much any more. Even the Hassy stand wasn‘t attracting half the interest than last time. Wake up, Pentax, the digital camera business is still moving faster than you are!

Talking bigger formats, last time my impression was: „There won't be a Pentax FF ... FF will become what Canon's APS-H is today - an intermediate format for sport and action pros.“ Actually, this time nobody was seriously talking about those larger sensors anymore, not even Canon, Sony or Nikon. Pentax will never launch one and those who consider jumping ship might be well advised not to hesitate too long as there might be little left to jump on.
Now is this writer's conclusion infalliable. No, of course not. But i think his observations are fascinating. There are many examples of find technological improvements that didn't stay around in the long term, just because they weren't presented right, weren't marketed right, etc.

So you experts, please no criticism of ursinho, but what do you think of FF's viability for the next 5 years. Is there going to be sufficient sales of these cameras to keep the current 3 manufactures in the market place with those models???

Does anyone have the sales figures of 2009 vice 2010 of FF cameras? I think they would be an interesting indicator of what the market place is like. Hey, in the USA, we are still struggling with an economic downturn. And i have relatives that are underemployed, 3 were layed off at some point, and 2 others are very concerned about their jobs and companies.

It isn't a question, in my mind, of whether FF is better technically than aps. The question i think this writer raises is whether there's sufficient photographers with money out there to afford enough FF systems to keep these models going? And where is consumer interest going - most of it seems to be focused on the EVIL models?

looking forward to an interesting discussion, i hope to learn

09-30-2010, 02:01 PM   #2
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I think with the D700 and 5d MkII being sold now for over 2 years, at decent prices, without a whole lot of depreciation, is an indication that they are selling well and it wouldn't make financial sense to upgrade them just yet. I'm sure both will be one upped in 2011, and FF will continue on. It isn't going anywhere. As far as this person saying Pentax will never come out with a FF body, he may be right on that one.
09-30-2010, 02:18 PM   #3
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I think he's right, as I've been saying all along (with many others in this forum), it really makes little economic sense for Pentax to produce an FF flagship and enter a niche that is already crowded with three contenders.

In fact, if I had to wager a guess, there's a good chance Sony will exit the niche in the not too distant future.

There *IS* potential in an FF size-sensor EVIL market, however, and if Sony plays their gaime right, they might grab it with a vengeance. Being the maker of their own sensors is a huge plus in that regards, because anyone wanting to venture into such a niche, as the M9 has shown, needs to deal with issues of telecentricity, etc.

Insofar as I believe that the future of imaging is in mirroless cameras, this will be the one chance that Sony, if they're serious about it all, can come up on top and dominate. We'll see.

If the new battleground is going to shift into that arena, Pentax will do good to grab onto the coattails of Sony, so to speak, because in such a world, the only company that could take on Sony is going to be Canon––the other company that makes its own sensors––and I don't see Canon willingly licensing out their sensors to anybody.

Nikon, being the behemoth they are, could come to the party late, and still survive. But they are not going to be the ones driving such a market forward (but who knows... if/when I see that rumored Nikon EVIL, I might change my mind).

It'll be a tumultous ride.


One thing for certain? The FF DSLR battlefield is a battlefield of the past. Not where Pentax wants to be at this point in the game.
09-30-2010, 02:25 PM   #4
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Why would Pentax release a FF? Canon and Nikon have that niche locked up and even Sony can't compete in that segment. An EVIL is possible but would be marketed to the K-x/K-r segment.

09-30-2010, 02:27 PM   #5
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Just like all technology, progress will continue. Silicon darwinism will mold what we know today into what we long for tomorrow.

No doubt, a (slightly) smaller, most likely mirror-less or EVIL equivalent full frame is around the corner from someone.
09-30-2010, 02:53 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by philbaum Quote

Photokina Report 2010, Part IV: Pentax SLR Talk Forum: Digital Photography Review

Quote from Ursinho


Now is this writer's conclusion infalliable. No, of course not. But i think his observations are fascinating. There are many examples of find technological improvements that didn't stay around in the long term, just because they weren't presented right, weren't marketed right, etc.

So you experts, please no criticism of ursinho, but what do you think of FF's viability for the next 5 years. Is there going to be sufficient sales of these cameras to keep the current 3 manufactures in the market place with those models???

....


It isn't a question, in my mind, of whether FF is better technically than aps. The question i think this writer raises is whether there's sufficient photographers with money out there to afford enough FF systems to keep these models going? And where is consumer interest going - most of it seems to be focused on the EVIL models?

looking forward to an interesting discussion, i hope to learn
He is right and wrong.

In one sentence to answer your question - Full frame would be there in future, it may very well be only three or two company offering. (and when i say two i mean canon and sony not canon and nikon). It is very likely to be three company offering.

Here is why:

His observations are alright but conclusion (if he concluded that full frame won't be there then) are wrong.

First thing to notice is that last 2 years or so has been a transient period and there is not so subtle change taking place. Movement towards EVIL type of cameras. There is lot of buzz in that sector. And companies are putting effort into it. Oly Pana and sony are doing it and in the background very likely canon and nikon (and pentax too) might be working on it. So it explains lack of excitement in full frame sector.

Lack of excitement in medium format sector could be explained by price difference of full frame and medium format. Now that image quality in full frame is high people might just buy full frame rather than very expensive medium format.
(same might be true between apc and full frame but full frames are not so expensive compared to apc at the moment for example A850 for 1800$).

This is why lumping full frame and medium format together as large sensors and writing them off is not good idea.

Now to the part about future of full frame.

You must understand that there will be a product if there is money to be made.
So it means that there will be offering for medium and full frames in future. Just that medium format one might be too limited as very niche product while full frame be easily available.

Full frame and canon + sony
Canon and sony makes their own sensors. They have everything to make full frame sensors and they are already making it. They also make APC cams. Thus it is easier for them to offer full frame at cheaper prices. (they can sustain little loss since they are big). Nikon does not make sensors (at least do not manufacture them). So they are weak link and very likely to write it off if not making them money.

(Thom Hogan was wrong about Sony in his recent predictions that sony would give up full frame. Sony has been releasing full frame based lenses if someone is carefully observing).

Future of full frame may very well be EVIL or SLT type design of sony. (Depending on AF in video).

PS: I am very rarely wrong with my preditions. In 2005 i did predict about rise of EVIL cams, 5 years i am every bit right. I am pretty confident about my predictions this time too.
09-30-2010, 03:09 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by RawheaD Quote
There *IS* potential in an FF size-sensor EVIL market, however, and if Sony plays their gaime right, they might grab it with a vengeance. Being the maker of their own sensors is a huge plus in that regards, because anyone wanting to venture into such a niche, as the M9 has shown, needs to deal with issues of telecentricity, etc.

If the new battleground is going to shift into that arena, Pentax will do good to grab onto the coattails of Sony, so to speak, because in such a world, the only company that could take on Sony is going to be Canon––the other company that makes its own sensors––and I don't see Canon willingly licensing out their sensors to anybody.

Nikon, being the behemoth they are, could come to the party late, and still survive. But they are not going to be the ones driving such a market forward (but who knows... if/when I see that rumored Nikon EVIL, I might change my mind).

It'll be a tumultous ride.


One thing for certain? The FF DSLR battlefield is a battlefield of the past. Not where Pentax wants to be at this point in the game.
Sony pretty much holding the trump card for FF EVIL; since have the ability to make FF sensor and sensor based IS. Canon/Nikon would have trouble competing in this space since most of the lens are big chunky lens (including IS/VR). However, Pentax can play the same game if Sony provides them with the sensor, otherwise, they are pretty much out of it.

As far as the FF DSLR future, it will be only two contender - Canon and Nikon.

Also, most people consider FF an end to cure their CBA; they are not really looking for an upgrade unless it is broken. So, don't expect massive acceptance of FF camera until it is economic cheaper to produce FF sensor than APS-C sensor; which may never come.
09-30-2010, 04:41 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by boriscleto Quote
Why would Pentax release a FF? Canon and Nikon have that niche locked up and even Sony can't compete in that segment. An EVIL is possible but would be marketed to the K-x/K-r segment.
The sensor cost the same kind of money regardless if it is in an EVIL or in a DSLR. EVIL FF is very unlikely except in a strict niche product even by FF standards. If anything, EVIL emphasis will be on smaller sensors.
EVIL have 1% of the market in 2010. DSLR 7% of the market. I would estimate that the market potential for an FF EVIL camera is 1/20th of an FF DSLR based on the latter unsurpassed penetration among serious amateurs and professionals.

My prediction is that FF will stay at todays sales volume and maybe loosing marketshare as the total volume of DSLR sales increase. I cannot see any sign that FF is going to happen soon as some have predicted for the last ten years!

09-30-2010, 06:07 PM   #9
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I don't think Pentax will enter the Full Frame market either. It doesn't make sense for an almost niche company to enter a niche market. I don't think it would make economic sense.

I also think that its possible that Canon and Nikon had invested a large amount of money on FF sensors, as the yields are no doubt smaller. So to even bring these prices down, to what they offer now, they might have had to manufacture or buy huge stocks of it. Since we know the FF market is pretty small anyway, they might be just sitting on a stock of sensors and milking what they can. I mean why not? People are still buying your current offerings, and they are still performing at a high level.

Pentax may not be able to buy into a large enough stock of sensors to offer a low enough price to compete in the FF market either. Although it seems since they do offer a medium format camera... I don't know. But, that market is smaller than FF, so maybe prices are so high that it doesnt matter and they don't need to buy/manufacture them at a high rate.

Besides, their current K-r and K-5 offerings are very nice! Pentax is in a good place right now, they need some marketing and some more brand recognition.

Last edited by kalison; 09-30-2010 at 06:12 PM.
09-30-2010, 06:15 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by Pål Jensen Quote
The sensor cost the same kind of money regardless if it is in an EVIL or in a DSLR. EVIL FF is very unlikely except in a strict niche product even by FF standards. If anything, EVIL emphasis will be on smaller sensors.
EVIL have 1% of the market in 2010. DSLR 7% of the market. I would estimate that the market potential for an FF EVIL camera is 1/20th of an FF DSLR based on the latter unsurpassed penetration among serious amateurs and professionals.

My prediction is that FF will stay at todays sales volume and maybe loosing marketshare as the total volume of DSLR sales increase. I cannot see any sign that FF is going to happen soon as some have predicted for the last ten years!
If one day, Sony comes out with a FF EVIL with sensor based IS and small interchanging (pancake) lens, that will be really something. They have the technology, they have the fab, and they have the lenses; although Pentax may have more pancake lenses.
09-30-2010, 07:18 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by zxaar Quote
Nikon does not make sensors (at least do not manufacture them). So they are weak link and very likely to write it off if not making them money.
I don't follow this statement. Nikon can buy sensors from Sony. Sony can make sensors regardless of whether they use them in their own cameras or not - they're an electronics company, not just a photo company. So why would Nikon go out of the picture?
09-30-2010, 07:57 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by Laurentiu Cristofor Quote
I don't follow this statement. Nikon can buy sensors from Sony. Sony can make sensors regardless of whether they use them in their own cameras or not - they're an electronics company, not just a photo company. So why would Nikon go out of the picture?
you are correct in what you say but i followed my statement with IF. I said if full frame is not making them money, they might give up. (But one can argue that the same is true for canon and sony too).

I think nikon would be there in full frame because of pro market they cater to. Same reason for canon.
09-30-2010, 08:07 PM   #13
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If you look at last years lens releases from Nikon, you can only conclude that Nikon believes in Full Frame.
09-30-2010, 08:14 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by Laurentiu Cristofor Quote
I don't follow this statement. Nikon can buy sensors from Sony. Sony can make sensors regardless of whether they use them in their own cameras or not - they're an electronics company, not just a photo company. So why would Nikon go out of the picture?
The dance between Sony/Nikon/Canon/Pentax & others on the issue of digital sensors would make a fascinating business case study.

I used to work for a mid-sized company where one of the key components was supplied by a corporation which was also a major competitor at the Full System level.
Similar case to digital sensors in that the combination of design, manufacturing technology, patents and financial muscle was held by a handful of companies in the whole world - you had no choice but buy from one of them.
They treated us with due respect as a customer, but I always had the feeling they were holding something back for their own benefit - whether it was pricing, deliveries, technical support or new product availability.
Understandably , I would say.
Having a major competitor as a key supplier as well is always an uncomfortable business relationship
09-30-2010, 08:29 PM   #15
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Once you take away performance with regard to noise, which is improving greatly with APS-C, FF becomes a very niche product that charges a hefty premium for things like FPS and other broadly desirable features.

When APS hit film I thought it was the stupidest thing ever. With the advent of digital sensors that outperform film, I'm pretty fond of it.
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