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03-22-2011, 07:15 PM - 1 Like   #1
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The full frame Pentax that never was

Found this article and found it interesting.

This is back in 2001.

If Pentax had made a full frame DSLR in 2002, where would we be now?

How many of us would be using full framed DSLRs?

That MZS design is one I still lust after.

Enjoy

NEWS! - Pentax EI-3000 and unnamed digital SLR - exclusive pics!





03-22-2011, 07:16 PM   #2
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Pentax 6mp Digital SLR hands-on: Digital Photography Review
03-22-2011, 09:20 PM   #3
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This seems to come up every now and then.
The common thought is that full frame for Pentax back then would have been unviable and quite possibly broken the company. Have you read about the other company that chose to use the same sensor and went down the drain? (can't remember, but I think it was Contax).
03-22-2011, 09:46 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by goddo31 Quote
The common thought is that full frame for Pentax back then would have been unviable and quite possibly broken the company. Have you read about the other company that chose to use the same sensor and went down the drain? (can't remember, but I think it was Contax).
You're right, it was the Contax N DSLR, which I believe was the first full frame DSLR available to the public. Kyocera had something to do with the production/distribution. The Contax N could go as low as ISO 25, but according to reviews noise got pretty obvious above anything over ISO 100.

According to dpreview the initial MSRP for the Pentax would have been around $7,000. Merlin's Beard!

03-22-2011, 09:47 PM   #5
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haha, i figured it'd have been here before.

sorry for the repost
03-23-2011, 03:16 AM   #6
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The sensor performance of that sensor was lousy and the cost was out of this world. It is fortunate that Pentax didn't go that route.
03-23-2011, 06:38 PM   #7
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To answerthe Op's question, in a word. Bankrupt
03-23-2011, 07:50 PM   #8
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Great post

05-03-2011, 05:44 AM   #9
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I think the market and technology is now mature enough for a full frame Pentax DSLR. But something smaller than that monster on the picture, please!
05-03-2011, 11:05 AM - 2 Likes   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by misiu_mp Quote
I think the market and technology is now mature enough for a full frame Pentax DSLR. But something smaller than that monster on the picture, please!

If Pentax had sold a GOOD full-frame dslr in 2002, things might be very different. However, by all accounts, the sensor in that prototype was really lousy.

While the technology certainly exists for a full-frame dslr today, I think Pentax would be foolish to build one.

The full-frame dslr market is very, very small, compared to the aps-c market. What market there is for FF is pretty much sewn up by N & C, with a little S thrown in. I've heard rumors that S is getting out of the FF camera market.

Pentax would be lucky, IMHO, to get 10 percent of the FF market, which is less than 10 percent of the overall dslr market. While manufacturing costs for a FF Pentax camera might be similar to those for C & N, Pentax would have to amortize development costs over far fewer units, which would add a lot to the retail price. So, I think Pentax would have a very hard time competing against the D700 on price.

Next, Pentax has no real FF lens line. Sure, you could use old film lenses, but I don't think many buyers shelling out that kind of money are going to be happy being told to go to eBay for their lenses.

While there are a few amateurs willing to spend the money for FF, it is largely a professional photographer market. Pentax has little penetration in that market, the 645D notwithstanding. Pros want/need to be able to walk into a store in their town and rent a specialized, expensive lens. That's easy for C & N, virtually impossible for Pentax. Pros need to be able to drop off a damaged camera or lens, rent a replacement (or be given one free if its under warranty) and get their own camera back in two or three days, not two or three months. Pentax hasn't got the support network to do that. Heck, in many cities, you can't even find a store that carries Pentax in stock. Some stores can't even be bothered to special order Pentax.

I don't think its at all clear that FF is the future. EVIL cameras are getting all the buzz right now. Pentax might be smarter to enter that market, which is potentially much bigger than FF, and one in which they could probably compete much more effectively.

People tend to forget, companies like Pentax aren't in business to make cameras; they're in business to make MONEY. Making cameras is just the way they have chosen to make money. Pentax does not have the resources to make a big splash in the FF market. I believe they would probably lose money, if they tried. They have to go where they believe they can get the best return on their investment. That doesn't include FF, IMHO.
05-03-2011, 08:17 PM   #11
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We should also remember than the camera divisions of Canikony are VERY small bits of VERY large corporate entities. Canon sells numerous imaging and semiconductor products. Nikon is a sliver of Mitsubishi. Sony is... well, it's SONY! Any of these could lose their camera operations and hardly notice that they're gone. Any of these could market a big loser, eat the loss, and survive nicely. Olympus, Panasonic, Samsung, all are major players in other areas too. PenHoya just isn't in the same realm. If Pentax markets a loser, then Pentax will go away, sayonara baby. Be very careful what you wish for.
05-04-2011, 04:42 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by noblepa Quote
If Pentax had sold a GOOD full-frame dslr in 2002, things might be very different. However, by all accounts, the sensor in that prototype was really lousy.

While the technology certainly exists for a full-frame dslr today, I think Pentax would be foolish to build one.

The full-frame dslr market is very, very small, compared to the aps-c market. What market there is for FF is pretty much sewn up by N & C, with a little S thrown in. I've heard rumors that S is getting out of the FF camera market.

Pentax would be lucky, IMHO, to get 10 percent of the FF market, which is less than 10 percent of the overall dslr market. While manufacturing costs for a FF Pentax camera might be similar to those for C & N, Pentax would have to amortize development costs over far fewer units, which would add a lot to the retail price. So, I think Pentax would have a very hard time competing against the D700 on price.

Next, Pentax has no real FF lens line. Sure, you could use old film lenses, but I don't think many buyers shelling out that kind of money are going to be happy being told to go to eBay for their lenses.

While there are a few amateurs willing to spend the money for FF, it is largely a professional photographer market. Pentax has little penetration in that market, the 645D notwithstanding. Pros want/need to be able to walk into a store in their town and rent a specialized, expensive lens. That's easy for C & N, virtually impossible for Pentax. Pros need to be able to drop off a damaged camera or lens, rent a replacement (or be given one free if its under warranty) and get their own camera back in two or three days, not two or three months. Pentax hasn't got the support network to do that. Heck, in many cities, you can't even find a store that carries Pentax in stock. Some stores can't even be bothered to special order Pentax.

I don't think its at all clear that FF is the future. EVIL cameras are getting all the buzz right now. Pentax might be smarter to enter that market, which is potentially much bigger than FF, and one in which they could probably compete much more effectively.

People tend to forget, companies like Pentax aren't in business to make cameras; they're in business to make MONEY. Making cameras is just the way they have chosen to make money. Pentax does not have the resources to make a big splash in the FF market. I believe they would probably lose money, if they tried. They have to go where they believe they can get the best return on their investment. That doesn't include FF, IMHO.
If Pentax had sold any digital camera in 2002, they would be in a better position now. As far as I know, Pentax didn't release any digital cameras up till the *ist D in late 2003. At that point, Canon and Nikon already had a good market share going for them.

Full frame is a red herring. Right now, Pentax needs to work on their lens line up -- add some faster primes designed for APS-C and change from SDM. If they did these things, 95 percent of photographers would be satisfied with their offering (alright, I made up that number). The biggest proponents of full frame are those who own 35mm lenses and want them to shoot like they did on film.

Last edited by Rondec; 05-04-2011 at 06:00 AM.
05-04-2011, 05:34 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by RioRico Quote
PenHoya just isn't in the same realm.
Umm, last time I looked Hoya had a market-capitalisation [766.5B Yen] greater than Nikon's [687.5B Yen]... Hoya isn't exactly a tiny entity.
05-04-2011, 11:44 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by Rondec Quote
The biggest proponents of full frame are those who own 35mm lenses and want them to shoot like they did on film.
True, but that covers a lot of us who stuck with them because of all those lenses.
05-04-2011, 12:09 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by GeneV Quote
True, but that covers a lot of us who stuck with them because of all those lenses.
glad I did...

And it was a great looking and highly innovative camera in 2001....looks SO dated now it's amazing. Glad they had the wisdom to bail on that sensor, though.

Cheers,
Cameron

Last edited by Cambo; 05-05-2011 at 08:23 AM.
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