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07-12-2011, 05:44 AM   #316
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QuoteOriginally posted by jsherman999 Quote
Smallest, rugged, with small, great FF lenses that carry their own reputation.
Those great FF lenses have been around long enough to give an indication of what kind of draw they'd be. Likewise, Pentax has been building rugged cameras for quite a while now. I'm not sure these are enough to steal customers from Canon/Nikon in any significant numbers. Or certainly, it hasn't been enough so far.

07-12-2011, 05:51 AM   #317
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QuoteOriginally posted by RioRico Quote
"Pixie dust" won't be enough. Compactness won't be enough, and a small SLR body apparently hasn't room for both SR and super AF. Economy won't be enough -- the A850 was cheap enough, but died anyway. Just to match CaNikon would require super AF, and to attract pros would need a complete lens line, and a global pro support network -- and these take time to build.

Maybe the necessary advantage sidesteps Canikony, at least skipping the global pro market, rather as the 645D sidestepped studio pros by being an outdoors MF dSLR. Maybe the paradigm-shifter will be an GXR2 body with an FF sensor and super AF and PK mount and SR, cheap (like under US$2k). Then the advantage would be compactness AND economy AND full functionality.

But does Pentax have the technologies, and Ricoh the low-cost production, to build this? Or is magic required. And then we're back to pixie dust...
Good points Rico, I think the idea of a FF GXR module may well be the path (but i imagine the first one we see will be APSC)
The GXR brings some really cool ideas to the mix. the real first test will be how well the m module works. it's a locked market with no digital support beyond one camera right now and a pent up demand for a lower cost alternative. If it works well there will be a lot of sales that support the development of further modules (i've seen a few people over at RFF who want it, and had K mount modules on their wish list as well - and not all people from here - OM modules are a big wish as well)
07-12-2011, 06:04 AM   #318
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QuoteOriginally posted by TaoMaas Quote
Those great FF lenses have been around long enough to give an indication of what kind of draw they'd be. Likewise, Pentax has been building rugged cameras for quite a while now. I'm not sure these are enough to steal customers from Canon/Nikon in any significant numbers. Or certainly, it hasn't been enough so far.
And Pentax's position in the market and execution has been abysmal.

The K20D and K200D were both WR and well-designed pieces of equipment that scored very high in independent reviews. It looked like Pentax was going to be the company for the rugged user who put an emphasis on go-anywhere, anytime, durability. The Subaru of camera brands; small, niche, but consistent.

The someone at Head Office said: "My daughter wants a red camera!" and suddenly the next gen model dumps WR and opts for the Japanese schoolgirl aesthetic, and the K-x comes in yummy colours. Now, the idea was pretty good, and the execution appeared decent, but it was like putting lipstick on a Cocker Spaniel, albeit with terrific IQ and high-ISO capabilities.

In the meantime, the Pentax Optio line goes all WR and rugged with HD videos, surrounding an absolutely awful sensor, routinely panned for IQ in all reviews. And too high a price. Panasonic, Olympus, and Casio eat the market because Pentax cannot execute.

Design in general is excellent. Marketing is not. Distribution and the bean counters are incompetent. And no one really appears to talk to each other comprehensively to a vision.

How does one trust Pentax to make FF under these circumstances much less the bigger concerns of market share?
07-12-2011, 09:51 AM   #319
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QuoteOriginally posted by Aristophanes Quote
Realistically the 645D is not an upgrade path. That's like going from a Honda Civic to a 5 ton truck.
Exactly my point.

QuoteQuote:
It's a separate silo by design. It's priced for maximum margins at low sales volumes, and undercuts the current MF offering substantially making it the value proposition in the world of delivery trucks.
The economics that allowed this undercutting are easier at the MFD level, but exist at the FF level also. Thom Hogan has estimated that the D3x costs Nikon around $2600 to produce, yet they charge $8000 for it. Another half-tier down, at the D700 level, there's still some room to move, although undercutting the price by much wouldn't be the main goal.

QuoteQuote:
An FF DSLR would have to fit into Pentax's 4-5% market share for the current DSLR (non-MF) market.
This argument always depends on the market just staying the same, an immovable rock. If that were the case, Pentax would have been completely nuts to enter the MFD market, with it's well-established players. They did enter it, and expanded it.


QuoteQuote:
The smaller Pentax bodies of the last 2 generations of APS-C have done nothing to move market share. The larger K20D may have been a better seller than the K-7 and even the K-5.
I think that after a few months, the K20D was the cheapest body in it's class. The Online Photographer named it #2 in the TOP list that year, after the D300, because it was priced lower and spec-ed out the same or better. Thus, some success.

The K-7 was a nice little body, but a half-effort otherwise.

The K-5 basically did not give anyone a reason to consider it over the D7000, it's Nikon clone. The QC issues didn't help much.

I don't think a size issue had anything to do with those scenarios. Size is all pretty similar in aps-c anyway between certain models.


QuoteQuote:
If you're working within a constrained market share an FF DSLR from Pentax will shift resources from APS-C where the volumes are. All you're doing is moving the same customers around
No, that's not all you're doing. You're also intercepting the Pentax guy who would have bought a D800, you're making the Oly and Panasonic shooters take a hard look, you're enticing the Nikon shooter who wants a quality, small second FF kit that has some delicious prime options.



QuoteQuote:
.. Pentax does not have enough of either, even with Ricoh the owner.
I suspect Ricoh could pay cash to roll out a FF move - they wouldn't even need to finance it. They're that big.

Most of your arguments there would make more sense, IMO, if:

1) Pentax was a standalone
2) Multi-use devices with increasingly good embedded cameras weren't threatening the aps-c tier
3) Mirrorless, EVF wasn't threatening the aps-c DSLR tier. Remember, almost anyone can make one of those - entry into DSLR is tougher for them. That aps-c/mirrorless tier becomes a big, hard mess quickly. It would be nice to have something above the fray that keeps your bread & butter mount viable.

QuoteQuote:
How does a no-video, no live view, no SR, 2 FPS FF DSLR sound to you at $2,000 per body the size of a D300? And with only 5 primes and 3 moderate f/3.5-4 zooms and no third party support?
Quite the straw-man, there.


QuoteQuote:
Throw in the disruptive technologies of pellicle with EVF and mirrorless and the FF argument diminishes.
Disruptive technologies are probably the main fear that kept Hoya out of it. They may see a healthy ROI after, say, 5 years, but something unforeseen could so disrupt everything before that 5 years is up that they could lose a chunk of the investment. Sometimes execs in big companies opt to buy bonds with excess cash and just sit things out for a bit. They wouldn't call it timid, they would call it careful, of course.

QuoteQuote:
So Pentax opted for the Q which is positioned as a second camera for the all-in-one silo DSLR crowd, not intended to compete with the APS-C revenue stream like FF would inevitably do.
The silo, as I'm using the term, is mount-specific and is associated with tightly-tied development synergies. 'Q' is in it's own silo, as is 645D. An aps-c shooter and a FF shooter are in the same silo because they can use each other's lenses (mostly,) and almost all tech going into a FF body can filter down into an aps-c body, a strategy Nikon used brilliantly.

(If you're saying the 'Q' is in the same pricing silo as aps-c DSLRs, then yes, stupidly, it is. )



.


Last edited by jsherman999; 07-12-2011 at 10:31 AM.
07-12-2011, 10:04 AM   #320
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QuoteOriginally posted by Aristophanes Quote
...
The someone at Head Office said: "My daughter wants a red camera!" and suddenly the next gen model dumps WR and opts for the Japanese schoolgirl aesthetic, and the K-x comes in yummy colours. Now, the idea was pretty good, and the execution appeared decent, but it was like putting lipstick on a Cocker Spaniel, albeit with terrific IQ and high-ISO capabilities.
To be fair, IIRC the K-x was the reason Pentax showed a profit last year.

Not that I'm defending the "let's stop trying to compete on a tech level and just be cute" strategy - thinking like that leads to stuff like the 'Q'.

.
07-12-2011, 10:15 AM   #321
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It all sounds good, but the fact remains that Pentax has not been able to move the needle significantly despite their best efforts. They make great lenses and great cameras...in a rainbow of colors ...but it's not enough. They have to do something different or else they can't reasonably expect to make a dent in the FF market.
07-12-2011, 10:16 AM   #322
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QuoteOriginally posted by adr1an Quote
Warning - Ramble ahead....

This is a really good basis for the position/emotion of many, and extremely rational and cogniscent. But, 'tis not without drawbacks....

It's for similar reasons Kawasaki for example produces their "entry level" sports bike 250 and sell it, relatively speaking, at cost. The 250 is very much a sheep dressed in wolfs clothing (no, I didn't get it backwards). They realize they can "capture" consumers with a dirt cheap option that appeals to their "fashion sense" as they begin their riding career and then progress them to the bigger, profitable bikes in the 600, 750, 1000 markets. Continuing the similarities - 99% of people won't ever be able to ride beyond the capabilities of a modern 600 (call it APS-C), but they know people *will* want the "on paper" "benefits" a 750 (MF)/1000(FF) could, in their minds, deliver them. Kawasaki make no attempts to establish which is "right" for you or "best" economically for the company - as long as there is bums on seats with a K badge and a life long attachment to the company as the consumer explores their options.

Does it work? Well, kwaka riders are very defensive of the brand generally speaking, and rarely consider exploring the potentially greener (boom-tish) grass elsewhere. But does it work fiscally for kawasaki ? Not always, as so much money and effort is often spent in continuously chasing the ever diverging market segments whilst preserving the "core" consumers means more and more they are seemingly making no one happy in their quest to be everything to everyone... Perhaps they'd be better of focusing on their strengths and capitalizing on those...

Oh... I ride a Yamaha btw

(apologies - I'm sitting on public transport at the moment... Killing time and all... )

Talking about this?



I never got into sport bikes, but I used to ride dirt bikes, and I remember Kawasakis being very fast, lots of torque, great gearing... and green. (I think I liked the green as much as anything . I don't know if they were as reliable, though. Never owed one, just rode a couple.)



.
07-12-2011, 10:20 AM   #323
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QuoteOriginally posted by jsherman999 Quote
To be fair, IIRC the K-x was the reason Pentax showed a profit last year.

Not that I'm defending the "let's stop trying to compete on a tech level and just be cute" strategy - thinking like that leads to stuff like the 'Q'.

.
It's also not something new from Pentax anyways. Limited edition Gold LX camera anyone? I've posted those promo videos quite a few times about the Japanese girl and her little Pentax camera too. Trying to appeal to more than one user type is not a bad thing, and it isn't something new from Pentax. I don't have any interest in the K-r, but many other people do.

That being said, having only two 35mm camera bodies available seems to limit the appeal of the brand. The K-5 successor will be interesting to see as it could indicate a future direction for the format. They should be making a body change this iteration (K10D >> K20D, K-7 >> K-5).

07-12-2011, 10:23 AM   #324
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QuoteOriginally posted by adr1an Quote
but they know people *will* want the "on paper" "benefits" a 750 (MF)/1000(FF) could, in their minds, deliver them.
Either I'm confused, or you are. If, by (MF) you mean "medium format", you're confused. If you mean something else, I am.
07-12-2011, 10:24 AM   #325
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QuoteOriginally posted by sjwaldron Quote
It's also not something new from Pentax anyways. Limited edition Gold LX camera anyone? I've posted those promo videos quite a few times about the Japanese girl and her little Pentax camera too. Trying to appeal to more than one user type is not a bad thing, and it isn't something new from Pentax. I don't have any interest in the K-r, but many other people do.

That being said, having only two 35mm camera bodies available seems to limit the appeal of the brand. The K-5 successor will be interesting to see as it could indicate a future direction for the format. They should be making a body change this iteration (K10D >> K20D, K-7 >> K-5).
the only 2 body thing i think is one of the biggest limiting factors in growth, personally i said earlier this year i thought they should have kept the kx and the k7 in the lineup, both were still good cameras for the pricing they had fallen to. canon nikon sony panasonic olympus all offer more than 2 bodies at any given time
it's only the truly marginal players (sigma Leica) who offer less and leica really is a unique case

Edit see the Woot deal that sold out ridiculously fast for the kx in 6 colours at 439. it could easily sit at retail at 499-549 for an opening price camera like the rebel (which it is far nicer than)
07-12-2011, 10:31 AM   #326
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QuoteOriginally posted by eddie1960 Quote
the only 2 body thing i think is one of the biggest limiting factors in growth, personally i said earlier this year i thought they should have kept the kx and the k7 in the lineup, both were still good cameras for the pricing they had fallen to. canon nikon sony panasonic olympus all offer more than 2 bodies at any given time
it's only the truly marginal players (sigma Leica) who offer less and leica really is a unique case

Edit see the Woot deal that sold out ridiculously fast for the kx in 6 colours at 439. it could easily sit at retail at 499-549 for an opening price camera like the rebel (which it is far nicer than)
I think the problem with this strategy is that it's not materially less expensive to manufacture the K-7 than it is the K-5. The same is probably true of the K-X and the K-R.
07-12-2011, 10:47 AM - 1 Like   #327
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QuoteOriginally posted by jsherman999 Quote
No, that's not all you're doing. You're also intercepting the Pentax guy who would have bought a D800, you're making the Oly and Panasonic shooters take a hard look, you're enticing the Nikon shooter who wants a quality, small second FF kit that has some delicious prime options.
Huh?

It would take Pentax 5 years to catch up to Nikon's lens array, primes included. More to catch up to Canon, and I'm only talking the zooms at comprehensive FL coverage. This would have to occur on top of APS-C lens development, but all within a static market share.

Your argument is effectively premised on FF growing Pentax's market share. This has not happened with FF cameras at over $2,000 per body plus a decent lens set-up at another $4,500.

You are greatly overestimating the demand for FF fro any brand, much less Pentax. FF right now in terms of gross camera sales is an extremely limited and elite market.

To pay for the capital investment in such a high-price, static market, you MUST have the migration away from Canikon to Pentax. The FF market is not elastic and it grows very, very slowly due to high prices. The # of customers buying FF worldwide is measured in maybe a couple of of thousand per month with maybe a 2% per annum growth. And the vast majority of those purchasers are institutionali pros with locked-in brand investments (lenses, studio flash systems, etc.). They do not migrate. You cannot amortize a new $50 million investment and rapid ramp-up of lens development with such slow growth, not until external costs for sensor fall spectacularly making FF competitive at sub-$1,500 bodies for the average prosumer.

The Panny/Oly crowd are with those companies for the small size. Probably less than .00001% of them would even conceive of owning a $2,000+ camera at FF size.

Apparently sales for the Sony A850/900 were in the very low hundreds per month, but needed something like 6-fold increase in sales to break even. Sony saw the writing on the wall an ended development and sales of the A850 to reserve some margins on the A900. They could not compete on price and the loss leader strategy resulted in too few lens sales after-market to even keep that assembly line chugging along. They were looking at a 20 year amortization at sales #'s that low. You cannot sell that to a BoD on a retail product.

And I still hear people here saying that buyers will choose a Pentax FF "...if they make it smaller..." Technically much smaller than a D800 may not happen, so where is the sales edge for Pentax in all this?

What differentiates the Pentax brand? A couple of nice but old design primes? Nostalgia and sentiment? The ability to use 30 year-old $50 lenses designed for film on this new $3,000 body?

Neither Ricoh nor any sanely managed company will dump $$$ into such low volume scenarios with extremely limited demand and high cost for the sensor from a competitor (Sony). A company entering FF would have top take losses for the better part of a decade at current volumes/prices on the FF side. Lenses would be extremely expensive to co-exist profitably alongside APS-C.

As well, I bet anything that Nikon and Sony have a "no compete" clause about allowing FF sensors into the market through their fab; Nikon gets the fab first to their design, Sony later with no sales to other companies for FF sensors. This allows them to take on Canon, and gives Sony some face-saving among its current customers.

The MF market is a different beast driven by pros who can and will pay MSRP and the resultant margins. It has slow development and very high-margin, consistent sales against like competitors. Between Hasselblad and the Phase One/Mamiya scenario, as well as Leica's insanely over-priced S2 series, there was plenty of room for a lower tier MF digital where the purchasers can readily assume the costs of a custom design sensor and lens system. This is not the same as FF at all where there is no profitable room (as Sony demonstrated) below the current offerings without killing the company profits, despite a large installed base.

Pentax needed a much larger market share in 1985 to afford to get into the FF digital market now. Past mistakes, etc. FF is now an elite product until APS-C has run its course and fab development trends towards larger sensor commodity pricing.

The people on this thread ARE the demand for a Pentax FF. That's it. It's us; the reflection on your screen. A bunch o' guys around a virtual table.
07-12-2011, 10:50 AM   #328
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QuoteOriginally posted by jstevewhite Quote
I think the problem with this strategy is that it's not materially less expensive to manufacture the K-7 than it is the K-5. The same is probably true of the K-X and the K-R.
Ecept the basic design and tooling cost is now spread over 2 bodies and has had a year of paying itself back. canon manages discount rebels the same way, functionall the bodies are all the same plastic Pieces of Sh** and model year to model year they don't change much. lower cost per unit achieved, materially increased volume should offset the discounting. KX for example a 499 camera will bring users to the brand in a way a $625 kit can't (bh price on KR kit today). If you have been in retail you know there are certain price points that are magic. $499 is one of them. price it at $529 and you'll sell about 25% of what you would sell at $499 - Canon's Rebel XS is a horrible camera with a plastic is kit lens currently a 479. guaranteed at and brick and mortar store put the 2 side by side and the kx would take a big chunk of xs sales,
Nikon D3000 @ 449 would suffer as well (hi iso of what 1600) particularly in a couple of colours the Kx would standout
and to get good placement in B&M you will need more than 2 cameras (aside from the paying for shelf space issue)
A salesperson could easily sway first time buyers to a kx kit over an xs kit. Remember the camera is rarely the only piece these buyers will own, most will end up a some point with a longer lens and a flash at a bare minimum.
If you want to see Pentax grow in share they will have to take away from canon and nikon, that's where the share is, and this is where they are getting a good chunk of that share

Just saying

FF is a nice idea, but the market share war and long term user retention is largely fought at$450-500 right now,
Pile up kx on the Floor at Costco at Christmas in 3-4 colours at $479 and they'll walk out the door (some may even get paid for )

Edit - which reflects on Aristophanes comment about prior market share. when Pentax actually had the biggest share it came from their entry level SLR, the everyman SLR, not the higher end. it's no different with today's leaders, they offer a logical lineup for entry level and then incremental move up steps. the base price models being designed with mass retail in mind and the incremental steps so a store with a real salesperson can move the customer up to a more profitable model (for the retailer and the manufacturer)

Last edited by eddie1960; 07-12-2011 at 10:56 AM.
07-12-2011, 10:57 AM   #329
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QuoteOriginally posted by eddie1960 Quote
the only 2 body thing i think is one of the biggest limiting factors in growth, personally i said earlier this year i thought they should have kept the kx and the k7 in the lineup, both were still good cameras for the pricing they had fallen to. canon nikon sony panasonic olympus all offer more than 2 bodies at any given time
I suspect that Pentax cannot keep the same assembly lines in production for more than 2 models. So the K-x became a NOS item. The K-7 retained through transition mostly for warranty purposes.

This is how Pentax keeps its costs down with such low sales volumes compared to the big guys. Canon OTOH can keep pumping out the T1 series as demand and price points dictate, shutting down for a few days to re-tool the line for model x, then again for y, etc. They make their $ on volume, as does Nikon. I've seen D40x's and D3000's literally in a bargain bin type of arrangement on the retail floor.
07-12-2011, 11:06 AM   #330
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i saw a d3000 kit for 379 this past week. ancient model, but if you are the average joe who is struggling to make ends meet it's an appealing camera
this same guy of course will have no idea what he's missing on a marginal step up

you may be right about the manufacturing line capacity, but if that is the case then i think Ricoh will have to invest because the current plan apparently isn't working out all that well, and they will need the cash flow on this stuff (even at low margin) to drive the other end for people like us here
on the other hand they may choose to be a marginal player who focuses on niches, in which case the potential market share growth will be limited and prices will continue to be higher than the other guy on average to make it profitable. It of course means that many of the things on peoples wish lists here may never come to be and others will be driven by the market forces (like FF potentially in 4-5 years if yields go up and costs go down)
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