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07-13-2011, 08:31 AM   #346
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QuoteOriginally posted by dylansalt Quote
So essentially, slowly but surely Pentax aps-c will cease to exist similar to Minolta if they can't compete with the likes of Canikon and Sony??
That's my worry. The aps-c tier might become the wild west in the next couple years. I really think bumping K-mount up a notch would be in the best interest of Ricoh.


Last edited by jsherman999; 07-13-2011 at 08:48 AM.
07-13-2011, 08:35 AM   #347
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QuoteOriginally posted by dylansalt Quote
So essentially, slowly but surely Pentax aps-c will cease to exist similar to Minolta if they can't compete with the likes of Canikon and Sony??
Not APS-C. Those sensors fit cleanly onto a wafer with no added masking/stitching steps and are therefore produced in commodity prices in the millions per year. More if you include M43 in that production measure.

FF is produced at substantially lower volumes (probably under 10k per year). Sony produces FF sensors for Nikon and themselves. Canon has their own fab. Kodak makes the Leica sensor which is a CCD.

APS-C is so ubiquitous, Ricoh includes one with every lens in their GXR series:

Ricoh GXR Camera Review by Thom Hogan

The cost for this lensor system is prohibitive and not competitive. I suspect Ricoh will deep 6 it, and that had something to do with the Pentax acquisition.
07-13-2011, 08:40 AM   #348
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QuoteOriginally posted by Aristophanes Quote
........From a market perspective, it's insurmountable.
Very thoughtful analysis, but I really think this all would apply much more if Pentax was a standalone company.

Ricoh may be looking at ways to supplement a copier business that is in decline, and may be radically changed in 10 years. If that's the case, even a 8-year ROI on FF (really a K-mount investment,) would be attractive to them, because it would be fully black and profitable around the time they needed it. It seems they're moving in several different areas like that, where they see potential in emerging markets like Asia, and technologies that will keep getting better/cheaper, and the marriage between the two.

If that's the case, it makes sense to start FF lens production again in 2012, to position themselves well for when a FF sensor is really affordable for the masses (your view) or to get aggressive against their old rival Canon, and get in the game sooner (my view.)

(You could wonder if Pentax hedged their bets here, as a lot of the 'new' lenses just happen to be FF-compatible anyway...)


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07-13-2011, 08:50 AM   #349
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QuoteOriginally posted by Aristophanes Quote

The cost for this lensor system is prohibitive and not competitive. I suspect Ricoh will deep 6 it, and that had something to do with the Pentax acquisition.
!?!

I don't have an opinion either way on that, but that would be upsetting news to a few folks around here.

07-13-2011, 09:05 AM   #350
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QuoteOriginally posted by Aristophanes Quote

The cost for this lensor system is prohibitive and not competitive. I suspect Ricoh will deep 6 it, and that had something to do with the Pentax acquisition.

I doubt that they will just get creative with the system (witness the Pending M module which a lot of people are excited about)
the more i look at this system the more i think they have developed something with a ton of potential
07-13-2011, 09:45 AM   #351
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QuoteOriginally posted by dylansalt Quote
So essentially, slowly but surely Pentax aps-c will cease to exist similar to Minolta if they can't compete with the likes of Canikon and Sony??
No, I think the point is to pick where and when you fight your battles. I think Pentax can fight APS-C and medium format at the same time. Pentax is a niche player and probably will continue to be unless they could come up with some concept that would actually expand the digital photography market, but that doesn't mean that they are going away either.
07-13-2011, 09:50 AM   #352
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QuoteOriginally posted by jsherman999 Quote
Very thoughtful analysis, but I really think this all would apply much more if Pentax was a standalone company.

Ricoh may be looking at ways to supplement a copier business that is in decline, and may be radically changed in 10 years. If that's the case, even a 8-year ROI on FF (really a K-mount investment,) would be attractive to them, because it would be fully black and profitable around the time they needed it. It seems they're moving in several different areas like that, where they see potential in emerging markets like Asia, and technologies that will keep getting better/cheaper, and the marriage between the two.

If that's the case, it makes sense to start FF lens production again in 2012, to position themselves well for when a FF sensor is really affordable for the masses (your view) or to get aggressive against their old rival Canon, and get in the game sooner (my view.)

(You could wonder if Pentax hedged their bets here, as a lot of the 'new' lenses just happen to be FF-compatible anyway...)
I 99% suspect that Pentax has FF mock-ups in skunkworks. They'd be foolish not to.

And the lens development does hedge bets, like DA 35/2.4. Part of that has to do with SR tolerance, but the D FA 100 is a case in point as well.

The 645D has been out 1 year and has 2 lenses with really only 1 more on the immediate horizon. And these prices are $2,000 - $6,000 just for lenses, with literally no sales markdowns. Lens development is very time-consuming and costly. There are a limited # of people in the world capable of design and execution. it is highly labour and capital intensive so the planning horizon takes years and years to work out and master. Posters here greatly overestimate the potential for Pentax to put together a FF lens and body offering at competitive prices and supply. I do not see Ricoh doubling down on their Pentax bet to get FF out the door at 600 unit sales per month.

Ricoh's GSX is no a gamechanger. It's too expensive and the design too wonky. Photography has a very conservative streak. The whole sensor/module thing is simply too expensive to be a value...ever. That said, Ricoh has photography in its blood, so we'll see how they position their product line come 2012.

Here are the gamechanger's I see:

1) Mamiya enters the MF market at a lower price point against the 645D. Phase One is the high-end brand. Kodak is able to drop CCD prices and suddenly there's competition at MF. The 645D in 5 years is a $6,500 body and Pentax has a 5-6 lens system and is thinking about an economy line for 645D glass, and a new body is planned for a 2-tier MF market. Suddenly the Nikon D4 price premiums look silly to a lot of people, especially small and portable studio wonks. Who cares about video? This level becomes "real, old school photography".

2) Fuji and Leica actually get serious about the reviving RF digital market at lower prices points than Leica's current offering using APS-C. These products have appeal in a high-end way that the current M43 line does not, largely because of a superior sensor. A considerable amount of high-end $$$ flows away from DSLR towards enhanced, hybrid RF's with ILC's. Lots of limitations there (likely no zooms, not great tele or macro, but who cares?), but a viable alternative to the bulkier DSLR and the somewhat gimmicky M43. Target: snapshot pixel peepers with disposable incomes, but not Leica tax write-off optential.

3) Sony, Samsung or even Kodak develop a better lithography system for larger sensors, although I suspect it will be Canon who takes this approach. This drives FF prices down. Instead of the Sony/Nikon cabal, we have a competitive market for larger sensors. This will happen when marketing realizes that APS-C has reached its development limit and only larger sensors can compete. M43 is in real trouble, and suddenly Sony looks wise for keeping e-mount and a-mount the same diameter.

Industry issues unresolved:

1. Canon and Nikon and mirrorless.

2. What to do with the OVF vs. EVF and the potential for SLT pellicle designs?

3. How far will P&S get eaten by cameraphones (less than some people realize)?

4. Samsung.
07-13-2011, 10:59 AM   #353
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QuoteOriginally posted by Aristophanes Quote
I 99% suspect that Pentax has FF mock-ups in skunkworks. They'd be foolish not to.
Yep.


QuoteQuote:
Here are the gamechanger's I see:

1) Mamiya enters the MF market at a lower price point against the 645D. Phase One is the high-end brand. Kodak is able to drop CCD prices and suddenly there's competition at MF. The 645D in 5 years is a $6,500 body and Pentax has a 5-6 lens system and is thinking about an economy line for 645D glass, and a new body is planned for a 2-tier MF market. Suddenly the Nikon D4 price premiums look silly to a lot of people, especially small and portable studio wonks. Who cares about video? This level becomes "real, old school photography".
That would be an exciting development for sure, but the D4 will be more than just megapixels and sensor size, it's performance, also. The MFDs of today are a bit slow and clunky in comparison; not to say that can't change. But yeah, a $8000 D4 vs a $6500 MFD body? Nikon's top-tier pricing starts to collapse there.

However 'old school photography' even at $6500 a body really means 'old school photography for rich guys.' I envision 'old school photography for enthusiasts' being a $2500 FF body with a big OVF and mirror, which would stand in stark relief to the mirrorless/EVF tier, and still be within reach.

QuoteQuote:
2) Fuji and Leica actually get serious about the reviving RF digital market at lower prices points than Leica's current offering using APS-C. These products have appeal in a high-end way that the current M43 line does not, largely because of a superior sensor. A considerable amount of high-end $$$ flows away from DSLR towards enhanced, hybrid RF's with ILC's. Lots of limitations there (likely no zooms, not great tele or macro, but who cares?), but a viable alternative to the bulkier DSLR and the somewhat gimmicky M43. Target: snapshot pixel peepers with disposable incomes, but not Leica tax write-off optential.
Fuji I can see, but this would destroy Leica's "We sell Veblen Goods!" business model.

QuoteQuote:
3) Sony, Samsung or even Kodak develop a better lithography system for larger sensors, although I suspect it will be Canon who takes this approach. This drives FF prices down. Instead of the Sony/Nikon cabal, we have a competitive market for larger sensors. This will happen when marketing realizes that APS-C has reached its development limit and only larger sensors can compete. M43 is in real trouble, and suddenly Sony looks wise for keeping e-mount and a-mount the same diameter.
Better start making those lenses now II.



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07-13-2011, 11:33 AM   #354
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QuoteOriginally posted by jsherman999 Quote
I envision 'old school photography for enthusiasts' being a $2500 FF body with a big OVF and mirror, which would stand in stark relief to the mirrorless/EVF tier, and still be within reach.
You just described the Sony A850 with kit lens and tax.

QuoteOriginally posted by jsherman999 Quote
Fuji I can see, but this would destroy Leica's "We sell Veblen Goods!" business model.
Hah! Leica is effectively bankrupt, kept on life support by a wealthy philanthropist. Now, he's not stupid and has assembled a good team obviously, though I doubt the losses are sustainable and there is a 10 year goal to get the company in a self-sustaining mode (although I suspect the S2 is a financial disaster). There's only so many new Asian and Saudi millionaires each week who buy Leica like they buy Mercedes.

Leica actually has a halo effect as their deal with Panasonic illustrates. The path for Leica is to drive lower, between the M9 and digicams to increase gross revenues providing an upgrade path for Leica towards the M9. The X1 started it but is a compromised piece. Fuji really one-ups it at 1/2 the price with a superior VF and AF to boot. There's a huge amount of market room between an M9 and a D-Lux and an awful lot of cameras sell at the K-5 price point using commodity APS-C sensors. If Leica needs greater cash flow, this is their market.

This has an effect on where Pentax positions its higher-end mirrorless. It is no accident the Q has the design it does, all retro like along lines closer to a Leica than anything out there but the Fuji X100. In fact, the Q is the opposite design trend of the Ricoh GS; they are from entirely different design universes.

As commodity-priced as APS-C sensors are starting to get, it is still a flawed biz model to buy a new sensor with every lens. There is zero quality or manufacturing advantage. About the only advantage I can see is a multi-mount system that can take every lens ever made, but that would kill sales of Pentax glass...the whole reason why many buy into Pentax. The camera system is basically a computer only,which goes against cor photographic principles for many on this forum.

My prediction: GSX dead.

Some tech from it may be seen in a mirrorless APS-C as a k-mount adapter. That's about it.
07-13-2011, 12:09 PM   #355
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QuoteOriginally posted by Aristophanes Quote
You just described the Sony A850 with kit lens and tax.
Wrong camera, wrong execution, maybe wrong timing, as OVF 'old school' still lived healthily in aps-c. Also, Sony != 'old school', Minolta DNA notwithstanding.

The Pentax FF future has not been written; it certainly has not been written by Sony.



QuoteQuote:

My prediction: GSX dead.

Some tech from it may be seen in a mirrorless APS-C as a k-mount adapter. That's about it.
Bold prediction. (I personally don't know/care either way ) You'll get kudos if it proves true.


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07-13-2011, 12:20 PM   #356
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QuoteOriginally posted by eddie1960 Quote
I doubt that they will just get creative with the system (witness the Pending M module which a lot of people are excited about)
the more i look at this system the more i think they have developed something with a ton of potential
I agree. What's to stop them from releasing a K-mount ... not "lensor", but "mountor" (sensor with mount and extension)? And with the extra space they could include an AF motor for screw drive AF...
07-13-2011, 01:06 PM   #357
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QuoteOriginally posted by jstevewhite Quote
I agree. What's to stop them from releasing a K-mount ... not "lensor", but "mountor" (sensor with mount and extension)? And with the extra space they could include an AF motor for screw drive AF...
the M mount will allow almost any lens with an adapter so they may choose to leave it as the only mountor so to speak for a while
limits you to MF of course but then most of my lenses are MF
07-13-2011, 02:28 PM   #358
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QuoteOriginally posted by jstevewhite Quote
I agree. What's to stop them from releasing a K-mount ... not "lensor", but "mountor" (sensor with mount and extension)? And with the extra space they could include an AF motor for screw drive AF...
It's is just far too expensive. A dedicated lens and mount is less than half the price. It's so niche it doesn't exist.
07-13-2011, 03:06 PM   #359
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QuoteOriginally posted by Blue Quote
They don't have to get into a treadmill trying to crank out 500,000 bodies a qtr. They could set up a small specialty line and set up a sustainable production number and target that. Some day companies will figure out they can't keep growing exponentially with some very rare exceptions. dSLR bodies aren't one of them.
Limited numbers is going to mean higher cost/ higher prices. They have to be competitive. Anybody going to buy a $4,000 Pentax FF? I don't know the economies of scale for DSLRs, but limited runs of the a Pentax FF body would be similar to what they are doing with the 645D. I can not imagine that the cost of manufacturing 10,000 645Ds is significantly greater than manufacturing 10,000 FF bodies. Other than sensor, OVF, SR, and ergonomics they share almost every other technology.

How many FF can Pentax sell a year? What is the real demand? This forum is not a good representation of the whole Pentax user base and not even half of the members here would buy a FF body unless it was under $2,000. If every member on this forum bought a FF Pentax body it would still not be enough volume to justify manufacturing cost (unless we paid an absorbent amount).

Pentax has several key technologies that they need to refine and several issues with service/support/QC/marketing that they need to address. Baby steps. Rolling out a $3,000 FF body with sensor stains and focusing issues would not go over very well. Not a lot of enthusiasts can justify the cost of a FF and that is who make up the vast majority of the Pentax user base.

If Pentax can continue to refine their APS-C line (K-5)..... Begin to re-develop a professional grade lens line-up.... They can attract more serious higher end users who will evolve and increase demand for a FF platform. This is what Sony is doing. They are starting from the bottom up and are developing a new user base. As they improve technology like SLT & NEX they apply it to higher end cameras and attract higher end users. Sony rolled out FF glass like the CZ 24-70 and CZ 85mm almost a year before the A900 was released. You have to put in the support before you put out the product.
07-13-2011, 08:14 PM   #360
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QuoteOriginally posted by Winder Quote
Limited numbers is going to mean higher cost/ higher prices. They have to be competitive. Anybody going to buy a $4,000 Pentax FF? I don't know the economies of scale for DSLRs, but limited runs of the a Pentax FF body would be similar to what they are doing with the 645D. I can not imagine that the cost of manufacturing 10,000 645Ds is significantly greater than manufacturing 10,000 FF bodies. Other than sensor, OVF, SR, and ergonomics they share almost every other technology.

How many FF can Pentax sell a year? What is the real demand? This forum is not a good representation of the whole Pentax user base and not even half of the members here would buy a FF body unless it was under $2,000. If every member on this forum bought a FF Pentax body it would still not be enough volume to justify manufacturing cost (unless we paid an absorbent amount).

Pentax has several key technologies that they need to refine and several issues with service/support/QC/marketing that they need to address. Baby steps. Rolling out a $3,000 FF body with sensor stains and focusing issues would not go over very well. Not a lot of enthusiasts can justify the cost of a FF and that is who make up the vast majority of the Pentax user base.

If Pentax can continue to refine their APS-C line (K-5)..... Begin to re-develop a professional grade lens line-up.... They can attract more serious higher end users who will evolve and increase demand for a FF platform. This is what Sony is doing. They are starting from the bottom up and are developing a new user base. As they improve technology like SLT & NEX they apply it to higher end cameras and attract higher end users. Sony rolled out FF glass like the CZ 24-70 and CZ 85mm almost a year before the A900 was released. You have to put in the support before you put out the product.

You forget that they can use some of the electronics from the top tier aps-c in the body for the af etc. The k-mount would be the same. It would really come down to sensor cost. The beauty of any lenses for the ff could be market to all aps-c users as well. Sustaining a few specialty assembly lines doing batches of special stuff is more sustainable than cranking out bought loads of dime store widgets. It really comes down to the sensor. AF improvement needs to been down regardless. SDM needs to be improved upon regardless.
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