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12-19-2007, 10:20 AM   #1
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wish list: Pentax Rangefinder?

I for once hated the choices available for advanced P&S cameras. The closet thing i'd consider is a Canon G9, and that's not a rangefinder, either. Alas, it needs better block of glass.
I like to see Pentax recoginzing their strengh & customer need: a bread & butter Rangefinder for actual photographers and go after it. I think they will do very well. Just look at the kind of pricing R-D1 and M8 is commanding. If they keep chasing the C&N crowds with their meager portfolio of small P&S, they will eventually get lost in the sea of P&S products with no real distinguishing features, and drag the once mighty Pentax name with it. Pentax is no longer the frontrunner in ultra compact design, they are no longer the leader in advance camera technology. What they have is something people admire: robust, photographers friendly camera and a great collection of legacy lens. The attractiveness of such legacy is powerful. They should consider themselves the Leica of Japan and compliment it with a line of design that will earn this mark.


Last edited by truonganh; 12-19-2007 at 11:03 AM.
12-19-2007, 11:25 AM   #2
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What makes a 'rangefinder'?
12-19-2007, 11:51 AM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by Buddha Jones Quote
What makes a 'rangefinder'?
A rangefinder is a focussing system that projects a second image inside your viewfinder. When the second image coincides with the main image, focus is correct. The term 'rangefinder' is applied to any camera body that uses this system.

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12-19-2007, 11:51 AM   #4
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A rangefinder uses an arcane series of prisms or mirrors and trigonometry to judge the distance to the subject - by knowing the distance between the viewfinder and the rangefinder window (the "rangefinder base") and what angle the mirror in the rangefinder window is on, you can accurately calculate the range.

Keep in mind, Pentax never made rangefinders, when they were all the range before reliable AF P&Ses. Every other major manufacturer did - Konica, Minolta, Yashica, Canon, Nikon, Petri, Contax, Carl Zeiss, Leica...

12-19-2007, 11:56 AM   #5
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And, just as my $0.02, I will slit my wrists if Pentax ever decides to aspire to become "the Leica of Japan." Deities forbid.

Leica, I'd say, is firmly a luxury brand, like Tommy Hilfiger or Calvin Klein. The reason Epson charged so much for the RD1 is because of they knew the gullibility of the suckers who'd want it.
12-19-2007, 11:57 AM   #6
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One of the advantages of using a rangefinder camera is that you're looking through a window, rather than the lens itself, so there's no blackout at the instant of exposure due to the mirror flipping out of the light-path. That can be handy when shooting action or informal portraits. Also, since there's no mirror flop, rangefinders can be much, much quieter than SLR's. In fact, in the digital age, they could almost be absolutely silent.
12-19-2007, 12:05 PM   #7
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Oh, I've got nothing against rangefinders.

Just Leicas. The Rolex of the camera world.
12-19-2007, 12:15 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by lithos Quote
Oh, I've got nothing against rangefinders.

Just Leicas. The Rolex of the camera world.
I hear ya. I always wanted a Leica, but never could justify the expense. They ARE incredible cameras. But for the price, they danged well ought to be! lol

12-19-2007, 12:30 PM   #9
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well, my broader definition of a rangefinder is an (mostly) manual, compact camera with interchangeable, high quality, small sized lens. Rangefinders are very pocketable yet can deliver the image quality of an SLR. In truth, that is a huge undertaking, but i do think they can just shuffle the R&D guys on the P&S line to focus on this and they can hit a home-run with a design and a few high quality fixed focal lens.

Last edited by truonganh; 12-19-2007 at 12:37 PM.
12-19-2007, 12:45 PM   #10
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Ill add my 2 cents worth also, and I am not sure a range finder is what is needed. I think more appropriately, either a much higher end compact camera, or electronic viewfinder camera, with the following features:

- equivelent to 35 mm focal length of 20-120mm with F2.8 apature
- 6 MP sensor or better but emphesis should be on low noise not mximum MP
- up to ISO1600 minimum
- built in flash plus sync for external flash
- 1.5 frams per second minimum
- <0.1 second shutter delay
- weather resistant housing
- shake reduction (either sensor or lens)

What this really is is a small travel camera, which should be a back up camera to any one's DSLR or the camera yoou have in your hand while hiking to where ever it is that you will unpack your real stuff.

If you look at the P&S forum, there was a thread asking what the P&S back up was for most DSLR users. It is an area where pentax lags far behind. Many people who have a pentax DSLR have some one elses P&S. I have a Kodak, and the olny real complaints is that it has a 38-380 lens, too long and not wide enough. Had I waited a year I could have had a 24-150 (just about right) but P&S with this range lens is simply too scarce.
12-19-2007, 02:28 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Lowell Goudge Quote
Ill add my 2 cents worth also, and I am not sure a range finder is what is needed. I think more appropriately, either a much higher end compact camera, or electronic viewfinder camera, with the following features:

- equivelent to 35 mm focal length of 20-120mm with F2.8 apature
- 6 MP sensor or better but emphesis should be on low noise not mximum MP
- up to ISO1600 minimum
- built in flash plus sync for external flash
- 1.5 frams per second minimum
- <0.1 second shutter delay
- weather resistant housing
- shake reduction (either sensor or lens)

What this really is is a small travel camera, which should be a back up camera to any one's DSLR or the camera yoou have in your hand while hiking to where ever it is that you will unpack your real stuff.

If you look at the P&S forum, there was a thread asking what the P&S back up was for most DSLR users. It is an area where pentax lags far behind. Many people who have a pentax DSLR have some one elses P&S. I have a Kodak, and the olny real complaints is that it has a 38-380 lens, too long and not wide enough. Had I waited a year I could have had a 24-150 (just about right) but P&S with this range lens is simply too scarce.
I refuse to purchase any camera that will not go at least as wide as a 28mm lens on 35mm format. Therefor, I bought a Pentax IQZoom 120SW. I still have it.
12-19-2007, 04:29 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by Canada_Rockies Quote
I refuse to purchase any camera that will not go at least as wide as a 28mm lens on 35mm format. Therefor, I bought a Pentax IQZoom 120SW. I still have it.
I agree. I myself have a Lumix just because of the 28mm wide end. Decent zoom, high quality optic coupled with a heavy handed post processing that kill all relevant details.

P&S aside. i kept thinking that Pentax is the sole proprietor of these beautiful pancake lens design, it is ashame that they would not make a range-finder size body to go with it and create a unique category of camera class all for themselves.

I didn't get pancake lens simply because the SLR is huge, there is no point coupling a slim lens to it.
12-19-2007, 04:56 PM   #13
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Actually, Sigma has been working on a DMD (Decisive Moment Digital) for some time. They call it the DP1. APSC sized sensor, 28mm fixed lens. Raw. Won't be cheap though. Take a look. SIGMA DP1
12-19-2007, 06:55 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by truonganh Quote
well, my broader definition of a rangefinder is an (mostly) manual, compact camera with interchangeable, high quality, small sized lens. Rangefinders are very pocketable yet can deliver the image quality of an SLR. In truth, that is a huge undertaking, but i do think they can just shuffle the R&D guys on the P&S line to focus on this and they can hit a home-run with a design and a few high quality fixed focal lens.
Are you talking about a digital rangefinder camera? There is no way on earth that camera companies are going to pressure their R&D departments to redevelop a 50 year old focusing technology that is obviously inferior to modern (and cheaper) autofocus systems now being used. It's like asking GM or Ford to make a real good horse and buggy. Sure, it has it's advantages but no one is going to buy it! I own and use Rangefinder type cameras but it is ludicrous to imagine Pentax will develop such a camera now. Pentax pioneered the development of the Single Lens Reflex camera while other companies went off on their own tangents to market TLR's and rangefinders. No one company can make everything perfectly; and I'm ok with that.

If you want a high quality, digital, rangefinder camera, with interchangeable lenses that can slip in your pocket and take razor sharp pictures it will have to be an M8. Don't hold your breath waiting for Pentax, Canon or Nikon to develop one in the near future. That segment of the consuming public that demands such from their camera is very slim indeed.
12-19-2007, 09:11 PM   #15
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Keep in mind Ricoh, that little gem of a company, has been making the GR Digitals, and now the GX100, with an f2.8 24-75mm zoom.

While not interchangeable-lensed, they're meant to be pretty damn good. And I like Ricoh - they used the K-Mount, after all (and I'd be interested if they make a DSLR...)

The KR10M is definitely one of my favourite cameras that can be had for under $15, on average, on eBay.

I'd say RF's been pretty much superseded by better AF systems now. I'd say it'd be pretty much fiscal suicide to put money into a new manual RF camera - even Canon would probably not make money off such a venture, as J.Scott says. Rangefinder's (the actual RF in a rangefinder camera, I mean) are pretty damn delicate pieces of mechanical engineering - and good luck shooting with anything over 100mm, or even 85mm. No mirror in the camera, though, means they are better for wides - the rear element of the lens can get disturbingly close to the shutter.

I'd say the market segment for new RF owners (I mean people who are looking to buy both a new RF camera, for the first time) would be limited to the D&L demographic - doctors and lawyers. Maybe the odd guano loco white supremacist who doesn't want his precious engraved Waffen SS Leica (that for some reason has "CCCP" on it...) to be taken out of its display case.

Leica keeps selling because it's Leica. You buy a Leica because that's what Cartier Bresson used, man. It's got lenses made by magical elves, and frames forged by dwarfs over flames from the mouth of a mystical, aeons-old dragon, or some such nonsense.
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