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12-23-2007, 08:50 AM   #1
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A Camera that cannot be bought.

My first post to this forum. Hello all.

Do you know that there is a camera that cannot be bought for money, despite that all the technology is in full production since years. And i think that Pentax would bee the perfect entity to start manufacturing the camera of my dream. Now what am i talking about?

I am talking about a camera that let the photographer focus on taking pictures, not the controls. Recognize that statement? Yes, that is sort of a Leica phrase. I really hate this "featurehitis" of modern clumsy elephant-cameras. Now why do i not buy my self a Leica then? Well i do not like viewfinder-type of cameras, i want SLR.

Think about it, a very high quality camera, a camera with about the same "think" behind it as the Leica M8, but insted a SLR. Or think about an old Pentax from the late seventies, but digital. A camera like this, fitted whith a manual 50mm or pancake would fit into the inner pocket of your jacket, and a 135/2.8 fits the pockets of an ordinary jeans jacket.

* 10-12 Mp
* Antishake
* Sensorcleaning
* ISO 100-3200
* Bulb to 1/4000s shutter.
* 98% coverage pentaprism viewfinder.
* 150% viewfinder magn. if 1.5 crop sensor.
* Focusing split screen and microprism collar.
* Mirror lock-up lever.
* Aperture priority.
* Spot and centerweighted metering.
* AE lock button.
* Selftimer.
* Basic TTL and first/second curtain sync.
* RAW/RAW+jpeg choosing button.
* Color temp/awb slider/knob on camera.
* A smallish lcd indicating battery and pic count.
* Fully compatible with all Pentax lenses that has
a aperture ring (fully, not just the stop-down
lever).

No program modes. No autofocus. No popup flash. No gorilla-grip making the camera huge. No menus at all, all functions on camera knobs. Not even a screen on the back of the camera. The screen could be an accessory add on, then it could be a really big screen, or even in different sizes, attached separate with cable with its own batteries. The big cable-attached separate screen could also serve as live-view to those need that. I could personally live completley without a screen.

For a camera like this, i would be prepared to pay three or four times the price of a K10D. Why Pentax? - The K-mount and all those good lenses of course.

Am i just dreaming, will we ever see a camera like this, will Pentax even consider something like it, or will some obscure unknown Chinese manufacturer make som ething like it? Maybe i have to do it myself ;-)

12-23-2007, 09:11 AM   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by Kiss Quote
My first post to this forum. Hello all.

Do you know that there is a camera that cannot be bought for money, despite that all the technology is in full production since years. And i think that Pentax would bee the perfect entity to start manufacturing the camera of my dream. Now what am i talking about?

I am talking about a camera that let the photographer focus on taking pictures, not the controls. Recognize that statement? Yes, that is sort of a Leica phrase. I really hate this "featurehitis" of modern clumsy elephant-cameras. Now why do i not buy my self a Leica then? Well i do not like viewfinder-type of cameras, i want SLR.

Think about it, a very high quality camera, a camera with about the same "think" behind it as the Leica M8, but insted a SLR. Or think about an old Pentax from the late seventies, but digital. A camera like this, fitted whith a manual 50mm or pancake would fit into the inner pocket of your jacket, and a 135/2.8 fits the pockets of an ordinary jeans jacket.

* 10-12 Mp
* Antishake
* Sensorcleaning
* ISO 100-3200
* Bulb to 1/4000s shutter.
* 98% coverage pentaprism viewfinder.
* 150% viewfinder magn. if 1.5 crop sensor.
* Focusing split screen and microprism collar.
* Mirror lock-up lever.
* Aperture priority.
* Spot and centerweighted metering.
* AE lock button.
* Selftimer.
* Basic TTL and first/second curtain sync.
* RAW/RAW+jpeg choosing button.
* Color temp/awb slider/knob on camera.
* A smallish lcd indicating battery and pic count.
* Fully compatible with all Pentax lenses that has
a aperture ring (fully, not just the stop-down
lever).

No program modes. No autofocus. No popup flash. No gorilla-grip making the camera huge. No menus at all, all functions on camera knobs. Not even a screen on the back of the camera. The screen could be an accessory add on, then it could be a really big screen, or even in different sizes, attached separate with cable with its own batteries. The big cable-attached separate screen could also serve as live-view to those need that. I could personally live completley without a screen.

For a camera like this, i would be prepared to pay three or four times the price of a K10D. Why Pentax? - The K-mount and all those good lenses of course.

Am i just dreaming, will we ever see a camera like this, will Pentax even consider something like it, or will some obscure unknown Chinese manufacturer make som ething like it? Maybe i have to do it myself ;-)
I would be tempted by a camera like that myself.
12-23-2007, 04:31 PM   #3
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I'd also be interested to have a camera like that (I'm hoping the proposed LCD attachment isn't too dear in price), but I'm guessing it won't come from Pentax, nor any of the current DSLR manufacturers. They're all tied up in introducing the latest and greatest electronics in their new offerings.

It would be interesting if some Chinese or Russian company jumps at the idea, though. I'm guessing they'd carve a pretty nice niche for themselves. The cameras would have to be made-to-order so as not to have excess inventory, causing losses for that company.

Interesting idea. Anyone has connections to Chinese and Russian optical/camera companies?
12-23-2007, 05:14 PM   #4
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I would think the problem would be price; with a lack of "features" (as defined by the average consumer), they won't sell many...if they can't sell many, they'll never enjoy the economies of scale for the parts they cannot make for themselves, such as the CCD. This in turn would drive the price up, turning off more potential buyers, and the cycle begins anew.

12-23-2007, 06:47 PM   #5
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It can't be bought because it will never be built. People demand at least AF. without it you would sell very very few cameras. As a case in point look at the price difference between an "A" or "K" lens and an FA lens of similar specifications and quality. The FA lenses are much more expensive because there is so much more demand for them. I for one would not buy such a camera because it did not have Tv; M; or B modes.

NaCl(why not just get a P&S if you don't want flexibility? )H2O
12-23-2007, 09:37 PM   #6
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Like this one?

Recap: Pentax SLR Talk Forum: Digital Photography Review

I made a nice prezo from the ideas in that thread and sent it to Ned Bunnell. Not that he has any input into R&D, but it seems like an idea that has merit.
12-25-2007, 03:54 PM   #7
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Duck Dodgers and NaClH2O: Do you think Leica made a huge misstake with the M8?

I think there would be more buyers to a SLR with the same "think" behind it as the M8, than there are potential buyers to the Leica M8. The market for SLR has been a lot bigger than the rangefinder market for about 30 years now. So if Leica can do it, even with a rangefinder... Yes of course, Leica has a history, very much so. But so have Pentax among SLRs.
12-25-2007, 04:35 PM   #8
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Did Leica make a mistake with the M8? I have no idea. There seems to be a fair number of people who have purchased it, and any company discontinues models that don't sell. It's had mostly good reviews after the initial "green blob" reports (and fix). I haven't a clue whether they've hit their target sales goals.

Speaking of simpler, unobtrusive cameras, I came across this today:

http://tinyurl.com/2azv2u

12-25-2007, 04:43 PM   #9
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I'm all for simplicity but not by sacrificing flexibility

QuoteOriginally posted by Kiss Quote
Duck Dodgers and NaClH2O: Do you think Leica made a huge misstake with the M8?

I think there would be more buyers to a SLR with the same "think" behind it as the M8, than there are potential buyers to the Leica M8. The market for SLR has been a lot bigger than the rangefinder market for about 30 years now. So if Leica can do it, even with a rangefinder... Yes of course, Leica has a history, very much so. But so have Pentax among SLRs.
I don't mind no AF. I rarely use mine. The camara you specified has only Av. I would want M, B, Tv and TAv modes. I don't use B much, but it certainly is nice to have if you want to take a loooong astronomical exposure, the others I use regularily. Your problem is that most people want more flexiblility in a camera not less. The main reason why people buy DSLR's is for the flexibility it gives. Like I said before the camera you specified will not be built, not by anybody because it won't sell w/o AF. And I personally wouldn't want one because it's too limited in it's functionality.

NaCl(to be truthful I think it's a pretty stupid idea)H2O

Last edited by NaClH2O; 12-25-2007 at 04:44 PM. Reason: spelling
12-25-2007, 04:54 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by Kiss Quote
* 10-12 Mp
* Antishake
* Sensorcleaning
* ISO 100
-3200
* Bulb to 1/4000s shutter.
* 98% coverage pentaprism viewfinder.
* 150% viewfinder magn. if 1.5 crop sensor.
* Focusing split screen and microprism collar.
* Mirror lock-up lever.
* Aperture priority.
* Spot and centerweighted metering.
* AE lock button.
* Selftimer.
* Basic TTL and first/second curtain sync.

* RAW/RAW+jpeg choosing button.
* Color temp/awb slider/knob on camera.
* A smallish lcd indicating battery and pic count.
* Fully compatible with
all Pentax lenses that has
a aperture ring (fully, not just the stop-down
lever).

No program modes. No autofocus. No popup flash.
Everything in blue is on the Leica R8/R9 + Digital-Modul-R back.[*note below] Of course, it ain't tiny - not by a long stretch.

You're also not too far off from the *ist D, or the K100D and its variants. The only real novel and useful (to a wide audience IMO) thing you're asking for is to build a rugged, manual focus DSLR. I'd want one, too, although I'd be happier if Pentax could just make a better manual focus screen for their existing cameras. And there is no way I'd pay more than the K10D for a 1.5x sensor. No way - the Nikon D3 has shown the light, and the way isn't with these tiny sensors that are a legacy of the days when sensors cost much more than they do now.

Now, a prediction: your best bet on getting this camera to market is by Cosina. They seem to be the producer still worrying about producing high-quality, solid, manual focus gear. And who knows - it might even have a Pentax K mount on it.

(*To be completely accurate, the Leica R8/R9 shutters go to 1/8000th and are compatible with any Leica lenses that you can mount on them. And the 'sensor cleaning' is because you can take the sensor out of the camera and blow it off.)
12-25-2007, 04:57 PM   #11
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I can't comment on the camera's ergonomics, but I know it has a crappy little sensor in it. Otherwise it's perfect.
12-25-2007, 07:36 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by Kiss Quote
(snip) No program modes. No autofocus. No popup flash. No gorilla-grip making the camera huge. No menus at all, all functions on camera knobs. Not even a screen on the back of the camera. (snip)

Nothing in the world forces anyone to use those items (program modes, autofocus, & popup flash), so why even resist having them? Few compact cameras have a grip attachment, so that isn't much of an issue. However, without menus or an LCD display, you're going to need a lot of buttons and knobs. In addition to basic set, you'll need additional buttons or knobs for image quality selections, white balance settings, ISO speeds, the curtain sync selections you want, and so on. I'm not at all sure button clutter is much of an improvement.

Ultimately, I have to agree with what others have said about a market for this camera. For example, considering the aging world population, many manufacturers feel auto-focus is almost a necessity in the market today. I'm certainly not going to dispute that premise. In the end, the many missing features and capabilities are going to limit the market for this camera to a very few.

In fact, since the camera is missing some of the features and capabilities I consider important (wireless flash, for example), I wouldn't even buy it. I've spent far too many years in photography, learning too much along the way, to unnecessarily limit myself by the camera purchased. The stripped manual camera you describe would do exactly that.

stewart
12-25-2007, 07:45 PM   #13
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A full frame digital LX with AE-lock is all I'm asking for! If that's too barren feature wise to be viable, then perhaps a full frame digital ZX-5N with that exact control layout?
12-26-2007, 07:33 AM   #14
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stewart_photo: Button cluttering? All the functions i listed are present on mechanical cameras from the late seventies, beside color temp and RAW/jpeg. Now look at the back of any digital camera, clutter?

Focus, aperture, iso and shutterspeed, that is the basic need. Then add one auto mode where the camera can set the shutterspeed, and also a spot metering button. This was solved like 30 years ago with the aperture ring and two knobs at the top of the camera. Usually the left knob was used for iso (lift and turn) and exp. compensation (turn). The right one for off/on, all shutterspeeds and auto mode. Mirror lock-up usually had a lever beside the lens mount. Exposure lock on cameras that could auto-set the shutterspeed usually was a left hand button someware around the lens mount. Second curtain i do not remember.

So, to have it digital would require only two or three extra controls over a camera from something like 1982. A RAW/jpeg (or RAW+jpeg) switch. And a color temp slider. Maybe also a three or four way switch for pre-set jpeg-image modes. These pre-set image modes, could be set from a computer or that separate cable attached (even wireless?) screen. So, three controls, i do not call that "clutter" on otherwise empty camera back.

Now go and count the clutter on the back of a K10D or any other DSLR.. Top = 5 controls and the LCD. Left = Three controls. Right = the front wheel and the lens release. Back = fourteen (14!) different buttons, swithches and wheels, plus the screen. Lets see.. 5+3+1+14=23 Twentythree different controls! Some of them even with multiple functions. I think it is time to wake up, this is insane. Why resist? Well, if anything is "clutter", this is it.

I do not want this "clutter", i am also prepared to pay much more to be without it. I would buy the M8 if it was a SLR, but sadly it is a rangefinder. I would buy a compact if it had a big sensor, if it let me set aperture, shutterspeed, iso and focus manually, if it had interchangeable lenses with aperture ring, pentaprism and a good focusing screen - yea, if it was a small SLR insted of a green rectangle compact.

Consumer driven demands? No, to a large degree i do not think so. I think this is technological possibilities in collusion with advertise that drives consumers today, not the other way around. Just like wrist watches in the late seventies. At that time all watches would be "digital", they also got featurehitis, with calculator funtions and god knows what.. Any one asking for a plain simple analog wrist watch was seen as some kind oldtimer striving backwards. But the market did sober up about a decade later. Today those can-do-it-all watches is a small niche. But with cameras there is another additional aspect making it worse. Photography is an artform, a handicraft to master. And the aspect unfolding here, to put it bluntly is: Design for idiots, and idiots is what you get. Meaning, if the photographer can put him self as a passanger of the technology, insted of beeing the driver, he will do that and never really learn the craft, eventually mixing up hard-to-use with his own lack of knowledge and skill (very common in computer usage). How many of you can look out the window and see the EV? - Today it is a 1/125s f8 day. Hardly anyone i guess. All DSLR cameras today are green-rectangle cameras, with no exception at all.

Look at allmost any photo magazine testing a new camera. An endless listing of "features" and very little about usage and build quality out of the user perspective. To write about all aspects of all functions and buttons would require them to write a hwole book. It is easy to just list features and technical data. Sales people love this too, just as those selling digital wrist whatches in the late seventies. Add to this the go-with-the-flow aspect and that people will be harder pushed to openly dislike what they bought the more expensive the purchase was. Criticize a Mercedes bought by a millionarie, and he will just brush it off. Criticize the same car bought by average Joe, and you better watch out.. Very few people asks for, and demand things that do not exist. So, if one asks for something that do not exist, one will, with actually quite few exceptions get the "there is no market" answer. Most demands are created one way or the other, except for water, food and such.

I do not think Leica made a misstake, they have created their niche. Now i am pointing at another, probably bigger niche not claimed by any one.. Will current manufacturers give walk over on this? Maybe to the Chinese Phenix camera maker (Pentax-K) that has a decent lineup of cameras, microscopes, telescopes and such?
12-26-2007, 11:00 AM   #15
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I'm not going to get into a long-winded discussion about this, Kiss. Again, since the camera you describe is missing some of the features and capabilities I consider important, I wouldn't buy it. As was said before, I've spent far too many years in photography, learning too much along the way, to unnecessarily limit myself by the camera purchased. I feel the camera you describe would do exactly that. In other words, I like certain features/options and would not buy a camera without them. And that decision is the result of personal preferences resulting from considerable experience, not marketing hype by magazines, manufacturers, or whatever.

By the way, your characterization of those involved in photography today is far too negative in my opinion. I seriously doubt camera manufacturers are designing products to turn everyone into idiots and I don't think those purchasing feature-ladened cameras are simply lemons without a mind of their own. There are many ways to approach a craft, with yours or mine most certainly not the only way. And it is true that photography in the future will be very different from that of the past, with some of the skills of the past slipping into oblivion. I personally don't have a problem with that.

stewart
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