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01-12-2012, 12:49 PM   #1
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Why not make a Pentax LX digital?

If Ricoh/Pentax want to develop a mirrorless camera, then why not create a new Dslr (well, you know what I mean) resembling the LX (ie retro style and weatherproofing and highly durable), maybe even with a FF sensor... I doubt they would be able to fit a mirror into it, so it would be the perfect justification for introducing pentaxians into mirrorless systems. That would be my dream and perhaps the dream of nikon and canon users too...Could they do it? Would they do it? Even if it was ASP-C it could outplay a fuiji with K-mount, especially with one of those new sony sensors...

Your thoughts...

01-12-2012, 01:18 PM   #2
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I think if Pentax took a Fuji-esque approach with something like this, they'd have a lot of success, I think. Unfortunately, their marketing department seems to have never taken the sorts of initiatives needed for something like this to happen...

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01-12-2012, 01:28 PM   #3
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I've also wondered if Pentax ever goes FF, if they would move to the LX naming format and leave the K camera body line to APS-C..(but I'd like to keep the Mirror). For years Pentax considered the pro line to be 645 or 67, and 135 to be amateur, but eventually brought out the LX to fill that pro market. Perhaps history will eventually repeat itself?
01-12-2012, 01:29 PM   #4
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The rationale for the LX included the associated system camera accessories. It was intended as a technologically superior professional camera body surrounded by a professional set of supporting attachments and cutting-edge optics - IOW a system camera.

Pentax, unfortunately, just didn't have the scale to continue developing that market (they lacked the installed pro base, the cash flows drawn from Canon and Nikon's associated businesses and the willingness to offer pro support services).

Even with Ricoh's resources, I doubt PenCoh have the resources to develop a system camera today. There's really no rational reason for them to develop a digital LX system.

I believe Pentax will continue to aim at the enthusiast / advanced amateur niche, producing interesting, innovative, small cameras and a limited kit of very fine lenses. Hopefully Ricoh will assume responsibility and branding for the downmarket products. At the very least, if they can establish a 5-year business plan that is implemented without yet another corporate change maybe some progress will be made.

01-12-2012, 01:34 PM   #5
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The appeal wouldn't just be retro nostalgia, it would be about size and tactility. The mirror shouldn't be the main design problem in terms of the style or form factor, I imagine it would be fitting the shake reduction gear for a 35mm sensor into the existing height and/or depth. Even without SR, Leica had to make the M8 and M9 noticeably thicker than the film M-series. However, with sensor development, and some clever mechanical engineering design, the increase should be able to be kept to a minimum, but there'd still be some impact on styling or form factor.

Nonetheless, it would be a visually appealing camera to me, too. Whether or not I'd buy would then come down to price, and getting the design refined to a point where it's a good financial proposition would probably involve some stripping back in features (not sure what, though, but maybe that could be a selling point, like a stripped-back track car) to bring it in under the competition's offerings.
01-12-2012, 02:06 PM   #6
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LX is a thing of the past. People should wake up and move on.
01-12-2012, 02:37 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by monochrome Quote
Even with Ricoh's resources, I doubt PenCoh have the resources to develop a system camera today. There's really no rational reason for them to develop a digital LX system.
I doubt that resource capability or capacity is really an issue. Cosina is a small player in comparative terms, yet they managed to produce the Epson RD, as well as the Voigtlander Bessa series, the continued development of the latter in particular indicating their financial success in doing so. Modern 3D CAD/CAM means rapid prototyping is available, particularly for the mechanical and structural components, and tool and die development for the production phase.

Come to that, Pentax-Ricoh could even outsource part or all of the development and/or manufacture to Cosina, if they wanted to. I imagine it's largely a matter of strategic choices as to where they put their engineering and financial resources.

One good reason to develop a digital LX would be to produce the world's first system DSLR for the high-end enthusiast market, which is where a lot of the original LXes have finished up.
01-12-2012, 02:43 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by RobA_Oz Quote
One good reason to develop a digital LX would be to produce the world's first system DSLR for the high-end enthusiast market, which is where a lot of the original LXes have finished up.


01-12-2012, 03:41 PM   #9
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I don't think SR would be essential in a digital LX. The film LX never had it, and was a great low-light camera. Leica's M9 has no SR, is limited on max ISO, and yet is used most often in low light situations where rangefinder focusing has the advantage. With good technique, which is assumed in the pro market such an offering would address, SR is a bonus, not an essential. If they made an LX equivalent of an M9, I'd buy it!
01-12-2012, 04:44 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by TomB_tx Quote
I don't think SR would be essential in a digital LX. The film LX never had it, and was a great low-light camera. Leica's M9 has no SR, is limited on max ISO, and yet is used most often in low light situations where rangefinder focusing has the advantage. With good technique, which is assumed in the pro market such an offering would address, SR is a bonus, not an essential. If they made an LX equivalent of an M9, I'd buy it!
the rangefinder is a contributing factor to why the M9 is so good at low-light work - there is also the fact that Leica puts a great deal of effort into the design of the shutter mechanism and they do their best to keep it smooth and accurate- and as a consequence you can hand hold a Leica at significantly lower shutter speeds than you can with an SLR because of the design of the shutter and the fact that rangefinders do not have the sharpness killing reflex mirror in the optical path.
01-12-2012, 06:20 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by monochrome Quote
Pentax, unfortunately, just didn't have the scale to continue developing that market (they lacked the installed pro base, the cash flows drawn from Canon and Nikon's associated businesses and the willingness to offer pro support services).
I think it is the 'pro support services' that Pentax will really have to work on if they want to entice more pro-shooters to the K-mount system... I think to a certain extent 'service' or 'support' is even more important to 'pro' shooters than whether or not Pentax offers a FF camera...
01-12-2012, 06:22 PM   #12
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For Pentax to come back to compact bodies (compared to DSLR) with lots of manual controls like a LX (or like the new Fujis), it cannot be a reflex. Since rangefinder is not Pentax market, it would have to be some really clever mirroless with good electronic viewfinder.

Guess what? That's almost like a Ricoh GXR, but with K-mount and SR.

Given the fact Ricoh didn't released a K-mount yet, and Pentax haven't announced any new pro/semi-pro bodies, I have a hunch that we can be seeing something like this coming from Ricoh.

One thing I know for sure: SLR is a dead end. We are at an inflection point, and the next 1-2 year window will start seeing pro-grade, compact mirroless bodies. Some manufacturers will innovate and surprise (Fuji, Sony), and the ones too slow to adapt will die. That would also imply the current Pentax DSLR lineup is probably one of the last of its generation. Their lack of a roadmap and the Ricoh acquisition hint me that.
01-12-2012, 06:33 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by wlachan Quote
LX is a thing of the past. People should wake up and move on.
Try telling Fuji to wake up and move on.

There's certainly a market for compact, well-built, high-quality cameras with manual controls, as they demonstrated. Current DSLRs are big, bulky, have small optical viewfinders and are nowhere as rewarding to operate compared to earlier SLRs. People have just got used to it because digital is much more convenient, but DSLRs are real frankensteins from a product design perspective.
01-12-2012, 08:26 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by hcarvalhoalves Quote
Current DSLRs are big, bulky, have small optical viewfinders and are nowhere as rewarding to operate compared to earlier SLRs.
but according to the Kitazawa interview, Pentax is aiming at making their DSLRs even smaller, put better OVFs and perhaps improve ergonomics... so I guess it's trying to extend the market life of DSLR's?
01-12-2012, 08:30 PM   #15
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The M (ME, MX etc) line was intended to be smaller than the preceeding K line (K2, KX etc) so perhaps a M10d or something similair for a mirrorless....leaving the L for FF with a mirrorbox
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