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02-03-2008, 06:03 PM   #1
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Sigma DP1 DSLR-like did not get it, can Pentax do it -- now?

This has been rehashed so many times, I know.
However, it would not hurt to check on the current status especially in the light of the new DP1.

Sigma did not get it with their compact DSLR-like DP1 based on the just published final specs and (beta) samples at DPReview and elsewhere.
Chromatic noise at ISO 800 is just unacceptable, have to use 400 at most (just like a compact) -- this is typical for Foveon. Color is off. Movie mode?! Useless compact-like integrated flash?
Worst of all, bad lens choice -- too slow and too wide (28mm f/4). No grip.
DP1 is a mixture of snap-shoot and advanced amateur/pro features -- will not succeed in either!

Phil at DPReview is cutting it a lot of slack as anyone (including me) wants this camera to succeed, but come on, let's be fair.

What if Pentax decides to go for the minimum changes required to shrink the body and re-use the DA Limited lenses thus converting them into high-quality mass lenses?

The most important dimension for portability is thickness.
DP1 is 51 milimeters with collapsed lens.
IstD is 60 milimeters without lens.
Can 5-6 milimeters be shaved off at the mount point?
I think yes.
Remove LCD screen, use viewfinder with overimposed info or convert the second LCD display to primary.
Remove the sticking out flash, but leave the flash shoe for an optional one.
To compensate for low light and reduce using add-on flash stick the old cheap Sony CCD 6mp high-ISO sensor with SR in the first version, the new CMOS in the second version, price-permitting.
Additionally, shrink somewhat the grip to align it with the rest of the body with a mounted DA40.

Second comes weight.
DP1 is 250 gram.
IstD is 550 gram.
Nikon D40 is 470 gram.
I'd say bring it down to 400 gram and it will be jacket pocketable even together with an additional Limited lens (just as the DP1 which is NOT shirt-pocketable) -- this might not require complete redesign of the stainless-steel chassis but eventually only shrinking it. If not possible and chassis need be completely redesigned... I don't know.
Use a custom, light Li-ion battery for ~200 shots.
If needed, remove features from the K200D (weathersealing? others?)

I'll pay $500 body only in a heartbeat.
Kit with DA21 could be $800 -- this will just take the market away from the DP1 if initial price estimates are correct.
Kit with DA40 $650.
Don't know about the new DA15.

So, in short: A compact DSLR for advanced amateurs and Pros.
Could something like this be done and will it have enough market?

02-03-2008, 06:31 PM   #2
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Take all that and make it a rangefinder. Hot shoe or at least a PC socket. Nice and quiet for descrete street shooting and event stuff (weddings etc). It could be intended for the small limiteds or based on the older 110 lens mount. Most rangefinders never had more than 135mm available anyway. Small and compact. I'd get one if the sensor was k10D/K20D.
02-03-2008, 06:36 PM   #3
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Not my interest, but I wondered whether pentax would make one with k-mount because of the pancake lenses. But my thought was that you keep the lcd but ditch the viewfinder (and mirror etc etc). so a very high end p&s style with 10mp dslr sensor and k-mount.
02-03-2008, 07:27 PM   #4
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I want nothing to do with a camera with out some form of view finder. I don't care if it is at least like those on some point and shoots. In bright light even the best lcd becomes hard to see well. I suppose an enclosed EVF like on some Bridge cameras would be acceptable.

02-03-2008, 09:59 PM   #5
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Personally, I'd rather see the Auto 110 done in a digital body, with the capabilities to use the same lenses. I'd pick one up in a heartbeat.
02-03-2008, 10:34 PM   #6
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I will be one of the first people in Canada to try the Sigma DP1, and I'm looking forward to it.

I'll be sure to post pictures when I'm allowed to, and give my $0.02 worth on it.

At this time I don't think that theres any reason to say Pentax should, or should not make their own version.
The smart camera companies will wait and see how the public reacts to Sigma's version and base their decision on that.

I'll mention that some Sigma owners have an ace up their sleeves, as in an engineer of some sort. And they're talking to him and seeing if he'll convert it to use an existing interchangeable lens.
They appear to make their discoveries public knowledge as well.
It won't be autofocus, but most Sigma owners can live without that.
02-03-2008, 11:46 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by little laker Quote
I will be one of the first people in Canada to try the Sigma DP1, and I'm looking forward to it.
I can only hope you are not rushing to buy it yourself as no official price is known yet and the pictures from the pre-production units do not inspire confidence at all.
QuoteQuote:
I'll be sure to post pictures when I'm allowed to, and give my $0.02 worth on it.
It will be most appreciated, of course.
However, it is not too early to comment on the feature set, not on the picture quality and my opinion is it does not match the expectations of an advanced amateur.
What is your opinion?
QuoteQuote:
At this time I don't think that theres any reason to say Pentax should, or should not make their own version.
Like it or not, the topic of Pentax making a smaller body/package is a very old one, and reappears constantly on multiple forums.
So please kindly refrain from attempts to stifle free discussion completely on topic.
QuoteQuote:
The smart camera companies will wait and see how the public reacts to Sigma's version and base their decision on that.
Your well-meant effort to teach us Economics 101 is appreciated, but regretfully will not be accepted as authoritative at this point.
If Sigma's version does not succeed it might impact negatively any future attempts.
If it succeeds people might start associating the "new DSLR compact" with Sigma's form factor which will require Pentax to stick to fixed lens and possibly a completely redesigned body. Then the option of a simplified "pancake" body with interchangeable DA Limiteds will be gone.

So now that the ice is broken but it's still not too late one way or the other it might be a good time for Pentax to step up with a version on its own, especially if it is based on existing technologies.
In any case a debate around the Pentax approach is not premature.

QuoteQuote:
I'll mention that ...
Great. I myself am an avid contributor to the Do-It-Yourself movement in the area of mini-computers. However, I also know that this is not a viable way for a large company.

I still hope you have anything of substance to say regarding Pentax options of designing a more compact body/package as you are obviously very experienced and interested in the topic -- your opinion will be highly anticipated.
Please.
02-04-2008, 12:43 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by zaurus Quote
I can only hope you are not rushing to buy it yourself as no official price is known yet and the pictures from the pre-production units do not inspire confidence at all.
I have a working relationship with Canada's only store selling Sigma bodies. I probably won't buy one right away, but we've already spoken about a test shoot with their first.

I'll see when it happens soon enough.

02-04-2008, 08:40 AM   #9
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I'm still hoping Ricoh will add an APS-C sensor to their Caplio GX1000 and GR Digital bodies. IMO they are the two best designed pocketable camera's around. The tiny sensor they use is their achilles heel though.

A small pentax rangefinder using those limiteds would be awesome, but even with those it would most likely still be a bit larger then I would want for a pocket camera.

That said, I'm still all for a pentax rangefinder'ish camera. I just wish someone other then Leica would do it. No way am I paying $5+k just for a body.
02-04-2008, 09:27 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by zaurus Quote
I can only hope you are not rushing to buy it yourself as no official price is known yet and the pictures from the pre-production units do not inspire confidence at all.
I don't know if this is accurate, but CNet is reporting it'll sell for $999 (Sigma's vaunted DP1 camera due soon--for $999 | Underexposed - CNET News.com). I really like the compact aps-c concept and I hope it succeeds, but that's too expensive for me.
02-04-2008, 10:10 AM   #11
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The Sigma SD14's suggested retail is something like $1400, however you can often find them for less than $1000. The store I deal with lists them somewhere around $900.00.

So I wouldn't go by their claimed prices.
02-04-2008, 09:41 PM   #12
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I am sceptical I would buy the Sigma DP-1 regardless of price because in its vain attempt to attract the point-and-shoot crowd it lost its original purpose and became unusable for advanced amateurs.
I would have bought it, though, if it had:
1. A 35mm f/2.8 lens (instead of the equally difficult to make but much less usable 28mm f/4).
2. A grip aligned with the collapsed lens.
3. Very good ISO 400 and usable ISO 800.
4. No strange flare artefacts, color problems or other aggravating picture problems (this could be fixed in the production models).
5. No fixed useless flash, no movie mode, no other el cheapo gimmicks.
As it stands now the DP-1 is suitable only for a certain type of landscape/architecture and street photography (cramped crowded megapolis streets) -- all in broad daylight or in a professionally-lit setting. I will wait for its second, more versatile version, if any comes up.

However, I am more interested in what Pentax can do to use the newly opened market.
I don't think Pentax has the resources to develop new body, AF or anything else.
So, just as I said, shrinking an existing body still in production, like the K100D, stripping it down do bare essentials would seem to me the better course.
Come to think of it instead of the short-lived and rather pointless K100D->K100D Super upgrade might have been used to accomplish the smaller body.

Is it too late for this now that Pentax seems concentrated on a higher-class body... I don't know.
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