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11-05-2013, 01:53 PM   #1
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K-02, the mini 'blad

(preface: this is just a shooting the bull ideas in my head post, so please don't spout negative financial projections etc.)

Clearly one of the design goals of the k-01 was maintaining the k-mount flange distance, which is not a bad idea in itself and I don't want to rehash the k-01's success or failure. But want to present an idea that might have worked or may still work:

a K-mount mini-Hasselblad 500 shaped camera. Clearly retro is the rage, might as well use that to your advantage. LCD finder cameras would probably benefit from a waist level finder. K-mount thickness isn't as much of an issue in this shape as the LCD is on the top (preferably articulated and some type of hood even.)

Cameras of this box shape are not in the Pentax lineage (even in MF) and so brand purist might not think it's true to the brand, still Ricoh could put their name on it and have a unique camera in a compact package with a full line of limited lenses to complete the package.

What do you think?

11-05-2013, 02:09 PM - 1 Like   #2
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If nothing else, it could be an interesting DIY project using something like a Bigshot camera as the guts.
Bigshot: The Camera for Education

It would be an interesting form factor, though perhaps not the most convenient one...the LCD hinged on top could be interesting, and it would provide a space for a flash, I suppose.
11-05-2013, 05:20 PM   #3
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This is an interesting idea, and it also makes me rethink a certain opinion I've had for a while regarding photographer behavior in the digital age.

While it's not necessarily something listed in this idea's original goals, I would point out the common square formats afforded by medium format cameras. Of course, Hasselblads could be equipped with 6x4.5 film magazines, and the 6x6 squares allowed for cropping however one liked. I recall (with mixed elation and fear) the rumors of bygone Pentax DSLR designs sporting a square sensor - lots of backbiting over the feasibility of such a design, image circles provided by K-mount lenses, mirror box size, etc.

I'm not advocating a square sensor/format for this K-02 idea, but I have to say, I positively love the square. One could easily crop down from an APS-C sensor image to a square, although the nature of the top-down, waist-level finder in the Hasselblad form factor prevents a default vertical or horizontal orientation for the sensor inside the camera. One orientation means awkward handling of the camera when the other is desired.

...unless we have an on-demand rotating sensor like the Mamiya RZ33 medium format camera! I can get behind that. Assuming the usual Pentax SR technology is being implemented, why not add a rotating function? A custom square format sensor would surely cost more than an apparatus for rotation. Any thoughts on this?

The nature of this kind of camera design lends itself particularly well, in my opinion, to the habits of old time street photographers. Now, I know plenty of famous street photogs and photo-journalists liked their Leicas and Nikons and plenty of other 35mm (and thus, rectangular format) cameras. However, when I see images like the ones coming from the TLR of the recently heralded Vivian Maier, I am reminded how Hasselblads and Mamiyas with top-down view finders can be rather disarming to the general public. People are going to know you're making a photograph, but somehow the nature of these cameras are less disturbing to subjects when compared to seeing an SLR pointed at them. I have a Samsung NX mirrorless camera which is small and discreet, but I still get mixed reactions from people when they see me holding it up to my eye and aim it anywhere near them.

The K-02 idea proposed here reminded me of how I used to think about my old photo lab customers holding up their point-and-shoots at arms-length, squinting at the LCD screen rather than looking through a view finder. That is, if they owned one of the random compact cameras which possessed such a novelty. It seemed I was regularly asking customers to consider what they were doing, how many important things were being missed in a scene (closed eyes, somebody not paying attention, photo-bombing) because they were looking at an image the size of a postage stamp (I exaggerated for effect). Relying solely on the LCD screen for composition seemed nuts, but now I'm forced to recognize looking through a waist-level finder isn't that much different. Sure, one can hold the camera closer to the eye, and more than a few MF cameras had top-down finders which included a magnifying lens meant for close viewing - I think the fact that those designs were an analog experience somehow made it ok. I never likened it to today's consumer photographer behavior. Perhaps I should.

Retro designs and, to a certain extent, sensibilities seem to be coming back to photography - see the Nikon Df and it's nostalgic teasers, for example - for reasons good or bad. I think the K-02 idea discussed here is an interesting one. Such a camera would be a bold move, one that suggests a slower pace for a particular kind of photographer.
11-05-2013, 05:40 PM   #4
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Big hinged LCD on top with a loupe viewfinder, well thought-out controls on sides and back. Big sensor, no mirror. I like it, but maybe for medium format still.

11-05-2013, 06:11 PM   #5
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Mmh, I would like it. The only problem with this shape is that its harder to grip, you need to hold it in a different manner than a regular DSLR.
11-06-2013, 07:56 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by LowVoltage Quote
This is an interesting idea, and it also makes me rethink a certain opinion I've had for a while regarding photographer behavior in the digital age.

While it's not necessarily something listed in this idea's original goals, I would point out the common square formats afforded by medium format cameras. Of course, Hasselblads could be equipped with 6x4.5 film magazines, and the 6x6 squares allowed for cropping however one liked. I recall (with mixed elation and fear) the rumors of bygone Pentax DSLR designs sporting a square sensor - lots of backbiting over the feasibility of such a design, image circles provided by K-mount lenses, mirror box size, etc.

I'm not advocating a square sensor/format for this K-02 idea, but I have to say, I positively love the square. One could easily crop down from an APS-C sensor image to a square, although the nature of the top-down, waist-level finder in the Hasselblad form factor prevents a default vertical or horizontal orientation for the sensor inside the camera. One orientation means awkward handling of the camera when the other is desired.

...unless we have an on-demand rotating sensor like the Mamiya RZ33 medium format camera! I can get behind that. Assuming the usual Pentax SR technology is being implemented, why not add a rotating function? A custom square format sensor would surely cost more than an apparatus for rotation. Any thoughts on this?

The nature of this kind of camera design lends itself particularly well, in my opinion, to the habits of old time street photographers. Now, I know plenty of famous street photogs and photo-journalists liked their Leicas and Nikons and plenty of other 35mm (and thus, rectangular format) cameras. However, when I see images like the ones coming from the TLR of the recently heralded Vivian Maier, I am reminded how Hasselblads and Mamiyas with top-down view finders can be rather disarming to the general public. People are going to know you're making a photograph, but somehow the nature of these cameras are less disturbing to subjects when compared to seeing an SLR pointed at them. I have a Samsung NX mirrorless camera which is small and discreet, but I still get mixed reactions from people when they see me holding it up to my eye and aim it anywhere near them.

The K-02 idea proposed here reminded me of how I used to think about my old photo lab customers holding up their point-and-shoots at arms-length, squinting at the LCD screen rather than looking through a view finder. That is, if they owned one of the random compact cameras which possessed such a novelty. It seemed I was regularly asking customers to consider what they were doing, how many important things were being missed in a scene (closed eyes, somebody not paying attention, photo-bombing) because they were looking at an image the size of a postage stamp (I exaggerated for effect). Relying solely on the LCD screen for composition seemed nuts, but now I'm forced to recognize looking through a waist-level finder isn't that much different. Sure, one can hold the camera closer to the eye, and more than a few MF cameras had top-down finders which included a magnifying lens meant for close viewing - I think the fact that those designs were an analog experience somehow made it ok. I never likened it to today's consumer photographer behavior. Perhaps I should.

Retro designs and, to a certain extent, sensibilities seem to be coming back to photography - see the Nikon Df and it's nostalgic teasers, for example - for reasons good or bad. I think the K-02 idea discussed here is an interesting one. Such a camera would be a bold move, one that suggests a slower pace for a particular kind of photographer.
Well thought out response. I hadn't thought about square format (I love square) being a requirement for this format. I'm sure a native square sensor made of whatever size would not be a good value proposition, but I really wish someone would do this. Skeptics say you can crop to get square, I'd say you can crop to get portrait or landscape from a square.
A couple of points your comment made me think on:
1.) I wonder if waist level finders are less intrusive because the photographer is not looking at the subject directly (naval gazing?) and so people don't notice a lens pointed at them (unless its a 300/2.8), but do notice any camera attached to a person staring at them.
2.) I've never thought about composing on an LCD screen in the way you mention. For compact/phone pics I look at the actual scene to find details and use the LCD for rough framing, not staring directly at the LCD image. However your point actually made me think that there may be some positives or at least artistic differences in a disconnected view screen for composition. Since you are looking at a screen with less detail, you can see the form of the photo more easily. I've always thought that most MF shots seem better arranged, and chalked it up to larger (often square) format film being higher end and more deliberate photographers making the photos, but I wonder if there is subconscious things at play as well that may be attributable to composing a "picture" in front of you on ground glass vs. capturing what you see via OVF.
11-06-2013, 08:21 AM   #7
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Square format would be great, but I dont think it is necessary. Its a corner than can be cut, I would like this type of mirrorless camera even if it came with the same sensor as K-3 has. It could be like the K-01, a small, elegant camera with flagship-level IQ (albeit, missing some pro features). If they put a nice big monitor, maybe even set it up so it can be tilted on top or backwards, mmmmh

Putting the electronics behind the mirrorbox and the monitor on top would look really snazzy. A nice little camera box. Just add a wrist strap on the side, since we dont need a crank anyway
11-06-2013, 12:33 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Na Horuk Quote
Square format would be great, but I dont think it is necessary. Its a corner than can be cut, I would like this type of mirrorless camera even if it came with the same sensor as K-3 has. It could be like the K-01, a small, elegant camera with flagship-level IQ (albeit, missing some pro features). If they put a nice big monitor, maybe even set it up so it can be tilted on top or backwards, mmmmh

Putting the electronics behind the mirrorbox and the monitor on top would look really snazzy. A nice little camera box. Just add a wrist strap on the side, since we dont need a crank anyway
I agree that square would have to be shortcut or auto cropped from aps-c financially, but it would make my da15/4 less wide, which would be sad, since this style cam wouldn't really be about telephoto.

11-06-2013, 03:18 PM   #9
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I meant "cutting corners" metaphorically, I wouldnt want a square sensor if its much smaller than APS-C. I meant to say that the sensor doesn't have to be square, that most users would be able to adjust with a regular shape and size sensor, like in the K-3. Sorry for being unclear.
11-06-2013, 03:25 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by Na Horuk Quote
I meant "cutting corners" metaphorically, I wouldnt want a square sensor if its much smaller than APS-C. I meant to say that the sensor doesn't have to be square, that most users would be able to adjust with a regular shape and size sensor, like in the K-3. Sorry for being unclear.
Yeah, we are saying the same thing, just that a 15mm with the sides cropped off will be somewhat less wide than if it was the mythical square sensor with the same diagonal as aps-c.
11-06-2013, 06:41 PM   #11
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If I had better 3D modeling kung fu this is the very kind of thing I'd like to mock up, even if it were only for kicks.
11-07-2013, 01:06 AM   #12
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this is a hipster camera. interesting idea at first, but limited appeal.
11-07-2013, 11:58 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by Steelski Quote
this is a hipster camera. interesting idea at first, but limited appeal.
And the $3K Nikon Df is an oldster's camera but they are going to make some money from it. Hipsters (image conscious youngish folks who identify themselves as "artistic") take a lot of photos and have money to spend (currently on fuji's and oly's.) Are their desires and use cases less important than the guy shooting motorsports that needs a 300/2.8 and 10FPS, which also has limited appeal. Photography is a big tent, and what is right for someone's niche isn't for someone else and that's all OK and has been for a very long time, since Brownies & Sinars.
11-08-2013, 10:40 AM   #14
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I'm sure many of you remember the mostly negative reviews that K01 got on this forum and elsewhere when it was introduced. Kind of sad because i think it helped pave the way for Pentax's decision to not produce a follow-up - which is what i wished for.

Well, Nikon's Df seems to be getting a similar review on dpreview Nikon forums. Some well-wishers but many more adverse comments on its design and price, even as a niche product.

For the op, i think its economic necessity that the Ricoh company produce a K02 follow-up, with whatever number designations they want to use. EVF type of thing with a tilting display - like a Swiss army knife, or perhaps a retro product as you suggested, but smallish with current technology. One of the criticisms i've seen of the Df is the lack of manual focusing aids, like a split lens or focus peaking - haven't seen the specs myself but it does seem odd designing a retro product that advertises ability to use older lenses and then lacking old or modern aids. Maybe it was rushed to market due to current sales problems - who knows.
11-08-2013, 01:46 PM   #15
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I agree mirrorless is part of the future one way or another, and a Ricoh produced K-mount supported camera must be in their plans.

I personally think Ricoh will release a newer mount that maintains legacy support for the K-mounts, ala m4/3 the new OM focusing 4/3. Pentax models always being k-mount, but Ricoh or some new brand having a new all electronic mount and an available via fully compatible K-adapter.
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