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07-11-2015, 05:27 AM   #1
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K3II Notice and Manufacturing Batch Sizes

Yesterday, I watched Ed at PhotoUniverse talk about a recall of something like 11,000 K3II cameras. Well, that can't be right The camera has only been out for something like a month or so, and Pentax is not Canon. Then, I just happened across a blog that was talking about the Notice and posted a link to it.... where Pentax actually published the affected serial numbers. 472 cameras are actually affected. Actually not bad.

That somewhat brings up some additional questions...
  • Were these 472 bodies, that were shipped or sold. I am going to guess that these were actually sold. For Pentax, selling 500 bodies in the first month of a new product is probably not bad. That's about 6,000 a year.
  • With the K5, there was a question as to how many bodies were actually affected with the spotting. No one really knew. I don't think that any serial numbers (in terms of a range) were ever released.
  • Going back to the early days of the 645D, I remember folks looking for serial numbers extracted from images posted on the web, and coming up with a number of 10,000 units having been sold. That was based on the initial serial number subtracted from the highest serial number. That is probably a bit too high for such an expensive camera ($10,000 at the time), but it's not out of the question.
So, I went to the actual serial numbers published, wondering what they could tell us. Just taking the earliest (lowest) and the latest (highest) affected serial numbers and subtracting them gives us 1901. Not too big nor too small. Might the production run of all K3II camera bodies be about 2000 cameras so far? Does Pentax ID their bodies within various ranges of serial numbers? I have not noticed that in the past.

I dumped (cut and pasted) the serial number ranges into a spreadsheet, and it had some interesting things to show (see the attached table).
  • The smallest number in an affected batch size was 1
  • The largest number in a batch was 299, with the next closest batch size being 149. Interesting. Does Pentax manufacturer bodies in small run sizes of say 150? That would make sense. This would be small enough for a small producer, but still of a size to get some volume efficiencies.
  • The puzzling aspects of this, are the batch sizes of 2, 4 and 7. These can't be standalone batches? Too small to have any efficiency of scale - my thinking. If so, you might as well do custom camera builds.
  • That leads me to another question, in terms of Pentax's manufacturing tracking system. Obviously, there appears to be a component in question here. Do they track each individual component to a specific camera body - rather than just a manufacturing batch?
I am sure that there are a few more questions that can be devised around the serial numbers released, but that's it for me right now....



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07-11-2015, 05:34 AM   #2
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I'd be happy if they recalled 11,000 cameras, cause it would mean they sold 11,000 cameras. I'm going to read Ed at Photouninverse and wipe this post from my mind with the Men in Black mind eraser thingy, if mine hasn't been recalled.
07-11-2015, 06:06 AM   #3
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Viewing Eds YouTube feed is enough to wipe your mind - no worries about MIB alien tech.
07-11-2015, 06:13 AM   #4
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If I am reading it correctly, those serial numbers are not subjected to the recall.....

"Customers with K-3 II camera serial numbers lower than #6206660* requiring support should call 1-800-234-0276 to have the camera inspected and serviced free of charge, even if the product appears to be functioning properly."

*Excluded Serial Numbers:
K-3 II Products with the following serial numbers are not subject to this service:
6199671, 6187961-6188110, 6192376-6192380, 6192386-6192390, 6192436-6192440, 6196362-6196369, 6196661-6196960, 6197748-6197750, 6197768-6197770


07-11-2015, 06:21 AM   #5
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Other way around. 472 cameras are not affected. My own serial number is before 6187961 so 11,000 - 472 sounds about right.

They're obviously confident they've nailed the root cause of the fault and for whatever reason have been able to identify serials where the fault does not exist. I wouldn't read too much into it. 472/11,000 (5%) might simply be that they were sourcing a particular part from a minor supplier when the major supplier had an issue. Who knows? For the affected component, they obviously track the component serial number.

I'm impressed with Ricoh's handling of this issue. Polar opposite to Nikon's oil spotting or Hoya's SDM as far as I'm concerned.
07-11-2015, 07:15 AM   #6
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Well reading the posts here , some members overly optimistic. For semiconductor devices, the standard AQL (Acceptable Quality Limit) is about 4ppm or less (4 parts out of spec per 1 million produced).
So, when you are talking about 5% defect rate, this is a huge number. All that means is that there was no functional test of camera body themselves, before packing.
07-11-2015, 07:30 AM   #7
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Don't understand Ed felt it was necessary to make a 9 minute rant video about the problem...if he had checked Nikon's services advisory for updating the firmware on the Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 300mm f/4E PF ED VR lens he would have seen that Nikon also said that the customer must pay for the shipping to the service center. https://support.nikonusa.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/19448

Both company have knowledge that they have defective products and are willing to fix it if we as customers are willing to pay the shipping cost to their repair center and both have adopted the same policy. No I don't like it the policy of either company, since I own both a K3II and Nikon 300mm f4, but to make a 9 minute rant video seems a bit unreasonable on Ed's part to me.

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07-11-2015, 07:53 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by interested_observer Quote
472 cameras are actually affected.
Sounds like you misread the press release...those 472 cameras within the affected serial number range are in fact not affected.


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07-11-2015, 08:01 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by biz-engineer Quote
All that means is that there was no functional test of camera body themselves, before packing.
That's pretty much true of everything, anymore. Consumers have become the Quality Control Department for just about every manufacturer of any item you can name.
07-11-2015, 09:20 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by Adam Quote
Sounds like you misread the press release...those 472 cameras within the affected serial number range are in fact not affected.
Yup! I misread it. It was O' Dark Hundred - in the wee hours of the morning. I had gotten up to get a drink of water, and wound up sitting down - surfing the web for a bit. Early morning and no coffee has its downside.

QuoteOriginally posted by jawsy Quote
Other way around. 472 cameras are not affected. My own serial number is before 6187961 so 11,000 - 472 sounds about right.

They're obviously confident they've nailed the root cause of the fault and for whatever reason have been able to identify serials where the fault does not exist. I wouldn't read too much into it. 472/11,000 (5%) might simply be that they were sourcing a particular part from a minor supplier when the major supplier had an issue. Who knows? For the affected component, they obviously track the component serial number.

I'm impressed with Ricoh's handling of this issue. Polar opposite to Nikon's oil spotting or Hoya's SDM as far as I'm concerned.
QuoteOriginally posted by hoopsontoast Quote
If I am reading it correctly, those serial numbers are not subjected to the recall.....

"Customers with K-3 II camera serial numbers lower than #6206660* requiring support should call 1-800-234-0276 to have the camera inspected and serviced free of charge, even if the product appears to be functioning properly."

*Excluded Serial Numbers:
K-3 II Products with the following serial numbers are not subject to this service:
6199671, 6187961-6188110, 6192376-6192380, 6192386-6192390, 6192436-6192440, 6196362-6196369, 6196661-6196960, 6197748-6197750, 6197768-6197770
QuoteOriginally posted by normhead Quote
I'd be happy if they recalled 11,000 cameras, cause it would mean they sold 11,000 cameras. I'm going to read Ed at Photouninverse and wipe this post from my mind with the Men in Black mind eraser thingy, if mine hasn't been recalled.
Ya know - like Norm, I do hope that they had sold 11,000 cameras. If that is/were the case, then their market share must be coming back like gangbusters, especially since the dSLR camera segment in the market has been cut in half (based on previous reports).


07-11-2015, 09:40 AM   #11
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QuoteQuote:

Both company have knowledge that they have defective products and are willing to fix it if we as customers are willing to pay the shipping cost to their repair center and both have adopted the same policy.
Standard procedure everywhere in retail. Warranties are for parts and labor ("shipping pre-paid to..."). Ford does not pick up your vehicle (unless you paid for that extended service).

I had a $19.99 desk fan that died. The manufacturer wanted it sent in "pre-paid", plus $7.50 return shipping. I'm sure you can figure out where the fan went, and I bought something else.
07-11-2015, 02:41 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by interested_observer Quote
Yesterday, I watched Ed at PhotoUniverse talk about a recall of something like 11,000 K3II cameras. Well, that can't be right The camera has only been out for something like a month or so, and Pentax is not Canon. Then, I just happened across a blog that was talking about the Notice and posted a link to it.
:
Last year wasn't a good one for DSLR cameras, but still, total shipment from Japan producers was 10.5 millions units. That is without Samsung, Leica, and other non Japanese manufacturer. Canon has about 51 % of total sales worldwide, so they have sold around or more than 5.5 millions DSLR cameras last year.

Biggest number in the list given by Ricoh is 6206660, and the smalest is 6187961, so they have sold more than 18700 cameras in 50 days. This mean more than 130 000 cameras a year for one model, or around 1.3% of world production. Counting the other models, K-S1, K-S2, K-50, K-3, 645z, and the fact that this is a new camera, with some unique features, and the sales are bigger at the beginning, I think that Ricoh share in DSLR market is around 4-5%.

What is very good for Ricoh, and where the difference from Nikon is clear, is that they recognize the defect very quickly, and they are ready to make the necessary repair in less than two month from the launch, which was not the case for Nikon D600. And that's no wonder that Nikon falls with almost 10% in market share, while Canon grows from 47% to 51%.

Last edited by JimmyDranox; 07-12-2015 at 06:11 PM.
07-12-2015, 05:14 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by biz-engineer Quote
For semiconductor devices, the standard AQL (Acceptable Quality Limit) is about 4ppm or less (4 parts out of spec per 1 million produced).
So, when you are talking about 5% defect rate, this is a huge number.
A camera is not a semiconductor chip. The defect rate for dSLR (and similar) cameras across brands has hovered in the range of 2%-5% for the last decade or so. In the last two years that rate has migrated up to 4%-6%. For all practical purposes the industry standard is about 5%, a number that is consistent for computers and other consumer electronics.


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07-12-2015, 05:16 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by interested_observer Quote
Yesterday, I watched Ed at PhotoUniverse talk about a recall of something like 11,000 K3II cameras.
FWIW, I don't believe Ed is very good with numbers.


Steve
07-13-2015, 06:25 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
FWIW, I don't believe Ed is very good with numbers.


Steve
Doubly FWIW, Ed at Photouniverse is astonishingly negative about a great many things. I tend to view his videos with a healthy dose of suspicion.
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