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10-01-2020, 01:54 PM - 2 Likes   #1
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Challenging the APS-C Flagship Series

Hey all, I'd like to stir up some discussion on how I think people perceive the Pentax APS-C flagship series:

It seems to me that some of us (on this forum and other sites) would consider the K-7, K-5, K-3 the 'modern' APS-C flagship series. Easy to think that with the naming scheme...
I understand that there are some O.G. Asahi Optical Co. employees still working to make Pentax cameras, but over the course what I think people perceive as the 'modern' Pentax flagship APS-C series, there has been different owners of Pentax.

The K-7 and K-5 were both Hoya products...
The only cameras in this 'modern' series under the current owner (Ricoh) are the K-3 and K-3ii.

So, I find it really absurd when people state: "Pentax usually has previously released a new APS-C flagship every X years. How come it's taking so long for Pentax to release a new camera?".
Well, there's only been two sample points under Ricoh! you can't extrapolate any trend with two points! and the second one was, relatively speaking, a minor upgrade to the previous!

Therefore, I'll argue that the 'modern' Pentax APS-C flagship series is only the K-3 series.

I too am terribly excited for *any* new Pentax gear, sure, but I feel like some peoples expectations are too far from being realistic, and a misunderstanding of the 'modern' flagship series may be a reason why.

10-01-2020, 02:03 PM - 2 Likes   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by FozzFoster Quote
Hey all, I'd like to stir up some discussion on how I think people perceive the Pentax APS-C flagship series:

It seems to me that some of us (on this forum and other sites) would consider the K-7, K-5, K-3 the 'modern' APS-C flagship series. Easy to think that with the naming scheme...
I understand that there are some O.G. Asahi Optical Co. employees still working to make Pentax cameras, but over the course what I think people perceive as the 'modern' Pentax flagship APS-C series, there has been different owners of Pentax.

The K-7 and K-5 were both Hoya products...
The only cameras in this 'modern' series under the current owner (Ricoh) are the K-3 and K-3ii.

So, I find it really absurd when people state: "Pentax usually has previously released a new APS-C flagship every X years. How come it's taking so long for Pentax to release a new camera?".
Well, there's only been two sample points under Ricoh! you can't extrapolate any trend with two points! and the second one was, relatively speaking, a minor upgrade to the previous!

Therefore, I'll argue that the 'modern' Pentax APS-C flagship series is only the K-3 series.

I too am terribly excited for *any* new Pentax gear, sure, but I feel like some peoples expectations are too far from being realistic, and the 'modern' flagship series misunderstanding may be a reason why.
I look mostly at all cameras produced by Pentax. I am more bothered by the recent gap between any new Pentax cameras and by the lack of any ‘flagship’ “APS-C” available over the past year than in a ‘gap’ between introduction of new ‘flagship’ “APS-C” cameras.

Last edited by reh321; 10-01-2020 at 02:18 PM.
10-01-2020, 02:04 PM - 1 Like   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by FozzFoster Quote
Hey all, I'd like to stir up some discussion on how I think people perceive the Pentax APS-C flagship series:

It seems to me that some of us (on this forum and other sites) would consider the K-7, K-5, K-3 the 'modern' APS-C flagship series. Easy to think that with the naming scheme...
I understand that there are some O.G. Asahi Optical Co. employees still working to make Pentax cameras, but over the course what I think people perceive as the 'modern' Pentax flagship APS-C series, there has been different owners of Pentax.

The K-7 and K-5 were both Hoya products...
The only cameras in this 'modern' series under the current owner (Ricoh) are the K-3 and K-3ii.

So, I find it really absurd when people state: "Pentax usually has previously released a new APS-C flagship every X years. How come it's taking so long for Pentax to release a new camera?".
Well, there's only been two sample points under Ricoh! you can't extrapolate any trend with two points! and the second one was, relatively speaking, a minor upgrade to the previous!

Therefore, I'll argue that the 'modern' Pentax APS-C flagship series is only the K-3 series.

I too am terribly excited for *any* new Pentax gear, sure, but I feel like some peoples expectations are too far from being realistic, and a misunderstanding of the 'modern' flagship series may be a reason why.
There are very clear tends that cross all of those models so it doesn't hold that only the latest in the series is relevant. It is accurate that historical tends are simply history and changes in ownership may influence things. But we have details teased out by insiders that are setting the expectations on timing.
10-01-2020, 02:11 PM - 3 Likes   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by UncleVanya Quote
There are very clear tends that cross all of those models
I might get shot for saying this... but
The K-7 was pretty much just a K20D in a new body.
The K-5 was pretty much just a K-7 with a new sensor.
The K-3 came with a new sensor, reworked body, and a mass of new technology.

10-01-2020, 02:17 PM - 2 Likes   #5
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My main curiosity is why Pentax/Ricoh stopped making their flagship APS-C camera, the K-3 II, and are only manufacturing a lesser model (the KP) currently that lacks some of the key K-3 II features (no dual-card slot, no standard GPS, less battery life, etc.). Is it because of the presence of the K-1 II and the fact that Pentax is a shrinking company? I don't see how Pentax can improve upon the K-3 II in their forthcoming APS-C camera unless they retain all the features of the K-3 II and add a better sensor with smaller pixel sizes (with, say, 26, 28, or 30 Mpx, or even more) and thus better resolution. Nothing that Pentax has been revealing in bits about the new APS-C camera sounds that much better than what's already in the K-3 II. Of more interest to me is whether they are working on a K-1 III that may have smaller pixel sizes, for example.
10-01-2020, 02:21 PM - 2 Likes   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by cometguy Quote
My main curiosity is why Pentax/Ricoh stopped making their flagship APS-C camera, the K-3 II, and are only manufacturing a lesser model (the KP) currently that lacks some of the key K-3 II features (no dual-card slot, no standard GPS, less battery life, etc.). Is it because of the presence of the K-1 II and the fact that Pentax is a shrinking company? I don't see how Pentax can improve upon the K-3 II in their forthcoming APS-C camera unless they retain all the features of the K-3 II and add a better sensor with smaller pixel sizes (with, say, 26, 28, or 30 Mpx, or even more) and thus better resolution. Nothing that Pentax has been revealing in bits about the new APS-C camera sounds that much better than what's already in the K-3 II. Of more interest to me is whether they are working on a K-1 III that may have smaller pixel sizes, for example.
Just adding those "key K-3ii features" to the KP design would in itself result in a much better camera - even without improving the sensor characteristics,
10-01-2020, 02:28 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by reh321 Quote
and by the lack of any ‘flagship’ “APS-C” available over the past year
yes - that is a very legit concern.
premature discontinuation of the K-3?

10-01-2020, 02:31 PM - 3 Likes   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by FozzFoster Quote
yes - that is a very legit concern.
premature discontinuation of the K-3?
My interpretation is that the new camera was not available as soon as the executives expected it to be.
10-01-2020, 03:04 PM - 4 Likes   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by FozzFoster Quote
yes - that is a very legit concern.
premature discontinuation of the K-3?
I'm only speculating (because that's all any of us can do), but I suspect there may have been one or more key components in the K-3 / K-3II that were no longer available in sufficient quantities to support another production batch run and warranty repair stocks.

I can also believe something that's been rumoured and discussed here in the last year or two, which is that the KP was indeed intended to be the new APS-C flagship, but the user community feedback was such that Ricoh realised they'd missed the target in some areas.

It's highly unlikely we'll ever know, so our speculations will remain just that...
10-01-2020, 03:11 PM - 2 Likes   #10
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Our desire to hierarchize the bodies does not neatly match Ricoh's K-mount philosophy.

The "flagship" is the K-1 series.
10-01-2020, 03:14 PM - 1 Like   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by reh321 Quote
My interpretation is that the new camera was not available as soon as the executives expected it to be.
My interpretation is that less Pentax fans took the next step after the K-3II: K-1, which must be the end of the line in the K series (K10D, K7, K5's, K3's, K-1's). The K-1 was the next flagship and many, like I, did not get on board. Why I did not buy a K-1 is very obvious, I invested in APS-C optimized lenses. With the K-1 I had to start all over again. I might have bought one if the APS-C compatible feature had had the same pixel count as the K-3's. It would have been a camera with the best of both worlds. Sadly, it did not. So somewhere along the manager's line someone cried out "we must make a new APS-C camera that entices the K5 and K3 people to buy a new camera!" (This last part was of course something that I made up as I have no insight in Ricoh's strategy.)
10-01-2020, 03:17 PM - 1 Like   #12
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The K7, K5, K3 are all more or less the same form factor, build quality and for the most part UI and ergonomics. Providence aside, I will copp to regarding them as evolution of an original design.

The KP is a little bit special and it was a surprise. I don't own one, but I think it's been a successful model. Certainly we have happy users here who are producing some great photos with it. Clearly they did not try to replace the K3ii with it because it didn't have things like dual slots and burst rate on par with the K3, so it was a different line.

I was one of the loud voices for bringing the upgraded ASP-C guts into a K3iii, but probably they weren't ready to compete with the KP and possibly they thought they could release the K-next sooner with more substantive changes. The pre-release photos of the new camera are entirely recognizable from the context of the K7-K3ii line and I'm really excited to see it come out and get tested. I won't go so far as to say that I am glad they didn't release a K3iii with the KP sensor and processor, because that would require admitting that I was wrong and that's just not something that I'm comfortable with.

Unless the new flagship is priced inappropriately or a flop in testing, I'm in. Whether I'll be a first adopter or not hasn't been decided yet, but I'm watching closely and getting the rest of my kit sorted in anticipation.
10-01-2020, 03:59 PM - 2 Likes   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by troika Quote
I won't go so far as to say that I am glad they didn't release a K3iii with the KP sensor and processor, because that would require admitting that I was wrong and that's just not something that I'm comfortable with.
As one of those happy KP users, I don't agree with you. If you needed the deeper buffer, or bigger battery, or top LCD, or two SD chips - you were not wrong in not getting a KP, which was good only for those of us who don't need those things.
10-01-2020, 04:28 PM - 1 Like   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by reh321 Quote
As one of those happy KP users, I don't agree with you. If you needed the deeper buffer, or bigger battery, or top LCD, or two SD chips - you were not wrong in not getting a KP, which was good only for those of us who don't need those things.
I think there was miscommunication, I didn't mean to imply anything contrary to what you are saying.

My poorly articulated point is that I see the K7 - K5 - K3 to be an evolution of a specific camera line. I see the KP as a nice surprise that has appealed to and worked out great for people like you.


It is still an ASP-C and is in fact a better ASP-C (at image quality) than the most recently available camera in the line mentioned above, so I would have really liked to see those advancements released into a camera of that line, but they didn't make that option available. Therefore, I'm looking forward to the to-be-released camera.
10-01-2020, 04:54 PM - 1 Like   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by BigMackCam Quote
I'm only speculating (because that's all any of us can do), but I suspect there may have been one or more key components in the K-3 / K-3II that were no longer available in sufficient quantities to support another production batch run and warranty repair stocks.

I can also believe something that's been rumoured and discussed here in the last year or two, which is that the KP was indeed intended to be the new APS-C flagship, but the user community feedback was such that Ricoh realised they'd missed the target in some areas.

It's highly unlikely we'll ever know, so our speculations will remain just that...
The way I see it is that there was some exploration going on for a while, with the K-S1, K-S2 and the KP, possibly even with the whole Q series and the K30/50/70. Nothing like as broad or often as Sony was doing around the same time, but nonetheless it seemed clear to me that some niches were being investigated, such as lighter weight and the low cost/feature balance. The KP has emerged as the probable most successful of those (though it would be interesting to know the relative sales of the KP and the K70), which leads me to think that it’s a line (or maybe just a “line of thinking”) that will be further progressed after the new “flagship” APS-C body is released.

I don’t think we’ll be seeing a repeat of the proliferation of new Pentax models as in the recent past, at least not for a good while, and hence the time taken to release the new body. I doubt there’s a plausible business case for doing anything like that, now. Nikon is pushing out new models and struggling financially and with keeping up its new lens line, and I suspect Canon is only able to stay ahead because of its market share and sizeable loyal customer base, but even so might be subsidising its camera lines to push ahead of Sony and crush Nikon. Ricoh’s in no position to subsidise a similar move.
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