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12-10-2008, 04:10 PM   #1
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Why doesn't Pentax develop full frame DSLR?

FF will definitely have bigger and bigger market in the future.
Does Pentax have technical difficulty to develop FF? I thought FF just have the big sensor compared to AFS. Is that right?

12-10-2008, 04:23 PM   #2
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This is endlessly debate here and on other fora. Sure, they could develop a FF camera. Would they want to? Should they spend the resources elsewhere? Will it help them gain market share? Ad infinitum.

I'm fine with my camera, but I'm sure there are people that would buy one. However, there would be a bunch of DA* owners that might be a little unhappy as the lenses are designed for APS-C sensors. Some of them reportedly work on FF, though.

In a perfect world, it would be great for Pentax to have a full range of cameras including FF, but if they don't it won't really affect my day to day shooting.
12-10-2008, 05:36 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by fast_boat Quote
FF will definitely have bigger and bigger market in the future.
Does Pentax have technical difficulty to develop FF? I thought FF just have the big sensor compared to AFS. Is that right?
Pentax doesn't develop full frame because doing so would be foolish.

In order to enter the full frame market, they would have to:
  1. have a full frame camera (pretty easy)
  2. a complete -- check the A* lens list; note what isn't there for the DA* lenses, which aren't full frame anyway; note the difficulty they seem to be having with the DA* line expansion -- modern range of full frame pro lenses
  3. have a worldwide support network of affiliates and "pro shops" to support professional use of their cameras, since if you produce a full-frame DSLR and pros don't use it, the well to do folks who might buy it as a hobby camera won't.
  4. a big marketing push with a very substantial ad budget

That involves spending money they don't have to make very little, because the top of the market isn't big enough to be really lucrative.

Also, Pentax isn't trying to the be the #1 global camera company; they're trying for an outstanding value proposition. There isn't an outstanding full frame value proposition; the bodies -- which remain effectively disposable consumer electronics -- cost too much for that.

So they can, well, three obvious things that are obvious outstanding value propositions:
  1. APS-C cameras with features you can't get without paying much more from another maker (doing that)
  2. APS-C "interchangeable lens compact" (they might be doing that)
  3. Digital medium format that's either not consumer electronics or has a really good price point (they've considered doing that)

I don't think you're inherently correct about the full frame market; lots of people want a small camera, and lots more people don't need anything better than what goes up on the computer screen. The globally market-dominant camera is the cell phone camera. The idea of a prosumer full frame market is effectively unproven, and it's not clear anybody is going to make enough money at it to want to do it. Certainly not for the next couple years, and by then the price point for the mediums is going to be gnawing on the pro market for full frame.

Me, I've got a K20D; it's a much better camera than I am photographer and produces raw images larger than I have the hardware to print. It's going to take me years to fix the first problem and at least some time to fix the second. A full frame camera would make both problems worse, for more money, and not -- with the possible exception of a better viewfinder -- involve any more fun.
12-10-2008, 06:16 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by Graydon Quote

. . .

The globally market-dominant camera is the cell phone camera.
That may be the best line I have read in ALL the threads debating a FF Pentax offering (not that I wouldn't want one if they had one).

12-10-2008, 08:49 PM   #5
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Like anything else, FF is perceived as a "must have" by many, not because it is a "must have", but because someone has mentioned that it exists.

I wouldn't have even known my sensor wasn't FF if I hadn't read about it here. I certainly wouldn't be looking at my shots and thinking: "Hmmm, this photo is terrible. I wonder why ... hey, wait a minute...!!!"
12-10-2008, 10:11 PM   #6
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Besides the fact that a FF dslr doesn't fit in the Pentax target market, a FF frame sensor assembly with shake reduction mechanism won't fit in a K20D body. All of the FF dslrs that I know of use SR in the lenses. I don't even know if such a large SR sensor assembly will work properly. I think that lack of inbody SR is why the competition is able to produce such small entry level bodies.

Dave

QuoteOriginally posted by fast_boat Quote
FF will definitely have bigger and bigger market in the future.
Does Pentax have technical difficulty to develop FF? I thought FF just have the big sensor compared to AFS. Is that right?
12-11-2008, 12:30 AM   #7
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Despite the high price tag, revenue from FF cameras are insignificant by comparison to Consumer or Prosumer models, and product R&D represents a much higher component.

Thats why they made a K-m, not a K1D.
12-11-2008, 12:55 AM   #8
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It will be interesting to see how Sony goes with the A900. Considering that they haven't
been into the DSLR market that long either.
Sony uses SR via sensor shift so its not imposible. But they have a lot more
of the folding stuff ($$$) than pentax.

12-11-2008, 12:56 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by Big Dave Quote
I don't even know if such a large SR sensor assembly will work properly.
actually, sony alpha 900 had in-body, full-frame SR, so it can be done, at least with their mount. i've read somewhere on this forum, this is not the case with k-mount, though..
12-11-2008, 02:28 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by elkarrde Quote
i've read somewhere on this forum, this is not the case with k-mount, though..
People do love to repeat that, yes. Is it true? Who knows.
12-11-2008, 03:17 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by rfortson Quote
However, there would be a bunch of DA* owners that might be a little unhappy as the lenses are designed for APS-C sensors.
OK, I'll bite, why would a rational person complain? It is no secret the lens are designed for a cropped sensor. You would have to be pretty stupid to have an issue, IMO.

As for the OP's question, companies do what they think will make money or positions them to make money in the future. It is that simple.

Last edited by poco; 12-11-2008 at 04:52 PM.
12-11-2008, 03:30 AM   #12
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Yeah, considering the cost to develop a full frame sensor, it wouldn't be very economical to Pentax when many other brands are already doing it. Considering it takes Canon $3000 still to sell one, it wouldn't seen practical to take the manufacturing costs to only sell so many at the higher price. Then again if they made a very inexpensive full frame camera, then it would probably get a drastic buying rate from consumers. I'm thinking Holga.
12-11-2008, 05:15 AM   #13
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Where exactly does this cost come from? Don't they just make a sensor twice as big as APS-C and that's it? I don't think you can infer manufacturing costs from market prices.

I think a full frame Pentax (irrespective of mp) would be just about the perfect DSLR.

As for APS-C DSLR size advantage, lets not forget that the K20D is as heavy as EOS 5D and not much smaller. If I wanted something to hide in my pocket, I'd buy a G10
12-11-2008, 06:02 AM   #14
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The thread started a question other than "why is FF better"...!

It asked the question why Pentax isn't doing it when everybody else does it?

(and the comment about it being impossible with SR and K mount is wrong -- I provided compelling evidence against this argument in some of my older postings).

My personal opinon is that the entire issue is emotional at Pentax.

Initially, Pentax tried to release a digital FF camera before everybody else (with a Kodak sensor). It was an awful failure. It nearly killed Pentax entry into the DSLR market. So, today the entire topic of FF may be burned within the Pentax senior management. Which is why they later ignored a moderate policy and started to invest on APS-C (lenses) only. Or why Pentax senior managers stated on multiple occasions that before FF, they would reanimate the 645D projekt (which, IMHO, is a rhetoric insider's joke...).

It may now require a Hoya board order or a new member of the board to change policy again admitting that wrong strategic decisions had been made again.


Today (cf. the 2nd quarter investors meeting report), Hoya realizes that the time where profit could be made with P&S cameras or mobile phone lenses is over.

And that within 5 years, the entry level price for APS-C dropped from 1500$ in 2003 (when the *istD was released) to 400$ in 2008 (K-m street price).

Hoya admitted as well that their real business is in lenses. The Hoya board will have realized (or will soon) that it is only possible to sell $1000+ lenses if they have $1000+ bodies as well. Which makes FF inevitable. Even if a majority of Pentaxians won't be able to afford it yet.

IMHO, a Hoya board order is imminent (if they don't plan to sell Pentax). Until that moment, though, Pentax will refuse to even plan for FF.

Last edited by falconeye; 12-11-2008 at 06:07 AM.
12-11-2008, 06:46 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by monochrome Quote
That may be the best line I have read in ALL the threads debating a FF Pentax offering (not that I wouldn't want one if they had one).
The cell-phone camera is the modern Kodak Instamatic. I don't think I'll ever get accustomed to the sight of people using their phones to take pictures. At least I hope I won't.
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