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12-26-2009, 03:26 AM   #1
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The ideal Pentax model range

I already posted something about a possible Pentax camera range on DPreview, but replies were not all very useful.

This line up is designed around the following core ideas:

* The camera range must be comprehensive
* All models must be logically placed towards each other and towards a clear target audience
* The models must be competitive, but not identical with the competition. This means staying in the ball park in most areas and being better in typical Pentax strong points
* All models need to be relatively compact, but certain models are specifically designed for that goal so that not the whole range of models is overly compromised just for the sake of size.
* All models must strengthen Pentax' image as a photographers choice brand (the higher the level of the camera the more important)
* For that last purpose models must show:

- good built quality, ergonomics and furthermore environmental sealing on all but entry models
- good IQ
- great user interface (means hyperprogram and dual dials on all but entry models)
- Largest viewfinders in class (means prism on all but entry DSLR)
- In body IS on DSLR and EVIL, body or optical in fixed lens 4/3
- Continuation of excellent backward lens compatibility on both DSLR and EVIL
- Models that draw attention from other system users and which Pentax users can aspire to (fixed lens 4/3 compact, aps-C EVIL, K-1, 645D)
- Models that can be used by pro's to strengthen brand image (K-1 and 645D)

I'm not saying Pentax can easily create a line up like this, just a range of camera's I would choose if resources were not as much an issue. I know there are some weak points in this proposal for instance possibly relation between cost and MSRP. The names used are just that, names:

1) A 4/3 sensored fixed zoom lens stabilized compact for people that want truly pocketable image quality and photographic control.

2) A aps-c sensored stabilized EVIL camera for those that want great combination of image quality, control, changeable lenses and compact size.

3) Entry level aps-c DSLR

4) Enthusiast level aps-c DSLR

5) Top level aps-c DSLR

6) 645D


1) Pentax F-43

The first camera would be a very serious fixed zoom lens 4/3 sensored stabilized compact that would be truly portable. Zoom range would be limited to 2x or 2.5x 28-56mm or 24-48mm at F3.5-5.6 lens to keep it pocketable. The only stabilized compact truly pocketable with a large sensor and zoom functionality. Unique selling points:

* Cheapest truly pocketable large sensor camera
* Only truly pocketable large sensor zoom camera
* Zoom lens, stabilized, faster, better LCD and cheaper than Leica X-1
* Much larger sensor, dual dials compared to LX-3

Specs:
12mp 4/3 sensor
Fixed 24-60mm or 24-48mm F3.5-5.6 lens

Dual dials
Optional EVF
3.0' 920.000 LCD
SDXC
MSRP: $699


2) Pentax I-A

This is the APS-C sized in body stabilized EVIL camera. Why APS-C? Interchangable makes it not really pocketable anyway, so then the larger size of the APS-C approach is less of a problem, further more an adaptor would allow more sensible use of current lenses. Perhaps some synergy with Samsung is still an option and a specced down cheaper model could be made as well. K-mount adapter will be available. Unique selling points:

* Larger sensor than M43 competitors
* In body stabilization
* Lot's of pancakes lenses already available
* Larger sensor, dual dials and better LCD than EP-2
* Larger sensor, in body stabilisation, dual dials and higher res. LCD than GF1

Specs:
16.2mp Sony APS-C
Interchangable lens

Dual dials
Optional EVF (same as F-43)
3.0' 920.000 LCD
SDXC
MSRP: $999


3) K-X (or successor)


4) K-A

The mid end enthusiast level, K-7 size and viewfinder (might be K20D VF as well), WR, dual dials. Basically will leave any Nikon D90 no chance in any objective test. Unique selling points:

* Largest viewfinder by far in it's class
* Only weather resistant camera in it's class
* Fastest camera in it's class
* Only camera in it's class with such specification and in body stabilization
* Best relation between size and capability in it's class

Specs:
14.2mp Sony APS-C
5 FPS
1/6000
0.92x, 100% viewfinder
Dual dials
3.0' 920.000 LCD
SDXC
MSRP: $999


5) K-1

The no compromise APS-C top model with a new Sony sensor (16mp or what ever it will be), 1.0x, 100X viewfinder, largest viewfinder in this segment (larger than the Canon 7D), 7 FPS and DUAL SDXC slots. This model with be a tiny bit bigger than the K-7 (roughly K20D size) to accommodate the much larger viewfinder and a taller grip. Still very compact for it's capability, but larger than the K-7. People putting more value on size can choose the K-A and I-A instead. Unique selling points:

* Cheapest top APS-C camera
* Largest viewfinder in it's class
* Only real top APS-C camera with in body stabilization
* Smallest top APS-C camera

Specs:

16.2mp Sony APS-C
7 FPS
1.0x, 100% viewfinder
Dual dials
3.0' 920.000 LCD
Dual slot SDXC
MSRP: $1599


6) 645D


This is just an idea, meant as a starting point for some discussion and NOT an end proposal, so feel free to leave your comment.


Last edited by CSpronken; 12-27-2009 at 07:23 AM.
12-26-2009, 06:09 AM   #2
juu
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I think it makes very much sense. Unfortunately, they probably lack resources and marketing vision to execute that.
12-26-2009, 07:14 AM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by CSpronken Quote
I already posted something about a possible Pentax camera range on DPreview, but replies were not all very useful.


This is just an idea, meant as a starting point for some discussion and NOT an end proposal, so feel free to leave your comment.
I think you take really strong and outstanding medicine

Hoya's top-manager said in the last interview about 3 types of cameras:
645D
K-7
K-x

No any chances to see something in additional.

645D will be launched next spring, K-7/K-x's replacement - at Photokina 2010.

FF - maybe 2011.
12-26-2009, 07:30 AM   #4
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In don't understand why the fixed lens camera should be 4/3. Like Leica's showing, an APS-C would be equally pocketable. And surely with better IQ.

What I hope for is a Optio-W Super with 24-50/4 zoom and APS-C sensor.

12-26-2009, 07:50 AM   #5
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4/3 is Crap

M4/3 and 4/3 is garbage. I'm glad Pentax never jumped aboard that platform.
Neither have Nikon or Canon and they have a lot more resources.

Bring on a FF Pentax DSLR please!!!
12-26-2009, 08:10 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by juu Quote
I think it makes very much sense.
Thanks

QuoteOriginally posted by juu Quote
Unfortunately, they probably lack resources and marketing vision to execute that.
I'm afraid so to, just hope they have long term vision of where they would want to take their line up and slowly but steadily built toward achieving that.


QuoteOriginally posted by ogl Quote
I think you take really strong and outstanding medicine
I don't drink in the morning. :P

QuoteOriginally posted by ogl Quote
Hoya's top-manager said in the last interview about 3 types of cameras:
645D
K-7
K-x

No any chances to see something in additional.

645D will be launched next spring, K-7/K-x's replacement - at Photokina 2010.

FF - maybe 2011.
I'm not talking about what I think the line up WILL be, but rather what I would like it to be and asking what line up you guys would like to see.


QuoteOriginally posted by eurostar Quote
In don't understand why the fixed lens camera should be 4/3. Like Leica's showing, an APS-C would be equally pocketable. And surely with better IQ.
Well like I said, just a proposal so not saying it SHOULD be 4/3. The reason I chose 4/3 because it tries to target a specific user group. This particular target group wants something that is truly pocketable (not nearly), which has some zoom range, is stabilized and has excellent image quality at base ISO. This target group understands that some compromises are required to allow zooming in a truly pocketable package and therefor they accept that IQ get's worse quicker above base ISO. You need a truly pocketable advanced model since some people want that to be able to take it with them all the time.

My estimate is that it require a smaller 4/3 sensor to allow some zooming in a truly pocketable camera. If aps-c is possible within the same requirement framework then of course I would prefer that myself as well. The Leica you mention however, does not zoom and has no stabilization. People that want a aps-c sensor and don't care for zoom can always take the aps-c EVIL model and attach a pancake prime to it. Of course it won't be truly pocketable, but you can't offer everyone everything.

QuoteOriginally posted by eurostar Quote
What I hope for is a Optio-W Super with 24-50/4 zoom and APS-C sensor.
If that is possible in a truly pocketable package I'd very much like that myself.

QuoteOriginally posted by Angevinn Quote
M4/3 and 4/3 is garbage. I'm glad Pentax never jumped aboard that platform.
Neither have Nikon or Canon and they have a lot more resources.

Bring on a FF Pentax DSLR please!!!
Saying 4/3 is garbage is a bit ridiculous. Different people have different needs and desires. For a certain group of people 4/3 is the right size. Only using it for a fixed lens model and not jumping aboard the EVIL M4/3 platform means that you don't have to commit a whole new lens range for that specific (for Pentax alien) sensor size. I reckon that the development of the mentioned fixed lens 4/3 model would have to be largely outsourced or at least shared anyway.

Last edited by CSpronken; 12-26-2009 at 11:28 AM.
12-26-2009, 08:11 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by eurostar Quote
In don't understand why the fixed lens camera should be 4/3. Like Leica's showing, an APS-C would be equally pocketable. And surely with better IQ.

What I hope for is a Optio-W Super with 24-50/4 zoom and APS-C sensor.
Well, I agree; in fact Pentax should get out of the P&S market other than something like this. However, I would add that I think they could even out do Leica by having a usable optical viewfinder and ensuring the camera is fast enough to be attractive to enthusiasts and anyone looking for a small carry around camera with a high IQ.
12-26-2009, 08:49 AM   #8
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I somehow agree. I said "24-50/" because I fear a 18-55/2,8 would be too big/too heavy to find a place in a compact camera Canon-G11-sized at max. And personally I would prefer a decent short range zoom instead of a fast fixed prime like 24/2,4.

But I perfectly understand that probably there are more people interested in that than in a zoom on a photographic forum. In an outdoor/kayak/trekking/biking forum it could be different, though...

12-26-2009, 09:51 AM   #9
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There's absolutely no reason to go 4/3. This format was a bad bet to begin with, shown to have been rendered unnecessary with time: a micro APS-C really doesn't need to be any bigger.

Not that I really care if or when they make an EVIL camera, but when they do, there's no point to making it 4:3. Most of the potential technical advantages that format was made for are rendered moot by where technology's gone. 4/3 as a format is basically a cleverly-salvaged failure that the companies got all invested in when no one was sure how digital would pan out. Good on Olympus and Panny for pulling it out, but that part really isn't worth going out of your way to imitate.

I think Pentax ought to throw out the usual categories, except for entry-level a la K-X. Keeping something in a K-7 range is good, and in addition to that, they ought to make a workhorse/student camera in a similar price range to where you can have a K20d now, (maybe by just keeping on with letting the price fall when it's not the latest thing, but they could leave out such nonessentials-to-many as video and suddenly be the ones making a serious student camera. This could possibly double as an outdoorsy and compact mid-range by adding some scene modes and maybe an available simplified interface, which'd just be a matter of programming.)

Basically, I think they could go far by abandoning the usual price/seriousness hierarchy and providing a choice at the lower price ranges: some amateurs will want the automation and features, students and low-budget working photogs might well go for the access-to-essentials factor.

Last edited by Ratmagiclady; 12-26-2009 at 10:00 AM.
12-26-2009, 10:26 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ratmagiclady Quote
Not that I really care if or when they make an EVIL camera, but when they do, there's no point to making it 4:3.
I hope it's clear that the EVIL camera I proposed is in fact an aps-c one?

QuoteOriginally posted by Ratmagiclady Quote
Most of the potential technical advantages that format was made for are rendered moot by where technology's gone.
I'm interesting in your explanation of how exactly technology development has made what technical advantages moot?

Let me explain my reasoning once more, many people like a pocketable, fixed zoom lens camera like the LX-3, but wish the sensor were a bit bigger so image quality at base ISO is excellent. As far as I know noone ever made a truly pocketable camera with a fixed zoom lens and a bigger than 1/1.6'' sensor. As said I hope something like that would be possible with aps-c, but I suspect it might be difficult enough to realise with a 4/3 sensor.
12-26-2009, 11:00 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by CSpronken Quote
I hope it's clear that the EVIL camera I proposed is in fact an aps-c one?
Someone else brought that idea up: so we're in agreement here.



QuoteQuote:
I'm interesting in your explanation of how exactly technology development has made what technical advantages moot?
The big advantages that the 4/3 system was supposed to provide were tied up in three things: the potentially-smaller mirror box, the potentially-cheaper smaller sensors, and the fact that the smaller sensor could mean that problems with pixel pitch could be reduced by making the light strike the sensor more directly.


None of these things really panned out, the way the tech developed, so there's little sense imitating them.

A fixed-lens camera can of course have whatever size sensor you want. Though I don't know if Pentax really ought to be trying to compete in that market. Personally, I'd probably love something like my Lumix FZ-7 superzoom as a sort of 'mini-me' to my K20d. Maybe sacrificing some zoominess for a bigger sensor. But I don't know if the market feels that way.
12-26-2009, 11:53 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ratmagiclady Quote
The big advantages that the 4/3 system was supposed to provide were tied up in three things: the potentially-smaller mirror box, the potentially-cheaper smaller sensors, and the fact that the smaller sensor could mean that problems with pixel pitch could be reduced by making the light strike the sensor more directly.

None of these things really panned out, the way the tech developed, so there's little sense imitating them.
Okay I see your point, but as you say that not as relevant for fixed lens cameras.

QuoteOriginally posted by Ratmagiclady Quote
A fixed-lens camera can of course have whatever size sensor you want. Though I don't know if Pentax really ought to be trying to compete in that market.
I think every brand that makes a well working, truly pocketable large sensored compact will be rewarded with the attention, respect and appreciation from many many serious photographers around the world. So to me the core goal for this fixed zoom lens 4/3 compact is not to compete in that market. To me the core goal is to signal to serious shooters, by offering a photographers oriented model for them in every segment, that you understand what makes them tick and across the board you have a model to offer them so that they realized what the Pentax brand is really about and start contemplating if that brand isn't one they want to identify themselves with and buy into. Of course you don't want to make a loss by making such a compact, so that's why I said that partly outsourcing or sharing development would prolly be a wise thing to do.

That's the whole idea behind this line up thing, a comprehensive model line consistently targeting the serious shooter in every segment (except entry level to a degree). Doing this in my view would significantly boost the Pentax brand recognition and that's needed in the long term to gain market share. Many of the people who have still worked with Pentax film cameras and know their heritage and philosophy don't realize that young novice camera buyers don't share that same appreciation and might even perceive Pentax as some cheap B-market brand that no pro uses (unlike Canon or Nikon). If you have a model range where the gross of your cameras get described by every reviewer as the clear photographers choice of it's segment, people entering the camera market will perceive your brand in a much more favourable way and will be much likely buy your entry level models as well.

QuoteOriginally posted by Ratmagiclady Quote
Personally, I'd probably love something like my Lumix FZ-7 superzoom as a sort of 'mini-me' to my K20d. Maybe sacrificing some zoominess for a bigger sensor. But I don't know if the market feels that way.
You mean like a Canon G9/10/11?

Last edited by CSpronken; 12-26-2009 at 12:07 PM.
12-26-2009, 01:00 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by CSpronken Quote

You mean like a Canon G9/10/11?
Maybe. The compact genre, for me, is sort of one to maybe revisit later when the tech really gets sorted. And if I have the luxury. (I'm by no means an early adopter: the K20d I got last year is the first serious camera I've ever owned that doesn't have a physical winding crank of some kind. I did love some things about the Lumix, (still a household pal, here) ...you could completely enclose all the delicate works inside a hood and shroud and filter, and tuck the little fellow anywhere in a bag a lens would go. If not for the shutter and EVF lag, I'd probably just be shooting more film right now. )

As a result, I do have something of a 'wait and see' attitude.
12-26-2009, 04:37 PM   #14
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I dont agree with the 4/3 option. I thin Pentax are on the right track developing what they have.
1. The kx line-great entry level dslr
2. K7 line-weathersealed, compact, mid range
3. K20 line-should de developed into a FF dslr for the top of the range

I know that people will argue that the K7 is the top camera and that it is an upgrade from the K20. The reality is that the K7 is a new mid range model and as yet there is no "upgrade" from the K20 and also no top model. Forget the MF white elephant, a huge marketing blunder, too little too late and for all other work except studio stuff FF will take over. FF is the nautural development of the digital camera and all dslr's will be FF within 5 years.
12-27-2009, 02:55 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ratmagiclady Quote
I did love some things about the Lumix, (still a household pal, here)
I reckon Panasonic has been THE innovative force in the P&S market. When they launched the LX-3 I immediately said they should've done a smaller aperture say 5x zoom as well. Now they have two camera's with maximized front elements for a pocketable compact, one has 2.5x zoom the other 12x. Plenty of room to fit a 6x zoom in between I'd say.

QuoteOriginally posted by ozlizard Quote
I dont agree with the 4/3 option.
To me the more interesting aspect is why you disagree with the 4/3 option.

QuoteOriginally posted by ozlizard Quote
I thin Pentax are on the right track developing what they have.
1. The kx line-great entry level dslr
2. K7 line-weathersealed, compact, mid range
3. K20 line-should de developed into a FF dslr for the top of the range
That could be a workable option as well.

QuoteOriginally posted by ozlizard Quote
Forget the MF white elephant, a huge marketing blunder, too little too late and for all other work except studio stuff FF will take over. FF is the nautural development of the digital camera and all dslr's will be FF within 5 years.
I see a role for the 645D as a halo product. Main purpose being help built the Pentax brand value long term. FF development is still a bit crystal ball, any sensor breakthrough could strongly reduce the need for FF except for DOF purposes. On the other hands FF sensors have continuously become cheaper. Future developments are hard to predict.
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