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Old Aug 24, 2010, 9:42 PM   #1
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Default Pentax's model naming...is there a pattern ?

I can't figure out Pentax's model nomenclature. There's the K10D, then the K20D...I get that.

Then the K7...which came after the K20D.....then the K7 will be possibly followed by the K5.

That I can't figure out...K10D, K20D, K7, K5 ? Is it the Pentax way to try to avoid K9...which might elicit a chuckle from Nikonistes and Canonites ?

Then there's the istD, followed by the K100D...I'm not sure I get that. I also never understood what istD means.

I do understand the K200D, following the K100D.

But then after the K200D, comes the KM....then the KX, then after the KX...the KR is the possible follow up model ?

I sort of understand the KM and the KX as they were named, I think, after early K mount cameras from the '70's. The KM and the KX.

But how does KR...follow KM and KX ?

But as a long time Pentax owner...starting in '68 with my non metered (in the body) Pentax S1a...I couldn't figure out S1a...then after S1a...came... SP 500, then Spotmatic. I think SP500 stood for Spotmatic with a max of 1/500th of a second shutter speed and Spotmatic for both the SP500 and the Spotmatic...back then...stood for Pentax cameras that had meters...although they were averaging meters...not spot meters.

You could get a Pentax Spotmeter...back then, but it was just a light meter (very good one), not a camera.

Anyone able to figure out the rationale for Pentax's nomenclature over the years ?

I can see my logic isn't impeccable either...somehow I put this thread under Pentax Lenses, rather then Pentax DSLR's.

Last edited by lesmore49; Aug 24, 2010 at 9:55 PM.
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Old Aug 25, 2010, 5:18 PM   #2
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Anyone able to figure out the rationale for Pentax's nomenclature over the years ?

I can see my logic isn't impeccable either...somehow I put this thread under Pentax Lenses, rather then Pentax DSLR's.
Hi Les,

The logic is -- there is no logic to Pentax nomenclature. Perhaps Hoya is imposing some -- we'll see. . .

The way I see it -- The Digital bodies from the highest grade to the lowest:

Semi-Pro/Pro -- K-7

Advance Amateur/Enthusiast Grade -- *istD -> K10 -> K20

High performance entry level + WR -- K200

High performance entry level -- *ist DS/DS2 -> K100/K100S (with a downgrade to pentamirror) -> Kx (with downgrades from top LCD and VF LED overlay)

Entry level --*ist DL -> K110 -> K2000 (Km)

This is all feature based in my mind. Those considered include:

body build, # of AF focus points and AF engine, # of AE meter points, buffer size, pentaprism/pentamirror, WR, micro-adjust of AF, shooting modes, adjust-ability of image parameters, max shutter speed, shutter build, top LED, LCD VF overlay, flash features, single/dual e-dials, Battery type.

There has been some evolution in the grades over the years as technology advanced, and these have blurred somewhat, especially at the lower levels.

The move seems to be towards

K + 1 digit = flagship model
K + 2 digit = advanced enthusiast
K + letter = entry level

I think that Pentax might have chosen to go with K + letter instead of K + 3 or 4 digits to allow for a higher than base entry level grade (K +3 digit), and to preserve the legacy (after a blip with the K2000/Km) of the K1000 which had the longest run of any film SLR model in history. . . or they might have ust wanted to be different. . . again


Although I started in 135 film with a Honeywell/Pentax Spotmatic in '68, I moved up to a Nikon F (with an Ftn VF), then a Canon F1 (original) before having to make my own living forced my priorities away from photography. I never followed the evolution of Pentax film SLRs, and I still don't understand the Pentax film models. . .

Scott
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Old Aug 25, 2010, 9:21 PM   #3
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Hi Les,

The logic is -- there is no logic to Pentax nomenclature. Perhaps Hoya is imposing some -- we'll see. . .

The way I see it -- The Digital bodies from the highest grade to the lowest:

Semi-Pro/Pro -- K-7

Advance Amateur/Enthusiast Grade -- *istD -> K10 -> K20

High performance entry level + WR -- K200

High performance entry level -- *ist DS/DS2 -> K100/K100S (with a downgrade to pentamirror) -> Kx (with downgrades from top LCD and VF LED overlay)

Entry level --*ist DL -> K110 -> K2000 (Km)

This is all feature based in my mind. Those considered include:

body build, # of AF focus points and AF engine, # of AE meter points, buffer size, pentaprism/pentamirror, WR, micro-adjust of AF, shooting modes, adjust-ability of image parameters, max shutter speed, shutter build, top LED, LCD VF overlay, flash features, single/dual e-dials, Battery type.

There has been some evolution in the grades over the years as technology advanced, and these have blurred somewhat, especially at the lower levels.

The move seems to be towards

K + 1 digit = flagship model
K + 2 digit = advanced enthusiast
K + letter = entry level

I think that Pentax might have chosen to go with K + letter instead of K + 3 or 4 digits to allow for a higher than base entry level grade (K +3 digit), and to preserve the legacy (after a blip with the K2000/Km) of the K1000 which had the longest run of any film SLR model in history. . . or they might have ust wanted to be different. . . again


Although I started in 135 film with a Honeywell/Pentax Spotmatic in '68, I moved up to a Nikon F (with an Ftn VF), then a Canon F1 (original) before having to make my own living forced my priorities away from photography. I never followed the evolution of Pentax film SLRs, and I still don't understand the Pentax film models. . .

Scott
I can't debate your rationale about Pentax and where their different models fit in the Pentax hierarchy.It does make sense.

I came close to leaving the Pentax fold around '75. I thought very carefully about buying a new, old stock Nikon Photomic F, with 50 mm f 1.4, Nikkor. I think that was the model designation. It was a very nice unit...had that 'war torn photojournalist' look about it, if you know what I mean. Good deal, or so I thought. Instead I bought a new Pentax ES 11, with 50 MM F 1.8. About a couple of months later...if memory serves me correct, Pentax introduced the K series. The ES 11 was nice, but the last of the M42 screw mounts. To this day, I wish I had waited (or at least known it was coming) for a K2 . Or maybe bought that Nikon Photomic F.

The Canon F1, I think came out in the early 70's...nice rugged camera.

I think now, if I had to replace all my Pentax digital gear...I might go for a FF Canon 5 D, Mk. 11, 17-40 mm L lens, 50 mm Macro and maybe a Canon 100-400 L. If my budget could handle it.

Les

Last edited by lesmore49; Aug 25, 2010 at 9:26 PM.
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Old Aug 26, 2010, 5:09 PM   #4
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To my mind, the one word that describes Pentax's naming is "chaotic." Logic would dictate that improved/upgraded models would get higher numbers. K10 to K20 seems logical, but K10 to K100, seems backwards, even perverse, but then the K1000 was once the bottom of the film line (and still is in production, making it the longest lasting 35 model, eclipsing even the Spotmatic). Why is the forthcoming upgrade to the K7 named the K5 and not K70? Naming is all important in the image game - as pointed out K9 wouldn't do - I am reminded why Chevrolet couldn't sell their Nova in South America (in Spanish "no va" means "it doesn't go," and nobody would buy it!). People simply perceive higher as better, as Sony seems to have understood.
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Old Aug 27, 2010, 11:30 AM   #5
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To my mind, the one word that describes Pentax's naming is "chaotic." Logic would dictate that improved/upgraded models would get higher numbers. K10 to K20 seems logical, but K10 to K100, seems backwards, even perverse, but then the K1000 was once the bottom of the film line (and still is in production, making it the longest lasting 35 model, eclipsing even the Spotmatic).I've never been able to figure it out...Canon in contrast, makes sense with their 10D, 20D, 30D,40D, 50D and now 60D....however some (me) wonder why they brought out a 60D...when they have a 7D....but that's a different story.... Why is the forthcoming upgrade to the K7 named the K5 and not K70? Naming is all important in the image game - as pointed out K9 wouldn't do - I am reminded why Chevrolet couldn't sell their Nova in South America (in Spanish "no va" means "it doesn't go," and nobody would buy it!). Chevy made a wise decision LOL....however as much as I like the Impala models, which run from '58 to current...I could never figure out why Chevrolet named their big car after the Impala. I had a 76 Impala which weighed in at an Elephantine 4300 lbs....and that car and it's name...Impala..didn't remind me of the lithe, small antelope like creature from Africa from which this large car derived it's name People simply perceive higher as better, as Sony seems to have understood.
I agree....the higher the number , the better the product....Basic marketing 101...
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Old Aug 29, 2010, 3:09 PM   #6
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Glad I am not the only one who tried to figure it out at gave up!
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Old Sep 3, 2010, 11:33 AM   #7
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I agree....the higher the number , the better the product....Basic marketing 101...
But does this apply in Japanese culture? Do ordinal numbers imply status? I've not looked at how various cultures structure their conceptual hierarchies. In USA culture we work in both directions. We expect Model X9 to be more evolved than Model X7 and Model X8 -- but we also expect #1 to outrank #2 and #3. Does arbitrary-seeming Pentax nomenclature merely seem 'chaotic' because non-Japanese don't know the cultural patterns?
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Old Sep 3, 2010, 4:21 PM   #8
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But does this apply in Japanese culture? Do ordinal numbers imply status? I've not looked at how various cultures structure their conceptual hierarchies. In USA culture we work in both directions. We expect Model X9 to be more evolved than Model X7 and Model X8 -- but we also expect #1 to outrank #2 and #3. Does arbitrary-seeming Pentax nomenclature merely seem 'chaotic' because non-Japanese don't know the cultural patterns?
I don't know...but when I read your post I was reminded that I believe in Japan there are no floors assigned the numeral, I think... # 13. Thirteen is bad luck. I may have the number wrong....so please correct me if I'm in error.
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Old Sep 5, 2010, 5:59 PM   #9
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I don't know...but when I read your post I was reminded that I believe in Japan there are no floors assigned the numeral, I think... # 13. Thirteen is bad luck. I may have the number wrong....so please correct me if I'm in error.
I believe this is correct. In addition, #4 is associated with death, so I've seen pics of elevator pads with no 4th floor, no 13th or 14th floors, going straight from 12 to 15. I believe that this thing against #4 also extends to Korean and Chinese culture, and I've heard of buildings where the floors go from 39-50 with nothing in between. Also, I've heard that some go 39-39a-39b. . .39j-50.

In Japan, #9 is also considered bad luck, and is associated with suffering, so beyond the obvious (for us) there is a problem with K-9 as a model name.

Ichiban (roughly "number one") is a common expression for "the best" in Japanese, so the concept of #1 at the top of a hierarchy is not unusual in Japanese culture.

I really doubt that we'll see a K-4 after the K-5, and if there were to be a K-8, there won't be a K-9 for a number of reasons, so I'm thinking we're probably in for a bit more confusion in the future.

Scott
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