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Old Jan 6, 2010, 8:55 PM   #1
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Default Should Pentax Make an EVIL?

I stumbled across this article at dpreview.com today. It's a wish list for fast primes for the micro four-thirds system and other non-DSLR, interchangeable-lens cameras that are likely to hit the market over the next year.


It seems to me that Pentax, with its lineup of DA Limited pancake primes, is particularly well-positioned to enter this market with little trouble. Yes, Pentax still needs to make some faster DA pancakes. But even as the lineup stands right now, Pentax might be able to leapfrog over micro four-thirds and similar APS-C cameras - at least among serious photographic enthusiasts. That's if they act quickly enough.

One other thought... if Samsung provides a good Pentax adaptor for its NX1 - assuming the camera offers the image quality many of us want - the DA primes might be the perfect complement. But I'm not sure what the adaptor would do to the overall package size.

Response to this same post over on the Pentax Forums Web site was lively to say the least. What do you guys think?
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Old Jan 6, 2010, 8:57 PM   #2
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Samsung has shared mounts with Pentax before. Why not have Pentax join the NX system and make lenses, and maybe a body with built-in image stab.
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Old Jan 6, 2010, 9:15 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Hards80 View Post
Samsung has shared mounts with Pentax before. Why not have Pentax join the NX system and make lenses, and maybe a body with built-in image stab.
I could go for that. But if one owned a Pentax DSLR and a number of DA primes... and could use them on the second camera body without buying more lenses, how great would that be?

As a separate issue, even if Pentax doesn't join the NX system and Samsung does offer an adaptor for the NX1, the package might not be that much smaller than a K-x. But we'll have to see about that.
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Old Jan 6, 2010, 11:02 PM   #4
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I find it hard to get excited about an EVIL camera, especially if it means giving up the optical viewfinder. I might go for one that had an EVF - I had that on the F717 and didn't mind it much. However, I have absolutely no interest in a camera that uses the LCD exclusively - tried that and hated it.

But it would be interesting if Pentax were to expand their lens-making and make the pancakes for Samsung's NX system in an NX mount. That would put Samsung in an outstanding position.
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Old Jan 7, 2010, 7:44 AM   #5
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It's a tough question. It's hard to decide which path to follow. A number of folks would like to see full frame sensors in Pentax. Others want to see more lens offerings. I don't think Pentax is large enough to invest in everything. I do think they're going to have to make a decision in some of the emerging areas and try to pick up market share in the next couple years.

I'm not entirely convinced EVIL is the way to do that. But I think they're going to have to move strongly in a particular direction - with big box retailers (Walmart, Best Buy, etc...) being bigger and bigger players in sales to general public Pentax has to be sure they're getting shelf space along with the big guns.
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Old Jan 7, 2010, 4:53 PM   #6
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I agree with Harriet, I wouldn't be interested in an EVIL. I also don't care about smaller and lighter, I have big clumsy hands and like the larger body.
I have a substantial investment in Pentax Lenses, I'm interested in IQ. I'd like to see Pentax get back where they were 30-40 years ago in the pro/semipro cameras. If I were to invest in any more gear it would have to be a full frame body or one with much faster focus and more fps, than what's available from Pentax right now.
However, from a mass marketing standpoint, I can see where I may be in a minority.

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Old Jan 7, 2010, 4:55 PM   #7
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An EVIL is not in my future plans because I primarily shoot long tele so the size factor is meaningless, and the subjects I like, birds, animals, and candids of people don't play well with the EVF/LV lag. EVF lag would have to decrease by at least an order of magnitude to make me even consider one, so until this happens, an EVIL is just not in the picture for me.

For Pentax, in particular, I think that they'd be better served doing what they know what they can do, and as developing state of the art P&S cameras has not been one of their strong suits, making bigger ones with interchangeable lenses probably doesn't make a whole lot of sense.

I had an idea last night, when thinking about an answer to this. Pentax could, by using some innovation, take advantage of the EVIL market that does develop without making a commitment to either existing lens mount. Committing to one of the two existing mounts at this point might be analogous to choosing Beta in the VCR wars a while ago, IMO. Banking on the backwards compatibility theme, they could (if it's technically feasible) make fully compatible (AF and AE) KAF lens converter for both systems. Since most Pentax lenses are screw drive, especially the physically smaller lenses, like the LTDs, I think this level of compatibility would be sufficient. Use a ring drive motor IN THE CONVERTER with gear teeth in the interior circumference, and probably a reduction gear to the screw drive shaft. With the large diameter ring gear, and a small diameter screw shaft, they could use a slow motor, requiring less juice, and still have great speed.

If this could be done, then they would be set up to sell lenses they already produce to the EVIL masses, and with full compatibility, they would become the preferred FX/DX lens mount to use with a converter on both bodies. If successful, lens sales should increase, and with a base of lens users, the DSLR lines would become more attractive to those who might want to shoot both EVIL and DSLR and don't already have an investment in lenses with a different mount.

If EVILs really take off, they could still get a piece of the pie with minimal investment in R&D. If EVILS don't succeed, Pentax has lost little. If one of the systems buries the other, Pentax won't have lost anything by potentially committing to the wrong one at the start.

Bottom line, I think that Pentax should fully commit to making the best in class APS-C DSLRs at affordable price points (including lenses for these), an affordable (price classed competitively with the pro class FF DSLRs) 645D, and leave the now highly speculative EVIL market alone, except for the possibility of the above mentioned converters.

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Old Jan 7, 2010, 5:36 PM   #8
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No interest at all to me as my hands nearly swallow the K10D as it is and a smaller one with my fumbling grip getting more fumbly as I grow older would be a non-starter. For my 4'10" wife though it would be better than the non-interchangeable lens Kodak DX6490 she now uses.
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Old Jan 7, 2010, 8:37 PM   #9
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I don't know if Pentax should make an EVIL camera, but I am getting the impression that they probably won't. I see Samsung as the higher tech maker and Pentax as more traditional. Anyhow, since the name Pentax was derived from PENTAprism, and refleX, I can't see them replacing mirror cameras anytime soon, and trying to continue with both types would seem a strain on a smaller manufacturer.

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Old Jan 8, 2010, 1:28 PM   #10
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I think the best tack for Pentax is to embrace the EVIL concept and, with Samsung, promote the NX mount as the "new K-mount".

For the time being, Pentax is probably best staying with only lens support for the NX system and waiting for the next generational advance in EVF tech before adding a body to their line. Pentax is in a good position to be the premium lens supplier for the NX system, much the same as Leica's current position in the m4/3rd arena.
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