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Old Sep 22, 2012, 8:23 PM   #21
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In my opinion, the jump from the K5 to the 640D is just too big as it is. A small advancement into an 'entry level FF DSLR' would indeed not solve the current demand- At all..

I think their best camera placement would be a mid range FF costing about 3-4,000. This would fit beautifully in between the K5 and 645D and still offer pentaxians an advanced APSC camera, full frame, and medium format, without it taking away from their current market share.

I dont think Pentax would want to come out with a product that negates from their current product line-up. As far as attracting new customers, I think something along the lines of the D800E would a great add to the lineup.
Hi NMR,

I think you make a good case. If they only made a mid range FF and competed at that level only, making it clear that was all they intended to do, then it could work. I would concentrate on the most compact body possible.

For lenses, I'd push the FA Ltd trio (31, 43, 77), FA 50 f1.4, D FA 100 f2.8 Macro and maybe reissue the FA* 28-80 f2.8 and FA* 80-200 f2.8. This would give them a limited, but reasonable lens lineup, and would add a couple of premium lenses that would also sell to APS-C users.

As I stated, I'm no longer against them doing something with FF, since Ricoh seems to be willing to expend the resources and can afford it. Hoya would have taken from the APS-C resources to fund FF development, and the original Pentax probably would have done the same, so I didn't want to see it especially if a failure in the effort might mean the end of Pentax altogether.

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Old Sep 22, 2012, 10:59 PM   #22
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It seems like it would be that way, but the image you see through the VF is the same size (for the same focal length lens), and you are just looking at the cropped part with a crop camera. The VF screen on the 35mm is larger though, so you see more of the surroundings. Even though the subject takes up less of the VF area, the area is larger, so the subject is the same size.

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Old Sep 23, 2012, 1:05 AM   #23
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It seems like it would be that way, but the image you see through the VF is the same size (for the same focal length lens), and you are just looking at the cropped part with a crop camera. The VF screen on the 35mm is larger though, so you see more of the surroundings. Even though the subject takes up less of the VF area, the area is larger, so the subject is the same size.
Hi Brian,

You're right, of course. I'd never tried it, but it occurred to me and sounded right in my head, but obviously wasn't. . . I now have one less objection to FF, but the VF wasn't the deal breaker.

Thanks!

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Old Sep 23, 2012, 11:41 PM   #24
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Thats a good analysis Scott and probably very accurate consideration for current Pentax/ricoh team.

If Pentax were to delve into FF, I hope what youre saying insn't true. In my opinion, the jump from the K5 to the 640D is just too big as it is. A small advancement into an 'entry level FF DSLR' would indeed not solve the current demand- At all..

I think their best camera placement would be a mid range FF costing about 3-4,000. This would fit beautifully in between the K5 and 645D and still offer pentaxians an advanced APSC camera, full frame, and medium format, without it taking away from their current market share.

I dont think Pentax would want to come out with a product that negates from their current product line-up. As far as attracting new customers, I think something along the lines of the D800E would a great add to the lineup.
+1 again. Though I would hasten to add that if Pentax were to come out with a D600 equivilant (is this an entry level FF - if so it is remarkably good) at around the street price of the D600 - US$2,000 - then this would hold a substantial number of Pentax shooters who switch to FF by buying D700s, A900s, 5Ds or 5DIIs - to say nothing of those buying D800s or 5DIIIs. And these people spend money on quality glass which is the big money-maker for manufacturers in the long-run.
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Nikon : D800, D600, Sigma 500/4.5, Sigma 120-300/2.8, Zeiss Distagon ZF2 - 21/2.8, Zeiss Distagon ZF2 - 35/2.0, Nikkor 85/1.8G, Sigma 50/1.4. Nikon x1.4 TC, Sigma x2.0 TC
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Old Sep 24, 2012, 12:54 AM   #25
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Cost -- Even an entry level FF Pentax would cost about 50% more than the flagship APS-C assuming current pricing levels.
True. But then that is the same of any product - if the option for a higher quality, higher priced model is there some people will buy it as the 645D shows.

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Viewfinder -- Although most of my lenses cover FF, I'd lose the crop factor -- even with the much larger viewfinder, the subject image would be smaller because of the expanded FOV, so it would be harder to visually confirm critical focus.
Covered in other posts above but suffice to say that I really noticed a difference as a paid shooter at the Shanghai Rugby 7's yesterday. Switching quickly between the D800 and K5 the quality of the VF is obvious. Brighter and larger and so easier to focus and identify your subject.

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Physical size -- My health and strength are diminishing -- the best I can possibly do is put this on temporary hold with a lot of work -- I just can't physically manage the longer lenses that I'd need to get the same kind of shots that I like.
I agree with this. At home or in general use I had not noticed much of a difference (other than the larger lenses for the Nikon) until that sports shoot yesterday when all day I was switching between cameras (500mm on the Nikon and 50-150 on the K5). I really noticed it then (and no I do not mean just the lens size) !

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My 300/2.8 +1.7x AFA gives me 510mm f4.8. I could use the same lens combo on a Pentax FF, but I'd lose the crop factor, so I'd have a 510mm FOV compared to a 780mm FOV.
Well this is an urban myth and a debate that goes round and around, since you don't actually lose anything except in the VF ! And of course the fact you have to crop your shots in PP (unless using the x1.2 or x1.5 modes in Nikon FF cameras).

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If I went to another brand camera, I could use a Sigma EX 500 f4.5, but it would cost me another $5000 and instead of being able to focus to 6 feet, I'd have to shoot at a minimum of 13 feet, and I'd lose the crop factor. The lens, pretty lightweight for the specs at 7lbs, is not much heavier than my 300/2.8s, but is a lot bulkier to carry.
I don't notice it being substantially more difficult to carry (even though more than a kilo heavier than the DA*300+AFA x1.7) as it is on the same monopod and gimbal as the DA*300. I do miss the MFD of the DA*300 sometimes - like when a tiny Artic Warbler and a Varied Tit came within 3 feet of me a few days ago - but that is a minor penalty in the whole scheme of things. BTW you can occasionally find used Sigma 500/4.5 in Pentax mount of course.

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With either of these FF alternatives, I'd also have to add support gear -- a high end CF tripod with a gimbal to handle the heavy glass. Call it another $1000 in cost (though I already have these) and I'd be forced to carry this additional burden of at least 8 lbs (which I now avoid as much as possible).
As mentioned I use the same heavy duty Benro CF monopod (US$100) and gimbal (Chinese Wimberley look-a-like, cost US$120 and is superb) as I would have with the DA*300. Total weight of mono/gimbal/camera and 500mm lens is 8kgs, about 3kgs more than your current set-up. I have these attached to a Black Rapid for redundancy - though it also takes a lot of the weight when I wish to carry the set-up by my side - that said I noticed the difference at first but now have no problem using this set-up for a whole 14 hours birding (not all on foot of course) !

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At present APS-C cameras (don't forget the MILCs) outsell FF by a huge margin. These sales determine the amount of R&D that will be invested by sensor mfgs into further development of the sensors for the respective formats, so the development of APS-C sensors significantly outpaces that of FF, and as long as this differential in market share exists, this will remain the case.
I doubt that is true in $$ terms (although undoubtedly true in pure numbers) because of the number of sales of top-end $3-8k cameras and $2-10k lenses sold to FF customers, and of course Nikon / Canon use the FF specs and images to promote their APS-C, Bridge and P&S ranges. I also doubt more R&D goes into APS-C - look at the massive upgrade the D800/E and 5DIII are on their predecessors.

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As far as the future of Pentas, I feel that Pentax is positioning itself to offer the best compact APS-C DSLRs in their respective classes. The K30, with 100% pentaprism, one of the best sensors, dual e-dials, WR, SR, competitive AF, burst rate, and video performance, puts it at the top of the entry level class for features. The K-5 IIs with best in class sensor unhampered by AA filter, at least competitive AF and burst rate, superior build quality, WR, in body stabilization, backward compatibility in lenses, etc, is arguably the best in compact semi pro APS-C DSLRs.
I'd say the K5 is the best in class even before the K5II and K5IIs ! However, the new D300s and 7D replacements, APS-C cameras, rumoured to be announced at Photokina may raise the bar again.

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If, indeed, FF is the future of DSLRs, then that means Canon and Nikon will gradually desert the format, starting at the high end since entry level FF would replace the high end APS-C models first since these classes of cameras would be in direct competition. Sony is pushing their SLTs, and advanced as they are becoming, they're still not DSLRs.
Canon / Nikon will lead the market as they have done for the past generation. Whatever they decide to sell the public will buy.

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Pentax could essentially have the high end APS-C DSLR market to themselves.
Or be left behind and marginalised since Canon/Nikon marketing will persuade the general public that FF is the way to go and Pentax will no longer have a like-to-like option for them. Time stands still for no man and we can all remember when digital came along and the majority pooh poohed it and said it would never reach the required standards.

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There will also always be a segment of very advanced shooters who want a more compact system, and if Canon and Nikon do not offer advanced truly compact FF DSLRs, then the only alternative for either group would be to migrate to Pentax. My guess is that there will be many more of these than those who migrate to from Pentax to FF.
Well we haven't seen that yet. Once invested in Canon/Nikon most amateurs will stay with them. O]However once the Pentax users reach the end of their upgrade route then they move on to Nikon/Canon/Sony - you are also on PF so you know this is true. Just take a look at the Full Frame thread and see how many of the top contributors have gone there over the past few years.

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If Pentax were to offer an entry level FF, this would satisfy the vocal Pentaxian FF advocates for about a month, and then they'd start demanding a higher spec'd model. . . and so on. If they bought into a Pentax FF, and that's a big if, then many would still eventually jump ship when a more advanced model and/or more suitable lenses did not appear on their schedule. "Upgrade path" is the carrot in front of the donkey. Buy into that game, and it never ends.
Some undoubtedly would however for many it would scratch that itch and more importantly enable them to use their top lenses (FA Ltds etc.) on a Pentax FF camera. A D600 equivalent would be perfect for the Pentax upgrade path and if a resounding success then why not a higher performing FF camera ? Ricoh have gone on record as saying they want to compete with Canon/Nikon across their whole ranges and as many have surmised we are not actually yet seeing the Ricoh plan since we are barely 12 months into their ownership, much of the current / new line-up is from Hoya R&D. Baby steps first though.

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There is no way that Pentax could produce a model competitive with the mid and high end Canons and Nikons.
The 645D would beg to differ.

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World wide Professional support networks would be prohibitively expensive, and that alone would separate Pentax very negatively, even if they could produce a model with all the features and performance needed by pro photogs.
Pentax USA have already said they are upgrading their networks but if their APS-C cameras can compete then so could an entry level FF which isn't targeting Professionals. We are not talking top of the line US$8,000 cameras here.

In the final analysis each customer will choose a camera and system that hopefully best meets their own particular needs and budget. I just hope Pentax can deliver a D600 equivalent (but with K5 build quality, SR and WR) to continue their upgrade path and keep more people within the brand. That camera could be Camera of the Year 2013.
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Pentax : 15 Ltd, 77 Ltd, 43/1.9 Ltd, Cosina 55/1.2, DA*300/4, Contax Zeiss Distagon 28/2.8, Raynox 150/250, AFA x1.7, Metz 50 af1.

Nikon : D800, D600, Sigma 500/4.5, Sigma 120-300/2.8, Zeiss Distagon ZF2 - 21/2.8, Zeiss Distagon ZF2 - 35/2.0, Nikkor 85/1.8G, Sigma 50/1.4. Nikon x1.4 TC, Sigma x2.0 TC

Last edited by Frogfish; Sep 24, 2012 at 1:11 AM.
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