Saturday, December 29, 2007

Japanese DSLR Sales Figures for One Year

Here comes the sales figures of DSLRs of different brands in the Japanese home market for the recent one year, starting from December 2006 to November 2007:-

http://bcnranking.jp/news/0712/071219_9357p3.html

(Report article is in Japanese, use BabelFish if needed)

Well, as we can see from latest November 2007 results, Pentax is currently the brand with the least popularity in the DSLR market, with a share below 5%, putting aside Panasonic which shares virtually no market (but then Pana has never been a real participant in the DSLR field anyway). And, a quick glance at the plotted chart reveals that Pentax has been following a constant down trend since December last year in 2006.

Now that in the Japanese DSLR market, the truth is that there are only two major players, and then Sony and Olympus follow, with market share somehow more than 5% whereas Pentax still comes in the last place (as usual, even for the global market) and now they simply could not secure the 5% market share line.

So, I'm afraid that last time I was totally correct to comment and predicted that the "update" of the K100D "Super" is just useless and helpless, and now that the facts have told that my prediction have come true. Nonetheless, the present outcome was indeed quite obvious and easy to be predicted from the very beginning, anyway.

In fact there are always some "good" (but actually these are all adversed factors) reasons for the low market share and Pentax's loss in the competition, as I have pointed out from time to time here and/or elsewhere, that is, the various weaknesses and issues (new or old ones which have been persistent) of the current different Pentax DSLR gear items and the significant incompleteness of the current Pentax lens system and etc.

So, my humble opinions for what Pentax could do and should do to change the current worse position are as follows, in order of priority:-

1. Launch an entry level 10MP DSLR to compete with Canon 400D and Nikon D40X so as to recruit new beginner user base who will be a huge customer base for their future products within the DSLR *system*. Well, now that they will have the new K200D very soon (but actually they should have done this half year ago and now the situation will not be like that);

2. Replace the K10D as soon as possible with a new model which has most of the widely reported and well-known K10D issues and limitations removed. This body probably is the widely rumoured K20D. I really hope Pentax could get rid of most of the weaknesses of the K10D in their new replacement model but not again making the mistake of marketing a seem-to-be very strong body as published on paper but actually performs below common standards in various ways in the field;

3. Supplement soonest the loopholes in the Pentax current lens lineup, especially at the tele side;

4. Launch a true pro grade, or at least high-end up-market, DSLR body within 2008;

5. Plan for the 135 Full Frame, for both later DSLR bodies and lenses. Otherwise, when Canon, Nikon and Sony all have the Full Frame DSLR system in the foreseeable future but at affordable prices, Pentax (and Olympus as well, but of course) will just seat there and wait to die;

In addition to the above, Pentax should improve their marketing (which are usually non-sense, IMHO) and their inferior customer "service" and "support" (virtually just a little bit better than none, MHO again).

All in all, in order to survive or even do it better, Pentax have a lot to do and it is indeed not easy but actually rather difficult. But I still hope they would do it and eventually can succeed. At least I think the upcoming K200D and K20D maybe a good start. I still imagine that these two new bodies have been vastly improved deep inside. Let's wait and see.

Finally, just bear in mind that Hoya may not have the long patience to see Pentax to do better in the camera field. If they fail after a certain pre-determined period, Hoya would simply quit the camera business to cut loss and to release the burden. For a large Amercian style corporation like the Hoya, this possibility is quite likely, frankly speaking.

K200D First Images Surfaced

The upcoming K200D images have first surfaced in the last 24 hours over the Internet, here are one of the posts which include some of those first images, which look like to be official ones:-

http://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/pentax-news-rumors/17163-k200d-first-images-surfaced.html



(Click the images above to enlarge and see the original images)

But then conspiracy theory by some people will let them think that those are fake images by Photoshop works or etc. However, there are more evidence these images are true, just see:-

http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/read.asp?forum=1036&message=26203874

(Click the images below to enlarge and see the original images)


So, what's new here? What are the new stuff and features? And what are the actual design and specifications? Well, below are the changes which I can observe:-

1. The traditional taller PENTAX logo, which was usually used in the printed catalogues in the 80s and 90s, has been used to print on the body. It seems that the logo is not carved but just silk-screen printed, too;

2. There is a new "Green Button" on the top panel near the shutter release button, for some kind of resetting function, like that in the K10D, which is called Hyper functions by Pentax;

3. A "RAW Button", which was first introduced in the K10D, is added;

4. Sv (Sensitivity Priority) mode is added;

5. Possibility of adding vertical (battery(?)) hand grip;

6. Anti-slipping rubber has been added at the right thumb holding position (that no entry level Pentax DSLR/SLR has ever had in the past);

7. It seems that the SD card door opening/closing mechanism has been changed.

However, the following are just the same as the K100D, very likely:-

1. Three inch (3") LCD monitor? Nope, I am afraid. The LCD monitor seems to be still 2.5" by viewing the layout and compared to the K100D;

2. Viewfinder is the same as the K100D, i.e., a Penta-mirror one with the same magnification, and with the same single layer of thin greenish coating too (and for the outside of the eyepiece only);

So, afterall, let's wait for the release of this camera and hope that it is much better deep inside and can upkeep with the other DSLRs of the competitors in terms of image quality, accuracy, speed and performance, etc. I expect it will be a 10MP model which is built on the K100D fundamental with enhancements and modifications.

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