Saturday, August 02, 2008

Official: New Pentax DSLR Model is Coming; Full Frame Model is Under Planning

In the 11th China International Photograph & Electrical Imaging Machinery and Technology Fair (CHINA P & E 2008) held in Beijing from June 21 through June 24, an interview was made by the ZOL China (a member of the CNET China Group), with the Managing Director & General Manager of the Pentax Trading (Shanghai) Co., Ltd., Mr. Akio Usui (柴田智賀). The full interview article is here:-

http://dcdv.zol.com.cn/96/968674.html

(Article in Simplified Chinese, use Babelfish to translate if needed. Also, a Traditional Chinese version can be found here.)

I summarise the key important messages as obtained in this interview, as below in Bold Italic (and my own comments follow per point):-

1. "Pentax will market a new DSLR in the second half year of 2008 and aim at diversify the product line for more choices for the customers."

So, this is what I have been thinking and suggesting for a long time already. What Pentax really needed to do is to make a *real* entry level DSLR that is compact and cheap, but yet with more updated popular features like an usable LiveView function and other innovations. Majority of people just don't choose the K200D currently owing to the outdated design and bulkiness of this camera. It is not very low priced neither, when compared to the competitors' aggressive pricing strategy.

I think Pentax do need at least some marketing insights, creativity and true innovations afterall. Here is my previous suggestion for one of my ideas, which I think could help them and is viable.

Still, the good thing is that Pentax do realise that their current product lineup is actually weakest in diversity and variety. Let's see:-

Canon have: EOS 1000D -> 450D -> 40D -> 5D -> 1DMkIII -> 1DSMkIII;

Nikon have: D60 -> D80 -> D300 -> D700 -> D3;

Sony have: A200 -> A300/350 -> A700 -> Upcoming "A900" Full Frame;

Olympus have: E-420 -> E-520 -> E-3;

Pentax have *only*: K200D -> K20D.

That leaves Pentax alone currently have the most limited choice in DSLR bodies. And in fact, the K200D and K20D are just too close in design, technology used, features and most importantly system performance, as they share the same aged design core deep inside, actually.

Anyway, I bet this new Pentax DSLR model to be a model lower than the K200D, very probably. K1000D or K2000D? (or whatever it is named)

2. "We (Pentax) have already noted the new Full Frame trend. We have started to plan for the development of a Full Frame DSLR. However, this will not be come true within this year."

Yet, it is a good thing Pentax do realise there is a trend (but which is in fact obvious and nothing "new", isn't it?) and that they confirm that they has (just?) started a plan for a FF body (How about a FF lens *system* then? The DA system is NOT Full Frame!). Late is always better than None! But if they could start earlier, the situation now they are facing may not be so difficult! Hmm... I (and some other people as well) did see the "trend" back to earlier last year, Pentax just be able to realise the reality only by now?? :-(

Nevertheless, there has been trace on a Full Frame Pentax DSLR is under planning and there was still *hope*. Here is what I reported earlier this year.

3. "The edge of our DSLR products is in picture quality, which has been our main focus in our Research and Development from time to time."

IMHO, this is pure (or simply "junk" IMHO, sorry) sales talk which is boring and meaningless. I don't think there is really any real edge neither. I would say each of the DSLR manufacturers do have different *styles* for the images produced by their DSLRs made by them, just say the images of K20D and K200D are more detailed even at higher ISO speeds, but they are also much noisier, as compared to other APS-C DSLRs in the competitions. This looks merely just a give and take to me but it can't get the best of both worlds (unless it is Full Frame!). All in all, I cannot see any real "edge" nor significant better image qualities here in Pentax products, as compared to products of the competitors in the same price range.

In contrast, since Mr. Usui did not (dare to?) mention emphasises will be put in camera performance aspects, particularly are speed and accuracy (which are even more important IMO, in considering the comparable IQ of the current generation of DSLRs, brand regardless), are Pentax still not focusing on improving those which they are lagging light-years behind?? This is rather disappointed, frankly.

Finally, as Pentax still lack true upper class (not even to mention "pro" class) DSLR products, the truth is that they are still lagging behind in the IQ department, also.

4. "Yes, we are now putting more resources and much focus in the development and marketing of DSLRs, but this is just a transitional strategical arrangement, this doesn't mean we are aborting the P&S DC market."

As we all know, the Pentax P&S DC sales are pathetic right now and there are actually no good choice of Pentax DCs in the market nor those models are having any special features and characters which worth the consideration of a potential customer. However, as for the DSLR market, I don't think and couldn't see Pentax are doing well neither, even though they "have been putting" "a lot of resources" in the development and sales of their products!

So, what have been going wrong? Well, I won't elaborate further. If you have read my Blog a little bit more enough, you would have known (and will know if you haven't yet).

5. "Currently (in China), our sales and after sales services (in other cities in China) solely rely on our agent (Remark: which is Jebsen & Co. Ltd., also known as "JNC"). In order to improve our services and supports for our Pentax products, we shall setup more local branch offices at major cities in China so that the needs of our customers can be catered better and to help them better for the problems they face with their Pentax products."

This is undoubtedly a good thing. Glad that Pentax could know that after sales services and supports are crucial and most importantly, they should do something to change and improve the situation! (But should be long ago, not now! Which is "still" under planning!(Financial concerns?)

6. "Although we have been purchased by HOYA, our independence in the camera business is ensured and maintained, as you all could see so far. On the other hand, Hoya being a large manufacturer and supplier of glass, Pentax have been able to get some advantages in getting the basic raw material in making lenses and cameras and there exists an edge."

Factual thing, no doubt here. But the worry is nobody knows *when* HOYA's internal policy and decision by the top management will change! Nor, I have not been able to see Pentax's products have been cheap after Hoya's acquisition. The worse thing is that the reverse is true, now go look at the new prices of the new Pentax DA* lenses, in particular those DA* primes, which are ridiculously high priced (especially if you compare the new prices to comparable FA* primes in the historical Pentax era) and that even now the new DA 17-70 is so ridiculously high-priced!

So, I just wish to ask: What's the real benefit to Pentax users and their customers for that "Hoya Edge" mentioned?? I really want to know..

At the end of the interview, the reporter asked Mr. Usui directly that if Pentax's products would have a better price-performance ratio just because of that "Hoya Edge". But then Mr. Usui just laughed and said that he refused to answer that question! (My opinion is that it seems that even he doesn't think so himself!)

7 Comments:

hate_Idiots said...

You still an IDIOT.
When are you stopping being an IDIOT ?


Oh boy,never. I was born an IDIOT, will die as an IDIOT.

Anonymous said...

It seems the only people who visit here are rabid fanboys so what is the purpose of this site? If the arrogance and cluelessness of this executive is the prevailing attitude within Pentax, maybe Hoya should reconsider allowing divisional independence.

The K20D and K200D appeal to a small dedicated niche of people but a niche cannot support an entire brand. Hoya needs to make cameras that appeal to the average family.

Money must be spent on product innovation to make a return. If Hoya cannot surpass or even match the competition, why prolong a slow and inevitable death?

Anonymous said...

http://www.hemmy.net/images/news/cnnfallenrice.jpg

Anonymous said...

1. Great News. It will probably be a k1000D type camera.
2. Also great news but not something the majority of consumers would be interested in.
3. Pentax cameras and lenses have always had great picture quality. Just try the ltd primes and the DA* lenses.
4. Pentax were recently taken over by Hoya. It takes time for a large company to refocus. Although they didn't totally nail it with the K20D, it showed that they are serious about competing with the big boys.
5. China is the largest emerging market in the world.
6. You want quality but you don't want to pay for it. You can't have it both ways.
7. Ricehigh, you are a joke. You should be ashamed of yourself.

Anonymous said...

RiceHigh,

Of all the people that write about cameras, you must be the most stupid of them all. Your measurebating theory is call Jacking off in the USA.

Anonymous said...

Its called wanking in Australia!

andrew cooke said...

thanks for posting this - i didn't know there had been any official statement about full frame.

don't understand why the other comments are so negative - guess that's the internet for you.

cheers,
andrew

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