Thursday, September 04, 2008

Photokina is Coming Close

The Photokina is coming closer and closer. The DSLR big two have already marketed or announced their new powerful weapons already. And then it is followed by Sony and Panasonic, who will announce new DSLRs with ground-breaking feature(s) and technolog(ies) (as claimed) in the next week, most possibly (see reliable reports here and here). Olympus have not yet announced any DSLR related new products yet but they have already made a few announcements for their new DC products.

If you look at the New Product Index for Photokina 2008 at the DPR, it can be seen that Pentax have not yet appeared on the list for any new product (they have none so far). Now, it leaves only less than 20 days for this most important bi-annual event for the photo industry to come. Let's wait and see if there is just really nothing and/or nothing of real importance to come in the Pentax land or it is just that Pentax opted to keep their secret(s) until the last minute!

Anyway, if the last disclosed information by the Pentax official is true, I do expect at least there should be a new entry level Pentax DSLR body to be shown. Otherwise, it will be utter disappointed and the future of Pentax is really much worrisome.

Meanwhile, I shall keep very close eyes to see if there is any leak or those more "substantiated" rumours for any new Pentax product(s) before the Photokina and report it here in my Blog within the shortest possible time if they are found. Besides, for those important inventions or more significant products by the others which probably would have larger impacts to the market, I shall also report them.

Well, so far, I think the most important product made by now in 2008 is the Nikon D700, which is the first "budget" Full Frame DSLR which can compete with the "entry level" Full Frame Canon 5D, which has almost been 3 years old right now (and during the period there was in fact no competition of any kind in the market for that unique market segment but of huge demand, or at least desires by many). Of course, the D700 has a better spec and with more updated features (and, I believe performance wise and in the IQ department, too). The Nikon D90 and Canon 50D are quite nice jobs by the big two indeed IMO as they are upkeeping the market needs with the latest features as well as some new innovations. Hmm.. Let's wait and see what Sony and Pana are to announce very soon and we shall know just in a few days that if there are really something important or even ground-breaking!

News on Sept 5: Sony A900 Surfaced!

A scan of a printed magazine Ad page was posted at the largest Chinese Photo forum here previously but however that scanned image was deleted after a while and now in that post are only the confessions and apologies of the OP (and some other new unimportant responses as well :-)).

Fortunately, I was fast enough to look at the image before it was deleted and indeed I had made a quick inspection on it with suspicion in mind. The image that I saw was not of very high resolution anyway but most of the descriptions of the A900 could be almost seen. What I can tell is that it should be *real* as it looked, especially for the reflected lights on the dark theme background on the print, which is just what we can see on quality magazine or catalogue prints. There were a few visible short folded traces as scanned, too.

At the top of the page, it was a large image of the Sony A900. At the bottom, there was a list of the key product highlights of the A900, namely:-

- 24.6 MP Full Frame CMOS Sensor;
- Dual "Bionz" Image Processing Engines;
- Super Steady Shot (in-camera??);
- 5 FPS;
- 3" LCD with VGA Resolution;
- 100% Coverage Viewfinder with 0.74X Magnification
- 9 Point Crossed AF Sensor (with some more additional descriptions that I couldn't see clearly)
- No Built-in Flash (as judged from the sharp edge triangular shape pentaprism of the A900)

So, the Sony FF and flagship model finally arrives and its pixel count is the highest ever for a 135 DSLR! In fact, the 135 Full Frame DSLR era has now arrived, with the A900 actually comes true and not being a prolonged paperware!

News on Sept 9: Sony A900 Officially Announced!

Just read one of the latest hot press release below:-
http://www.dcresource.com/news/newsitem.php?id=3793

Well, the last leaked news on Sept 5 was real and the disclosed information were correct!

News on Sept 11: Canon 5D MkII to be Announced on Sept 17

Here is the latest rumour from a prestige European EOS website (not official), since the first more "solid" rumour came up around one month ago by some "small" others:-

http://www.eos-numerique.com/index.php?ind=news&op=news_show_single&ide=19

* 24 Megapixel 24X36 CMOS sensor
* New battery, new grip
* DIGIC IV processor
* Magnesium alloy body
* Live view
* Video Mode
* Integrated Cleaning System
* Full compatibility with Canon EF and EX-series Speedlites
* Price : 2600€
* Official announcement date by Canon: 17/09/2008

Well, is this to be the A900 killer? Will people choose the lower pixel count D700 or the A900 and the 5D MkII which are now doubled in pixels? Anyway, as I have said for quite some time already, the (affordable) Full Frame era has now really come!

News on Sept 11: Pentax K20D street prices in Hong Kong are dropping crazily

There have been two abnormal phenomenons recently at two large camera chain shop companies in Hong Kong. Either there is no more K20D units at many branch shops of the "Boardway" and many of the K20D goods disappeared there "suddenly" just a while ago. And, at another large chain shop company called the "Citicall", the K20D prices are being cut crazily and price could drop significantly within a few days recently and that happened for several times already in just a few weeks.

A guy who has just purchased a K20D + DA 16-45 Kit at Citicall at only HK$8,100 (US$1038) and actually the body worths about US$850 for the cost breakdown ratio he writes (and thus his new DA 16-45 is just for US$188 only!):-

http://www.dchome.net/viewthread.php?tid=563575&extra=page%3D1

(Post in Traditional Chinese, use BabelFish if needed)

In fact, this price level is already the same as what Samsung has announced for the suggested retail price of the GX-20.

So, what do these two incidents hint? My guess is that quite possibly a K20D replacement (K30D or K20D Super or whatever it is named) is coming very soon! If it is really true, it is very likely that we shall see it in the Photokina. And, Pentax may also discontinue the DA 16-45 very soon and replace it with the more expensive DA 17-70 (as the shops seem to try hard to get rid of the DA 16-45 stocks soonest, also).

News on Sept 12: New Panasonic G1 Micro 4/3 DSLR with EVF

The first new micro 4/3 DSLR has been announced! It's the Pana DMC-G1 with new Electronic ViewFinder (EVF):-

http://www.dpreview.com/previews/panasonicG1/page2.asp

This little cam is the most lovely for its compactness and lighweightness, for both body and the lens(es). It is very innovative and I do like it very much for the first impression! (as I also do for every innovative product with new innovative feature(s) introduced). Its new design resolves the old classic problem of small and dim optical viewfinders of the 4/3 DSLRs. Panasonic has been quite smart to put in a high resolution EVF panel with 1.44 Mega-"dots" (1 dot contains 3 RGB pixels?) and with 0.7X magnification at 50mm in 135 film term which just mean a bright and large viewfinder with fine details, very possibly. Despite its small size and compact design, the external LCD panel is large (at 3") and of moderate high resolution of 460k dots (although not a highest VGA one) and I think it's unique in the very high degree of freedom as newly designed, which is again a big plus. Well, I think this is just the ideal dream compact DSLR that I have been dreaming of for long! Nevertheless, I won't put high hope on the high ISO IQ of the 4/3 nor more shallow DoF control owing to its small sensor format - its a 4/3 afterall! For serious shooting, I shall still use my Full Frame camera, that is, the Canon 5D. But for causal shootings for those used to use mostly DSLRs but want to have a carry-everywhere DSLR camera, this one is the true perfect P&S DSLR to go, so do for most DSLR novices and beginners, I bet.

Well Done and Bravo, Panasonic! I buy much your new concept and I do believe now that you (and Olympus) have (finally) gone down the right path to become more competitive in the DSLR market! If they can really succeed in the near future, it is just because they have acted fast and being the first in making new stuff and introduce new innovations/inventions. See, Pentax / Hoya? Can YOU learn somethings from others?? Do you know one MUST INVEST before there is HOPE for getting ANY REWARD/HARVEST???

News on Sept 13: Price Cuts of K20D and Kit Lenses are Now Official

See the Hong Kong Press Release:-

http://www.qk123.com/content/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=198:pentax-k20d-6990&catid=34:2008-08-11-13-49-12&Itemid=59


( Text in Traditional Chinese, use BabelFish if needed. And, 1 US$ = 7.8 HK$ )

So, Is now that a K20D replacement around the corner or Pentax just want to change the K20D to be an entry level (priced) DSLR so as to "compete" in that market segment? (but frankly it is just too large as compared to all others!)

News on Sept 17: Canon 5D MkII is Here, Finally!

The previous rumours are true, the MkII is announced today!

http://www.dpreview.com/news/0809/08091705canon_5dmarkII.asp

It has all the most updated and latest features and innovations for a DSLR and is simply unbeatable!
If you compare this "Advanced Amateur" Canon 5D MkII to the "Flagship" Pentax K20D, the K20D just looks like both dwarf and dinosaur:-

  • New 21 MP Full Frame CMOS sensor: higher resolution, lower noise! (Just because it is Full Frame!)
  • Super High ISO up to 25,600 available!
  • Full HD H.264 Movie Mode up to 1920 x 1080(p) resolution and scanning mode!
  • 3.9 fps at Full 21 MP continuous shooting rate!
  • 3" VGA Resolution Monitor with 170 Degree of View (Actually, this is now just the basic standard for a LCD monitor on a non-entry level DSLR!)
  • Standard Canon LiveView features with Live Histogram, Contrast Detection AF during LiveView and Face Detection (which no Pentax DSLR has any of these "standard" functions)
  • 14 bit A to D output with the 4th generation Digic 4 Image Processor (Pentax are still using the 1st generation "PRIME")
  • 98% Coverage, 71% Magnification Viewfinder (better than the original 5D and of course way better than any APS-C DSLR)
  • New Dust Prevention and Removal System (which shakes the AA filter in front of the sensor at high frequency, not the whole heavy sensor at low frequency. Anyway, I think Oly's ultrasonic solution should be the best and the worst "solution" is now the Sony and Pentax's "shake the sensor" one, which is just useless.)
  • Weight kept at 810g (same as the original 5D and really not heavy for such a monster!)
  • and so on..
Oh, yet again, where is Pentax? Still NOTHING??

3 Comments:

SolracSelbor said...

Hey Rice,

In all honesty, would you recommend pentax users to switch brands and sell their gear (DSLR bodies, lenses, etc) before it becomes worthless? It just seems to me, from countless reports, that pentax is on the downfall. Also, it seems to me that Hoya is not all that interested in keeping up with the DSLR market; and are more interested in medical glass and such.

One of the primary reasons I chose pentax was because I would not have to dish out extra cash on "IS" and "VR" lenses. I do think it's an amazing camera but, with all history thrown out (hot pixel problem on k20d and the tilted VF on the K10D [which i experience])is the pentax more an illusion of quality, and in reality not that promising?

I, like many others, are just worried about having wasted $1,000 more on a product destined to "die". With the emergence of the Canon D50 and Nikon 90D, it may be a good time to sell pentax equipment and opt out for one of the canon or nikon predecessors.

Solrac Selbor said...

Hey Rice,

I dont know this will be of much help but in the DPreview forum there is a guy who says there is an add in Köln (where photokina takes place) on a taxi that shows a partial pentax camera in the shadows. Here's the link to the photo:

http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3192/2827299153_4fba33cfd7.jpg

RiceHigh said...

Hi Solrac,

I think I shall answer your question in a separate new blog article. In fact, many of us Pentaxians are now on the same boat and you are not alone in thinking about switching and/or much worried about the future of Pentax, as you've pointed out.

Post a Comment

Related Posts

 
Creative Commons License
RiceHigh's Pentax Blog by RiceHigh is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.