CP+ 2015: My Encounter with the Pentax Full-Frame DSLR Prototype

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At the CP+2015 Pentax booth, I found what was treated like a visitor from another planet… people gathered around and ooohed, some stumbled over, not sure what they were seeing but needing to see it. For Pentax shooters, was it only a mirage? Indeed, the prototype for the first Pentax full-frame DSLR was encased in glass. As the photo shows, it did not offer much in terms of specifics, but you get the idea. I asked a nice information person for details, and she referred me to a colleague, who told me clearly that there was nothing she could really tell me. I asked if she knew who manufactured the sensor, and she either didn’t know or didn’t want to say. I thanked her and thought I’d try again tomorrow. I went to look at the 70-200mm and 150-450mm lenses that are full-frame ready, and she returned to tell me the one thing she could: that the new full-frame sensor will also have an APS-C crop mode. The camera is scheduled to be released in late summer or fall.

 

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Discussion 19

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Does Pentax think they are so strongly positioned that they can float such a tease? Now if they were introducing a large format instead of full frame, maybe. I for one can wait for the Fall reviews, which I may or may not even bother reading...

There's a distinct difference between a prototype and a mockup.  I thought this was fresh news!

Looks like a 3D printed mockup so probably nothing at all....

I do however enjoy seeing that there is quite a large screen imprint on the back. Let's get larger than 3.2" for a change. 

Agree

As a Pentax 6x7 user I would love to see how this stacks up in the digital market.

Competition is good for the buisness.  Lets give this a try.  Good for Pentax.

Let me start by saying that I sell close to 1,000 photos a year and have been a professional press photographer for the last eight years and a professional photographer for over 30.

I have been very disappointed with Pentax recently. Their cameras have been my standard gear for a great many years and I used to use their gear to teach photography classes (along with Leica and Minolta).

When we all went digital, I stuck with Pentax and after grunting through the process and giving them my credit card information and clips and a letter of reference and on and on and on to get into their professional loaner pool, the program turned to garbage after Ricoh bought them out.

Most recently, Unique Photo dumped the entire Pentax line and won't even accept my older or even newer Pentax gear as a trade in. According to Unique, Pentax is down to four, yes four, U.S. employees, and I don't doubt it. As a press photographer, I don't need a high-resolution camera that weighs several pounds. I want something light that's good in low light, and can shoot at six or more frames a second. APS-C works just fine for me, so a 24 x 36 photosensor will only make my lenses heavier to achieve the same results from a lens. Somebody at Ricoh had better stop the BS and start managing the line before it goes the way of the snakes, as in "don't even think about biting my dog or the loud noises will start!"

Dear Ricoh/Pentax, Please start acting like you really want to be a viable camera manufacturer and also restore your professional loaner pool to what it used to be.

I thought the general consensus among Pentax users was Ricoh had brought much excitement on the Pentax line since. K3 is the best APS-C on the market besting even their Canon and Nikon counterparts. Only in FF where Pentax has yet to field a camera.

Pentax APS-c 'besting Canon and Nikon'? They make a very fine camera but one of the DSLR's strong suits is action tracking and Pentax is decidedly mediocre at best. IBIS may be great to use old lenses but it makes C-AF a lot harder for the camera to do well.

I don't know what Unique Photo told you (and more importantly, why ;) ) but a quick search on LinedIn revealed that Ricoh Imaging Americas Corporation has 21 employees with updated accounts there, and I'm quite sure those are not all of them.

Well, I sell zero photos per year, but I haven't been waiting for FF from Pentax.  I only picked up a K3 in early 12/14, my first upgrade from a K10D, and to say I love it is a vast understatement.  I'm not sure what Pentax has failed to do for APS-C, and do for less money than anyone else (maybe a few more lenses would be good, but I probably couldn't afford them, anyway, and I have old manual lenses when I have the time, space and weight capacity to carry them).  It seems that media pressure and market pressure from those people who want FF, for reasons I don't really understand, are driving lots of companies, so being "last in" seems more measured than bad judgement.  

As for who carries Pentax, you won't find a K3 at big box stores, either, or not that I've noticed. Does this mean anything to us? It probably means something to Ricoh/Pentax, who do need sales..., but they seem to focus on quality instead of quantity: Med. format Pentax was never going to be high volume, for example. So I don't see what the problem is, except that some OTHER businesses (Unique Photo) are cutting their inventories and trimming their brands to follow TV market campaign dollars.  Of course, everyone wants to blame the other guy.  That doesn't reflect camera quality but probably does reflect the general loss of good camera sales/rentals to cell phones.  Of course, I want you to be able to rent your gear, but do we really know the culprit here?

According to Unique, Pentax is down to four, yes four, U.S. employees, and I don't doubt it.

I just went to LinkedIn and did a search for "Pentax." LinkedIn asked if I wanted people who work for Pentax or people who worked for Pentax. I chose the former and got 66 people. I then searched for "Pentax Imaging" employees in the USA only and got 17 results. Adding "Ricoh" brought that total up to 25. - Henry Posner

Henry... Thanks for the clarification. About having only four US employees, that is what I was told by Unique. I did not make it up but rather just passed it along. They don't even moderate their own forums though, which shows poor judgment. I will be giving more camera club presentations/lectures over the next few months and will touch base before show time.

 This has been a long awaited announcement for Pentaxians.  Lets hope Ricoh does not destroy Pentax after they suck the lifes blood out of Pentax's technology.  There are many Pentax lovers like myself as I have seven Pentaxs in my equipment case.  The Pentax name will be remembered not sure about Ricoh!  Ricoh's name on new models may be an adverse feature.  

Jettace wrote:
Ricoh's name on new models may be an adverse feature.  

It seems Ricoh agrees, since they only did that on one model (the K-3) -- the K-S1 and K-S2 don't have that problem.

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I think it's good and reasonable idea. But what about design? I expect for my favourite to look march more ****. Please, hire me or other talent designer to sculpt it well! :)