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Author Topic: Pentax abandons medium format  (Read 29442 times)
BJL
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« on: May 10, 2007, 10:23:43 AM »
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Sad news at http://www.nni.nikkei.co.jp/ (but only subscribers can read it); the Pentax digital medium format camera project has been abandoned:
"On top of this, Pentax will continue to overhaul less profitable businesses. It will abandon the development of medium-format single-lens reflex cameras designed for professional photographers and specialize in digital SLR offerings for new and intermediate users."

This is part of its fight against what is now a hostile take-over attempt by Hoya. (Why fight, I wonder: Hoya has the resources that Pentax now needs to keep up with bigger competitors.)


It seems that those with hopes of DMF more affordable than the Fuji/Hassleblad-Imacon H system must now rely on Mamiya's new ownership getting to work. (I doubt that the Rollei-based DMF options will get to the low end MF pricing that Mamiya and Pentax have traditionally offered.) Or otherwise, to hope that Canon can improve the resolution/sharpness of its high end 35mm lens system, at wide angles in particular, to go with 24x36mm sensors of 30MP and over.


P.S. My thoughts on the price range of "Rollei-based" DMF have been confirmed by the pricing news on the Sinar HY6:
http://www.huliq.com/21127/sinar-launches-...m-format-camera
Prices seem to about the same or higher than Hasselblad H3 models of similar sensor size and pixel count.
« Last Edit: May 10, 2007, 10:35:32 AM by BJL » Logged
DarkPenguin
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« Reply #1 on: May 10, 2007, 11:54:47 AM »
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It really felt like they had about 3 people working on that thing.  I was hoping they would come out with a MFDB equivalent of their K110D.

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This is part of its fight against what is now a hostile take-over attempt by Hoya. (Why fight, I wonder: Hoya has the resources that Pentax now needs to keep up with bigger competitors.)

Did Hoya want the camera division?  It was my understanding that the medical stuff was more interesting to hoya.  (Presumably the camera division would be more interesting to samsung.)
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jimgolden
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« Reply #2 on: May 10, 2007, 03:55:53 PM »
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i kinda think most of us were expecting this...the protos year after year under glass...etc

now if the ZDv2 were 16bit...
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mcfoto
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« Reply #3 on: May 10, 2007, 04:12:21 PM »
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Hi
This is sad news & it really shows how much $$$$ you need to manufacture a working digital system these days. For MFD I will stay with the Mamiya ZD & 645 AFDII & rent the Aptus back. I also look forward to the new Canon cameras that will be released in the next year. I feel that PHASE & MAMIYA will have to work closer in the future as they will be the only ones to bring a more affordable MFD to the market.

DenisMy Webpage
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Denis Montalbetti
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« Reply #4 on: May 11, 2007, 06:00:15 AM »
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http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/dy/business/20070511TDY08005.htm

Doesn't say anything about the 645 camera.
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Denis Montalbetti
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« Reply #5 on: May 11, 2007, 06:12:16 AM »
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http://www.amateurphotographer.co.uk/news/...ews_119272.html
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Denis Montalbetti
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« Reply #6 on: May 11, 2007, 01:57:54 PM »
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Quote from: BJL,May 10 2007, 10:23 AM
Sad news at http://www.nni.nikkei.co.jp/ (but only subscribers can read it); the Pentax digital medium format camera project has been abandoned:
"On top of this, Pentax will continue to overhaul less profitable businesses. It will abandon the development of medium-format single-lens reflex cameras designed for professional photographers and specialize in digital SLR offerings for new and intermediate users."

Hi
I found the article from another form out of the UK


From www.nni.nikkei.co.jp

    Quote:
    Thursday, May 10, 2007 3:56 a.m. (JST)

    Pentax To Sell Tokyo HQ, Quit Low-Profit Ops To Lift Corp Value



    TOKYO (Nikkei)--Pentax Corp. (7750) plans to sell its Tokyo headquarters and withdraw from less profitable businesses under strategies the camera maker has crafted to block a takeover bid by optical glass manufacturer Hoya Corp. (7741), The Nikkei learned Wednesday.




    On top of this, Pentax will continue to overhaul less profitable
    businesses. It will abandon the development of medium-format single-lens
    reflex cameras designed for professional photographers and specialize in
    digital SLR offerings for new and intermediate users.
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BernardLanguillier
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« Reply #7 on: May 12, 2007, 01:32:30 PM »
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i kinda think most of us were expecting this...the protos year after year under glass...etc

now if the ZDv2 were 16bit...
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=116846\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Any concrete evidence that the ZD v1 not being 16 bits has actual drawbacks?

Regards,
Bernard
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jimgolden
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« Reply #8 on: May 12, 2007, 05:09:38 PM »
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Any concrete evidence that the ZD v1 not being 16 bits has actual drawbacks?

Regards,
Bernard
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=117158\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]


well 12 vs 16 bit, I'd go 16, and if I'm spending $10k at least....
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rainer_v
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« Reply #9 on: May 13, 2007, 01:50:05 AM »
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the hi praised leica m8 comes with 8. the mf backs ( all of them minus mamiya ) use 14 of the 16bits.
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BJL
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« Reply #10 on: May 14, 2007, 03:13:06 PM »
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Did Hoya want the camera division?  It was my understanding that the medical stuff was more interesting to hoya.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=116802\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
That is my understanding; but to fight the take-over, Pentax needs to improve profitability overall, making shareholders less willing to sell for a price that Hoya is willing to pay.

I suppose that hostile take-overs are often due to the potential for increased profits under new management that is willing and able to cancel projects that offer a poor return on investment, and a new digital medium format system is probably such a "low ROI" project, motivated partly by prestige or the current management's attachment to Pentax heritage rather than purely rational "bottom line" considerations. (A recent example perhaps was Sony quickly pulling the plug on what remained of Minolta film cameras.)

The report is not officially confirmed yet, but when such stories get widely reported and discussed and go undenied, it is almost tacit confirmation.


So it seems that for the second time, Pentax has aimed too "large" in digital and then adjusted down to where the main profit potential is; the first time was its abandoned 35mm format DSLR project.
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mcfoto
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« Reply #11 on: May 15, 2007, 08:14:34 PM »
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http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/dy/business/20070516TDY08004.htm

Looks like the Hoya deal could be back on.

Denis
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Denis Montalbetti
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BernardLanguillier
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« Reply #12 on: May 15, 2007, 08:40:14 PM »
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So it seems that for the second time, Pentax has aimed too "large" in digital and then adjusted down to where the main profit potential is; the first time was its abandoned 35mm format DSLR project.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=117528\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

It would be interesting to know the actual reasons why they have decided to stop their effort. If this is confirmed by Pentax of course.

Assuming that their were planning on a release around the end of the year, they must be at a pretty advanced stage of their production planning already. All their drawings are probably signed, and suppliers must already be involved in tooling cutting etc...

A lot of investement must already have been done at this point of time beyond design itself.

I wonder if the reason is commericial, financial, or technical...

1. Commercial

They have realized that they cannot produce the body at a cost low enough that its selling price will trigger some market interest,

2. Financial

Their banks have told them that they won't lend them the money needed to launch production.

3. Technical

They have found some blocking technical issue that would require a costly re-design, or that is simply not solvable.

The sensor they have picked is known to be weak on wide angle lenses because of its micro-lenses. Could it be that they have now realized that a complex software solution would be needed to get rid of the color casts they are seeing with their prototype wide angle lenses?

Regards,
Bernard
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KAP
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« Reply #13 on: May 16, 2007, 12:45:06 PM »
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It would be interesting to know the actual reasons why they have decided to stop their effort. If this is confirmed by Pentax of course.

Assuming that their were planning on a release around the end of the year, they must be at a pretty advanced stage of their production planning already. All their drawings are probably signed, and suppliers must already be involved in tooling cutting etc...

A lot of investement must already have been done at this point of time beyond design itself.

I wonder if the reason is commericial, financial, or technical...

1. Commercial

They have realized that they cannot produce the body at a cost low enough that its selling price will trigger some market interest,

2. Financial

Their banks have told them that they won't lend them the money needed to launch production.

3. Technical

They have found some blocking technical issue that would require a costly re-design, or that is simply not solvable.

The sensor they have picked is known to be weak on wide angle lenses because of its micro-lenses. Could it be that they have now realized that a complex software solution would be needed to get rid of the color casts they are seeing with their prototype wide angle lenses?

Regards,
Bernard
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=117795\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

The more i look at digital the more I'm shure I just made the right decision in buying a 612 Linhof and 5x4 Razzle for the good stuff and sticking with Canon for digital, especialy as the bits are now increasing with them. I was quite close to springing for a Phase and Mamiya. The MF  side of digital is still a bit of a mess to me, lots of money required and I'm not shure of it's direction, Phaseone is an excellant product but they depend on Mamiya staying in business or 'blad making a body they can use, Leaf and Imacon have their own thing going as well, to many dogs and not enough bones, it will all end in tears I tel'ya, you mark my words.

Kevin.
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pss
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« Reply #14 on: May 16, 2007, 02:18:39 PM »
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It would be interesting to know the actual reasons why they have decided to stop their effort. If this is confirmed by Pentax of course.

Assuming that their were planning on a release around the end of the year, they must be at a pretty advanced stage of their production planning already. All their drawings are probably signed, and suppliers must already be involved in tooling cutting etc...

A lot of investement must already have been done at this point of time beyond design itself.

I wonder if the reason is commericial, financial, or technical...

1. Commercial

They have realized that they cannot produce the body at a cost low enough that its selling price will trigger some market interest,

2. Financial

Their banks have told them that they won't lend them the money needed to launch production.

3. Technical

They have found some blocking technical issue that would require a costly re-design, or that is simply not solvable.

The sensor they have picked is known to be weak on wide angle lenses because of its micro-lenses. Could it be that they have now realized that a complex software solution would be needed to get rid of the color casts they are seeing with their prototype wide angle lenses?

Regards,
Bernard
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=0\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]



it is one thing to have a body and buy some chips and slap it together....it is a completely different thing to make theis camera compete with others....the pentax would have been in direct competition with hass/imacon, sinar and phase backs, all of which have decades of experience with software and actually making Dbacks.....pentax has ....none...they would have had to catch up with the rest of the industry in no time with no financial resources to put into development...and all this to sell a camera which only chance to make it was to be cheaper then everything else.....
the ZD showed how hard it is....or that it takes more then just a camera with a chip....

phase, sinar and hass (by buying imacon) have the software to squeeze the data out of the sensors and to deal with it afterwards.....leaf also has the experince, but we see in their case how hard it is to remain on the top......pentax has none of the above and not the money to come with something that would still take years to be able to really compete...
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BJL
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« Reply #15 on: May 16, 2007, 03:58:17 PM »
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The sensor they have picked is known to be weak on wide angle lenses because of its micro-lenses. Could it be that they have now realized that a complex software solution would be needed to get rid of the color casts they are seeing with their prototype wide angle lenses?

Regards,
Bernard
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=117795\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
Not true as far as I know: the KAF-31600 has off-set micro-lenses as in the sensor for the Leica M8, which give it quite good off-axis sensitivity: even at 30º off-axis, fall off is only about 1/2 stop. Combined with the sensor being distinctly smaller than full 645 format, 33x44 vs 42x56, I doubt there is any corner performance issue wit SLR wide angle lens designs, as opposed to range-dinger wide angle designs.


Most DSLR sensor have micro-lenses without this offsetting and still work fairly well with wide-angle lenses, so the talk of problems with SLR wide angle lenses seems greatly exaggerated. Rangefinder wide angle lenses may be a different story, with their traditionally more symmetric designs leading to low exit pupils.
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BernardLanguillier
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« Reply #16 on: May 16, 2007, 05:27:07 PM »
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it is one thing to have a body and buy some chips and slap it together....it is a completely different thing to make theis camera compete with others....the pentax would have been in direct competition with hass/imacon, sinar and phase backs, all of which have decades of experience with software and actually making Dbacks.....pentax has ....none...they would have had to catch up with the rest of the industry in no time with no financial resources to put into development...and all this to sell a camera which only chance to make it was to be cheaper then everything else.....
the ZD showed how hard it is....or that it takes more then just a camera with a chip....
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=117976\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

There is a major difference between Pentax and Mamiya though. Pentax has been designing very good 35 mm DSLRs for years now.

I am not sure to understand what the difference is between designing a 35 mm 10MP DSLR and a MF camera with a slightly larger sensor and 3 times more pixels...

To me, it seems to be a very similar thing.

Regards,
Bernard
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mcfoto
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« Reply #17 on: May 16, 2007, 10:25:23 PM »
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Pentax to accept merger with Hoya

05/17/2007
THE ASAHI SHIMBUN

After a number of twists and turns, camera maker Pentax Corp. expressed its intention Wednesday to accept Hoya Corp.'s proposal to merge through a public tender offer, sources said.

Pentax President Takashi Watanuki told Hiroshi Suzuki, chief executive officer of the maker of optical lenses and glasses, that Pentax would accept Hoya's takeover bid if some conditions are met.

One condition is that some current Pentax board members will remain at their posts. The camera maker also asked that Hoya ensure the independence of Pentax's management after the merger.

The Pentax side also called for the continuation of its three core operations--optical components, medical equipment and digital cameras.

Hoya will discuss the proposed conditions and reach a decision next week at the earliest after Pentax makes the requests official.

During the meeting Wednesday, Hoya's Suzuki asked Watanuki of Pentax if the proposed conditions were based on a unanimous consensus of the board.

Watanuki replied that he would obtain collective approval, sources said.

The Pentax side did not refer to the fate of former President Fumio Urano, who had clashed with management and angered shareholders over an earlier agreement he brokered with Hoya, and another former executive, the sources said. The two were demoted, but they remain on Pentax's board of directors.

Pentax later rejected that equity-swap agreement.

Sparx Group Co., an investment fund and the top shareholder of Pentax, had planned to propose that Urano retain his post on the board at a shareholders meeting in June.

Hoya may accept Pentax's proposals because it wants to avoid a hostile takeover bid.

If the two sides reach an agreement, Hoya will launch a public tender offer in June or later to acquire more than two-thirds of Pentax shares. Hoya said it will pay 770 yen per Pentax share in the public tender offer.

Pentax, once a giant in the camera industry, now holds less than 5 percent of the global digital camera market.(IHT/Asahi: May 17,2007)
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Denis Montalbetti
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« Reply #18 on: May 17, 2007, 05:52:36 AM »
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http://www.bjp-online.com/public/showPage.html?page=447173

Quote
Pentax hopes for 'white knight'

Pentax is drawing up plans to head off a takeover, but will the 645D be axed as part of cost-cutting plans, or is a saviour waiting in the wings. Simon Bainbridge has the latest details
Subscribe to The British Journal of Photography

Pentax is bracing itself for a hostile takeover bid following last month's decision to scrap plans for an autumn merger with Hoya (BJP, 18 April).

The company's new president, Takashi Watanuki, is under pressure from shareholders to come up with an alternative and last Friday (11 May) announced a new three-year strategy designed to capitalise on its recent success in the digital SLR market.

There was a lukewarm reception to the plans, however, with share values dipping ahead of their announcement. An unnamed executive from Pentax's major shareholder, Sparx Corporation, which backs Hoya's improved merger proposal, told Japanese newspaper The Daily Yomiuri that he was unimpressed by the lack of new steps within Watanuki's strategy.

Pentax executives are still talking to Hoya, but unless Watanuki can convince shareholders of his own plans, he faces the possibility of a more hostile bid. Pentax will likely cut costs in a bid to gain support ahead of a major shareholder meeting on 22 June. According to reports, Sparx intends to use the meeting to call for the reinstatement of former president Fumio Urano, the man who spearheaded the Pentax/Hoya merger, but stepped down when the Pentax board forced a halt to the plans.

The cost-cutting proposals are thought to include a sell-off of the 10,000m2 of land it owns in Tokyo, and there's been speculation that it will abandon making professional cameras, such as its planned entry into digital medium format with the 645D (BJP, 06 July 2005). Pentax remains tight-lipped on these plans, which are already causing widespread anxiety among staff.

Pentax is still bound by the basic agreement made with Hoya earlier this year, which prevents it talking with any other companies until 31 May. Shinichiro Mitsuhashi, a board director at Pentax, has told reporters he thinks there's 'a strong chance a white knight might appear' after that date. Watanuki has also said that he is open to other offers, including further strategic partnerships. Hoya is said to be considering its options.

At last Friday's announcement Watanuki revealed that the company's net profit had more than quadrupled in the last fiscal year (ending March). Sales of digital SLRs were up 250%, reaching 300,000 units. The imaging system division as a whole turned a 1.2 billion yen loss into a Yen3.1 billion operating profit. Pentax predicts that sales will reach 500,000 units this financial year - the basis for Watanuki's plans promising steady growth.

Timeline

22 December 2006: Pentax and Hoya announce they've reached an 'agreement of basic understanding' on an autumn merger.

04 April: The Pentax board throws out the plans and its president, Fumio Urano, stands down.

11 May: New president Takashi Watanuki's plans for steady growth fail to impress Sparx Corporation, the leading shareholder which backs an improved Hoya offer.

31 May: The date after which Pentax is free to talk to other companies.

22 June: A shareholder meeting will likely decide Pentax's future. If an agreement has not been made already, and if Watanuki fails to convince, then Sparx may call for Urano to be reinstated.

01 October: The date of the planned merger. Could it still happen ...?
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BJL
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« Reply #19 on: May 17, 2007, 11:07:15 AM »
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If the Hoya take-over continues as Pentax now proposes, I wonder what will happen to the DMF plans? I suspect that it might still be discontinued due to having insufficient profit potential, given that Hoya has no particular interest in digital cameras. But maybe there is hope that the Pentax division of Hoya (staying under separate Pentax management for now?) will be allowed to continue with DMF for the sake of brand prestige or whatever, while Hoya management concentrates on the medical equipment assets and such that it wants from Pentax.
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