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Author Topic: Pentax 645D: The Interview  (Read 14840 times)
BJL
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« on: March 16, 2010, 04:50:36 PM »
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First my thanks the Bernard for the interview with Pentax Pentax Product Planning executive Yasuyuki Maekawa. He comes across as quite thoughtful and honest, with things like his nuanced discussion of the pros and cons of omitting the AA filter and why it makes sense in the specific context of a landscape-oriented camera for use by dedicated photographers who are probably willing to do some occasional PP on moiré. I also like his rationale for the integrated body approach for the objectives of this particular camera.

He (or is it Pentax) comes across as more willing or able to go with trends happening in photography than some MF makers, like his attitude to active pixel CMOS sensors, which many MF types seems to either ignore or dismiss as inferior. Two refreshingly honest and forward looking quotes:

On the other hand we realize that DSLR sensors have also progressed a lot these past few years and the gap in DR when considering the sensor alone is not that large.

... the Kodak CCD sensor that we have selected, just like all the other MF sensors available today for that matter, do not currently enable Live view. We hope that possible future CMOS based MF sensors would be able to lift this limitation.


And everyone should be happy with:
We intend to sell the 645D outside Japan at a certain point in time
« Last Edit: March 16, 2010, 04:52:21 PM by BJL » Logged
tho_mas
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« Reply #1 on: March 16, 2010, 05:17:10 PM »
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Great interview! Both Q's & A's.
I like the modest style of Maekawa's answers very much!
Finally a camera that is not "world class" or "leading" or "unmatched" or any other crap... and possibly precisely for that reason it will be a winner.
I also like that they first want to establish the system in a managable market as they take the importance of support into account - unlike Leica that throws their S2 all over the world without any proven support system.
Pentax obviously has a clear vision of their target market and they designed the camera exactly to match that target group - this is a key for being successfull IMO.
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gwhitf
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« Reply #2 on: March 16, 2010, 05:19:31 PM »
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Quote from: BJL
... the Kodak CCD sensor that we have selected, just like all the other MF sensors available today for that matter, do not currently enable Live view. We hope that possible future CMOS based MF sensors would be able to lift this limitation.

While I'd like to think that we could all just relax, and think long-term like this "possible future", what is true is these cameras are now leapfrogging each other like mad now. The newer Canons both now shoot at 60 frames per second in video, for awesome slow motion effects, so now, the 5d2 is already outdated. The way that sentence is constructed above, it's like this new Pentax has all the time in the world to evolve, (and for that matter, even leave Japan).

I don't know what is worse: Hasselblad having that silly Countdown Clock, or Pentax announcing a camera in the English language, that's not even available outside of Japan.

As John Wayne said in "True Grit" -- "we're burning daylight".

I hereby announce to all my clients, that in May of 2011, I'll shoot some really nice new photographs for my book, so make sure and stay tuned. Don't make any commitments to any other photographers until then!

I know the word of the day is "constant and everpresent promotion", but at the same time, you wonder when you creep into the territory of "The Boy That Cried Wolf". There was a girl in my High School that had these similar qualities -- always promising, promising, promising, but never quite delivering, delivering, delivering.
« Last Edit: March 16, 2010, 06:12:29 PM by gwhitf » Logged
feppe
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« Reply #3 on: March 16, 2010, 05:22:30 PM »
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I also found his responses refreshingly candid, honest, and he avoided quibbling. Definitely a welcome competitor to high-end Canikons and MFDBs.

And thanks for Bernard for a very good interview, you had questions which have been raised by many!
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LKaven
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« Reply #4 on: March 16, 2010, 05:33:05 PM »
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Quote from: gwhitf
[...] I don't know what is worse: Hasselblad having that silly Countdown Clock, or Pentax announcing a camera in the English language, that's not even available outside of Japan.

Pentax issuing an English language announcement of the 645D -- brilliant!  Look how much we want it.  

I think they know, if the camera does all they say it does, and they set up the right marketing and support in the USA, they will sell thousands of these.  To oversimplify the math, 10,000 cameras at $10,000 equals $100 million gross.  They'll have to do it soon though, before the competition heats up.  
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tho_mas
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« Reply #5 on: March 16, 2010, 05:35:04 PM »
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Quote from: gwhitf
The way that sentence is constructed above, it's like this new Pentax has all the time in the world to evolve, (and for that matter, even leave Japan).
they have the time! Not everyone needs live view, not everyone's needs are the same.
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michael
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« Reply #6 on: March 16, 2010, 05:58:21 PM »
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Please be aware that this was not an English language announcement.

Bernard is bilingual, and the interview was done in Japanese and then translated by him.

Michael
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gwhitf
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« Reply #7 on: March 16, 2010, 06:09:54 PM »
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Quote from: michael
Please be aware that this was not an English language announcement.

http://www.pentax.jp/english/news/2010/201008.html
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feppe
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« Reply #8 on: March 16, 2010, 06:20:05 PM »
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Quote from: gwhitf

Wow, it's really reaching for straws if the worst thing about this camera is that Pentax had the audacity to translate their announcement to English.

Can we get back to the camera, please.
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uaiomex
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« Reply #9 on: March 16, 2010, 07:13:16 PM »
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"Several factors helped with cost. The first is the target price itself. By selecting a price point that we believe is accessible to many potential buyers we could build a business plan that allowed us to get lower prices for sourced components like the sensor thanks to the higher quantities we order."

I asked this question too many times: WHY DON'T THEY? - Never got a satisfactory answer. DMF cameras are ridicoulsly priced.

"Another aspect is that we managed to commonalize some components with DSLRs already in production and could also re-use many of the IP and technologies we developed for them. The weather sealing I mentioned already is a very good example coming from the Pentax K-7. The new 11 points AF system also comes from existing DSLR technologies. We believe that we are the only ones on the market with a combined experience of MF and digital technologies in smaller bodies."

Do the DMF market belong to the big Japanese dslr's manufacturers?

"Well, we recognize the value of live view as a tool. We would have loved to make it available in the 645D, but the Kodak CCD sensor that we have selected, just like all the other MF sensors available today for that matter, do not currently enable Live view. We hope that possible future CMOS based MF sensors would be able to lift this limitation."

Will Canon beat Pentax on bringing the first integral modern DMF camera?

Eduardo

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LKaven
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« Reply #10 on: March 16, 2010, 07:31:56 PM »
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Quote from: tho_mas
they have the time! Not everyone needs live view, not everyone's needs are the same.
I don't think they have that much time.  Anyone who shoots medium format digital today, who wants 40MP or more, would like to be paying under $10k for the camera.  Canon and Nikon can fast-follow this.

[If I may just add, I will wonder for a long time why Leica didn't spend their time reinventing the compact camera instead of inventing the R2, a camera that seems to have been doomed at the outset by its high powered competition.  ]
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gwhitf
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« Reply #11 on: March 16, 2010, 09:35:20 PM »
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I don't think they have that much time.

All I'm saying is, the bottom is dropping out. Here is a Canon 7d, with ASA up to 12,800, that shoots eight frames per second in RAW, and 60fps in Video, and the price?  $1599, out the door.

All I'm saying is, this is becoming the norm.

Yes, a Pentax 645 is nine or ten grand U.S., but still ten grand is still ten grand, if we're talking about selling to the masses.

So let's say the 1ds4 hits the streets this fall, worldwide, at $7999, with both awesome video and awesome RAW stills? The time to get that Pentax on the streets is now, worldwide, while the window is still open. Because just like the P65+ at $42,000 for back only seems ludicrous -- at some point, the Pentax at ten grand is also going to seem ludicrous.

Flood the market while you can.
« Last Edit: March 16, 2010, 09:37:59 PM by gwhitf » Logged
ziocan
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« Reply #12 on: March 16, 2010, 11:15:26 PM »
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Quote from: gwhitf
All I'm saying is, the bottom is dropping out. Here is a Canon 7d, with ASA up to 12,800, that shoots eight frames per second in RAW, and 60fps in Video, and the price?  $1599, out the door.

All I'm saying is, this is becoming the norm.

Yes, a Pentax 645 is nine or ten grand U.S., but still ten grand is still ten grand, if we're talking about selling to the masses.

So let's say the 1ds4 hits the streets this fall, worldwide, at $7999, with both awesome video and awesome RAW stills? The time to get that Pentax on the streets is now, worldwide, while the window is still open. Because just like the P65+ at $42,000 for back only seems ludicrous -- at some point, the Pentax at ten grand is also going to seem ludicrous.

Flood the market while you can.
The Pentax with its 40mp sensor and MF body but with good AF, nice LCD, sealed body and good responsiveness is situated half way between a Phase 60mp system and a hypotetical Canon at about 30mp 35mm sensor.
If it will cost a couple of thousands more of a Canon, it will hardly look any ludicrous, especially if compared to the phase that will cost 30k more.
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ErikKaffehr
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« Reply #13 on: March 17, 2010, 01:18:59 AM »
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Hi,

Thanks for the interview. In my view this is great news.

The interview gave some interesting insights in the decisions that Pentax made for 645D.

I'd presume that the 645D at it designated price point sets some pressure on other MF digital vendors. It's interesting to see that Pentax makes APS-C cameras but no full frame DSLR and now a cropped format MF-DSLR. The Pentax 645D will compete directly against the Leica S2.

Best regards
Erik

Quote from: BJL
First my thanks the Bernard for the interview with Pentax Pentax Product Planning executive Yasuyuki Maekawa. He comes across as quite thoughtful and honest, with things like his nuanced discussion of the pros and cons of omitting the AA filter and why it makes sense in the specific context of a landscape-oriented camera for use by dedicated photographers who are probably willing to do some occasional PP on moiré. I also like his rationale for the integrated body approach for the objectives of this particular camera.

He (or is it Pentax) comes across as more willing or able to go with trends happening in photography than some MF makers, like his attitude to active pixel CMOS sensors, which many MF types seems to either ignore or dismiss as inferior. Two refreshingly honest and forward looking quotes:

On the other hand we realize that DSLR sensors have also progressed a lot these past few years and the gap in DR when considering the sensor alone is not that large.

... the Kodak CCD sensor that we have selected, just like all the other MF sensors available today for that matter, do not currently enable Live view. We hope that possible future CMOS based MF sensors would be able to lift this limitation.


And everyone should be happy with:
We intend to sell the 645D outside Japan at a certain point in time
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bcooter
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« Reply #14 on: March 17, 2010, 01:20:21 AM »
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Quote from: gwhitf
All I'm saying is, the bottom is dropping out. Here is a Canon 7d, with ASA up to 12,800, that shoots eight frames per second in RAW, and 60fps in Video, and the price?  $1599, out the door.

A................snip........

Flood the market while you can.


If they made that 7d in pink I'd be buy one.

Seriously, If the Pentax tethered I'd probably buy one, even if I had to go to Japan.  I like Tokyo, wife loves it and can always pick up a gig or two when I'm there, so it makes it almost a wash, maybe a profit.

After all even if your still camera can shoot video, and many of ours can, I still need two of each for backup and a second set of lenses as one camera has to be mounted with matte boxes, auto gain sound foolers, xlr cables, etc. etc. so even though I think Pentax should eventually get to cmos and live view and video, it's not a deal breaker and though 9 grand is high, it's not that much different than the next Canon or Nikon in price.

Actually when I add up what I've spent on medium format to date, 9 grand on the pentax pretty much is the sales tax and shipping charges.

I can see it now, maybe we can get enough people together to charter a flight.  I get first dips on the convert a bed seat.

Now to see what I can get for my ghetto Contax' and two digital backs.

Stay tuned in the for sale section.

BC

P.S.  Thanks Bernhard for the interview.
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ErikKaffehr
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« Reply #15 on: March 17, 2010, 01:26:59 AM »
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Hi,

I guess that the Canon 5DII is the benchmark. MF is not really intended for fast shooting. Careful work is needed to utilize the image quality.

An issue with DSLRs in general and specially canon is that they can be challenged by the sensor on the lens side. Canon WA lenses are not at parity with their sensors. Just putting more pixels in the sensor doesn't make much sense unless lenses are keeping up with the pixel pitch.

The Nikon 3DX, which seems to be the king of image quality in DSLRs (135 FF DSLRs) sells about 7500 USD and shoots neither eight FPS or video.

Best regards
Erik

Quote from: gwhitf
All I'm saying is, the bottom is dropping out. Here is a Canon 7d, with ASA up to 12,800, that shoots eight frames per second in RAW, and 60fps in Video, and the price?  $1599, out the door.

All I'm saying is, this is becoming the norm.

Yes, a Pentax 645 is nine or ten grand U.S., but still ten grand is still ten grand, if we're talking about selling to the masses.

So let's say the 1ds4 hits the streets this fall, worldwide, at $7999, with both awesome video and awesome RAW stills? The time to get that Pentax on the streets is now, worldwide, while the window is still open. Because just like the P65+ at $42,000 for back only seems ludicrous -- at some point, the Pentax at ten grand is also going to seem ludicrous.

Flood the market while you can.
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tho_mas
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« Reply #16 on: March 17, 2010, 03:00:32 AM »
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Quote from: LKaven
I don't think they have that much time.  Anyone who shoots medium format digital today, who wants 40MP or more, would like to be paying under $10k for the camera.  Canon and Nikon can fast-follow this.
The owners of Pentax 645 + 67 glass will wait for the Pentax 645D (especially now, as it is "announced"). Pentax already has a virtual user base.
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RazorTM
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« Reply #17 on: March 17, 2010, 07:05:57 AM »
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Quote from: gwhitf
I don't know what is worse: Hasselblad having that silly Countdown Clock, or Pentax announcing a camera in the English language, that's not even available outside of Japan.

Right.  There are absolutely zero English-speaking photographers in Japan.
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MarkL
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« Reply #18 on: March 17, 2010, 07:46:49 AM »
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I really pleased this camera made it in the end and at a reasonable price point, the more competition in MF the better.

It sounds like they have targeted this camera well ie. not taking on the high end phase and hassy solutions that are out there and going for the top end dslr users. The price, MP and af system will hopefully make it a winner and hopefully it won't go the way of the ZD.
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gwhitf
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« Reply #19 on: March 17, 2010, 07:58:59 AM »
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Quote from: RazorTM
Right. There are absolutely zero English-speaking photographers in Japan.

I just hope they've got a buddy down the street though, that'll give them a hand in setting up the camera with those Japanese-only Menus.

You guys pile on all you want. I am standing my ground. Call me in eighteen months, when Nikon and Canon have their new players in place, and the iPad is firmly entrenched, and the photo world has taken another massive step toward video, and the economy is still stalled, and ten grand seems inappropriate for a stills-only camera for the masses. Again, I say, flood the market now, worldwide, (and let me be first in line).
« Last Edit: March 17, 2010, 08:03:53 AM by gwhitf » Logged
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