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Old 16-01-10
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recent info about Pentax 645D

In the interview made in 2008, Pentax said that they would launch a 645D for professional use first and that, if it is successful, then one more affordable version for amateurs might be also launched.

In the interview made in Dec. last year, it seems the priority has been reversed. That is, the first 645D is developed with amateurs in mind.
Here is the excerpts from the interview. The words in parenthesis are my additions. Source: dcwatch

yoshi

********

# 645D at affordable price for amateurs

I (interviewer): You did not launch 645D this year (2009) which is a long-time pending issue. Can we expect it next year?

A: It's in the process of intensive development at the moment. I can not give you a definite time schedule but we plant to launch it next year.
As I told you before, the MF dSLR camera has higher priority at Pentax than 135 type of FF cameras.

Other brands have already introduced various models of 135 type of FF cameras, so even if we do it right now, it will be hard to add something unique to Penax.
Then, we are of the opinion that we should proceed MF instead.
Of course, it is necessary to develope exclusive lenses for 645D as we do not have those at the moment.
It is same for us (as the case of 135 type FF) therefore we do need to newly develope lenses that are exclusively developed (for the sensor size).
We want to bring a revolution in IQ in MF segment rather than to be a follower (in so-called FF segment).

I: We have Photokina next year. Can we expect to have a look at the real model at that moment?
Also, doesn't the R&D of 645D affect the other R&D of the current two-model lineup ( of APS-C modles)?

A: We will be able to show it at Photokina, yes. We do R&D of (the successors to ) the two main stream models (of APS-C) as have been planned, while developing 645D in pararell.
The R&D of 645D does not affect the schedule of R&D of the successors.

I: You say you will revolutionize IQ in MF market. Until now, the existing MF digital models all have flaws as far as sensor performances or NR (noise reduction) are concerned.
There are leapfrog progress in technology trends before and after the moment you freezed the R&D (of 645D two years ago).
Have you just resumed developing what you already had before you freezed it, or have you started it from scratch?

A: The sensor and the body design have been started from scratch. I would rather say that (R&D of ) almost all componet parts have been newly started from scratch.
Of course, if there are component parts that can be diverted into the new R&D, we do it. However, the external appearance of the body design as well as the sensor are being newly developed.
At a glance, it might not give you an impression that it is quite different from the previous prototype of 645D but the designs have been more refined
and the materials to be used for the new one are selected carefully to create a feeling of high build-quality.

I: What 's the positioning (of the 645D)?

A: In principle, the target clients are amateurs. We have in mind that the 645D, which has the specs that satisfy the quality/needs of studio uses, is brought out to the outdoors and used in the field.
At the moment, it is not sure if the 645D will be used at studios but we believe that there will be more users among field photographers who want to use a MF camera, if the MF camera has this sort of specs and features.
The basic development concept is same as that of K-7 and those people are the target users.

I: About the price. Will it be affordable to those amateur photographers?

A: We cannot disclose the detailed features, but as far as the price is concerned, it won't be a price level that amateurs can not afford.
We are also developing a few lenses exclusive for the digital MF and those lenses can be purchased by them together with the body at the (estimated) price level.

I: There are expectations that the MF sensor might have the SR (shake reduction) feature when we take into account those features of K-7 such as approx. 100% sight of view finder or subtle adjutment of composition.
If the MF can be used without using a tripod, then it must be a very unique MF, I suppose...?

A: No comment about it. I can not tell you about specifications. I can only say that as far as the IQ is concerned, we are developing it with the strong conviction that IQ must be better than 135 type FF cameras.
As you pointed out, it is true that MF digital cameras with a larger sensor have some problems in some aspects fo IQ. But I would also liket to say that a larger sensor has a wider dynamic range.
This can not be realized by a small sensor. We will utilize those potentialities of a larger sensor and 645D will be a MF camera that take full advantage of them.

*********
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Old 16-01-10
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Re: recent info about Pentax 645D

Thank you for the translation, Yoshi. The target of an affordable digital medium format camera is a bold one and I hope that they succeed. The development of the new dedicated lenses will be the delaying factor.
Do you have any dreams for a medium format rig?
Bob
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Old 17-01-10
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Re: recent info about Pentax 645D

Hi Bob, my pleasure and glad if it is worth sharing.

Yes, of course, I have some decent dreams. One of them might be this MF camera, as I still keep my Pentax MF cameras, both P645 and P67 with lenses that can be soon used on the coming 645D.

I confess that I also keep my membership of Pentax Family, the camera club organized by the manufacturer. I do not know why I keep it. I quit all others.
Now that I learned from this interview that it might be affordable....all the more...or...?

OTHO I have put higher priorities on a compact digicam (G11) and a dSLR (EOS7D) this year and I'm wishfully thinking that I can justify them, after waiting for a year or two, while spending more on PC and its peripherals.
An MF camera is not very ideal for a (almost) daily walk-around camera, it will just sit on a shelf... a reason which I'm now trying to use to persuade myself.

If I may repeat it again, OTOH, Susan Boyle taught us, me included, the importance of never-forgetting-your dreams. So someday I might ...add it on Amazon's wish list... hopefully somebody will find it and ...
Never ending stories! Have a good day.

yoshi
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Old 17-01-10
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Re: recent info about Pentax 645D

Hi Yoshi,
When I retired, we were still in the film era and my plan then was to go entirely medium format for the ease in the darkroom. I was going to update my classic Bronica to use in the golden years. Well, I watched that plan fizzle as digital came of age and Bronica faded into history.
Now, I have equipment that does everything that I am interested in doing, which leaves me in a strange place when considering things like MF. Age, of course, brings an interest in compact & light kits and aging eyes make viewfinders a hot topic I wonder if the large viewfinder of the P645D would be worth the price of carrying a huge prism around.
It will be fun watching the Pentax when it arrives.
Bob
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Old 18-01-10
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Re: recent info about Pentax 645D

I wonder if the concept of a consumer medium format digital camera is something that will be unique to Japan. I don't know about the USA, but this concept is certainly not realistic in the UK.

Ian
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Old 18-01-10
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Re: recent info about Pentax 645D

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ian View Post
I wonder if the concept of a consumer medium format digital camera is something that will be unique to Japan. I don't know about the USA, but this concept is certainly not realistic in the UK.

Ian
Hi Ian,
I found a thread on another forum where a price of $6500. was tossed out as a rumor, even though Pentax avoided price talk in the interview. They didn't seem to know about the interview. That price seemed to be OK for many of the posters, but not many introduced lens costs. That price would put it in the M9 area and even there would be for folks with special needs.
It could be viable for the folks who need FF & better, anyone with older lenses and the slice of buyers who wont spring for existing MF systems.
They really only need to sell enough world wide to cover the costs (the Leica business strategy) and Pentax would get some industry recognition to help their smaller format offerings, as a bonus.
Bob
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Old 18-01-10
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Re: recent info about Pentax 645D

It must be interesting if we can make the characteristics of various markets clearer.

BTW "amateurs" in MF segmant must be, imho, very different from "amateurs" in cell phone camera market. So although the Pentax guy used that word, that "amateurs" should be imagined/thought about in the context of the MF niche market. Not in the sense of mass market. Many of them will use both 135 type FF and the upcoming MF, no contradiction here, same as the film days, they change gears depending on the needs/purposes.

A field camera usually does not need lots of advanced features (an example would be advanced flash system), although weather sealing is highly appreciated.

yoshi
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Old 18-01-10
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Re: recent info about Pentax 645D

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Ross View Post
I was going to update my classic Bronica to use in the golden years. Well, I watched that plan fizzle as digital came of age and Bronica faded into history.
I can understand your story very easily. In my case, I also planned to use film MF more and decided to add two AE type P67 in addition to the old one. And soon I found that digital was/is more interesting. My P67 AE are definitely in mint condition. Never used in the past 6 years or so.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Ross View Post

Age, of course, brings an interest in compact & light kits and aging eyes make viewfinders a hot topic I wonder if the large viewfinder of the P645D would be worth the price of carrying a huge prism around.
It will be fun watching the Pentax when it arrives.
Bob
In an Olympus interview, I read that the reason why Oly added E-P2 soon aftrer E-P1 was that EVF (which is made by Epson, as you pointed out somewhere) was badly needed. It was indispensable for the aged eyes. Oly says that because of the aged eyes, those people gave up the purchase of E-P1...
I love the low tech OVF or high tech EVF. Either one is better than nothing, imho, although I use and try to get accustomed to a camara with no VF. We have here stronger sunshine in summer than in most part of USA or in Europe.

Apart form nostalgia I'm a bit skeptical about MF's value in my recent photo style. It' worth carrying only when you know the place very well. It's worth using when you have a clear/determined idea how to take photos there. There are however lots of people who always go to only few places where they know every inch of the places throughout the four seasons. For them it may be nice.
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Old 19-01-10
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Re: recent info about Pentax 645D

Here in the UK, I'm still not sure there is any market at all for even a budget-priced medium format Pentax DSLR; say £2,000 ($3,300) with a lens. And I doubt that price would be achievable anyway.

Back to Olympus production in China, that's an interesting point about employee flexibility. But is it any more flexible in Japan? When I was there I asked if 24 hour production was a possibility (three 8 hour shifts) but I was told that the unions would not permit it.

I know Panasonic has some production facilities for cameras outside of Japan but I understand that most of its production remains in Japan, which is becoming increasingly unusual.

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Old 19-01-10
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Re: recent info about Pentax 645D

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ian View Post
Here in the UK, I'm still not sure there is any market at all for even a budget-priced medium format Pentax DSLR; say £2,000 ($3,300) with a lens. And I doubt that price would be achievable anyway.
I know nothing about UK market characteristics but agree with you on that the said price level will be not that easy to achieve. I guess that the sensor price has not come down to the level that enables such a price level. Or they are forced to use a somewhat older sensor.

Maybe that Pentax guy wanted to stress that the price is lower than the rumored 1 mil. yen (approx. 10K US$, or 6000 pounds). Hopefully the pendulum will not go to the other extreme. Of course, any price reduction is welcome to me, though.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ian View Post
Back to Olympus production in China, that's an interesting point about employee flexibility. But is it any more flexible in Japan? When I was there I asked if 24 hour production was a possibility (three 8 hour shifts) but I was told that the unions would not permit it.
In case of three shifts, there can be no overtime between the shifts. In this country, it seems the both sides (officers and the labor side) prefers two shifts to three shifts. Then, the production fluctuations can be abosorbed by overtime between the shifts. Of course, there are some who adpots three- shift systme. They must have found more difficulties in coping with the ecnomic downturn in the recent years. Much more layoffs than two-shift firms, I'm afraid. The labour union here is stronger than many people imagine but imho more flexible than, say, IG Metal of Germany.
Before laying off, the managements will first reduce their salaries before taking harsh measures against the labours. The president of JAL, an air liner, receives no salary at all, while struggling to survive. (well, in this particular case, failed just today...)

UK must be one of the rare countries where everything is felxible more or less.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Ian View Post
I know Panasonic has some production facilities for cameras outside of Japan but I understand that most of its production remains in Japan, which is becoming increasingly unusual.

Ian
Yes, it's unbelievable for me that they stick to Japan. It's no more an ideal manufactuirng place. Any company that wants to be a global one has no other choice but to go abroad. To the place where markets exist or labour costs are attractive and politically stable.

Do you happen to have any statistics about world digicam production classified by country btw? Not by brand. I do not have it but my hunch is No.1 China, No.2 Taiwan (if you classify it separately) and No.3 Korea. I mean the country of origin.

yoshi
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