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Pentax Vision

Discussion in 'Pentax Chat' started by SXH, Jul 19, 2020.

  1. Chester AP

    Chester AP Well-Known Member

    I agree completely. Much like Sigma and its various Quattro camera bodies.

    Making optical 'blanks' for opticians to grind for spectacle lenses must be a much better long term business than cameras.
    Regular repeat business, very little complex manufacturing (compared to cameras and their lenses), and no need to produce user manuals in lots of different languages, etc.
  2. ChrisNewman

    ChrisNewman Well-Known Member

    Leica seem to have made a success of continuing to produce rangefinders for enthusiasts for that type of camera after their competitors moved on to SLRs. It doesn’t seem impossible that Pentax might do the same for DSLRs, assuming their competitors all switch exclusively to mirrorless. But it would be more plausible if starting as a best-quality producer rather than offering good value but no better than average quality. I wouldn’t give them much chance of achieving profitability that way.

    Pentax would need to do extraordinarily well to make a success of jumping on the mirrorless bandwagon this late, at a time when camera sales are falling in response to mobile phones with ever-improving photographic capabilities.

  3. dangie

    dangie Senior Knobhead

    I’ve used Pentax from the Spotmatic days..... but...
    If Ricoh/Pentax think consumers are going to ditch their mirrorless Canons and Nikons and others to buy Pentax they are in cloud cuckoo land.
  4. SXH

    SXH Well-Known Member

    The major problem being that Leica have always had a name for quality and have stayed in the public eye continuously, Pentax made wrong moves and have basically fallen of the radar. They do make good stuff, but have problems - lack of support for users, ongoing problems with dodgy components, zero marketing and so on - which work against them.
    See previous post about their decision not to go irror-less.
    Have a look at the Pentax User Forum - it's a ghetto, mainly inhabited by fan boys who will brook no criticism of their beloved marque.
    ChrisNewman likes this.
  5. Mike40

    Mike40 Well-Known Member

    Otherwise known - in less derogatory terms - as enthusiasts who have been well-served by the Pentax products that they have bought and used often, like myself, for many decades. Probably a bit old at 72 to be called a 'fan boy' but would, as we all would, be prepared to listen to constructive criticism.

    Pentax have not fallen off the radar, unless your sole vision comprises a mirrorless-only future. Producing an excellent and outstanding product, as I believe the k-new will be, shows a committment to the highest quality engineering and application but also an understanding of why Pentax users (on both the Pentax User and Pentax Forums) remain loyal and are vocal in their support for the company and products.

    Take care,
  6. SXH

    SXH Well-Known Member

    Not in my experience.

    This would be the Pentax with, apparently, absolutely no marketing/advertising budget in the UK? Hardly any dealers who sell/push them? And Ricoh Imaging UK doesn't even exist anymore - it's all handled by the European branch. And try getting support.

    Highest quality engineering? This being the company facing a class-action suit in the States for using duff components? Over several generations of camera models? And always trying to get out of fixing the problem.

    Sorry, I used to be a Pentax person, loved my MX and have a K10D for one reason or another, but no, I'd never buy a new Pentax. They want to push the "only dSLRs count" line, that's up to them, but count me out.
  7. GeoffR

    GeoffR Well-Known Member

    Surprisingly I have learned that in 2012 Pentax were ahead of the game with the K 01 mirrorless APS-C camera. I don't know what happened but somebody obviously got cold feet. Had that line been developed they could be ahead of the game a shame really because it could have pushed Canon and Nikon to produce a Full Frame mirrorless earlier, unfortunately we'll never know.

    Reading up on Pentax "firsts" I see that they produced the first camera with push button shutter speed selection, the ME Super, what a shame that that too was a dead end and the rest of the industry when with electronic knobs instead.

    I was never a Pentax fan, but I have used them and the results were good but there have been some real duds handling wise.
  8. Benchista

    Benchista Which Tyler

    The K-01 used the K mount, so wasn't really any smaller than a DSLR, and the design was, er, controversial, to say the least - most people thought it was ugly as hell, and some of the fancy colour options made it look less like a serious camera. AF was woeful.

    As to push button shutter speed selection, because it was sequential, it has to be the slowest method of shutter speed selection I've ever tried.
    ChrisNewman likes this.
  9. GeoffR

    GeoffR Well-Known Member

    To be fair Nick, the Nikon 1 wasn't a brilliant success either but the AF wasn't/isn't too bad and its successor the Z series seems to be working.

    Yes the ME Super's shutter speed selection was dire!
  10. Benchista

    Benchista Which Tyler

    Yes, what I've seen of the Z series is very impressive. The 1 I thought had promise as a system - as you say, the AF was decent. I wasn't sure where I was going for smaller cameras at one point - I have a couple of Pentax Qs, and it's fun, but lacking on quality. Canon's M series AF was also awful until relatively recently - it's really good on the latest model, but it didn't look like that would ever happen.

    Nice idea, but not that great execution. Much quicker to just turn a dial or wheel.
  11. GeoffR

    GeoffR Well-Known Member

    The final versions the 1J5 and the 1V3 were by far the best. The J5 really needed some AF tweeks and an add on grip, rather like the one made for the V3 and it would have been really good. The V3 without the optional finder is lacking, but I'd have one if it came with the grip and finder.

    That just about sums up what could have been a great camera.

    [DUCK] Now watch the Pentax fans tell me it was a great camera! [/DUCK]
  12. PentaxManiac

    PentaxManiac Well-Known Member

    I'd hate to disappoint anyone!

    In all seriousness, if not a great camera it's pretty much the definitive AP auto/manual film SLR - to the extent that people refer to any such camera as "ME Super-like" or ME Super-style". Any difference in the rapidity of shutter speed adjustment as against a dial or rocker switch is in all probability down to individual handling preferences. In any case, switching to manual involves slowing down anyway, and I've sufficient trust in the MES metering to stick to AP, including with slide film.

    Incidentally, I have as many Canon film cameras as Pentax, and with Canon I'm always glad I tend to shoot in auto or program of some sort because manual is either not provided or is a pig to use - even on the mighty T90. In fact the best FD body I've ever found for manual is the much-derided T60, which I only bought for the lens it was sold with on Ebay. Canon seemed to carry this on from FD to EOS as well: until the EOS5 in 1992 there wasn't a proper viewfinder display in manual, and even that was only in the UK version.
  13. Chester AP

    Chester AP Well-Known Member

    The Leica comparison is interesting - concentrating on what they do best instead of trying to compete with Canon and Nikon.
    Perhaps Pentax could soon be the only manufacturer of DSLRs and concentrate on this so that they offer an alternative to the mirrorless systems? Ideally with the well designed 'analogue' controls and minimal features (for a digital camera) that a Leica body has. Plus some careful 'retro' styling too - make it look like and handle like a Spotmatic or MX, but with autofocus, high ASA availability and adjustable colour temperature whenever needed.
  14. GeoffR

    GeoffR Well-Known Member

    Sorry to disagree but I didn’t find the ME Super’s metering good enough for slide film however, at the time I had one, mid/late 90s, my main cameras were a pair of Nikon F5s which are not only a couple of generations newer than the Pentax but also much more expensive. One might reasonably expect such a camera to have a more advanced metering system. I did, more recently. check the metering on an ME Super by shooting a roll of Black and white film in it and comparing the negatives against a roll shot using an F5, same subjects. The results suggested that the ME Super was pretty accurate, given the latitude of the film I used. With slide film I would have been employing exposure compensation a lot of the time.

    If I compare the MX and ME Super with the OM1 and OM2, the fact that the Olympus pair used the same Auto Winder and Motordrive made them more desirable as there was an upgrade path. Some consider the Pentax LX, rather than the ME Super, to be the equivalent of the OM2 despite the OM2 coming out six years earlier. The real difference however was that the OM range was a camera system with much interchangeability of accessories, bodies etc. Looking back at images of the OM1 and OM2 I get a sense of excitement, I am afraid I cannot say the same of the MX or ME Super. It is probably just as well that we are all different.
    I see the Leica cameras as System cameras too. I am sorry to say that they don't give me a sense of excitement either, but that may be connected with the price!
    Last edited: Jul 28, 2020
  15. Andrew Flannigan

    Andrew Flannigan Well-Known Member

    In my opinion, the best Leicas today are branded "Panasonic". :D
    dangie likes this.
  16. Benchista

    Benchista Which Tyler

    No, I'm sorry, but it's really, really not. Not even close. In fact I would argue it not even the definitive K mount aperture priority auto/manual camera, given the superiority of the earlier K2 model, and the generally decent standard of cameras like the Chinon CE4 and various Ricohs. It was certainly not better than the Nikon FE, Yashica FR-1, various Contax models such as the RTS or 139, and even the Praktica B series were better cameras, but most critically of all, the superior Olympus OM2 really defines this category. The ME Super was too late and generally too uninspiring to be a class descriptor.
    Now the ME has a valid claim for leader of the auto-only class, the MX as compact manual SLR (and it would get my vote), the 67 for 35mm SLR lookalike MF, or best 6x7, the Spottie for best old mechanical SLR, but the ME Super? Not so much. Not at all, really.

    I have never, ever heard anyone say that, and I would snort derisively if I ever did. :)
    As chance would have it, I was on a video call last night with a friend who used one 30 years ago when I first met him. I asked him about his strongest memory of the camera. "Those bloody buttons", he said. Not the great pictures he had taken in Iceland or the Alps, but the buttons. 'Nuff said. ;)
    Zou and GeoffR like this.
  17. GeoffR

    GeoffR Well-Known Member

    I agree Nick, I would say that, despite having owned two of them, the OM4 was not as good an all rounder as the OM2. It was too easy to get confused when using the OM4's multi-spot meter.

    Strangely enough, neither have I.
  18. ChrisNewman

    ChrisNewman Well-Known Member

    Pentax used the K mount on the K 01 mirrorless, which saved them from producing a new suite of lenses, and made it straightforward for Pentax owners to adopt. (I’ve seen suggestions that Canon and Nikon should have done the same.) But as well as making the body bulky, that approach prevents designing lenses that take advantage of not needing to leave space for a mirror. Canon and Nikon have followed earlier mirrorless brands by biting the bullet and designing new mounts that permit lens elements to be much closer to the sensor (while offering adapters for their DSLR lenses). This has allowed them to produce wide angle and mid-range lenses that are more compact and lighter, yet significantly sharper, than their DSLR equivalents.

    My Pentax Super A, which was my sole camera for 26 years, had the same push button shutter speed selection. I thought it looked slick in the catalogue, but in use I quickly found it was slow and fiddly compared to the conventional dial on my preceding Olympus RC35 rangefinder, and the command dials on my subsequent Nikon DSLRs. But I still like the way the selection of automatic or fixed shutter speeds is made using a switch around the shutter button, rather than the then conventional approach of providing an “A” setting on the shutter speed dial that was given no more prominence than any of the dozen or so shutter speed positions. Despite the clunky shutter speed control, I’m sure the Super A was the best camera available at the time for what I wanted, although with hindsight it might have been worth waiting for a spell if I’d known that autofocus SLR systems were about to be launched. (But most or all of those had autowind, which I preferred to avoid on a film camera.)

    At least the controls behaved consistently on my Pentax Super A. My next camera was the Nikon D90, where if I switch from aperture priority to shutter priority or programme, exposure compensation and adjustment of the balance between shutter speed and aperture jump to the opposite command dials. My current D800 allows me to change the default settings to stop that jump, but not to stop a reversal of the direction I need turn the command dial to change the balance between shutter speed and aperture.

  19. GeoffR

    GeoffR Well-Known Member

    I always thought that the Pentax approach to mode selection was logical, set the shutter speed to A to let the camera have control and the same for aperture. If there was no specific detent for the A position I can see how that may have been a problem.

    The controls on Nikon cameras do behave consistently, however to understand the thinking you need to go back a bit. The Nikon F had a shutter speed dial on the top right and an aperture ring on the lens. This was the way every camera except the few that had the shutter speed on a ring around the lens mount (OM system and Mamyia) for the next 20 years. Pentax tried to break the mould with the ME Super but the location of the shutter control didn't change, top right. Then in 1987 Nikon produced the F401 with two dials on the top right, Shutter speed at the back and Aperture at the front. Set the aperture dial to A for shutter priority and shutter speed to S for aperture priority. Later cameras kept the dials idea going, the F801 and F90 had only the one, still on the back and used the aperture ring. The F5 in 1996 had two command dials one, front, for Aperture and one, rear, for Shutter speed. Let the camera have control of Aperture and the shutter speed, back, dial still controlled the shutter speed. Let it have control of the shutter and the aperture dial, front, still controlled the aperture. Thus the controls of Nikon cameras in default settings, at the upper end at least, have remained consistent since 1987. The D3NNN and D5NNN admittedly have only one command dial that requires a button to be held down to shift it from shutter to aperture.

    The Nikon thinking is that the rear command dial is always shutter speed and the front is always aperture thus when switching mode from Manual to Shutter priority the controls don't change, switch from Manual to Aperture priority and the controls don't change, the one you aren't using just doesn't have any effect, unless you have it set to exposure compensation. I appreciate that you don't consider this consistent because you expect the same dial to always perform exposure compensation irrespective of mode, which isn't unreasonable. It is consistent Jim but not as (you) we know it.

    An other thought, in aperture priority, exposure compensation changes the shutter speed, hence it uses the shutter speed control. In shutter priority exposure compensation changes the aperture and thus uses the aperture dial.
    Last edited: Jul 30, 2020
  20. ChrisNewman

    ChrisNewman Well-Known Member

    I can understand how the standard Nikon setup evolved, and I appreciate it’s consistent between Nikon models. Their default is for the front dial to change aperture, and the rear dial to change shutter speed. But on my D800 there are options for switching functions between dials, and reversing their direction of operation. So when they introduced “flexible program” did they toss a coin before assigning it to the shutter speed dial? I would have thought that aperture priority is used more widely, so it would have been better to assign it to the aperture dial.

    Anyway, if I’m using auto exposure, I’ve framed a shot and I’ve got an appropriate level of exposure compensation, the viewfinder shows the camera will shoot at 1/60 sec and f/11, but I think I’d get better results at 1/500 sec and f/4 (either to limit movement, or to isolate the subject from foreground and background), until my subject or the conditions change, it’s almost irrelevant which exposure mode the camera is in. If it’s in aperture priority, I open the aperture to f/4, and the shutter speed will change to 1/500 sec to compensate. If it’s in shutter priority, I change the shutter speed to 1/500 sec, and the aperture will change to f/4. And in flexible program, I change both together with the same result. So I want the same dial, turned in the same direction, to make that change, whichever exposure mode I’m in!

    I valued the “Easy exposure compensation” available on my D90, but found it confusing when functions swapped between dials. On my D800 there’s enough customization available for me to keep the functions on the same dials, but not to stop the direction reversing. I’m sure it would only need a very minor firmware upgrade to offer that. I appreciate that others may want to use their cameras differently, but I find it frustrating that the D800’s customization options go most of the way to offering what seems to me the logical way of using automatic exposure, but omit the final touch. I don’t know whether what I want is available on the latest Nikons, but I would appreciate it very much if I buy a Z7 or its successor, and it allows me to select Easy exposure compensation on one dial and have the other dial adjust the balance between aperture and shutter speed consistently in all automatic exposure modes.

    I don’t know whether other brands try to share shutter speed, aperture and exposure compensation between two dials, and if so, whether their implementation is better or worse than Nikons.


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