Wednesday, September 21, 2011

On Pentax Q, Nikon CX et al

Recently Pentax announced their Q system - the smallest interchangeable lens camera system. Today Nikon announced CX system, which is essentially the same - small sensor, electronic viewfinder, interchangeable lens. But why?

I mean, micro four thirds (m43) is well established and is developing very nicely as well - new lenses and camera bodies were introduced just recently both by Panasonic and Olympus who happen to be the main forces behind m43.

Ricoh had an interesting offering with their GXR system. Samsung is developing their own NX system and Sony are doing pretty darn well with their NEX cameras.

All these camera systems have pretty large sensors.

In my personal and humble opinion - big DSLR manufacturers (well, Pentax is not very big, but they do manufacture DSLRs nonetheless) couldn't join forces with any of the above, probably due to business reasons. So they had to work out their own offerings. Now, it couldn't be large sensor compact camera thing, mainly because that would undermine their own DSLR sales. Sony, whom I perceive as Microsoft of electronics probably could sustain selling NEX for a bit of loss, whereas now they're selling faster than hotdogs in Central Park, New York. So, Pentax and Nikon produced a lot of marketing speak and came up with camera systems with rather very small sensors.

Such systems may appeal to their target audiences. Imagine a haute couture model pulling out of her purse a pink Pentax Q with this or that lens, in matching color, naturally, and taking some shots of her fellow models. That would be hip and fun.

At this moment it is my opinion that cameras like Canon S95, Panasonic LX-5 or recently announced S100 are better option for portable high quality (by today's standards) photography.

There is still hope out there, because the rumor mill has it that Ricoh will work with freshly acquired Pentax to produce a large sensor interchangeable lens camera system. Meanwhile, I will keep watching the photographic world go round and around in a bit of a wonder...


Frank M. said...

I believe a lot of serious amateurs and even pros will move to compact interchangeable lens systems. Mid to low-range DSLRs will start loosing market share. Full-frame DSLRs will always be the best choice for professionals, but as medium-format cameras become more affordable (e.g. the Pentax 645D), even those may start loosing their appeal.
This is probably a very simplistic view, but only time can tell.

Boris said...

Frank, you certainly have a point. What you describes appears to me as a quite likely scenario. However the m43 gear you're using and other offerings on the market today seem to indicate that compact interchangeable lens system does not necessarily mean compact small sensor interchangeable lens system. IMHO, a discerning photographer is likely to prefer m43 or Sony NEX to Pentax Q or Nikon 1.