Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Pentax K-01 and some blog notes

Sadly, during last few months my photographic activities were reduced to almost complete stand still. Having become aware of this I hope for the better, but I am not making any promises.

On the other hand Pentax land seems to be full of good news - new cameras, new lenses, solid lens road map for the couple of years ahead. Life seems to be good. It actually is in all respects but one, which kind of bothers me. I'd call it "fragmentation".

You see, K-01 and announcement of few more lenses designed especially for this new fascinating camera got me wondering - will these XS lenses (say, DA 40/2.8 XS - tiny little kit lens) be compatible with my K-5 and Galia's K-7? By the way, huge kudos to Pentax for introducing K-01 with prime kit lens.

So, back to the fragmentation thought. Presently Pentax has K-5 for serious photographers or at least those who care more for technical merit of their gear and not the posh value. Then there are Pentax Q (which I think really has to do with being Q-ute) and K-01 which was the first photography related effort by a renowned designer. And K-01 has this bumble bee variety - yellow on black. And this signature of Marc Newton on its bottom. Add to that multitude of colors of K-x and later K-r consumer level DSLR cameras produced by Pentax. It seems Pentax (and rightfully so) has turned to the younger crowds of people who busy themselves with buying fancy cases for their iPhones or Samsung Nexus S's.

Again, nothing specifically wrong with it. It is just that if Pentax decides to sacrifice its unique backward compatibility feature and create lenses that are of the same mount but not really compatible across their current camera offerings, it may have negative effect on the Pentax world in the term longer than immediate.

Certainly, Pentax K-01 is very cool and either it or its successor is likely to replace K-7 for my daughter. But won't Pentax fragment their own lens line and camera body line to the point where it will actually damage the sales?

I cannot possibly tell. Time might have the answer to this question. I sincerely hope at least someone whose voice is heard in the headquarters had asked this question and the answer provided was sensible.

Have a great 2012 everyone, be you my blog reader or just a causal passer by. Let your lenses shoot straight and your light be marvelous.

Update (1 month later): it turns out that DA 40/2.8 XS is proper full 35 mm frame lens sans the aperture ring. Thus even the older film cameras like my MZ-6 (ZX-L) can take full advantage of this lens. Well done, Pentax!


jlahuer said...

Hi Boris!

I hope that your 'photographic drought' is caused by winter time, short days, cold...and that you'll be back to business as spring approaches.

Related to the K-01, my initial reaction was disappointment. I find it ugly, too big and the lack of viewfinder is key for me. But well, maybe it is just that I am not the target audience for this product and all these Pentax news seem to indicate a better future for the brand.

Recently I acquired a Sony NEX-3 at a very discounted price so I have had the chance to test the mirrorless concept. Here are my thoughts compared to the K-01:

Boris said...

Thank you for your kind words, Jaume.

I think that general direction of what Pentax is doing is good and sound. It is just that I'd rather they also produced a camera that was less a fashion statement and more a mere photographic tool

I am yet to see K-01 in person, let alone try it. When I do, I might be able to come up with an opinion that is less hands-off, so to say.

On the positive side of things, new imaging engine and new AF sub-system seem like a good news.

Lornfate said...

Hi Borris,

It's Florante from GearBundles. Nice post - can we feature it on
our Pentax K-01 page? Drop me an email at if it is okay with you.

fRANK d said...

I don't see the k01 getting any special lenses other than make smaller versions of the ones already available like a smaller 18-55.

For me the focus peaking is what makes me want to get one as I have many manual lenses.

Boris said...

Frank, you have a point. However, there're sufficiently good solutions for optical viewfinders. For example, the focusing screen of my freshly acquired K-5 is made from Canon ee-S screen which is excellent for manual focusing. I am shooting with my A 50/1.2 again!

The main problem with optical viewfinders of modern cameras is precision of mechanical alignment. I think that even the stock focusing screen if precisely shimmed could do wonders to one's manual focusing experience.

If Pentax follow up with K-01 producing somewhat less designed and somewhat more functionality oriented camera, it could be a huge hit.