Donít hold your breath for a Pentax mirrorless


Link Posted 20/05/2019 - 08:35
An interview in Imaging resource with Ricoh executives (there is a link in f-stoppers) on 14 May indicated where Pentax is going in the future, and it isnít mirrorless. They are evolving the FF and MF body ranges in DSLR as well as the Ricoh range, but suggested that many of those who switched to mirrorless will revert back to DSLR, a move eased by the fact that they will still have lenses for that system. One of the reasons for not developing mirrorless is they are spread over a uniquely wide range of formats so there isnít the capacity to look at a new system as well. As you can imagine this has brought the usual ridicule that Pentax is a dinosaur brand, but are they right? We have seen people selling their whole systems to make the switch so I donít know how valid their assumption is, what does everyone else think?


Link Posted 20/05/2019 - 09:23
While many folk, myself included would love to see Pentax launch a mirrorless range, we have to look at this wholly in terms of viability.

Pentax is a small player in the DSLR market. That market as a whole is shrinking mostly from competition from phone cameras. The recent foray into mirrorless by the major players has been met with much fanfare, but with less publicised drop in profits. If the major players are unable to make money from ML what chance do Pentax have?

Ricoh-pentax realise this and are concentrating on what they do well with the niche products from Ricoh and Pentax's efforts going into a new MF camera. It is often a wise decision to realise ones strengths and play to them, and by doing so Pentax as a brand may well survive.

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Last Edited by pschlute on 20/05/2019 - 09:23


Link Posted 20/05/2019 - 10:08
Watch and 'BE AMAZED!!!'

Mirrorless is 'DOOMED!!!'

Half Man... Half Pentax ... Half Cucumber

Pentax K-1 + K-5 and some other stuff



Link Posted 20/05/2019 - 11:00
I've returned from 3 different Mirrorless brands to Pentax, there's just something about using a traditional DSLR, especially with the amazing lens choice available from Pentax (and third party) for both the current line and vintage. Although I do have a K-01 which is great on a tripod, I prefer to use my K-S1.

Biggest regret, selling my KP... but will get another when the time is right.
Last Edited by rickhanson on 20/05/2019 - 11:02


Link Posted 20/05/2019 - 14:23
I am just irritated by the mirrorless fanatics convinced that everyone will eventually switch when they realise how much better it is (sic). Why cannot both systems coexist to suit different preferences? Am I cynical to think that Sony are behind this massive campaign to render all competition obsolete like they have in the past with other technologies? I have just bought a small mirrorless, not in the same field as my K1, and such a relief to return to that large clear viewfinder devoid of random focus points jumping around.


Link Posted 20/05/2019 - 14:38
I've tried mirrorless cameras and can't stand those awful electronic viewfinders, as for focusing using a 'touch screen' what a load of faffing about! Probably ok for the 'phone snapper' ( don't get me started on THEM! ) but definitely not for me
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Last Edited by michaelblue on 20/05/2019 - 14:39


Link Posted 20/05/2019 - 15:40
I'm quite glad to hear Pentax will be sticking to the SLR types of camera - it's where they started and is what they probably know more about than most. That doesn't stop me enjoying my Pentax MX-1 compact though, which is a one-off compact gem that I carry all the time.

As for mirrorless/DSLR debates, I guess we'll see, and I suspect it will mean both will go onwards and we can choose what suits us as photographers. There is a lot of excellent choice in the market at the moment.
Best regards, John


Link Posted 20/05/2019 - 15:46
michaelblue wrote:
I've tried mirrorless cameras and can't stand those awful electronic viewfinders, as for focusing using a 'touch screen' what a load of faffing about! Probably ok for the 'phone snapper' ( don't get me started on THEM! ) but definitely not for me

How old was the EVF you tried? The early ones were certainly dire
The ones with my 5 year old mirrorless models are pretty good, except perhaps for action shots. I gather they've improved a lot since then.
Having magnified view & focus peaking available in the viewfinder works really well for manual focusing. I've not bothered getting native lenses for one of my mirrorless systems, and I really like the results I get from those tiny Pentax 110 lenses (even though the 18mm doesn't fully cover APSC).

One of my MFT bodies has a touch screen focus - I've hardly ever used it, AF works just like a normal camera but it allows the AF point to be moved simply when I have wanted it for closeups it's been a lot less faffing around than using the buttons to select a different focus point. BTW I am very definitely not a 'phone snapper' rarely even having a phone with me (I probably carry a camera 100 times as long as I do a phone in any given year)...

I do prefer my k5ii to my mirrorless options for motorsprts & airshows, but thats at least in part down to having AF at a much longer focal length (750mm EFL vs 400mm EFL).

In poor light - night, macro & especially infra red - the EVF is a huge advantage over an OVF, so as response times & resolution have improved the benefits of a DSLR have diminshed.

I'd love to have a camera with the features of my old mirrorless bodies, a modern EVF & Pentax ergonomics. Sadly the K-01 had none of these!
Pentax:K5ii, K7, K100D, DA18-55, DA10-17, DA55-300, DA50-200, F100-300, F50, DA35 AL, 4* M50, 2* M135, Helicoid extension, Tak 300 f4 (& 6 film bodies)
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Far to many tele-converters, adapters, project parts & extension tubes etc.

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Link Posted 20/05/2019 - 17:44
RobL wrote:
I am just irritated by the mirrorless fanatics convinced that everyone will eventually switch when they realise how much better it is (sic)...

But probably not as much as I am by the FF-DSLR crowd who seem to think only they are of the true 'faith'!


Some people call me 'strange'.
I prefer 'unconventional'.
But I'm willing to compromise and accept 'eccentric'.
Last Edited by Aitch53 on 20/05/2019 - 17:44


Link Posted 20/05/2019 - 18:06
It read like a light hearted interview, lots of laughter. However I wasn't expecting them to say that they expect some (I guess a significant number) people are going to return to DSLR's from mirrorless . However they know their business and customers better than I do, so good luck to them.
There are plenty of mirrorless systems around for people to use and I'm not sure what Pentax could add to this market apart from being able to use AF with our current Pentax lenses,
Personally I like mirrorless and the consistent AF accuracy that I get with on sensor AF capability rather than the separate AF module on DSLR's, but I'm still buying and using DSLR's, mainly for telephoto options at reasonable prices (Pentax DA*300 F4, Tamron 100-400 F4.5-6.3, Tamron 150-600 F5-6.3 are the ones I currently own).
I would like Pentax to improve their Live View AF even further and I'd be very happy using them for my macros with short lenses as well. I don't understand why they have on sensor phase detect on the K70 (but only use it for video with certain lenses and not for stills) but not on my KP. Also I wish they'd return back to lighter more compact lenses but I think that's a thing of the past (DFA150-450, DFA 50, DA 11-18 come to mind). I think I'd still be happy using DSLR's alongside my mirrorless for quite a while to come and if Pentax keep improving their APS-C models I'll keep buying... but I guess it's not about people like me but about gaining new Pentax users and that's where I doubt their strategy because I don't think Canon or Nikon are going to stop making DSLR's so they'll always be competing with them, only in a reduced market size.
The other thing is that they could improve the live view experience to duplicate mirrorless system and make it a lot more user friendly, then it would be part mirrorless and part DLSR, at the moment it's DSLR with mirrorless live view bolted on as an after thought.
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Last Edited by walt on 20/05/2019 - 18:10


Link Posted 20/05/2019 - 18:15
Aitch53 wrote:

But probably not as much as I am by the FF-DSLR crowd who seem to think only they are of the true 'faith'!

The answer surely is that there is space in the camera world for both systems and indeed ones that have not been invented yet.

The far larger problem is faced by camera manufacturers dealing with the threat of the phone camera. i have in recent years thought about buying a compact camera that I can carry in my pocket for times I dont want to lug the K1 around. With my current iphone I really don't need to.

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Link Posted 20/05/2019 - 22:17
Pentax are already spread far too thinly to properly focus on any of the formats they make, APS-C in particular has suffered in the years since the K-1 came out. They should stick to DSLRs, bring out a new flagship APS-C model, update all the limited primes (DA & FA) and the DA* lenses. Becoming another player in the crowded mirrorless market will only lose them money.

As a user of both DSLRs (Pentax K-3) and mirrorless (Fujifilm X-M1, X-T20) I can see that both systems have clear advantages but mirrorless is much better in certain things, especially:

- Manually focusing lenses (old Pentax manual lenses are easier to use on a Fujifilm body than they are on a Pentax DSLR)
- Much more accurate focusing
- Much more accurate exposure
- Much more accurate white balance

People go on about the size and weight but for me the real advantages of mirrorless are those above, and they come from using the main sensor for all those things. In addition, Fujifilm in particular have the best jpegs around, which leads to a huge reduction in time needed to post process images (it's often not needed at all).

Having said that, I still love using my K-3 and lenses. More than anything, it's the lovely DA limited lenses that keep me using Pentax.
Pentax hybrid user - Digital K3 & K200D, film 645 and 35mm SLR and Pentax (&other) lenses adapted to Fuji X digital
Fan of DA limited and old manual lenses


Link Posted 20/05/2019 - 22:41
I get that Pentax are stretched too thin to move into mirrorless, but am wary of what that means in practise...

Their own APS-C range has at times been spread quite wide (their own doing) with lots of variations on the same theme. K-50 vs K-S1 vs K-70 vs K-S2 vs K-P vs K-3 ii etc. You'd free up some development capacity by streamlining the range. At one point they had sensors on the go from the q to APS to FF to MF, which was cool but each style required it's own development.

As Jonathan mentions above, mirrorless has it's place. It's much more accurate for focusing, and many of us use our DSLR's in that mode when in live view. For me, I use live view with digital zoom and focus peaking for most tripod mounted shots, all in manual focus. I personally much prefer an optical viewfinder, but most landscapes etc are live view for me, so I have to acknowledge that nothing would change for me in those static shot tripod/long exposure type situations if my Pentax happened to be mirrorless.

One of the huge benefits mirrorless seems to be winning a lot of users over with is the eye auto focus, which is something I haven't seen implemented particularly well in DSLR's via the older style optical viewfinder/phase detect AF process.

If they're not going to go mirrorless (which I get given their limited resources) then they will still have to address their focusing capabilities (tracking/eye AF) because these (plus dare I say it video) are the areas in which Pentax is currently lacking significantly. Everything else is classic Pentax and an ongoing strength of the brand - ergonomics, image quality, building quality and weather sealing. Big question really is, is that enough? We're all here and Pentax users already, but if you're starting out would you even know Pentax exists? Sounds really harsh, but there is essentially no Pentax advertising presence in New Zealand and they are not available in the main stores people go to buy new entry level cameras.


Link Posted 21/05/2019 - 10:24
As others say, one doesn't have to be better than the other. I've got both and grab one over the other for various different reasons at different times.

We recently had a family get together. I found being able to tilt the screen and hold a small camera down at waist level got me a lot of great candid snaps I would have struggled to get on my DSLR.

As much as I love my k30, there are definitely times where holding it up to your eye to take a candid shot puts people on notice, or on edge, and that tends to reduce the chance of a natural shot.

I also think even if you do get the shot you want, in an informal setting like that people will soon feel less relaxed if they think they're getting snapped at any given moment (which I can understand).

Some people commented they didn't realise I had even been shooting when I sent them the pictures later that day.


Link Posted 21/05/2019 - 10:59
Shots looking up peoples noses are terrible You used to get that problem with Rolleiflexes etc...... Eye level is always best ..... ALL the famous LEICA shots were at eye-level.

The K-1 allows the screen to be tilted in both directions. Very few other cameras do the same.

Just a month after release, the Canon EOS RP sales have taken a nosedive in Japan. Sounds serious because that was the model intended to entice beginners to mirrorless

Half Man... Half Pentax ... Half Cucumber

Pentax K-1 + K-5 and some other stuff

Last Edited by Algernon on 21/05/2019 - 11:01
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