Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Timing is everything. Important facts about Pentax you should know. Read this blog then share it with your Canikon friends. :)

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Hi Pentaxian friends.

Timing is everything. So many of you, including myself, do wish that Pentax would have produced a Full Frame DSLR. Did you know that the first Full Frame DSLR was actually designed by Pentax, but the wrong timing and other factors prevented them to release what would have been the first Full Frame, 6 megapixels DSLR, in 2001.


Here is a press release issued on February 10, 2001:

DENVER, Colorado (February 10, 2001) . . . PENTAX Corporation will preview a new digital autofocus SLR camera (The MZ-D)) at the PMA (Photo Marketing Association) Show held in Orlando, February 11-14, 2001. The addition of this advanced digital SLR camera complements one of the most extensive photographic lines of any manufacturer in the industry including 35mm, APS, medium format and digital for various levels of photographers.


The MZ-S was the last 35mm camera that Pentax produced. I loved the design. Actually it wasn't their last 35mm, the *ist was, but the MZ-s was the last flagship model..

Created along the same developmental concept lines as the new PENTAX MZ-S professional 35mm autofocus SLR camera, this high-end digital SLR will feature a 35mm-film-sized, six megapixel CCD image sensor as well as a DSP and other digital processing components. This package was jointly developed with Philips Electronics in order to realize high-grade image quality, top-level performance and compact dimensions simultaneously. Offering compatibility with the existing PENTAX KAF2 lens mount, it will also accept PENTAX 645-system and 67-system interchangeable lenses (when used with an adapter). This high-performance digital autofocus SLR camera will be ideal for advanced amateurs and professionals who demand top quality images and SLR maneuverability.


The camera will be compatible with four new accessories introduced for the new MZ-S 35mm SLR camera including: 1.) BG-10 Battery Grip, 2.) CS-105 & CS-130 Cable Switches, 3.) TS-110 Release Timer Switch, and the 4.) AF360FGZ Dedicated Flash Unit. The final product specifications, pricing and marketing dates will be announced at a later time.

This DSLR still appeals to me today. I think the design is incredibly beautiful. Who's to say that Pentax couldn't reuse this design with a new / current Full Frame CMOS sensor!
 
The  LCD screen is small in today's standards, but look at the top panel of the camera...pure beauty. Remember that this was in 2001, that's ancient in digital technology, and yet Pentax was at the forefront of Full Frame DSLR.
So why wasn't it ever mass produced?

Well, as it turned out, the Phillips sensor fail to deliver. Actually, Contax were to introduced a new DSLR as well, based on this same sensor, but the failure to deliver from Phillips actually drove Contax to extinction. Aren't you glad that Pentax was strong to hang in there? If that sensor would have succeeded in producing great images, Pentax would have been ahead of Nikon and Canon. It took them a while to get back on their digital feet, but now with the 645D, the K-5 and the K-r, Pentax is definitely in the game.


The picture above was Pentax first design of a mirrorless digital camera...way ahead of everyone else. The year...1997. It was going to use Pentax "K" mount.  It was never released, but it seems like the idea was a good one, look at all the mirror-less cameras out on the market today.

This was a sample of a camera Pentax designed years ago (1997, yet never released): a K-mount digital CCD camera with with no mirror assembly, just live preview on the LCD.

I am fascinated by the 'Pentax Design Studio'concept model of this ultra-compact Digital K-SLR from 1997
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Note: At the time Pentax were going to introduce the new MZ-D Full Frame - 6 megapixels,  Nikon's flagship model was the D1, with only an APS-C sensor @ 2.7 megapixels.  Canon had the EOS-1D with a Panasonic 1.3x APS-C sensor @ 4 megapixels. Nobody else had a Full Frame in the works. Technically speaking, and timing wise, if the Phillips sensor would have delivered, Pentax would have had the best DSLR way at the beginning of the DSLR revolution. But it isn't over yet, and with the current line of DSLRs, I am confident that Pentax will be at the top in the near future. Hang in there, the Pentax world is about to change the game. Never, never, but never give up!

Thanks for reading.

Yvon Bourque


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13 comments:

RiceHigh said...

Yvon, honestly speaking, but so what? As all these had never hit the street! (Yes, I wanted to see them, but they never appeared! :-()

Yvon Bourque said...

The point is that Pentax was at the forefront of DSLRs technology. It's unfortunate that Phillips did not deliver. That set them back for a while, but now they are at par with other manufacturer, and with two cameras in the top 5 best cameras in the world, according to DxO, Pentax rocks. They are about to reclaim the status they had in the pre-digital world. I know you can't stand it, but get used to it.

fRANK d said...

It amazes me how much rice high is so passionate about Pentax...too bad its not about taking pictures because I think with all that passion he would be one hell of a photographer.

Its true that Pentax is always two steps ahead and one stop behind. They invented the SLR, were the first to put a Meter in their camera and the first to coat their lenses. Pentax is pure innovation always pushing the limits, experimenting, and changing things a bit.
I think there it time for everything just like this is the time for the 645D.

In Astrology Pentax would be considered an Aquarius, innovative, inventive, so ahead of the pack they seem lagging behind. These ten years coming should be interesting for Pentax as they are slowly changing the world. Who would of ever thought of a Green DSLR....Pentax did.

Time to celebrate with the 18-135 lens...I've been waiting for this lens from Pentax for a long time and its finally here. I'm sure Full Frame will be there someday...we just have to wait.

Arno said...

Fascinating article Yvon, thank you for sharing.

Odyn said...

MZ-S of course wasn't the last 35mm film camera. That honour goes to *ist, released at about the same time as the digital *ist D which shared most of it's body design.

Yvon Bourque said...

Odyn,
I stand corrected. You are correct, the smaller and cheaper *ist was indeed released later.

Jack said...

Interesting article indeed, but to be precise, the Dutch sensor maker is called Philips, with one L.
After the Contax debacle they stopped making sensors, I believe.

Michael Perham said...

Had an LX and bought the MZS and aquired my battery of autofocus lenses with the idea that I could use those with the MZD when it came out. Never did come out and replaced all those lenses with dedicated lenses for the APS-C format (except for my macro lens). Really glad to see Pentax at the top of it's game again and particularly glad to see the evoloution of the APS-C format to the current level.

rhermans said...

It's a shame they never made them.
Pentax is a great innovative firm, that has a low budget and has brought great idea's.
Users of other brands look down on the TAV and SV modes because they don't exist on their camera's and rate them less that their normal settings.

kumo said...

Incredible news. Thanks for sharing! :)

Miserere said...

Yvon, you wrote: Contax were to introduced a new DSLR as well, based on this same sensor, but the failure to deliver from Phillips actually drove Contax to extinction.

Philips did in fact deliver the FF sensor, which was used in the Contax N Digital in 2002. Sadly, the performance of the camera and sensor was so poor that Contax retired the camera within a year. Kyocera, Contax's parent company, withdrew from the (D)SLR market after that.

The same could have happened to Pentax if they had gone ahead with that Philips sensor. Then again, maybe it was the image processing software and not so much the sensor itself that was the problem. We'll never know.

Golem74 said...

As far as my information goes, I heard the same as Miserere... Philips DID deliver, but the result was.. underwhelming.

Well, you're somewhat right. Philips didn't deliver the expected product. As far as I know, Pentax decided to scrap the project as they saw the sensor performance.

Kriss Krasowski said...

mirrorles dslr from pentax-this is very interesting story.