Thursday, February 11, 2010

Pentax counts down for digital medium format launch

Just like a phoenix, Pentax is attempting to reinvent itself and rise from the ashes again. The venerable imaging brand had been struggling in the past decade, never really being able to put up a good fight against the likes of Canon and Nikon (or Sony for that matter). Pentax fans say that the recent crop of Pentax DSLR has great performance or bang for the buck, but I'd say that Pentax would need better marketing to take off from the dumps (regardless of the product).

Pentax is one company that is willing to take risk and boldly go where no other brands have gone before, although I'm not sure if that's out of sheer desperation. Just look at the colourful Pentax K-x DSLR - I'd bet Canon and Nikon will never do anything that brave! I'm not too sure what that does for the sales though - perhaps the Japanese domestic market love it, but I sure would like to stick with the more conventional colours.

Now Pentax is gearing up to launch the elusive Pentax 645D - a medium format digital camera. It ain't gonna be easy going up against Canon/Nikon/Sony in the 35mm DSLR market, so Pentax has also leveraged on its medium format cameras to open up a new market for itself in the digital arena. It sure takes a lot of guts, because Pentax is going into a market where other Japanese brands such as Contax and (original) Mamiya have collapsed.

The medium format (MF) market is a tough one, especially for digital cameras. Digital MF cameras are very expensive (if makes a flagship Canon/Nikon look like a toy in price), and the market is not exactly growing very quickly. With Hasselblad and Mamiya dominating the market with their comprehensive lenses and system accessories, as well as Imacon and Leaf digital backs respectively, it takes a brave brand (Leica S2 comes to mind as well) to swagger into the waters of digital medium format. Let's hope Pentax has something exciting for us, because I'd hate to see another established brand go under.

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