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Sunday, 16 April 2023


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It would make a good race, which order could be filled first, a Pentax Monochrome or a Fujifilm X100V?

Why even announce something that can't be delivered? The fact that Pentax built this camera should show that someone did market research to see if it would sell. No excuses are valid for not being able to deliver the goods.

What has happened to production capability in the last decade?

Indiana... let it go.

That sort of announcement is surprisingly common. It says that the people who make the initial estimates do fairly badly about that often. There are probably errors the other direction as well, which are mostly not announced in press releases I would imagine.

A monochrome FF camera designed specifically for streetwork is the camera Sony should have made. The A7C might be a good start. Street shooters tend to be young and enthusiastic, just the demographic to establish some brand penetration with. Combine Sony AF capabilities with small size and mono and you would have something exciting. Sony also now has a good range of small primes with barrel aperture controls, just right. Add the matte black for marketing.
I think Ricoh/Pentax are on to something here as the pre order excitement is indicating. They must have been reflecting on the messagea from the GR models.

That's when Sony, Fuji, Canon and Nikon (are there still others?) start regretting they didn't jumped at the chance earlier.

Who knows what's up with Pentax, but I have this sneaking suspicion that if there were really that much of a market for monochrome digital cameras, Fujifilm would have put out an X-100V Monochrome by now.

Although I don't understand the desire for a monochrome camera*, I heartily agree in hopes that Pentax embarrasses other camera companies by selling booku monochromes.

*Nowadays I don't understand a lot of things. Sigh.

The included link in that Pentax announcement takes you to a new product page titled 'PENTAX K-3 Mark III Monochrome'. The two options shown are the camera body alone or the camera body plus an HD DA★16-50 lens + SD card set.

Based on that, there's just one version of the monochrome camera.

Given the copycat industry these days, I wouldn’t be surprised if other companies follow suit. I can imagine MF digital mono cameras, too (at much lower price points than the stratospheric prices of Hassy or Phase). Leica, again a trend setter.😉

I agree with you.

Pentax is the only DLSR maker left and their cameras can use their entire back catalog of lenses. They're in a unique position.

Why can't a company be profitable while not dominating the entire market? It's a big world, room for lots.

I hope Fujifilm is next. Them to release a monochrome gfx camera with handling like the 50S or 50R would be perfect.

Hmm. Is it just me, or are Pentax users far far harder and swifter to judge than most?

Pound for pound (no pun intended), they are more expensive than their canikony (yes, you can use my new word too) counterparts. So, when people buy them, they have an expectation that they'll be nearer to their ideal camera. Whatever that is.

Inevitably, nothing can meet such a lofty dream of capability, and the camera/lens/accessory is then seen to be letting them down. Representing poor value for money. For this reason, I expect the honeymoon period to be brutally short. And unfairly so.

There are those with more real expectations, who appreciate that the extra cost of purchase is a function of a diminished economy of scale, during production. Those happy few see the quality and appreciate the ergonomic subtleties of their products.

I am the latter. Though as of right now, I no longer own any Pentax gear. I did start on my photographic path with Pentax. And occasionally wish I'd remained a patron of the Pentaxian universe, from nostalgic time to time. Just not this time.

Maybe if Pentax proves there is a beyond-Leica market for B&W cameras, then Fuji might make an X Pro in B&W. I can dream, right?

While the price seems high, it’s only $200 more than what the color version was when introduced. It seems like a bigger difference now because there is a $300 off sale on the K3iii.

If they introduce a K1iii and hopefully a K1iii monochrome, I would not be surprised to see it budge $3000.

The Ricoh Group camera that I would really like to see released in monochrome is the GR III.

They could name it the MonoGRaph.

Mike, check this if you have not yet seen it: https://www.ricoh-imaging.co.jp/english/products/gr_special/story.html . Some of the espoused concept and principles resonate for me.


Mike, it looks like it’s the matte black version that’s sold out, not the monochrome. Take a look at their website's list of apps-c dslrs.


Sorry, perhaps I was incorrect in my last comment. The jet black version has a sold out tag on it, but you can’t purchase the monochrome version either. Apologies for the error.

Such early backlogged production announcements have become so common for new products that it’s mire shocking when the product is instantly plentiful. I don’t doubt that Pentax is really backed-up but I wouldn’t interpret it as a sign of unexpected overwhelming demand. Such announcements have become part of standard early marketing strategies, Mike, especially for smaller-market products. Leica’s been playing this game for many years. Most folks won’t get their hands on the just-announced M11 Monochrome until 2024, for example. Hasselblad’s X2D has been in short supply since its introduction.

Naw, Ricoh has too many MBAs on its payroll not to have pegged early demand for this monochrome camera to within the -nth units. And they timed their announcement perfectly to the cusp of spring.

I don't work for a camera manufacturer so I probably shouldn't speculate as to the cost per unit. Maybe it has something do with the price of the sensor. Perhaps getting a specific sensor minus the color filter array is more costly because the the manufacturing process involves skipping a step on the assembly line. I could see how this would be a special order and therefore increase the cost per unit. I seriously doubt these things are being made by individual craftsmen one at a time. That's certainly one possibility. On the other hand if enough people wanted this, there would probably be a dedicated monochrome sensor assembly line which probably would reduce the costs.

Given the Q2 M (and I have one) costs $6000+, the cost of Pentax is certainly more realistic. In fact I wish I had waited. I would much prefer the Pentax over the Leica. Once they become more readily available I will probably sell the Leica and get the Pentax version. My sincerest hope is that somewhere in that lag, Fuji will decide to release an X Pro 3 monochrome. I already have the lenses for that....sigh......

Good for Pentax! I could use my Takumar M42 lenses on this body with a simple adapter.

But Mike, I'm disappointed. Even among your readers, there is so much bull-crap about why no one needs a true monochrome camera or how it's just a play toy, soon to be abandoned. It's the same type of doodoo you read about any Leica announcement. Sigh....

It’s pretty hard to view a second manufacturer releasing a monochrome sensor (11 years after the first one did) as a “trend”.

Sadly not for big prints (which I like to do - sometimes I even stitch) and a bit expensive. Pentax did not go all out, market should be small after the first wave of enthusiasm and newness has abated. But nice.

If Pentax is overwhelmed with orders at $2,000+ a pop, I doubt any competitor is thinking about rushing out a $650 BW camera. More likely, they're thinking "well if *Pentax* can sell them for $2K, *we* could charge $3K" (or the same $2K, or slightly less, depending on the company's self-perceived mojo in relation to Pentax) and try to grab a piece of that pie before risking anything down market for smaller margins. Especially if it's users of their own systems ordering those Pentaxes.

I really hope I'm wrong, though.

James' BW firmware idea from the other day is growing on me. It would require profiles for major software, I imagine, but still--no new body or even mods has got to be an attractive option for camera makers, especially at the cheap end of the market.

I bet Pentax is more surprised than anyone with their Hail-Mary play to stay in business. I hope they succeed.

Well, it's something new and different on the market, at a moment when innovation is in short supply. And as so often happens, the 'early-adopters' have put their orders in, while those who don't want the new product (or don't have money to spend) condemn it as folly.
Let's hope that Pentax has a success on its hands.
However, for my own B&W needs, I will continue to rely upon Ilford FP4+, and their fine fiber-based photo papers.

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