Pentax mirrorless camera to be announced on June 23?

According to digicame-info, Hoya corporation will have a press conference on June 23rd, 2011 at 1:00pm in Japan and will announce a "digital camera with world's smallest interchangeable lens".

This announcement will probably be for the Pentax NC-1 mirrorless camera. The Pentax NC-1 will have a 14MP 1/2,33″ sensor with a 5.6x crop factor and HD h.264 video recording capabilities. Some of the rumored lenses are 8.5mm f/1.9 and 5-15mm f/2.8-4.5. The Pentax NC-1 will have also a flash hot shoe. The price of the NC-1 is expected to be around $600.

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  • What’s a Pentax?

    World’s smallest? With a 1/2.33 sensor?

    No thanks.

    Is there really any doubt why Pentax has only 1.5% market share?

    Pentax: Premium prices for poor quality.

    • Unbiased Observer

      Pentax quality is fine, I think.

      For example, the auto focus on their flagship SLR is just as good as the auto focus of a 5Dii that costs 2x as much.

      Excellent value.

      • What’s a Pentax?

        @ Unbiased Observer

        Are you kidding? My best friend has a Canon 5D MKII, I don’t remember Canon having to release firmware patches because the camera couldn’t focus in tungsten light like Pentax.

        Besides, the Canon 5D MKII is over three years old. It’s nice to Pentax finally catch up.


        Are you familiar with the Pentax SDM lens motor failures, sensor stains, focusing issues and other quality control issues that plague Pentax? Since Hoya bought Pentax, quality has really slipped.


  • FMJ

    i would delete the word “poor quality” if i were you. maybe poor strategy is the right word.

    look at the pencakes, Medium format, K5, etc…..

    • 42PL

      This camera will definitely be poor quality when compared to other cameras in its class. There is no way this camera can compete with the new Sony Nex. Yet they will have the same price. It’s insane. Next to the Sigma this is probably the dumbest camera of the year.

      • BornOptimist

        There are no other camera in this class.
        If this can take C-mount lenses it might have a chance. Pentax has many fast C-mount lenses in their arsenal.

        • Global

          I think they are on the right track, in the same way that 4/3rds is. People are demanding SMALL LENSES, not just small cameras. I think Hoya is on to something. Anyone can have a pocket sized camera — but who has a pocket sized camera with pocketable interchangable lenses?? So far most of the 4/3rds cameras have gigantic lenses, you might as well use APS-C. But what many people want is a Canon S95 with interchangeable lenses. Not to replace their DSLR — but to just have a simple system a step above pocket cameras for when DSLRs are impossible to take along.

          That being said, the price should reflect it. And the Canon S95 is only $350. So a $600 Pentax would be RIDICULOUS and almost idiotic (as a strategy), unless it came with a 3 kit lenses, because for people who dont know, the sensor sizes (along with sensitivity), go like this:

          – 35mm (D3x / D700 best)
          – APS-C (D7K, D90 cropped bodies)
          – 4/3rds (still kinda large lenses)
          – 1″
          – 2/3rds
          – 1/1.8″ <—- Even the tiny Canon S95 P&S has this!!!
          – 1/2"
          – 1/2.33 <—- Almost Worst (PENTAX concept)
          – 1/3"
          (Cell phone cameras, etc)

          If Pentax doesn't have a sensor AT LEAST as good as the Canon S95, then they are wasting everyone's time, including their own company's time. NOBODY wants just a stupid P&S with screw in lenses. Anyone who buys lenses intentionally wants a GOOD quality sensor — and in P&S size sensor ranges, that means the S95 sized sensor is an absolute minimum.

          To make it 16MP, when the S95 has enough hardship (despite leading its class) at 10MP — it means Pentax is on drugs. A terrible concept in my opinion.

          Make a super-low-light 8MP Canon S95 body under $400 with extremely pocketable interchangable lenses, and I'm starting to get interested! But if you just make super MP JUNK with a tiny junk sensor for huge costs, then forget it!

          • BornOptimist

            Most customers for this kind of camera doesn’t have any knowledge about sensors sizes, except they know DSLR takes better photos than p&s and cell phones.

            If p&s with small sensors gathers enough light, the picture quality is not that bad. Even cell phone cameras take decent photos in good light. So the clue here is light gathering capability. Most p&s cameras have rubbish lenses (read f:4.5-5.6 on the long end). With a fast interchangeable prime lens this can gather 3 or 4 stop more light than most p&s, so I wouldn’t dismiss this camera yet.
            Price otoh is an other point. I also believe 600 USD is too much, but we have no official price yet, so until that is announced, 600 usd is just a rumor.

          • MK

            +1 Global.

            I think that the rumor of 1/2.33″ sensor is a smoke screen unless there is something unforeseen which we are not privy to. for example, if pentax got a modern foveon type sensor or something. That being said there is NO way I would buy into such a small system – 2.6 or maybe 3x crop is the smallest i’d be willing to go. otherwise, just get s95 or lx5 for cheaper.

      • MK

        it would be an intellectual folly to compare a 1/2.33″ to an APS-C sensor and yet this is what you purport to do. as far as price – i will be willing to pay a premium for miniaturization. nex lenses defeat the point of portability. you pay less with nex because it make no sense as a system outside of the 16mm lens.

        • What’s a Pentax?


          It’s an intellectual folly to discount Sony, or to fail to see that the Pentax NC-1 is in the same price category as the Sony NEX C3.

          How did Sony knock it out of the park with the NEX?

          The ability to mount any and all Leica M lenses (including Voigtlander).

          I’m using a number of Voigtlander and Leica lenses on my Sony NEX 5.
          The results are excellent.

          The NEX is a stellar little camera.

          The upcoming Sony NEX C3 features the same 16MP sensor that is in the Nikon D7000 and Pentax K5.

          Should be interesting to see what Sony pulls out of its hat with the upcoming Sony NEX C5 and NEX 7.

          • MK

            only thing i disagree with on nex5 is UI and disproportionate size of zooms to camera body. i am waiting with baited breath for A77, NEX7, or pentax/nikon mirrorless announcements. been using a gf1 for about 7 months. i was looking forward to the 12mm f2.0, but now that its been priced at 800-850 im going to leave m43 altogether. IMO olympus and panasonic gouge their customers, and I refuse participating in it when I have to sell a kidney just to use my favorite focal length. if NEX7 is going to be bigger or more ergonomically and UI friendly I will definitely consider it much more strongly – although I’m not a pro & would heavily favor 2.6x crop portability.

            didn’t know that nex-c3 has k-5 sensor… the plot thickens 🙂

        • 42PL

          If two cameras have the same price and are both extremely small it is not folly to the compare them. Now which do you think is gonna be more versatile and provide far better image quality? Why the Sony of course. Why not just buy a high end compact for less money, something like the XZ1. It makes far more sense.

    • 42PL

      But I do agree with you that Pentax has some very nice cameras and lenses. For a long time the Kx was a fantastic deal. It’s not all overpriced crap. Just this new camera.

  • MK

    i really think that the 1/2.33 sensor was an april fools joke. no camera company could possibly be that foolish – creating a system around such a small sensor. im excited. when will nikon show up???

  • SZRimaging

    I may be in the market for a small mirrorless…..

    But I am NOT buying anything smaller than m43. Sorry, but no way, ever.

  • Hiplnsdrftr

    My gut feeling is that 99% of consumers do not understand anything about sensor size.
    Therefore, you will see this camera compared to Pens and Nex and even to 7D…
    Just because you can change lenses.

    • CK Dexter Haven

      The 99% of consumers who do not understand anything ab0ut sensor size also comprise the 99% of consumers who do not care about interchangeable lenses on a compact camera.

      This really seems like such a waste of resources. They’re ‘pioneering’ a niche that no one needs. I do wish companies would spend their time working on real problems.

    • mmradman

      Spot on.

      In business money talks, 99% of paying customers buying P&S have more purchase power than 1% of people buying top end products. As much as i would like to see FF mirrorless camera I will be waiting very long time.

  • 42PL

    Shameful. These Japanese companies have lost their minds.

    • hiplnsdrftr

      While a few brands have very conservatively released seemingly well thought out products and stuck with them, others seem to have a frantic effort to release a range of products that satisfy some desires while preserving the need for future minor upgrades.

      Pentax’s approach seems like an effort to provide something different from MFT or APS formats.

      Not surprising, Canon just sits back and allows all these brands to do their beta testing and market research for them. If they ever chose to release a mirrorless camera, Canon will benefit immensely from all these other company’s attempts.

      The ultimate mirrorless camera design is so simple, it is staggering how far off the mark many of the offerings seem to be.

  • I will have to try the camera out before I can make a judgement on image quality. I suggest we all reserve judgement until it is extensively tried, tested and reviewed. The acid test will be whether it shoots wide C-mount better than the latest crop of Micro Four Thirds cameras. Given the small form factor of the GF3, it will be the benchmark for me.

    I think the photos that I have seen so far of the Pentax NC-1 body look pretty tacky, but I am in the market for a small sensor C-mount camera. My logic is that the ability to use CCTV lenses will open up a very large range of cheap, large aperture prime lenses with manual focus and compact form factor and that is no small consideration.

    If by some miracle, the Pentax offers native C-mount connectivity with added AF on dedicated lenses, that will probably be my choice over the Kenko, which is not expected to have any AF features. If the Kenko later turns out to have active sensor cooling and proves superior for long exposures in low light, then Hoya-Kenko-etc. may have two powerful niche plays in their portfolio.

    • What’s a Pentax?


      CCTV lenses are not that great. Not many of them are even multi-coated. Most of the magic happens with the use of highly specialized imaging and video software in the security field. If you are waiting for some kind of great new field of photography to open up you are going to be extremely disappointed.

      With the use of some very heavy post processing (time consuming) in Photoshop you might be able to get some decent images from a CCTV lens. That really isn’t photography then, it’s more computer sleight of hand. Where’s the fun in that?

      Wasn’t it already announced that this Pentax NC-1 would not shoot RAW? Just JPEG. That’s going to hinder image quality from an already gimped sensor.

      • Dunno, my Cosmicar Television Lens 75mm f/1.4 is lovely.

    • I completely agree — let’s wait and see. The story on this isn’t yet complete. I will admit that like many I’m a little wary of building a premium system around a tiny sensor but let’s not forget that every system is a compromise and small sensors have some real advantages in terms of allowing much smaller/faster lenses. Anyway, it seems that Pentax might be hedging their bet with a second camera later in the year that is rumored to be APS-C so lets not slam this for what it’s not, let’s see what it does have to offer. I might end up disappointed but I’m eager to see what they’ve come up with.

      For argument’s sake, lets say this camera offers a next-gen sensor that’s competitive with current 1/1.8″ sensors…but offers the choice between quality fast primes or extended zoom range. Remember that this might not be competing against just low-end m4/3 systems but also against premium compacts like LX5, S95, G12, P7000, XZ-1, TL500/EX1 etc. — wouldn’t it be nice to have an LX5 with the choice on a given outing of an extended zoom range vs. fast prime for low light? Pentax can’t just bring out a me-too–it has to be different, and that may mean it will be polarizing, it won’t work for some, but for those who see their system’s benefits it might distinguish itself & find a niche. I for one would like to see some of Pentax’s DSLR sensibilities (K-5 and K-7 have excellent metering & color/WB) appear in a compact. Most of their more recent Optio compacts have been watered down a bit too much for my tastes.

  • Honestly, I’m kind of interested in this camera, but only for street shooting. The small sensor will give me maximum depth of field, and the small size will keep it discreet. Maybe it’ll be better to consider it more as a versatile compact camera rather than a NEX or m43 replacement.

  • What’s a Pentax?

    If anyone has any doubts as to what a CCTV lens can do on a camera they should check out Flickr.

    Here are five examples:

    So the Pentax NC-1 is $600 for a 1/2.33 sensor that shoots crappy CCTV lenses and does not do RAW, only JPEG. No wonder you can’t find Pentax anywhere.

    What a steep price to pay for camera obscura. The Sony NEX, Samsung NX and even M43 from Panasonic and Olympus blow this turd out of the water.

    • It’s interesting that you picked those images, as you illustrate my point well.

      Those images look like they came from my ES2514MC C-Mount TV Lens 25mm f/1.4 1/2″. When I shoot it on a M4/3 body, I get a similar effect and I use it as a special effect lens. The photographers that posted these images created this look deliberately and did so to great effect.

      At $20, the ES2514MC was a lot cheaper than my $250 Lensbaby Composer which I use to get a similar effect on my full frame EOS camera, but the Composer doesn’t have quite the same look on a m4/3 body as it crops away much of the interesting peripheral distortion.

      Likewise, I think you’ll find that many of the C-Mount CCTV lenses that produce interesting corner effects like extreme vignetting and distortion on M4/3 do so because they are designed for smaller sensors, such as the 1/2.33″ sensor of the Pentax and Kenco. On a small sensor, all that distorted wierdness, vignette and lack of sharpness is cropped away.

      That’s exactly what I meant when I wrote how that I may be interested in the system if it shoots C-Mount CCTV lenses better than M4/3.


      I’d also like to add that not all C-Mount lenses have these interesting peripheral effects on M4/3. Some, like me Cosmicar 75/1.4, make excellent long portrait lenses. I can only speculate, but I have high hopes for what it will deliver on a small sensor. It should become the equivalent of a 420mm f/1.4 That’s two stops faster than the megabucks Canon EF 400mm f/2.8 L IS USM.

      Before we get into the usual depth-of-field semantics, let me head it off by saying that a small sensor is better for what I need because, for example, a 75mm lens on a 1/2.3″ sensor at f/1.4 at 10m has a depth of field of only 40cm, which is barely enough for me.

      And whereas the Canon has image stabilisation, the Cosmicar would have a faster exposure. A low-light shot with the Canon might have a better signal-to-noise ratio, but the Cosmicar would freeze the motion better. For example, I may be able to hand hold the Canon down to 1/50s, but if the action demands 1/200s to get a sharp image, then the Cosmicar might be a better choice, even in a world where money’s no object.

      • What’s a Pentax?

        @ ZDP-189

        It’s Sunday, but I don’t need to read a litany!

        Besides being long winded, your logic is distorted.

        An educated guess would be that you are connected to Hoya/Pentax somehow.

        No wonder Pentax is in the crapper.


        • An educated guess would suggest you have some other axe to grind (hence the handle).

          Anyway I don’t think it’s clear yet that Pentax would be particularly favoring C-mount lenses, especially a bunch of inexpensive manual focus lenses. If they happen to be able to leverage some of what they’ve learned in making some of those lenses, so be it–but I can’t imagine that they’re banking the system’s success on the existing C-mount lenses–pretty sure their goal would be to sell customers new lenses.

          Also do you have any source on the no-RAW? I hadn’t heard that (hope it’s not true).

          • What’s a Pentax?

            @ 57thStIncident

            The Pentax NC-1 was originally going to be a Kenko product. Hoya in its infinite wisdom reshuffled the deck and transferred the camera to Pentax. Hoya is the parent company to Kenko, Pentax and I believe Tokina.

            Anyhoo, since the NC-1 was transferred to Pentax the price has increased $250 bucks.


            The JPEG only, no RAW was announced elsewhere on the web. If you Google it you’ll be bound to find it.

          • This is only a rumor site so we can choose to believe as much as we want. I’ve seen it oft-repeated that Hoya is a parent to Kenko and Tokina as well but I remain skeptical about just how close these organizations are.

            After following Pentax for years I’ve seen no actual evidence of this supposed relationship other than that Tokina, Hoya, and Kenko share a U.S. distributor, thkphoto…and before the Hoya acquisition, there has been a history of some collaboration with Tokina on some lens designs. If there is so much synergy, you’d think Pentaxians would have Tokina’s 11-16/2.8, 80-400, or a modern teleconverter by now.

            The Kenko camera was never actually announced so who knows what actual pricing or capabilities it would have had. Even if the Pentax product does have origins with the Kenko prototype (which we don’t really know), I can certainly see it adapted to a Pentax-sourced firmware so capabilities could be quite different. Also, rarely can you take a JPY, EUR, or GPB price and accurately predict what price it will appear at in USD.

  • jerl

    Overall, I’d say this camera is interesting, but I have my reservations. The small sensor size is one- and the camera body is not much smaller than a m4/3 camera but will perform substantially worse. Pentax can make up for this by making it cheaper (which it’s not) or by making really small lenses, preferably fast ones. If they do this, it might just work- I wouldn’t mind a mirrorless camera to replace my compact with the by giving me the ability to select what lenses I use it with.

  • Alex

    Seriously, whats wrong wtih pentax? Do they not know what the market is selling? yes i would agree that nex is nowhere near pocketable except for the 16mm, but they do have the advantage of better iso performance with a bigger seensor. plus, why have such a small sensor which in case cannot have any depth of field whatsoever? Pentax must have gone mad if this is true, cause this doesn’t even make sense to me really~

    • Global

      They are thinking about the LENS sizes, I’m sure.
      4/3rds lenses are still huge.

      I would accept a 2/3rds compact interchangeable lens system.

      But nothing smaller, it just stops making sense. And the BODY-ALONE has to cost less than the very excellent pocket cameras out there (S95, etc) with their in-built lenses. The purpose of a 2/3rds system would be for true travel/pocket size, including lenses. Not for having the best of the best. Give me better sensitivity than the best Canon pocket cam and give me sharp VERY BRIGHT primes (a set of 4) — and I’d be happy to try it out!

  • I think this will actually succeed in Japan. You guys are forgetting the Auto 110 camera, I think this will be an effort at replicating that system. And honestly if they can sell them to consumers then it will be a bigger success than anything pros would want to buy anyway. In a market where a consumer really does have to think, “do I need a Powershot camera when my iPhone has hipstimatic?” Selling someone on interchangeable lenses and 14mp doesn’t seem that hard. The G12 still sells guys, and Pentax is about to offer the same thing with interchangeable lenses, for about a hundred bucks more… And if I’m right that they’re trying to replicate the Auto 110, expect this thing to be smaller than an NEX.

    Plus the rumor is an APSC mirrorless is coming in August anyways.

    • El Aura

      What does this camera better than an XZ-1?
      – Faster lenses with lower DOF? No, the prime is slightly faster than the XZ-1 at the same equivalent focal length, however the smaller sensor annihilates that difference.
      – Ditto for low light performance
      – Price? No.
      – Size? Maybe by a little bit but at that level the difference is not that important.
      – Wider lenses? Possibly, but other fixed lens compacts can take decent quality wide converters.
      – Longer lenses? Again possibly but buying an XZ-1 + any xx-200 mm (equiv.) 1/2.33′ compact will cost about the same and not be that much larger.

      • It doesn’t have to do anything better. You just tell consumers that this tiny thing will take interchangable lenses and it’ll elevate it in their mind. I work in a camera store and people think the G12 is a pro camera just because Canon sort of acts like it is.

        Plus I bet it’ll have a cool look to it, maybe a little X100 in it. If people have it in their heads that this is some kind of ‘real camera’ then they’ll opt for it.

        Are we, the concerned photographic parties interested? No, just like we don’t particularly care about the art filters on a micro 4/3rds camera. Doesn’t mean they don’t sell people cameras though! The best customers for a camera company are Mom and Dad.

        And anyways Pentax knows what they’re doing in other areas. The 645D is a big deal, and the K-5 is the best APS-C DSLR out there, and therefore one of the best in general. It’s really a shame they have the smallest market share…however, if they keep doing what they’re doing, that’ll change soon.

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