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(FT4) Pentax will not join m43 (and leaks the ugliest mirrorless camera ever made)


On you can see and read the specs of the new Pentax NC-1 system. The NC-1 features a 1:2.33 small sensor. If you wonder about the design of the camera it is based on the popular Pentax Auto 110 system (Click here to see camera and lenses on eBay). Not a big deal in my opinion but I have been told that Pentax will also launch a second mirrorless system with APS-C sensor. If that rumor is true than we can exclude Pentax joining the Micro Four Thirds group. Bad news :(

Who remains that could now join the m43 world as a camera maker? Come on Fuji! The X100 is selling like hotcakes and we want a m43 version of it! By the way, Fuji resumed the X100 production (preorders on Amazon, B&H, Adorama, Olympus US store, FocusCamera, eBay)

Reminder: Rumors classification explained (FT= FourThirds):
FT1=1-20% chance the rumor is correct
FT2=21-40% chance the rumor is correct
FT3=41-60% chance the rumor is correct
FT4=61-80% chance the rumor is correct
FT5=81-99% chance the rumor is correct

  • Brod1er

    Why would you buy this when an integrated superzoom will be more compact/reliable/cheaper?? Surely Only niche interest at best? This sensor is only half the size of the LX5/S95/Oly

  • demian

    Pentax and some other brands is okay, but I hope that brands like Fuji, Canon and Nikon the APS-C size retain. It’s nice to be able to choose between different sensor sizes. Yes, prefer the larger size!

  • Those prosumer compact cameras also have apertures around f/2, but generally only in the wide angle setting.

    The Pentax lens has 47mm (eqv) f/1.9, which you cannot get with prosumer cameras like the S95, XZ-1, LX5.

    On the other hand, the prosumer compact cameras have a larger sensor than 1/2.33”

    • El Aura

      Exactly, a XZ-1 will have pretty much the same theoretical low-light performance at ~50 mm equivalent. And the LX5 and TL-500/EX1 will be pretty close.
      And going to the wide end they all will be better.

    • bilgy_no1

      XZ-1 is f/1.8 at widest focal length, and still f/2.5 at max focal length (112mm). Then the sensor is a lot bigger than the 1/2.33″ of this Pentax.

      Really, an ILC with such a tiny sensor really seems pointless. 1/1.6″ or even 2/3″ would make much more sense IMO. The only consideration would be if the prices of this system are in toy categories like the Holga stuff).

  • Bob B.

    Fuji is making the X100….I see no reason or hope that Fuji would produce this same type camera with a Micro 4/3 sensor? That makes no sense. Besides, I am sure I am like a lot of people who come to this site (I have a Canon Full-Frame Digital SLR and a Panasonic GF1 with a bunch of lenses)….I would have no interest in buying a fixed lens camera (for $1200 !!!!!!!)….that basically does less than my GF1 with a slightly better sensor.
    I plan on waiting to buy a more cost effective version of the GH2 with an improved sensor and faster shooting…its coming,(I hope). My GF1 with a 14mm or 20mm pancake is fast and smaller than the Fuji, and with a little work in Lightroom you have to get your pixel tweezers out to see the difference in image quality (unless it is very high ISO.) And with the Fuji…you are stuck with that one lens…no versatility. It’s VERY a cool camera but I can’t see buying one with what I presently own. I will wait for the sensor improvements from Panasonic because of the investment I have in Micro 4/3′ glass.
    Too bad Pentax is not getting onboard with the micro 4/3 movement….The K5 and associated pancake lenses are impressive….They are thinking small with quality.

  • “The X100 is selling like hotcakes and we want a m43 version of it!”

    Yes, and I also want an amphibious version of the Porsche Boxster.

    But I’m not going to get that, because after the huge amount of re-engineering required, the product would no longer have any resemblance to the original. Same deal with an interchangeable-lens version of the X100. Fuji already is on record saying they nixed interchangeable lenses because they wouldn’t have been able to optimize the lens/sensor package.

  • NC-1 = Pentax NoComment-1 ??

    • Duarte Bruno

      NC = No Contest.
      NC = Not Counting.
      NC = No Camera.
      NC = New cabriolet.
      NC = Next cliché.
      NC = Novelty cranker.

      Pick one, surely there’s one that fits (if not all)! :)

    • Mr. Reeee

      NC-1= NoChance-in-hell-I-buy-1

  • Nathan

    Sensor is so small, there have been larger cell-phone sensors. I fail to see the point for interchangeable lenses with a sensor this small. The superzooms have all of this camera’s potential already covered.

    I guess Pentax saw the retro styling of some cameras and decided that the styling was why they were successful.

    Of course, anyone even remotely associated with photography would realize that u4/3 and other “retro” cameras are successful because they bring near-DSLR quality with portability for the first time (at least, the first time we could AFFORD, Leica), not because of styling.

    It seems over and over Japanese companies fail to understand the world market, assuming that we value form over function. It is a sad thing that they can’t wrap their heads around what product niches are most desired and build cameras that fit them. The entire world is not a 20 year old Japanese girl, and yet that seems to be the only demographic that gets served with new products.

    • Bob B.

      They didn’t even get that demographic correct…would a 20-year old Japanese girl want interchangeable lenses? Doubtful. LOL!


    holy moley this is like when I announce that I will wear a some blue jeans tomorrow… iso will be doo doo past iso 200. epic ROFL & faceplant. PLEASE MAKE A CROP SENSOR BETWEEN m4/3(2.0) and garbage (5.6). 3.2x would be ideal.

  • bonzoo

    Why would Pentax release two EVIL systems in one year? X100 for M43 – I would rather see a real improvement in terms of the sensor :/ I don’t care that much for retro-syle and a ton of buttons & dials ;)

  • Is the X100 selling like hotcakes? Or, are they just selling all of a limited supply? Selling like hotcakes implies that they are selling all of a significant quantity of something. iPhones sell like hotcakes. I doubt the X100 will ever reach anything more than niche appeal. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

    • Perhaps they are selling like pain-au-chocolat: fewer units to a more enthusiastic crowd ;-). Allons-y!

  • safaridon

    Not sure why admin should consider this an ugly camera as we have seen much worse proposed in past unless referring to the specifications rather than looks especially as 43rumors is a cousin to Krumors?

    You only have to look at the compact cameras to realize that quantum leaps have been made in the 1/2.3″ sensor in that its pictures now up to ISO 800 can compete with larger sensor ones at smaller print sizes used by most. However with this size sensor it is possible to keep the lenses small enough so wide range zooms are very feasible and fast. The problem I see with this new NC-1 is the equivalent 28-80mm/2.8-4.5 is only half stop faster than the m4/3 kit zooms and should and could have been made much faster and further reach.

    • Esa Tuunanen

      There haven’t been any quantum leaps in these microscopic sensors, only quantum leaps have been in introducing extremely strong NR algorithms which are used to considerable degree even at lowest sensitivities.

      And with this amount of marketing pixels in microscopic sensor diffraction starts stepping into action at around f2.5
      2/3″ sensor would have been lot better compromise.

  • kman

    It might be ugly, but some people will buy it. I remember in the old days, companies like Pentax, Ricoh, Minolta, etc. created small systems with few accessories to meet a specific need in the market. They were’nt trying to flood the world with their small systems, but just produced a body, 3 lenses, flash, and a few accessories that were all available at the same time, and were affordable enough to consider purchasing the entire system all at once. Imagine, if this thing was <$1000 for camera and all 3 lenses (yeah, right!), it would really make people take notice.

    I use m43rds, but it is just too expensive, and there is too much vapor ("promised" accessories/lenses/features that make us hesitate and hope for them to come quicker, but some might not materialize). M43rds works for me, but it's frustrating to not know what is really in the future. With a system like this pentax, if they limit their scope, and minimize their promises, and price it right (less than 1k for the whole system), it will be pretty exciting.

    • safaridon

      The difference is those systems of all were based on either FF or half frame 35mm film so did indeed produce surprisingly good results for a minimal investment. I am sure many would still use the inexpensive Pentax A110 lenses with their GFs or EPs if they could find any more left on the market.

    • An Oly E-PL2, 14-42mm, 45-150mm, and 17mm is currently US$950 at B&H, so are you still sure about that <US$1000 comment? Thing is, the Pentax would be competing with an LX5, which is US$450, so a "system" would have to be priced closer to that than to where an m4/3 system is currently priced to have any traction in the market.

      Thing is, the Japanese sometimes seem perfectly happy to produce a moderate amount of something, sell it out at a modest GPM, and declare it a success even though they don't keep making it ;~). It keeps the plants running and the staff employed. But it's not the way I'd run a business. I want some home runs, not a series of bunts, many of them foul.

      • > But it’s not the way I’d run a business. I want some home runs, not a series of bunts, many of them foul.

        But if it works and is profitable, then why not? It would suffice to me if it helps Pentax to stay in the camera business: more competition is better for consumers.

        Also, I’m very doubtful of companies whose strategy it to try to hit a home run every time. They try the hit runs all the time – while missing on many other minor yet important innovations. Well, or to put it in simpler terms, it reminds me of the Olympus ;)

  • safaridon

    Admin -Please give us some pictures of the coming m4/3 products like the G3 for instance? Instead we find pictures on m43 of Pentax NC-1 or Sony A77 long before they aredue out but still no sketches of any new Pany or Oly products? The G3 was supposed to have been out originally by this time so even if sensor production delays surprising that we have not seen even a glimpse of what that will be? I guess like the G2 before it, probably very little change at all other than a new sensor and maybe redesigned grip and not an all new body as many like myself hoping for?

    • admin

      Hi! I will post pictures as soon as I have them. The problem is that Panaosnic and Olympus are changing their roadmap. Partially because of the recent Japanese tragedy partially for other reasons.

      • safaridon

        I appreciate that you can only post what you have received and maybe some manufacturers are keeping things tighter than usual with less unofficial leaks. Although the roadmap is constantly changing, many would appreciate release of sketches or pictures of any prototypes even if they are not eventually produced as reaction to these also helps the manufactures in deciding which roadmap path to take and excites our imaginations as to what could be! I think that Sony got much of their small NEX body style ideas from sketches of proposals by others posted on this and other forums.

  • Stu

    Perhaps it is an early April fools day joke.

  • JesperMP

    “Perhaps it is an early April fools day joke.”
    Yes. There have been examples of aprils fool jokes that were premature by a day or two.
    I definitely find the lens pictures suspect. One lens is fixed, the other is a zoom, but the pictures are exactly the same. How is that possible ?
    And how is it possible to have so poor picture quality, in 2011 ?
    Looks fishy.

    • bonzoo

      Poor picture quality? Where can I find the samples your are refering to? ;) I still cant believe it that Pentax is going to release TWO mirror-less systems…

  • RW

    Whether we like the looks or sensor size of this new camera or not, there are some disturbing trends starting to emerge:

    – Many of the major camera manufacturers are not joining m43 – Nikon, Fuji, and Pentax to name 3. Personally, I get really queasy about my investment in a new format when it doesn’t really catch on. Its true that there continues to be new lens manufacturers coming on board, but history shows us that media formats (not just sensor sizes) need to gain a certain critical mass in order to have longevity. Starting to sound like 43 all over again. I hope not, but…

    – Smaller sensor sizes ala the proposed Nikon mirrorless offering. Is this the real future? Most of us came to m43 because we wanted decent IQ in a more compact package. My GF-1 and 20mm still isn’t really pocketable and so in many ways, it hasn’t quite hit the mark. My son’s D-Lux4 is completely pocketable, however, and the proposed Nikon rig looks like it will be as well. Frankly it feels to me that a *real* pocket size rig with interchangeable lenses might be lot less of a compromise in the long run. I will be watching the quality that the big manufacturers – particularly Nikon can pull out of these small sensors with great interest.

    • DonTom

      I see where you are coming from, but I think the other manufacturers are ensuring m43’s success by not joining the standard. Remember, there are very few “standard” formats in the digital world, you have to buy into a brand (Canon, Nikon, Sony, etc). Sure, there are 3rd party manufacturers for some of those brands, but they “mostly” offering “me too” lenses.

      A serious photographer who wants a smaller camera than a DSLR is likely to go for the system with the most lens choice once they do their research. At the moment, that’s m43. If Canon, Nikon, Pentax etc all do their own thing: m43 will still have the most choice in lenses and accessories.

      The big companies should realise that he old adage “if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em” will hold true for mirrorless. m43 was first to the party, it’s a sensible compromise, and has the momentum to carry on. I expect to be using some components of my system 10 years from now on a new camera body.

      • bonzoo

        “A serious photographer who wants a smaller camera than a DSLR is likely to go for the system with the most lens choice once they do their research.”

        It’s probably more about the “right” lenses ;) No “serious photographer” will be drawn to your system if you offer four time your standard kit lens. So far Pana/Oly are leading in the “lens section”. But who knows – maybe will see some of the much desired lenses for sony’s nex system. After all specifications for the e mount have been published and Sigma/Tamron/… might fill some gaps.

        In my opinion M4/3 is held back by the sensor. So far only Pana can provide sensors and I doubt Oly has access to the GH2 sensor :/

    • SteveD

      I think he’s referring to the pictures of the camera itself and the lenses. They are really lousy shots and the lenses look identical. Probably taken by some P&S with a 1/2.33 sensor.

      • JesperMP

        “I think he’s referring to the pictures of the camera itself and the lenses. They are really lousy shots and the lenses look identical.”

        Yes, that is what I mean. It is suspicious. How is it even possible to make such lousy pictures nowadays, unless it is intentional so that you really cannot see anything.

        I vote fake.

  • mochapaulo

    Let’s see it as a CCTV with SD memory card support. You may still find something fun on this camera but it mistakenly uses 14MP CCD rather than 12MP CMOS w/ FullHD and RAW support. Don’t limit the use of the lenses of this unique system since there are thousand of CCTV lenses on the market. Trying not to critic the image quality of this kind of camera first, it has the most economic optical solution that you never met before. Some are extremely fun such as 1.3mm fisheye for 1/3″ sensor (7.28mm equivalent), 2.8-8mm f/0.95 (15.7 – 44.8mm equivalent) Fujinon Zoom lenses might be good to try on this camera. Something more, the tele lens will become ultra tele such as 300mm will become 1680mm.
    I just hope it fit CS mount rather than C mount because CS mount CCTV lens has the widest product option and can adapter C-mount CCTV lens by a spacer.

    Let’s wait and see. It can sell well if the price is not exaggerate or keep below $99 USD, I believe

  • Per

    Sorry guys, if Pentax (or Nikon) presents an APS-C mirrorless camera that takes existing lenses, I may leave 4/3. Think of the nice, small, high performing, not that expensive prime lenses that Pentax have…. And existing Pentax adaptation of Sony sensor isn’t bad either.

    • Define “takes.”

    • bonzoo

      Yeah you can use most lenses via an adaptor on your M43/NEX/NX system. Autofocus is a different story though ;)

  • Regarding the design – I would say, it is not ugly, but just way too vintage. Some people will definitely like it, but not everyone for sure.

  • Paulus

    The first mirror less camera you will never have to pay an insurance rate against theft due to itself protecting design.

  • If price is right, if pocketability (with mounted lens) is taken care of, and if most P&S problems are addressed (e.g. their slowness at everything) than the cameras would find their buyers.

  • soldar

    why the hell would someone get this over an XZ-1, it has better range and pretty much the same aperture as the “fast prime” shown with it’s zoom lens, and larger sensor. now if they made something like an interchangeable lens XZ-1, that could have some appeal.
    imagine the fast standard zoom lens on the xz-1 + a super fast telephoto like 100-200/250/300 f2.0-2.8
    and fast wide angle zoom like 12-24 f.2-2.5 or something, all with high quality zuiko standards. that could actually be a legitimate system.

  • Alfons

    I’m afraid this “we’ll make it different” mentality from Pentax may bite dirt.

    So, they are keeping up lens line-ups for 645, reflex aps-c and maybe 135. Now they will adopt two mirrorless systems? Whoa! Something fishy in it.

    Plus how are they going to compete against best point and shoots? I can only think about spesial need lenses. Not something a person in need of a tiny everyday camera would buy.

  • JesperMP

    I got it ! I know what it is !!
    It is really aimed at fashionable japanese women.
    The giveaway is the integral lipstick holder. Thats what the big knurled “dial” is for. You pull it to take out the lipstick, and you turn it to extend it.
    Now I just need to figure out what the big shiny button on the other side of the lens is for. Any ideas ?

  • I don’t agree with admin about the “ugly appeance”. The color in the sample photo isn’t very attractive but we all know that Pentax and several other companies are in the habit of offering several choices for camera body color these days.. . . As for whether I’d be interestd in getting one, I’m not sure yet. I’m committed to m4/3 as a system but if the NC-1 does well in the reviews and if the price is reasonable ($400?), I might be interested in trying one and more importantly, recommending it to others who want compactness in an ILC system without having to use large lenses to get a telephoto capability or low light capability with fast opyics. There is an appeal for some of us in the idea of having a XZ-1 or S95 type camera that can offer the flexibilty of an ILC system. We’ll know more about this trend to ILC miniaturization when we see what Nikon is going to offer with their upcoming 2.5x ILC. Too many of you here are being dismissive IMO. You guys will always be able to get what you want in the end but others might want something else.

  • tttulio

    Agree 100%. Its a ghetto bling camera. ahh the time when cameras were designed by engineers to be functional…

    • bidou

      Maybe this camera is ugly, but at least it comes with more dial GF2/NEX-5.

  • DemonDuck

    Why have you all made the M4/3 a religious battle? If a camera maker decides to make a mirrorless camera with a sensor that is bigger than M4/3 — you guys get all — “…come on get with it…” like the M4/3 was handed down from some cosmic sensor god.

    In fact, the easiest and best way for a particular manufacturer like Canon, Pentax, Nikon to make a mirrorless camera would be to make a mirrorless camera with the same flange back distance and same sensor size as it’s DSLR’s. That way existing lenses could be used saving the photographer BIG BUCKS!

    I mean, look at the cost of M4/3 lenses!!!

    This enchantment with M4/3 is stupid and dogmatic and unthinking.

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