Quick and dirty translation of Tatamiya Interview

Q; Reaction and accomplishment after releasing K100D in July?
A: Order level literally beyond our imagination which is still continuing.
Japan domestic market is fairly fulfilled now, but the demand from EU market
wherein Pentax DSLRs have not particularly been strong is now overwhelming
and there are still some regions where the delivery commitment is not
fulfilled.  We made the parts purchase 1 to 2 months in advance which is now
enabling us to catch up.
When K100D was planned, we made proper cost saving and planned to sell
exactly what we produced.  At the same time, it was difficult for us to
speculate if 6mp, in spite of the new model this year, could be accepted in
the market.  However, once released, we fund that the general updates and
the total maturity of the product were highly appreciated, which was beyond
our forecast.

Q: Any user requests for the further improvements?
A: Frankly, not many requests for the performance of the camera.  Perhaps a
comment like "maybe a bit heavier" etc, but did not mean it had to be
lighter.  We believe the market had approved the total maturity of the 6mp
products continuing from *istD.  Also, we made the target users very clear
and convey that message.  Because of that, not many demand for the
improvements or the usability from advanced users.  There were some requests
for an optional battery grip or the expandability as the system.

Q: Now the intended target for K10D?
A: K10D's concept is very clear.  Looking back our past line up of DSLRs,
*istD was somewhat different but *istDS and the subsequent models were all
rather for the entry level market.  In other words, Pentax in the past did
not have higher grade models.  So, we decided that we would create a "line
up" (note: upgrade path?) and create an excellent higher end model.  The
target users are perhaps in the age bracket of 40's to 50's, who have been
the traditional photo enthusiasts and love the photography and cameras.
We have been developing this model with always imagining this target in our
heads.

Q: Any pro-use considered?
A: Not too conscious about the pro-use.  Pros tend to specialize in their
own genre and choose cameras that are best suitable for that purpose in
terms of functions and setting etc.  In contrast, K10D would be most useful
for advanced amateurs who shoot many different subjects.
[For those who loves the photography, we could create the best and user
friendly camera]

Re the new image processing engine, PRIME

Q: Any collaboration w/Samsung Tech Win?
A: Since K10D has been developed as the Pentax's product, not much
collaboration occurred.   However, Sumsung tech's engineers have written
part of codes for the software.  The purpose of the collaboration was to
utilize each other's strength.  Therefore, the optics and hardware are
naturally the Pentax's original.

Q; Reason for adopting 10.2mp sensor for K10D?
A: Considering that the k10D is supposed to be a higher end model, higher
resolution sensor than 6.1mp was considered a necessity.  K100D users would
be content with A4 size printing but there would be those who wish to do a
bit more such as post-processing and cropping etc.  Although I said we were
not too conscious about the pro-use, there were some pros who stated their
dissatisfaction of 6.1mp cameras when submitting images to publishers etc,
thus needing more than 10mp.
However, we would never agree with the simple perception that the camera is
good simply because it uses the 10.2mp sensor.  We are not developing our
own sensors and mp is totally dependent on sensor makers.
For this very reason, not just choosing the higher resolution sensors won't
be enough, but we had to make our own unique approach to the image creation.
If we consider what customers would expect from us, it would certainly be
excellent images.
In order to respond to this demand, we planned to design the maximum we
possibly could.  Specifically, they are the use of 22bit A/D converter, and
a new image processing engine for the faster processing.  K10D's specs were
determined by evaluating overall performance of these components.

Q: What about the new A/D converter and the new image processing circuitry?
A: Let me explain the process of creating images from the CCD.  CCD convert
the optical info through the lens into electronic signal.  Then the analogue
signal which the CCD spits out, depending on the amount of light, and the
A/D converter converts it into digital signal which will then be fed into
the image processing engine (translator: OK, OK next! :-).
In order to create RAW data, minimum 12 bit converter was usually enough for
the proper gradation and some makers were using 14 bit processing.
However, for K10D, we chose the 22bit converter in order to more finely
digitize the smooth analogue output, and it is fed into the processing
engine with more amount of information.  This was done in order to enable
the image processing with our own unique control.
Also, RAW does not mean a real unprocessed RAW.  It is the data created as
an image and each maker's image creation philosophy is built in.
In the case of K10D, in the process of reducing the overwhelming 22 bit data
amount into 12 bit RAW or 8 bit jpeg, we keenly considered what kind of info
has to be incorporated.  For example, for the high key image, the image in
the highlight portion becomes critical, and the control to increase the
gradation of that portion would become necessary.
However, in order to utilize the true advantage of the 22bit processing,
corresponding high speed processing engine was imperative.
So, we developed the high speed imaging engine "PRIME".
Since the original istD, we have been researching the image processing for
about 3 years.  Many engineers voiced that the ability for finer
tuning/control of various parameters will create even better images.  These
parameters were accommodated into the processor as the functions, and finer
rendering became possible by computing them.  That's the PRIME.
But these are just maker's bragging and what's really critical is the
quality of the final rendered image.  We have not produced many samples yet,
but if you closely inspect the finer gradation/rendering of shadow and
highlight parts of published sample, we hope you can catch the glimpse of
those data processing ability.

Re One push operation of RAW button

Q: Are colour rendition and exposure setting the same as in the past?
A: Basic image production concept would be same.  But the default setting
for the image mode has been changed from "bright" to "natural" for K10D.
This change was made, conforming to the target market, which enables the
wider range of the post processing by users and can maximize the latent
potential by this initial setting.  Parameters themselves for "bright" and
"natural" have not changed.  From the exposure menu, those bright/natural
setting, colour depth/sharpness and contrast etc can be selected.

Q: Sensitivity was ISO 200~3200 for K100D but it was reduced to ISO 100~1600
for K10D.  Is this because of higher resolution?
A: The sensitivity depends heavily on the sensor output and the reason for
the decreased ISO sensitivity is because of the basic sensitivity of this
particular sensor is ISO100.  The number of step to increase the gain
remains the same.  During the development stage, we considered ISO3200 but
determined that it was not to our level of standard, hence not ready for the
market yet.  In that sense, one could say that 6mp class might be more
usable in higher ISO.

Q: Then, which image at ISO 1600 would be better between K100D and K10D?
A: It is difficult to generalize in a simple term, as it depends on how you
evaluate it. If only for the noise and grainliness, K100D/6.1mp will show
lower noise.  But if the resolution was to be emphasized, K10D/10.2mp is a
slam dunk.
Also, in the image processing for K10D, we have not indiscriminately tried
to crush the noise.   If the noise suppressing filtering is imposed, the
overall resolution suffers.  Then the merit of 10.2mp is negated.
We have designed the comprehensive better images without being bogged down
into the noise issue alone.
Please note that the "PHOTO Laboratory 3.1" software which comes with K10D
has the random noise removal filter for RAW images.  For K10D, we aimed at
producing the better raw image material rather than attempting the in-camera
noise removal.

Q: Any changes in RAW date from previous?
A: This time, the new RAW compression was adopted.  By compressing RAW data,
file size of this 10.2mp camera is not too different from previous models'.
Also, Adobe's DNG format can be selected in camera.  Adoption of DNG was the
result of the demands from overseas market.

Q: Purpose of the new RAW button?
A: Our user research indicated the overwhelming user of jpeg output.
However, there also are many of those who switch to RAW depending on the
subjects and lighting condition etc.  For example, jpeg for family snap and
RAW for striking landscape etc.  In the past in above sort of situations,
the menu has to be changed from jpeg to RAW and after finishing it, switch
back to jpeg.  This has caused some people keep shooting family snaps in
RAW, forgetting to switch back to jpeg.
In order to solve this kind of problem, we have installed a dedicated
RAW+jpeg mode switch.  This will enable the usability without disrupting the
shooting rhythm. We, the designers, are also heavy users of DSLRs and are
constantly striving to improve various points in the actual daily use.
Installation of RAW button is such an example.
There is a RAW button close to the mount on the standard zoom DA 18-55mm
F3.5-5.6AL.

Re faster AF and strengthening of SR

Q: As the resolution becomes higher, the focus accuracy and camera shake
reduction become even more critical.  Does K10D have different approach to
to ASF and SR?
A: Regarding the focus accuracy, the criteria hasn't changed much from
K100D.  We consider the AF accuracy for K100D being excellent in the first
place.  Furthermore, at the time of transition from film to digital, the AF
accuracy is now determined by the standard of pixel peeping on a monitor,
rather than the focus depth based on the allowable circle of confusion as in
the case of film camera.  We heard from some quarters that the AF speed for
the models prior to K100D was slow, but we have reevaluated the AF mechanism
and controls etc for K100D, and realized the increased response speed while
keeping the focus accuracy.  For K10D, while succeeding this high
performance of K100D AF, the speed is now one notch up, and we believe this
is because of the more robust power supply.

With regard to the SR, one of the development goals was to improve the
performance by another one stop in order to conform to the higher
resolution.  Because of this, SR unit became a bit larger but we could
secure the intended performance.  Published spec says, in terms of shutter
speed, K100D was 2~3.5 stops but 2.5~4 stops for K10D.\

Q: The attraction of the past compact and light bodies appears to have been
a bit spoiled for K10D.  Was it difficult to make it more compact?
A: The size and weight of K10D have been fixed from the beginning when the
basic specs were finalized.  This was because of the larger SR unit, A/D
converter, image processor circuitry, as well as the change of power unit
and the addition of drip/dust proofing.
In the Japan domestic market, the compact and light weight design of Pentax
cameras have been highly regarded and there was some initial concerns about
the size and the weight of K10D.  However, in overseas market, the K10D is
the right size and weight.  It was even said that the previous models were
too small and light.  Also, considering of the position in the market of
this camera, we believe the "presence" is an important factor and there
should be no problem of K10d's size.

---------------- O -------------------------- O --------------------

OK, that's it.
It says that this will continue to Part II.  Stay tuned.
I did this translation real quick and have not even proof read.  Usual
misspelling, double negatives or any other grammatical eroors have to be
forgiven :-).

Ken



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