I became a loyal customer of your products in 2008 when I purchased the K100D. I selected the camera after doing some research online looking for the best entry-level DSLR for outdoor landscape photography. Your product was ranked higher than anything Cannon, Nikon, and other makers had on the market at the time. I was also attracted to the image stabilization built into the camera which allows for the use of old lenses. Alas, I lost that first camera to a canoe capsizing with a unsecure dry bag.
I purchased the K200D not long after it hit the market. I lovingly call it “The Brick.” It is heavy. But, can withstand just about anything I put it through. Because of its weatherproof housing, I have captured images of a hurricane. I slipped on a rock last weekend with the camera hitting a rock and being near baptized. I turned it on and kept shooting as if nothing happened. Though the current crop of entry-level DSLRs come with more bells and whistles, I sing the praises of my K200D “Brick” and rarely leave the house without it.
I have used one of your other entry-level models and am a bit disappointed. While the K-x is lighter, has more megs, and is more advanced than the K200D, it is not weatherproof. I also have my doubts of its durability. I have not used the K-r yet. But, its lack of weather proofing disturbs me. I think that you have overlooked your reputation of making the toughest cameras on the market to chase after your competitors. Those who wish to pursue adventure and outdoor photography may as well begin with a Cannon or Nikon as their image stabilized lenses are getting cheaper and you no longer offer a sense of durability in harsh conditions.
Please consider making a sturdy, entry-level DSLR. Yes, keep the advances in technology. But, add weatherproof seals and a bit of shock proofing as well. Such a camera would draw a niche of customers who want to hike mountain trails and go kayaking with the power and flexibility of a DSLR.
I am trying to save some money to buy your K-5 or K-7. But, for the sake of attracting new outdoor “Pentaxians,” I think you need to make a new affordable “Brick.”