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Old Jan 15, 2010, 12:14 PM   #11
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Definitely an interesting subject. First, I agree - the KX is an outstanding product. For the general photographer moving up from digicam to DSLR the KX is probably the best buy on the market this year.
I agree about the KX being perhaps the best buy on the market for the general photographer moving up from a digicam.

But, I agree with rjsseeney - on the whole Hoya/Pentax has a big mountain to climb. DSLRs aren't like digicams - they need to keep the momentum going - be able to keep the people that bought the KX upgrading and buying new lenses AND get more people interested in switching from other brands to Pentax for mid level cameras.

Again, I think this is the case. Pentax needs to keep the momentum of the KX going. I hope they introduce, fairly quickly (Summer 2010 would be good) an improved K7 which benefits from the KX's technology, but which goes further.

The K7 or it's replacement needs to be better then the recently introduced Canon 7D and the improved Nikon D300s.

It's like the horsepower wars in North America back in the '60's. Dodge would bring out the 383, Chev...would bring out the 396, Ford the 428, then Dodge the 440, then Chevy the 454...always more horsepower...and that's the DSLR camera business itself.

At first glance it would seem easier for Canon or Nikon to keep raising the stakes...but on the other hand they have a much larger line to balance their focus on then Pentax does at this time.

But on the other hand, Hoya seems lukewarm about having a DSLR line and I get the feeling want to sell off Pentax as soon as a good offer is out there.

I was hoping Samsung would buy Pentax and then do what Sony did with Minolta-Konica...really go to town with more R + D and investment.

But I'm not sure where the Samsung- Pentax relationship is right now.

I'm not sure what the answer is. But I think I disagree with Dustin. I don't think a pro camera is the way to go for Pentax. There are just too many barriers. First and foremost is - the rank and file Pentaxian appears to be very budget conscious. That's not a bad thing at all. But true professional caliber cameras and professional caliber lenses are expensive. Now - actual professionals can afford expensive gear. The problem is - those pros are shooting other systems now.I'm not sure either if it is a good idea for Pentax to bring out a pro camera. The LX was a fine pro camera and the 645 and 6 X 7 were used by pros. But the 645 and 6 X 7 are in the medium format class...the big money I think is in the Full Frame area and Nikon and particularly Canon have this well locked up. I'm not sure that Sony will make much inroads to the FF pro market as it's such an entrenched postion.

However Nikon took over the pro market in the '60's and dominated through the '80's. Canon came on strong with the intro of their F1 film system and introducing lot's of lenses....eventually usurping Nikon's dominance in the pro market.


Sony has inarguable strong position in the pro video (TV) market and this strength there is a real asset as it demonstrates Sony's ability to make pro camera equipment that will stand the rigours of pro use.


Sony's recent introduction of a very well priced FF...the 850 will I think be reason enough for serious amateurs to check out Sony. I don't think Pentax can do what Sony did - push out pro style bodies and lenses and operate at a loss till they build momentum. I just don't think there are enough people in Pentax who want to pay for $3000 bodies and $1800 - $4000 lenses.
I agree...the pro market and those amateurs who want to and can afford pro equipment are limited in number. I think the market is more then well catered to, with Canon, Nikon and now Sony.
I think the next step is clearly to build on the K-X. Replace the K-7 with what they learned from the K-X. Get a camera that truly competes with the Canon & Nikon mid level semi-pro cameras. They need something that competes with the 7D and 300s. Exactly. Pentax has some great glass...the limited primes, the 300 F4, the 200 f2.8...even the consumer lenses such as the 55-300, 16-45, the Fish Eye 10-17...they are excellent.

The K7 didn't go far enough, the KX is a bit of a blockbuster...they need to make the K7's replacement a blockbuster.

I have been an avid photographer for over 40 years and have used lot's of different makes.

I've always liked Pentax equipment, found it reliable, durable and the glass to me has been hard to beat...class by class.

I almost switched from Pentax and went Nikon or Canon. At the last minute in my decision making process Pentax came out with the K10D...which in it's time had a lot of features. Rugged, weather resistant body, shake reduction in the body, etc.

I've been more then happy with it for my amateur use and find it tke a real beating (not literally) in extreme climates...(Western Canadian prairie winters) and delivers product that I'm happy with.


But Pentax can't rest on the laurels of the K10D and the KX. It's a very competitive market.





Even full-frame is kind of tough for Pentax. They've been pushing their lens design toward APS-C. Producing full frame would require them to start developing full frame lenses again. That's a lot of R&D money on the risk people would buy it. Remember, they're pushing smaller/lighter at the lower end.I sometimes wonder if APS-C will wither away. I was heartened by the intro of the Canon 7D and the Nikon 300s...which to me indicates that APS-C are here for awhile anyways. But if companies like Sony keep lowereing the price and technology of Full Frame...it begs the question...in 3-5 years, if the price of an intro FF is similar to a high level APS-C like the 7D, 300s or K7 (their successors) why would anyone go with an APS-C ?

All in all -if I were a betting man I would bet Hoya would sell off Pentax to Sony, Nikon or Canon within the next 3 years. They've got some great technology but I think it will be tough for them to get market position.
I wouldn't take your bet...I think Hoya will sell off Pentax, but to whom...I dunno. If they do sell to Sony, Nikon or Canon...would any of those three keep the K mount and more to the point keep the Pentax name and run two separate makes ?

I guess only if it a good, profitable business plan...but if they decide (say Nikon) to have Nikon and Pentax....Nikon for serious photographers...Pentax ...the 'lite' brand for the genralists...that would not bode well for serious Pentax photographers in as far as continuation of excellent lenses, etc.

Something will develop eventually...just what ?
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Old Jan 15, 2010, 12:16 PM   #12
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... I'm not so sure they're not continuing their partnership with Samsung, either. ...
Actually, I think Samsung is one of the companies looking at Pentax.
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Old Jan 15, 2010, 12:17 PM   #13
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That would be my bet. Samsung would be the most likely partner (or purchaser if Hoya decides to sell it).
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Old Jan 15, 2010, 12:30 PM   #14
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But again, Hoya may figure out a way for Pentax to survive via a smaller market share, too. I didn't keep up with all of the developments. But, it's my understanding that Hoya basically let virtually all of the Pentax outside sales staff go after they purchased Pentax.

As a result, many camera stores that used to carry it, no longer carry it (probably because Hoya didn't leave any kind of significant infrastructure in place to support them).

But, on the other hand, buying habits are changing, too. For example, I don't buy many photography related items at local stores anymore. It's just too convenient to browse for what I want online, click on a button or two and have it delivered to my doorstep. ;-)

So, I can see that changing buying habits can make it more practical for a company to survive without a significant market share, as long as they can figure out a way to make a profit (that's the question -- can they make a profit at it).
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Old Jan 15, 2010, 1:04 PM   #15
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But again, Hoya may figure out a way for Pentax to survive via a smaller market share, too. I didn't keep up with all of the developments. But, it's my understanding that Hoya basically let virtually all of the Pentax outside sales staff go after they purchased Pentax.

I know that seems to be the case in the USA, where according to many posts from Americans that I've read ,Pentax equipment is hard to find.

I wonder if it is the U.S. distribution methods?

In my middling large, Canadian city we have a Canadian national chain with two stores, a Western Canadian chain with three stores, a large drugstore with a thriving camera store, a private, well established store... all are camera specialty stores.

All of them have a very good stock of new Pentax cameras (K7, KX, K20D)...lenses aplenty and other Pentax accessories.

In the past 2 and a bit years I've gone in to all four companies' stores and bought from existing Pentax stock the following:

  • K10D
  • KM (K2000)
  • 16-45
  • 50 f1.4
  • 55-300
  • 50 Macro F2.8
  • 10-17 Fisheye
  • 18-55
  • 360 flash
  • battery grip
  • remote control
  • batteries
With all this stuff, only two lenses (50 f1.4 and 50 Macro) had to be ordered and they were received in less than a week. All the other items listed were in stock .

No waiting...hand over the cash...hand over the ne equipment.


As a result, many camera stores that used to carry it, no longer carry it (probably because Hoya didn't leave any kind of significant infrastructure in place to support them).

But, on the other hand, buying habits are changing, too. For example, I don't buy many photography related items at local stores anymore. It's just too convenient to browse for what I want online, click on a button or two and have it delivered to my doorstep. ;-)

So, I can see that changing buying habits can make it more practical for a company to survive without a significant market share, as long as they can figure out a way to make a profit (that's the question -- can they make a profit at it).
I agree...buying habits are changing. Many people here, now order their books ...online from Amazon. Especially younger people like my kids who are in their '20's...they order online...delivery is fast...they avoid malls.
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Old Jan 15, 2010, 3:56 PM   #16
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Saw a rumor a couple of places today that says the 645D is coming out in March for a price of $6500. Compare that to the price of a Phase One MF camera (or to the D3X) and this will turn a lot of heads if true. Lots of studio and landscape photogs would be getting one, I suspect.

I agree with the sentiment that Pentax doesn't have to grow market share, just be profitable. The products they have are fine, they just need to find the right price for them.
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Old Jan 15, 2010, 4:43 PM   #17
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dont know what all the fuss is about to be honest - k7 is a fantastic camera won gear of the year 2009 from 2 big photography magizines here beating the d300s- the kx another fantastic machine

alot of great lenses availble

now i dont know what to expect from the k8 and likely wont get it anyway as am happy with the k7 - k9 who knows might be ready to upgrade by then but might not

yeah they need to keep the momentum up but if the subsequent cameras are as good as these last 2 then they dont have to much to worry about - people will buy good cameras
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Old Jan 15, 2010, 9:58 PM   #18
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dont know what all the fuss is about to be honest - k7 is a fantastic camera won gear of the year 2009 from 2 big photography magizines here beating the d300s- the kx another fantastic machine

alot of great lenses availble

now i dont know what to expect from the k8 and likely wont get it anyway as am happy with the k7 - k9 who knows might be ready to upgrade by then but might not

yeah they need to keep the momentum up but if the subsequent cameras are as good as these last 2 then they dont have to much to worry about - people will buy good cameras
I don't know that it's a "fuss" or that anyone has said that Pentax equipment isn't great. i think we all agree that it's a good product. My only point was that despite having some good products, one of which is a top selling DSLR, Pentax as a company is still losing market share rapidly, and not in real good shape as a business. Yes people will buy good products, but I know at least in the areas I've been in, there are no Pentax camera's to touch and feel, let alone buy.
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Old Jan 16, 2010, 10:53 AM   #19
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Pentax lost a lot of ground when they first joined the digital era by offering mediocre products (compared to its direct rivals at the time, Canon and Nikon primarily). The company failed in the P&S department and their DSLRs were far from stellar. As a result, they lost a big chunk of their film customer base (of course there were the die-hard fans who stuck to their products no matter what). Since then, Pentax has worked hard to improve the quality of their DSLRs and to a great extent, they have improved them by a long shot. However, their P&S models continue to fail. I think that not having a larger market share in this segment is killing them because the cash they generate from their DSLR sales is simply not enough to keep them at the top. Add to that the fact that they still haven't managed to expand their DSLR market share by that much during the past few years and the result is what it is. It's hard to build good reputation but is is easy to loose it and when you do loose it, it's three times as hard to regain it.

I don't believe for a second that Sony would be interested in buying them out. It's just not going to happen. It would be foolish having to support two total different systems. Sony has flooded the market with camera models (both DSLR or P&S). IMO, the reason they can do that is because Sony is a very large company, with many divisions covering a wide range of electronic products. So, they have the cash to dump into it (whether the money comes from its camera division or from other more profitable divisions, which indirectly subsidizes the camera div. it's is irrelevant. In the end, it's all "funny money").

Money is everything, in any type of business. If you can't make it on your own, you do it through acquisitions, so you get a head start (that's what Sony did by acquiring Minolta - it is cheaper to buy a house with a swimming pool than to install one from scratch). Samsung has the money and they already have name recognition but not in the photography world yet, so buying Pentax may be the way to get there more easily, specially considering that the two companies already have a collaborative type of relationship. I don't believe Pentax makes anything in Japan anyway.
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Old Jan 16, 2010, 12:19 PM   #20
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Tullio's comments are right on target, and I agree with them.

Well spoken, Tullio.

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