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Saturday, 05 April 2008


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Yes indeed, I've heard the "Sky is Falling" for the past three years ;-) Yet, we are still around and produce excellent gear for our photography needs. Very few companies are able to create a sense of ownership with their customers, and I feel Pentax and the "Pentaxian" family will be around for a while longer ;-)

And, Ned if you are reading this; we need a very small Pentax DSLR (K1000D!) to match out Limited Pancake lenses (like Oly 420 - you can ask Mike for specifications ;-)... and Happy surfing.

30 year Pentaxian

"Do you like my hat?"
"I do! I like your party hat!"
(they leave together)

A fun Pentax story. Learned while consulting with Honeywell-Pentax in the 60's. Their shipment of cameras was held up because the 50 cavity mold that was made for the front plate with the name PENTAX on it was reversed. The guys reading the letters were Japanese and the blueprint was reversed--looked good to them. XATNEP. Hey maybe thats what holding up the the new 31/16.3MP. 5DXXI or IXXD5.

Pentax seems to be a little bit like Apple was before the iPod -- always supposedly about to shut down production. It used to scare me whenever I heard the dire predictions about either company, seeing as how I have an investment in equipment specific to both. But now I just shrug and move on. If the worst should happen, and if the Pentax brand should fold, either somebody will keep producing k-mount bodies (seems likely to me seeing how many lenses there are out there), or not. And if not, I hold on to my MX and a couple of lenses, and move on.

Mike, looking around at the latest and greatest of DSLR's being released and I realized the Pentax K20D has got to be the bargain of the moment: RAW DNG, fully weatherproofed, 14.5 mp, SD card (all my other digital cameras use SD), smaller and lighter than the competition, a wonderful compliment of prime lenses and the price seems to be discounted at many places. Why in the world was I thinking of a D300?

Yes! Doubtless early childhood's most satisfying literary _dénouement_.


Mike J.

"Their shipment of cameras was held up because the 50 cavity mold that was made for the front plate with the name PENTAX on it was reversed. The guys reading the letters were Japanese and the blueprint was reversed--looked good to them. XATNEP."

I would have bought one of those.

Mike J.

After more than 40 years, 'Go Dog Go!' is still at the top of my list. The dogs' party on top of the tree was something else, and whenever I see the umbrella shape of an acacia tree, or densely packed and pruned foliage of a maritime forest that image comes back to me. On the subject of P.D. Eastman ... 'Are You My Mother?' wasn't half bad, either!

"... The guys reading the letters were Japanese and the blueprint was reversed--looked good to them. XATNEP.

I would have bought one of those.

Mike J."

Can you imagine what a 3M acieL would be worth?


In case you all didn't know, Mike has a thing for Pentax. (He sold me). From his Sunday Morning series of articles, 6/2/02:

"Yet the very best AF SLR lenses made today are the Pentax Limiteds. There are only three, and they have focal lengths apparently chosen by means of occultish numerology: there's a 31mm f/1.8 wide, a 43mm f/1.9 "true" normal, and a 77mm f/1.8 short tele. All three are made of metal (imagine that), focus manually more than passably well, and are of an size and weight that doesn't constantly penalize you, whether you're lugging them around or holding them up to your eye on a camera. They have beautiful matching metal lens hoods and a feel of quality that puts them above virtually all other AF lenses."


I'm with Sam. The Pentax K10D was a killer camera for the price, and the K20D looks pretty good too. But what Pentax really needs for a knockout blow is indeed a small, light camera with a decent viewfinder to go with those primes. I have a Pentax *ist DL2 that I bought on a whim (I also have a Nikon D300, but I wanted to try using my Pentax lenses on a dSLR). Though very basic, it isn't half bad (the more advanced K200D looks like a great consumer camera). I would use it a lot more if it weren't for the fact that it takes 4AA batteries. I know that a lot of Pentaxians love this about Pentax's consumer-level dSLR cameras, but I hate it. Proprietary batteries are smaller and lighter. Loaded with 4AAs, the *ist DL2 becomes too heavy and misbalanced to be a fun "grab-and-go" camera.

Which just goes to show that you can't make everybody happy... ;-)

BTW, for anyone who is interested, the Pentax O-ME53 viewfinder magnifier is a great accessory, unlike Nikon's DK-21M. Highly recommended, especially if you are using manual focus lenses.


Is he responsible for the canning of the digital 645? If so, I'd just like to express my sincere disappointment. That is all....

I am working about 10 years as an optician in Germany and i know that the eye-glass lenses from Hoya are always a good choice. They have (and i am selling eight other brands[Zeiss, Essilor, Rupp & Hubrach, Rodenstock, Nikon, Seiko, Optovision, Swiss Optic]) the best coatings on the market and their glass-design is one that is always spontaneous good accepted by the customers. Their progression-addition lenses are always innovative and very comfortable for the spectacle-wearers.
My first thought after hearing that Hoya will integrate Pentax was, that it will bring more know-how in developing optical products and when they will do it right we can expect more excellent lenses in the future. I have always made good experiences with Hoya.This fusion is an enrichment. I don't worry about my loved Pentax.

"Is he responsible for the canning of the digital 645? If so, I'd just like to express my sincere disappointment. That is all...."

Calum, I read (and translated the main points of) an interview with a couple of Pentax executives in Tokyo about two weeks ago. They emphatically describe the 645 Digital as _not_ cancelled, but deferred until the low-end lineup is complete.

Translation (and link to interview):

Good for you people in the US that Pentax seems to be keeping up its sales and service efforts. I’m always more than a bit envious when I visit the Pentax US website. In Denmark, the distributor is slow in updating information, marketing is limited and even though the bodies are not that expensive, lenses are. Denmark, of course, is not much of a market for Pentax compared to the US. But the combined European market is a lot of potential buyers – even though, I have the impression that EU-prices are generally higher than in the US. Pentax might sell a lot more in Europe with a more aggressive price policy.
To be fair, the K10D are being sold at a bargain prize now, since the introduction of the K20D. But a lot of potential buyers will probably never know. Yesterday, I visited a shop in my local mall. While looking at something else, I overheard how a young sales rep presented a Canon 400D as the best buck for money in the known photo-universe to some other customer. Currently, the 400D is slightly more expensive than a K10D. Of course, there was no Pentax DSLR’s in the shop….

Mike, there were never any made they had to redo the injection mold.
Like I stated before the Pentax cost a few dollars less than the Nikon at the time, 60's. I think if it wasn't for the movie "Blow Up" and the really clever advertising at the time things may have been different.

I read Ned's blog and think it's wonderful that a fairly senior executive in a camera company writes one. Camera companies, as a class, are terrible at customer communication, and Ned's blog is a really refreshing exception to that rule.

That said, and without meaning to cast aspersions on anyone, this move by Pentax USA says one thing to me: cost-cutting. Territorial sales reps get paid a lot by camera company standards and they are therefore a prime target when the axe must be wielded. And inevitably, of course, that cost-cutting axe is given a benign label -- "rationalization", "right-sizing", "realignment with new market conditions", whatever.

I'd bet a bundle that this new channel-centered sales system will cost Pentax less and that's the primary reason behind it. Now, cost-cutting by itself is in theory not always a bad thing for consumers. The trick is doing it without reducing services; I hope Pentax can pull that off (but color me a little doubtful based on past experience).

Eamon, thanks for the kind words about my blogging and being accessible. I'd also like to add that you're wrong about these moves by us being "cost-cutting". In fact, by the time we're finished with the sales org changes and developing new programs for each channel, these efforts will result in increased sales and marketing expenses. Of course, we'll still be out-spent significantly by the big two, but we'll still be spending more than we have in many years. Cheers, Ned

Anybody else think that the next move from pentax has gotta be a (sorry) "K1000d" that will re-establish that best low-end (d)SLR presence and lure in new users not yet ready to spend more on a K200d or K20d? Or will we see a focus on the upper-end?

I wonder whether phasing out the K10 & K100 doesn't leave Nikon & Canon to enjoy unquestioned ownership (again) of the novice searching for an upgrade from a point-and-shoot, or the smart value-seeker who realizes that N & C are lacking/omitting features that are valuable photographically.

Or is it not a big deal since the K10 & K100 Super wil be available NOS for some time? I would just hate to see Pentax cede its traditional position as a provider of excellent value, as well as a sort of "democratizer" of quality photo gear. That's my perception anyway.

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