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10-03-2010, 05:03 PM   #1
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Looking at the current lens lineup, ISO seems to be Pentax strategy.

Just how many lens are F/2 or faster?

other then legacy lens, i see a lot them being Sigma`s.

so that makes me think, are they considering rather then make faster glass would it be better to have cameras with outstanding iso so that f/2.8 is as bright as f/1.4 and so on?

on the other hand, would it be possible for F/2.8 lens to make the bokeh/background blur as similar as at f/1.4?

10-03-2010, 07:15 PM   #2
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Just looking at the DA Limiteds vs the FA Limiteds, that does seem to be the case.

Though the small size of the DA Limiteds are what drew me to Pentax (from Nikon) in the first place, I personally wouldn't have minded having the DA Limiteds slightly larger, yet also faster. i.e. similar in size and speed to the FA43 and FA77.

With the advancements in sensor development, high ISO now is definitely better than it was years ago, and yes, in terms of getting more light, faster lenses aren't needed that much anymore. However, in terms of creative control, faster lenses will still be much more flexible, and IMO at the same sensor sizes, aperture is still the biggest factor in DOF control vs focal length, background/subject distance etc..
10-04-2010, 05:55 AM   #3
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One of the things that has always worried me is that pentax is suffering from the M disease.

I call it this because it is why I opted for a Ricoh XR2s body origonally, the Pentax M series cameras were just too small, but pentax and olympus were caught up in the race to deliver the smallest cameras on the market.

When looking at the M line up compared to the K or A line up, aside from a few exceptions the M series were smaller and slower than the K's or the A's.


If you look at the lens development, since digital, the lenses have been smaller because they are producing field of view equivelents to film. SO we have a 16-50 in place of a 24-75 (or 28-80) and a 50-135 in place of a 70-200. etc...

While waiting for higher ISO sensors with low noise is OK for the general public, and most people don't shoot below F2.8 any way (except for when they want low DOF) producing little itty bitty but slow lenses may be OK, but lack of a path to more serious lenses ultimately will kill them off unless people buy the bodies for legacy glass, then plan to get sigma or what ever for the new lenses.
10-04-2010, 07:08 AM   #4
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SIZE seems to be the Pentax strategy.

That, and WR.

10-04-2010, 07:26 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by bdery Quote
SIZE seems to be the Pentax strategy.
...
Exactly. This is what attracted me to Pentax. I think that the DA Limiteds are just the right size and speed.

High-quality, compact equipment seems to be Pentax's niche in the DSLR world. Where else are you going to find a tiny 15mm, or a 70mm "pancake"? They have even produced a matching camera body, ideally suited to the use of these lenses. (Small and precise, with built-in SR.)



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10-04-2010, 07:58 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by bdery Quote
SIZE seems to be the Pentax strategy.

That, and WR.
I agree on the size, but I'm not too sure about the WR. None of the ltds are WR. Only * and WR zooms. So it's kind of split in there.
As far as the size goes, I see what they are after but I think they have sacrificed too much in terms of speed. Just look at FA ltds. Even 31 is small when compared to Sigma 28/1.8! The same goes for some of the FA* (24, 200, 300) these are still comparatively small lenses yet of good speed. DA40 could have easily be f2 or 2.4 (just look at Voigtlander 40/2 ultron), so could DAL35, DA21 could (and I say here should have been) 2.8 or 2.4 without changing the size a lot (just see FA20).
These days there isn't anybody to compete with (Zuiko lenses can be smaller or the same size but faster, CaNiSon don't seem to be interested in small glass, and Leica has it's legend behind and EVILs? K mount can't be so slim anyway so what's the point) so they seem to be using it as a main attraction to the system. Small yet top quality package. But there is one mistake! If you want to have WR combo, you have to go large or plastic fantastic... If the DA lts were WR then we would be talking some serious business here!

My 2p
10-04-2010, 08:10 AM   #7
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The FA 50/1.4 and FA 43/1.9 are compact lenses as is the FA 77/1.8 ltd given its fl. It is too bad they killed the FA 35/2. The DA* 200/2.8 and 300/4 aren't bad either speed wise. The DA* 55/1.4 is a bit big but fast. However, it seems to be unavailable through Pentax Imaging and I don't mean out of stock. Then there's the FA 31/1.8. That is about it for current production glass that could be considered fast. That DA 35/2.4 will be kind of a "tweener" in that regard.
10-04-2010, 08:12 AM   #8
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Personally, I thought that Pentax hit the bull's eye with FA limited lenses. Fast enough (faster than f/2.0) but not too fast to be too big/heavy and too expensive (like Canon 85/1.2L). DA limited lenses have no appeal to me whatsoever. I bought DA 21 because I needed a wide prime and I couldn't at the time find second hand FA 20/2.8 which I bought later on from a fellow forum member. Presently my daughter shoots with it. It is a fine lens but I like FA 20/2.8 better.

Throughout the years since introduction of *istD, Pentax does not seem to produce really interesting glass. The mantra of small and metal (DA limited) is rather worn out in my eyes. Neither small nor metal says nothing about the optical qualities...

Your mileage may be entirely different, naturally.

10-04-2010, 10:18 AM   #9
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I think the word "consumer" is more apt for the current Pentax product strategy for non-645D products.

My opinion:

These current and future releases square with the Pentax focus on entry-level buyers. The K-x and the K-r are the important products for Pentax so they can build a higher-volume pyramid of system subscribers. Pentax has to provide enough consumer lenses for folks to get started; then they can upgrade to the most complete APS-C system available along with the K-5 or its successors. That should do most customers for many years.

The APS-C lens offering is about as finished as it's going to be--especially the higher-end lenses.

Maybe we'll see a 30mm f1.8, though looking at the forthcoming 35mm consumer lens, I doubt it. Maybe we'll get a DC (formerly SDM) TC. Maybe we'll get weather-resistant updates. But these are minor.

From here on out it will be consumer zooms and a marketable but slow WR prime here or there. I doubt that we'll see a 400mm prime. Hopefully 400mm will be, at least, at the long end of a general sports and wildlife zoom with a range that starts around 120mm. Gotta use the K-5 improved AF for something!

If you want anything more sophisticated and expensive, then the 645D awaits.

This is a pretty clever strategy for a brand with relatively limited resources and severe competition. I'm very impressed with the discipline and intelligence Hoya has instituted even if my needs are increasingly unmet.

What is interesting and a little troubling about this product strategy is that it ignores the existing base of advanced or working Pentax shooters who desire fast lenses or FF. I assume that the spreadsheets have been generated showing that this minority won't generate as much (or any) net profit compared with entry-level customers. But on these forums we see their frustration and the adoption of competing systems.

M
10-04-2010, 10:35 AM   #10
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Miguel, I see what you are saying but it kind of doesn't work... you see, if you are CaNiSon user, you can start with entry levels (D60, D3000, D5000, EOS 550, EOS1000 and A290 etc) get your taste of DSLR system, you can start buying your glass and know it'll work! Then you can got enthusiast level (D90, D300, EOS40/50/60, A700) and buy more glass... and if you are not happy you can splash out at semi pro/pro cameras (D2, D3, D700, EOS5D/5D MkII, EOS 1 incarnations, A850, A950) and your glass will still work! With Pentax as it is, if you want to go big guns, you have to change mounts! And that sucks, and big time! IMHO at least.....
What is the point of building the base of the pyramid with consumer level if you can't keep the people in the system when they want to go serious? - yeah, yeah I know you can deliver great shots with existing lenses (Ben, Peter, Devisor etc for example) but your average John Dough sees big, glass with low f stop numbers and high pricetags and that means pro to him! So if he starts with his kiss kiss Rebel instead of Pink K-x he can go all the way to EOS1D MkIV and his glass will work! (albeit some of it crop mode).
And the excuse of focusing on slow glass because they want to attract consumer and not prosumer/enthusiast level.... well, it'll loose them quite a few people IMO, I'm here because I still can get my hands on excellent fast glass... some newcomers down the line will not probably have as many options...
10-04-2010, 11:05 AM   #11
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Axl,

Sure it works, the Pentax brand is now profitable and probably more popular than it has been in a long time thanks to those pink K-x buyers.

My last paragraph addresses your counterpoint--Pentax assumes that there are not that many folks whose ambitions will take them beyond APS-C. I agree with them. Plus the value of the products are strong enough to keep folks like me in two camps.

Pentax sells at least half a million DSLRs yearly. A few hundred or even thousand customers leaving for other brands every year is a simple cost of doing business. Plus, these "serious" shooters have already cycled through and spent a nice wad on Pentax. We're entering the realm of diminishing returns.

Pentax cannot afford to directly compete with the larger three brands. They offer an alternative universe that only needs to capture a small percentage of the total market to thrive.

M
10-04-2010, 11:16 AM   #12
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I agree that they can't compete with the Big boys but it would be nice if they could offer something truly unique. And as of now they don't... If they could grab a niche market (a la Leica) that would be good. But the pink K-x customers are consumers, as you said, they don't stay in the system, they buy one camera every year or so because their current camera is too old, they don't care about brands, about brand loyalty, about buying into system... and Pentax targeting this segment of a market doesn't make me feel very confident in the long run..... They need to attract the serious guys, who are happy to invest and upgrade.... and so far they don't do this all that much....
10-04-2010, 11:25 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by Miguel Quote
Pentax cannot afford to directly compete with the larger three brands. They offer an alternative universe that only needs to capture a small percentage of the total market to thrive.

M
I think you should rephrase this. I would not consider sony one of the "big 3" in fact there is a "Big 2" and then everyone else.

I think the point is there will be further consolodation in the market. you have panasonic/leica and Olympus in the 4/3 arena, then pentax and sony fighting with the likes of canon and nikon. Sony bought the Minolta customer base but I don't perceive them even doing as well as pentax in brand retention as pentax did.

We need new lenses and a broader roadmap.

Perhaps the best we could home for is a merger with sigma, After sigma's camera is going no where in a hurry, but they have lenses. ANd more importantly they have a lot of lenses that pentax users are asking for.
10-04-2010, 11:48 AM   #14
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Pentax small Limited lenses are truly unique in the DSLR market. No one else offers the breadth of those focal lengths in that small size factor. That's the one feature that is keeping a lot of shooters, including me, with the brand. The weather resistance is another, but everyone's catching up more or less.

Don't assume that those younger customers are going to abandon the brand en masse. And besides, it's a high volume game here.

I disagree on the need for the serious guys. Who are these people anyway, the folks reading this forum? If so, we're small in number. Plus we'll keep Pentax out of the profit stream by dealing in used products.

Pentax lacks the support infrastructure for working photographers. Not to mention extensive lenses like a shift/tilt for architecture, or just more than two or three fast zooms. To build all that (including marketing and supporting IT and supply chain relationships) requires way too much capital.

Anyway, I'm one of the few working photographers who shoot Pentax and Canon is now my tool of choice for (non-personal art) photography. It's just tools.

M

QuoteOriginally posted by axl Quote
[deleted]
but it would be nice if they could offer something truly unique.

[deleted]
10-04-2010, 12:02 PM   #15
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I throw Sony in there out of respect for the brand and their incredible resources. They are in a massive re-envisioning initiative right now corporate-wide, but if they wanted to, they could take on the big two.

Olympus is analogous to Pentax in that they have found their profit stream to be in something different from a few years ago. For Olympus that means mirrorless cameras. 4/3 is nice but done--unless they pull off a mirrorless 4/3rds in a few years.

The Sigma hookup is certainly interesting, but I don't see Pentax being dealt for another three years. It seems like the Pentax camera brand is in year two of a five year makeover plan. And it's working. Hoya is a very smart company and highly respected in the optical manufacturing industry. If Pentax gets dealt I would think it will be when the brand's market value can assure a profitable return.

I don't know what we need, but Pentax needs a larger marketing budget.

M


QuoteOriginally posted by Lowell Goudge Quote
I think you should rephrase this. I would not consider sony one of the "big 3" in fact there is a "Big 2" and then everyone else.

I think the point is there will be further consolodation in the market. you have panasonic/leica and Olympus in the 4/3 arena, then pentax and sony fighting with the likes of canon and nikon. Sony bought the Minolta customer base but I don't perceive them even doing as well as pentax in brand retention as pentax did.

We need new lenses and a broader roadmap.

Perhaps the best we could home for is a merger with sigma, After sigma's camera is going no where in a hurry, but they have lenses. ANd more importantly they have a lot of lenses that pentax users are asking for.
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