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03-09-2011, 05:48 PM   #1
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More Pentax love from Thom Hogan

Thom had a post on his blog about camera system market for enthusiasts, and about how Nikon does not do so well on this market lately. Somebody from this forum must have sent Thom comments, so today he specifically notes Pentax system. Emphasis mine:

QuoteQuote:
Several people correctly pointed out that Pentax is already there. To illustrate that, I put together a Pentax Enthusiast list to show you how it goes together. Price for the whole kit? ~US$4300. Pentax, like Nikon, has always had a high enthusiast component in their mid-to-high range sales. Unlike Nikon, Pentax seems to have produced the right lenses. So why doesn't Pentax do better? The whole transfer to Hoya didn't help confidence in the brand, especially since Hoya executives haven't exactly expressed confidence in the brand themselves. But there are more components to Pentax's current position than just that. One is dealerships, which have eroded. Another is marketing on point and in people's faces, which isn't happening. You can make the right product, but if no one knows about it and can't get it in their hands to check out, they don't buy it.
He then produces a list of enthusiast brands:

QuoteQuote:
Leica, Nikon, Pentax.


03-09-2011, 10:06 PM   #2
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Always good to see positive press; thanks for sharing.
03-09-2011, 11:34 PM   #3
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He is going to have Leica aficionados at his door with pitchforks and torches shaking their fists and loudly proclaiming that Leica isn't a enthusiast brand! Leica transcends such petty labelling!!

though seriously, does Thom Hogan consider the Leica S2 an enthusiast camera?
03-10-2011, 06:09 AM   #4
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Thom Hogan doesn't really know that much about brands other than Nikon. He is intelligent and makes good observations, but Pentax seems to have turned a corner since Hoya purchased them. I guess his observations primarily apply to the United States, since in other parts of the world it is a lot easier to get your hands on a Pentax camera and try it out. My understanding is that in parts of Europe they have an excellent market share and their share in Japan (their primary market) has grown as well.

03-10-2011, 06:20 AM   #5
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Yeah, I'm from Sweden and from what I gather the situation must be completely different here than in America. Pentax is still a very distant third at best (probably fourth, I don't know what the deal is with Sony) but they regularly have full page ads in all the leading magazines and you can walk into most brick and mortar stores and pick up a K-5 or K-r and a bunch of lenses, no problem. America is the sole market which seems to be truly problematic for Hoya.

Just yesterday I was at a local camera store and tried out a 645D They had a Pentax rep in store who demo'd the 645D and K-5 and had special deals on Pentax stuff all day long. I don't suppose you would see much of that in America..?
03-10-2011, 06:41 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by Erik Quote
Just yesterday I was at a local camera store and tried out a 645D They had a Pentax rep in store who demo'd the 645D and K-5 and had special deals on Pentax stuff all day long. I don't suppose you would see much of that in America..?
I think in the US, a lot of the problem is the commoditization of DSLRs...you see Canikon in the big box stores like Best Buy, Costco, etc., but very little Pentax (occasionally the P&S).

You have to go to a camera specialty store (e.g., one in Boston called Hunts) where people aren't willing to pay the prices for because they can get it mail order instead. The exception is B&H and Adorama in NYC which are both, but have good prices and also have a strong mail order business.

The other thing is rentals are easier to get for Canikon...just about every big city has one or two rental places you can rent gear from (in Boston, we have at least three I know of....EP Levine's and LensProToGo and Calumet)...
03-10-2011, 07:06 AM   #7
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It seems to me that Hogan's observation in bold is spot on about marketing. I've got one dealership in town, but it doesn't carry many lenses and doesn't even keep up with them. The other dealership is Nikon only for new DSLRs.
03-10-2011, 08:23 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by kenyee Quote
I think in the US, a lot of the problem is the commoditization of DSLRs...you see Canikon in the big box stores like Best Buy, Costco, etc., but very little Pentax (occasionally the P&S).

You have to go to a camera specialty store (e.g., one in Boston called Hunts) where people aren't willing to pay the prices for because they can get it mail order instead. The exception is B&H and Adorama in NYC which are both, but have good prices and also have a strong mail order business.

The other thing is rentals are easier to get for Canikon...just about every big city has one or two rental places you can rent gear from (in Boston, we have at least three I know of....EP Levine's and LensProToGo and Calumet)...
The United States is a very fragmented market anyway. I live in a very rural area. The closest camera stores (even Best Buys) are an hour's drive away. Going there, I could probably find some decent gear, but stores like Walmart and Best Buy don't stock top end lenses or even cameras above enthusiast level either. Lens rentals have to be over the internet, because there is no rental place (even for Canon/Nikon) close by.

It is true that over fifty percent of the population lives near a large urban area, but a lot of folks don't and they end up using the internet, sight unseen, trying things out and sending back what doesn't work.

Finally, the government has created strong encouragement of on line sales, compared to local sales by not charging sales tax on internet sales, but charging it on local sales. On a thousand dollar lens, sales tax is significant, the same on a camera body. I am sure that eventually this will change, but as of right now, it hurts camera stores a lot.

03-10-2011, 10:18 AM - 1 Like   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by Rondec Quote
Finally, the government has created strong encouragement of on line sales, compared to local sales by not charging sales tax on internet sales, but charging it on local sales. On a thousand dollar lens, sales tax is significant, the same on a camera body. I am sure that eventually this will change, but as of right now, it hurts camera stores a lot.
I'm not sure if you realize, but technically it's not the government "not charging sales tax," but it's actually a situation of the national government not stipulating that state sales tax be collected at the time of sale for online sales, unless the company doing the online sales is also in the same state as the buyer, in which case it is collected at time of sale. However, the consumer is still obligated to pay use tax for their purchases in the state they live in when they file their annual taxes. (I am a resident of MA and NH has no sales tax so I am very aware of this.) Wikipedia has a good summary of this situation:

QuoteQuote:
For example, a resident of Massachusetts, with a 6.25% percent "sales and use tax" on certain goods and services, purchases non-exempt goods or services in New Hampshire for use, storage or other consumption in Massachusetts. Under New Hampshire law, the New Hampshire vendor collects no sales taxes on the goods but the purchaser/user must still pay six and a quarter percent of the sales price directly to the Department of Revenue in Massachusetts as a use tax. If the same goods are purchased in a U.S. state that does collect sales tax for such goods at time of purchase, then whatever taxes were paid by the purchaser to that state can be deducted (as a tax credit) from the six and a quarter percent owed for subsequent use, storage or consumption in Massachusetts. (Clarifying Note: With few hair-splitting exceptions, no state's vendors will charge the native sales tax on goods shipped out of state. New Hampshire vendors, however, do not omit tax because something was shipped to Massachusetts or some other state; rather, they omit sales tax because New Hampshire does not impose a sales tax in the first place.)
With many states in bad shape financially these days, and with internet sales only increasing year-to-year, there are obviously a lot of people in government who want to educate consumers about this situation and make it easier for people to pay the taxes due. (For more on that, read the section in the Wikipedia article under "Enforcement".)
03-10-2011, 10:30 AM   #10
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USA is fragmented, and BIG, and those of us outside metro areas have few options.

I live in a mountain hamlet about midway between the capitols of California and Nevada. When Kit Carson Pass is open, we drive to Carson City NV to shop. Just one camera store in the city, a small branch of a larger Reno store -- with no Pentax gear. Pawnshops are a better bet. When the pass is closed, we drive to the Sacramento suburb of Folsom for major shopping. There WAS just one camera store there, also a small branch of a larger Sac'to store, and it had Pentax gear -- but it closed.

Those cities, each 1.5 hours away for us, have their Big Box outlets and some pawnshops and not much else. For more, its's a 3-4 hour drive to San Francisco, where unfortunately most of the camera retailers are tourist-robbers in Chinatown and around Fisherman's Wharf. And I just haven't had time lately to explore the more serious shops. There's a chance we may get to relocate to San Francisco for part of this year, which will be exciting, and not just because of camera stores! But I know I won't see any Pentax marketing, 'cause there ain't none. Argh.

EDIT re taxation: An obligation to pay sales taxes that are uncollected at point-of-sale means voluntary payment of taxes, which is rather an oxymoron. Which of you will say, "Gosh darn I'm so sorry I didn't volunteer my 10% so the state can build more prisons instead of schools! Here, take my money, please!" ??? Tax evasion is illegal. Tax avoidance, isn't. I fully understand my Ukrainian immigrant friend who says he's HAPPY to pay taxes, to live in our land of freedom. We natives take the situation more for granted, and avoid taxation when and where we can. Such is life.

Last edited by RioRico; 03-10-2011 at 10:39 AM.
03-10-2011, 11:13 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by nater Quote
I'm not sure if you realize, but technically it's not the government "not charging sales tax," but it's actually a situation of the national government not stipulating that state sales tax be collected at the time of sale for online sales, unless the company doing the online sales is also in the same state as the buyer, in which case it is collected at time of sale. However, the consumer is still obligated to pay use tax for their purchases in the state they live in when they file their annual taxes. (I am a resident of MA and NH has no sales tax so I am very aware of this.) Wikipedia has a good summary of this situation:



With many states in bad shape financially these days, and with internet sales only increasing year-to-year, there are obviously a lot of people in government who want to educate consumers about this situation and make it easier for people to pay the taxes due. (For more on that, read the section in the Wikipedia article under "Enforcement".)
You may be correct. The reason that I did not specify the word "government" more specifically is that while the states charge the sales tax, it is the federal government that would be required to be involved if the commerce crosses state lines. As to whether you should pay "after the fact" is a moot point. Unless you are required to register an item in your state (like a car) then no one will pay sales tax on an item where it is not charged at the time of sale.
03-10-2011, 12:02 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by Rondec Quote
You may be correct. The reason that I did not specify the word "government" more specifically is that while the states charge the sales tax, it is the federal government that would be required to be involved if the commerce crosses state lines. As to whether you should pay "after the fact" is a moot point. Unless you are required to register an item in your state (like a car) then no one will pay sales tax on an item where it is not charged at the time of sale.
This situation gets even more interesting with alcoholic beverages, which are more heavily taxed. There has been some constitutional litigation, but some states have found ways to limit out of state shipments of wine which have not been struck down--yet.
03-10-2011, 05:06 PM   #13
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There's a similar thread on the Nikon D7k forums over at DPR called "Thom Hogan nails it again..LISTEN NIKON." Don't know if I can link to it, but it's easy enough to find.

Anyhow, I find it ironic because we've had a fair share of folks leave for the D7k because the K-5 was "too expensive", yet in that specific thread, Nikon users are wishing for APS-C specific lenses that were more compact and light. Exactly like the ones offered by Pentax.
03-10-2011, 09:53 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by GeneV Quote
It seems to me that Hogan's observation in bold is spot on about marketing. I've got one dealership in town, but it doesn't carry many lenses and doesn't even keep up with them. The other dealership is Nikon only for new DSLRs.
About that...I spoke to both shops in town about that and both of them said the same thing: They used to stock lots of Pentax pre-Hoya, then the distributor went wacky on them and wouldn't send them product or marketing materials. The distributor was almost solely interested in the big NYC camera stores and online sales. Apparently this finally changed and the distributor was starting to try to push product on them, but at that point they were no longer interested in stocking Pentax products.
03-10-2011, 10:20 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by jeffshaddix Quote
About that...I spoke to both shops in town about that and both of them said the same thing: They used to stock lots of Pentax pre-Hoya, then the distributor went wacky on them and wouldn't send them product or marketing materials. The distributor was almost solely interested in the big NYC camera stores and online sales. Apparently this finally changed and the distributor was starting to try to push product on them, but at that point they were no longer interested in stocking Pentax products.
Was that Kurt's? I've been in there a couple times and I saw a K-x and a couple kits lenses but that was about it.
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