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02-14-2012, 08:19 AM   #1
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When did Pentax start making lenses in Vietnam?

Do the Vietnam lenses hold up as well (IQ and mechanics) as well as the Japanese lenses did?

Thanks

02-14-2012, 08:46 AM   #2
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I only have one Vietnamese-built lens, the humble 18-55 kit lens. And I think it's pretty good. I've gotten some great photos out of it. I've also had some (non-Pentax) lenses built in Japan that were real dogs.

Nowadays, I think the country of origin is unimportant from a quality standpoint. As long as the company making the thing cares about producing a good quality product, it doesn't matter if it's made in Germany, Japan, Vietnam, or Timbuktu.
02-14-2012, 09:40 AM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by slackercruster Quote
Do the Vietnam lenses hold up as well (IQ and mechanics) as well as the Japanese lenses did?

Thanks
March 2008 when Pentax merged into Hoya.

Vietnam factory doenn't produce lenses, they assemble lenses.

IQ should not be impacted as they are still produced in Japan with same formula, etc..., mechanics question is debatable...
02-14-2012, 09:59 AM   #4
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There seems to be something mystifying about the MIJ (Made in Japan) lenses that people here clamor for and are even willing to pay extra for in the marketplace. I agree though, as long as they are following the specifications from Japan, the optical formula should be the same. People love Apple products, even though they're all made in China (albeit designed in USA as they like to say), so hopefully lenses being made in Vietnam aren't considered a blemish on Pentax.

02-14-2012, 10:13 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by ducdao Quote
March 2008 when Pentax merged into Hoya.
I recently bought a new FA 35/2 from B&H. It is marked Assembled in Vietnam and obviously after 2008 because it has Hoya marking in the documentation and packaging, but Bojidar Dimitrov's Pentax K-Mount site lists the FA 35 as discontinued in 2004.

I also recently read that Pentax's venerable A-1.2 has also been made ("assembled") In Vietnam, well after it was supposedly discontinued in 2004.

It appears Bojidar Dimitrov's Pentax K-Mount site is WRONG in its dates of manufacture for these two lenses at least.

FA 35/2 is a super lens BTW - highly recommended.

Last edited by Gray; 02-14-2012 at 06:37 PM.
02-14-2012, 10:28 AM   #6
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The Made In Japan mystique is not unique to cameras or lenses. There is the same issue with watches. Seiko makes watches in Japan and Singapore primarily, although there is some discussion about possible China manufacturing of some components. Seiko marks the watches to indicate which county they were made in and the MIJ watches often go for a 10-35% premium depending on model. No one has been able to point to differences in workmanship or reliability to justify the difference in cost but it keeps happening anyway.
02-14-2012, 11:35 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by Gray Quote
I recently bought a new FA 35/2 from B&H. It is marked Assembled in Vietnam and obviously after 2008 because it has Hoya marking in the documentation and packaging, but Bojidar Dimitrov's Pentax K-Mount site lists the FA 35 as discontinued in 2004.

I also recently read that Pentax's venerable A-1.2 has also been made ("assembled") In Vietnam, well after it was supposedly discontinued in 2004.

It appears Bojidar Dimitrov's Pentax K-Mount site is WRONG in its dates of manufacture for these two lenses at least.

FA 35/2 is a super lens BTW - highly recommended.
Camera equipment, including lenses, is not made in continuous runs the way, say, autos are. A stock is built up in a batch production run and stored for later sale. Unless there is another batch built, when that stock is sold out the item is discontinued.

The stock of those lenses was depleted so they were considered discontinued for a time. After shuttering a significant portion of the assembly capacity in Japan to control costs. Hoya/Pentax reinstated Vietnamese assembly of those lenses from stock parts and or re-sourced parts. To distinguish them from NOS Japanese-assembled produxct (and possibly to comply with import regulations in certain countries) the recent boxes are prominently imprinted "Assembled in Vietnam."

We'll see what happens when this batch runs out.

Last edited by monochrome; 02-14-2012 at 12:54 PM.
02-14-2012, 11:58 AM   #8
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anyone remember this commercial?



02-14-2012, 11:58 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by Gray Quote
I recently bought a new FA 35/2 from B&H. It is marked Assembled in Vietnam and obviously after 2008 because it has Hoya marking in the documentation and packaging, but Bojidar Dimitrov's Pentax K-Mount site lists the FA 35 as discontinued in 2004.

I also recently read that Pentax's venerable A-1.2 has also been made ("assembled") In Vietnam, well after it was supposedly discontinued in 2004.

It appears Bojidar Dimitrov's Pentax K-Mount site is WRONG in its dates of manufacture for these two lenses at least.

FA 35/2 is a super lens BTW - highly recommended.

I see the 1.2 mentioned here a lot. Is it an especiailly sharp lens comapred to a slower version? (For dslr not film use)
02-14-2012, 12:00 PM   #10
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at least 2003

irrespective of what people have posted here, it began at least in 2003 and probably before that.

the FA-J 18-35 F4-5.6 that came with the *istD at the onset, and also shipped with the *ist Film body is assembled in Vietnam.

I bought my *istD in November 2003,
02-14-2012, 12:27 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Lowell Goudge Quote
irrespective of what people have posted here, it began at least in 2003 and probably before that.

the FA-J 18-35 F4-5.6 that came with the *istD at the onset, and also shipped with the *ist Film body is assembled in Vietnam.

I bought my *istD in November 2003,
I think you're right. Seems Pentax has presence in VN since 1995 but only built the new assembly plant in 2006 which handles the DSLR lenses.

more at Pentax SLR camera plant to be built in Vietnam | LetsGoDigital
02-14-2012, 12:47 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by einstrigger Quote
.....hopefully lenses being made in Vietnam aren't considered a blemish on Pentax.
Sadly, to some people it is. I can’t find the thread anymore even if I google it but during my research about the “new” K-x when it first came out, there was a poster on dpreview associating DA-L kit lenses having plastic mounts because they are made in Vietnam, therefore inferior to the real Japanese DA lenses….…my goodness!

It isn’t surprising at times to come across individuals who believe that quality can only come from products that are built by Japanese hands…..as if Yugo would have been more reliable if they had sent Japanese people to Europe and build their cars.

QuoteOriginally posted by slackercruster Quote
Do the Vietnam lenses hold up as well (IQ and mechanics) as well as the Japanese lenses did?

Thanks
I could be wrong but to my understanding the assembly plants in south East Asia (Vietnam =Lenses and Philippines = K-Bodies) are Pentax company and therefore procedures, equipments, etc. must adhere to Pentax QC. They are not third party assembly plants like Jabil or Sanmina (for those who are familiar with these two). Setting disgruntled employees aside, but the way I see it as far as Pentax dSLR and Lenses are concerned, assembly origin shouldn’t have an effect on product quality.

Last edited by K57XR; 02-14-2012 at 12:53 PM.
02-14-2012, 12:54 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by K57XR Quote
Setting aside disgruntled employees, but the way I see it as far as Pentax dSLR and Lenses are concerned, quality shouldn’t be affected by where they were “assembled”.
That's in theory and when everything works as planned. The reality is another story. I'm not saying about Pentax in particular but I lived in VN for 8 years, just returned to Canada 7 months ago.

I had few opportunity to visit an assembly plant of Nissan last year and trust me, the final product is not the same from the one assembled in VN versus the one assembled in JP.

Anything that requires human interaction is prone to quality issues no matter how good your QC/QA processes are - especially in a country like VN.
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