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07-17-2012, 02:25 PM   #46
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I prefer to have aperture rings. I use extension tubes often. It is also nice to be able to adapt your lenses to other manufacturer's bodies when necessary (though I realize this is not something Pentax cares about).

Aperture rings are usually accompanied by depth-of-field scales, which is also nice.

07-17-2012, 07:29 PM   #47
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I like aperture rings too and really hope that eventually at least the pro-level Pentax body will have a decrippled mount so we can really take advantage of having the aperture ring.
07-17-2012, 07:32 PM   #48
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@top-quark Thanks for the thorough response! I like hearing all your input.
07-17-2012, 10:36 PM   #49
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I'm going to take this as a "let's play like Pentax management" game. Here's the lineup I think is both practical and makes business sense:

Top end/workhorse lenses: DA*. Use the same approach as with the FA* line. Drop the DA 14 and replace it with a DA*14. (This becomes the wide angle lens that the FA*24 was, but of course has WR.) Update the DA*16-50 so that it is bulletproof and has top notch optics; I like my 16-50, but an updated model simply makes sense due to QC issues and the comparisons with Sigma and Tamron 2.8 zooms that declare the 16-50 to be middling. If a DA*135 would sell, do it--but it would have to be a meaningful improvement over the 50-135/2.8 at 135. If the 60-250 isn't selling well, look at replacing it with something like a 135-350, although the 60-250 is such a good lens I can't help but thinking it probably sells well enough to keep it on the shelves.

Top end/connoisseur lenses: Limited. The 15-21-35-40-70 collection is missing a fairly obvious lens, the 28. I would say that the two 40 lenses (Limited and XS) are a good market experiment but probably overkill in the long run; I'd be happy if they became joined into a single version like the XS that has an optional hood, possibly with enhanced focus ring, like the Limited; but sales and profit determine this choice and I don't have that data.

Entry lenses: kits. I don't see why we have both a 50-200 and 55-300. Kill the latter. I don't see why Pentax offers the 18-55 or 50-200 as non-WR at retail. If it saves a few bucks to hit a price point, sure, bundle them with a camera; but at retail, all of the lenses that can be WR should be WR.

Upgrade lenses: the mid level. I think the 16-45 will be killed by the Limited zoom; they're both less flexible zooms in exchange for higher image quality. That 55-300 that I killed above? Create a 70-300 to complement the 17-70, and to provide a lower-quality counterpoint to the potential 135-350. That way, you've got your entry-level 18-55 & 50-200 kit, and your upgrade 17-70 & 70-300 kit, not to mention a pro 16-50, 50-135, & 135-350 kit. Having a selection of an ultra-wide fisheye, ultra-wide rectilinear, and various primes is also good at this level. I can sense a 24/3.2 lens out there waiting to pair with the 35/2.4 and 50/1.8. Make them WR and I can see lower-budget outdoor photographers flocking to the Prico herd. (And, yes, I prefer Prico, said "pre-koh," to the acronym for Pentax Ricoh Imaging Company.)

Reach/dream: FA. If I were a Pentax manager, I would revamp the FA Limited lenses with DA coatings and announce that these lenses have the tightest manufacturing tolerances of all Pentax K-mount lenses, and also introduce a wider FA Limited. The only thing that would be better at keeping Pentax fans, particularly the ones who spend lots of money on camera gear, would be to actually introduce a 135-frame camera; simply introducing a high quality prime would be far less expensive. Produce this hat-tip toward a 135-frame future with a high quality "normal" wide angle prime, and I can't but think that it would serve the brand well. (Alternatively, instead of Limited, release an FA* WR prime. I'd happily pay to trade up my FA*24/2 for a modern FA*24/2 WR. But make it an FA lens of any kind and Pentax would have lots of speculators like me biting down on the hook. There might be some expense of DA* sales, but a bit of marketing--"look how small our Limited lenses are" and "look how small our pro-quality zooms are compared to those other brands"--would show why the APS-C compromise is actually a pretty good deal for many photographers.)

Overall, I want a sense that Pentax is doing what it is doing with some sense of intention and future. My comments above all lean towards a cohesive system, and seeing that would give me comfort investing more into Pentax equipment.

07-18-2012, 04:07 AM   #50
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QuoteOriginally posted by JonPB Quote
I'm going to take this as a "let's play like Pentax management" game.
Yep, that's pretty much the name of this game.

QuoteOriginally posted by JonPB Quote
Overall, I want a sense that Pentax is doing what it is doing with some sense of intention and future. My comments above all lean towards a cohesive system, and seeing that would give me comfort investing more into Pentax equipment.
I think you've laid out quite the cohesive system indeed. Interesting idea to kill the 55-300 to replace it with a 70-300. I like your idea of a budget 24 and would say that there's room for one more budget prime on the telephoto between 70 and 85. That would be a very attractive line up of primes for both the IQ and price aware, a segment Pentax has done well with and could certainly do well to exploit further. I'd also say that the 135mm lens would sit really nicely as either an FA* or FA Limited lens (doesn't have to carry the FA letters but it should have the FF image circle). That one would definitely stand out from the crowd if it were a fast lens at say f/1.8 like the old A*135 but I think it should at least be f/2.5 like the old Pentax K if for no other reason than to distinguish itself from any f/2.8 zoom Pentax has covering that focal length. I actually hadn't ever thought of a DA28 Limited but with it very closely matching the AOV of a 43mm lens it would indeed be a logical focal length to have in the set.

Great post Jon!

Last edited by TomTextura; 07-18-2012 at 04:24 AM.
07-18-2012, 04:57 AM   #51
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Interesting. Kill the better IQ tele-zoom and keep the weaker of the two that is also shorter. Ah, no. P&S folks are getting used to having 1 camera that does 12-20x. You really have to have an entry level zoom that does close to 300 if you want to entice the Soccer Moms into carrying a dSLR. An all-in-one that has good IQ like the 18-250 would be a better addition for the entry level market because all the 18-200+ and 28-200+ lenses appear from the reviews to get mediocre ratings and are all unfavorably compared to the old 18-250.
07-18-2012, 06:45 AM   #52
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QuoteOriginally posted by top-quark Quote
Gaps
. . .
To Go
My predictions are:
  • DA 14mm F2.8. Why you'd get this when you could have the 15mm Limited is beyond me. F2.8 isn't buying you much - ultra wide is tolerant of slow shutter speeds. If you needed the extra width, wouldn't you get an ultrawide zoom instead? Can't find it at my usual stockists so maybe it's already been discontinued.
FA 50mm F2.8. Old (and ugly) design about to be obsoleted by the DA.
  • DFA 50mm F2.8. Why would you get this when you can get the DA 35 Limited for less and the DFA 100 WR for the same price?
  • Possibly DA* 200mm F2.8. Uncomfortably in the middle of the 50-135 and 60-250, it doesn't seem to have been a great success, in spite of some great reviews. Still want one, though.
Duplicates
There are numerous options around the 40mm length. The XS and Limited seem to be competing for the same ecological niche. Were I in the market for a functional body cap, I'd go for the 40mm Limited any day. I'd get it for a K-01 too.

DA 35 2.4 and 2.8 Limited may seem like their own competition but are actually in different markets (budget-conscious and style-conscious) and satisfy both well.

Given the cost, I fail to see a compelling reason to own the FA Limiteds. Of course, if I had the money I'd totally be in the market so I expect these to remain as luxury items that help distinguish the brand.

. . .
The FA 50/2.8 macro has been gone for a long while.

The D FA 50/2.8 macro is not as expensive as the D FA 100/2.8 WR

As far as prices of the FA Ltd goes, it depends on if the UPP is in effect at the time or not.
07-18-2012, 08:05 AM   #53
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Given that the Pentax lineup is not exactly overflowing with glass, I'd be sorry to see any DA lens get the axe. However, there are some lenses that I suspect are living on borrowed time and won't be around much longer. The DA 16-45 is already known to be on the chopping block, which is a shame, as it has been a terrific value lens, punching well above its price. I suspect the DA 12-24 will be the next to go. This is a Tokina designed lens, and I have to think that Pentax would prefer to have designed all their own lenses. The new ~12-28 on the roadmap could very well be the replacement for the 12-24.

07-18-2012, 09:14 AM   #54
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Lots of suggestion here are valuable point of view.

the 18-250 is REALLY what Pentax really need to offer in KIT (yes, in kit !) to appeal soccer mom that won't ever change lens on the field.
Pentax is less known that the big two, but offering a 18-250 in kit lens can be a very powerfull market pusher.
(on the other hand, it would somewhat "kill" or "hurt" the 18-135 ...)

Some spoke about it briefly, but i would go further.
Another thing that Pentax need is some cheap, when i say cheap, it's less than 200$, prime setup.
A 18mm or 20mm f2,8
A 28mm f2,8
A 70-85mm f2,8
A 135mm f2,8

Some will say, why ?
"A 18 or 20mm f2,8 ? it will kill DA 21 sales ! "
i'd say no, if the lens is big. like the DA 14 and the DA 15. one is fast, the other is small.

A 28mm : because there is a gap to be filled here in prime setup.
Also because 28mm on APS-C feels like it's a very natural lens.
Make a F2,8 for cheap and a f2 / 1,8 / 1,7 / 1,4 for top very top end.

A 70 to 85mm range : well, "i can't afford a 70mm or 77mm or a 50-135mm, but i like shooting portrait, and i don't like the kit zoom they are too slow ! " is something i think every week. And i bet some amongs you think the same.
Youngsters really enjoy taking portraits of friends, and 55mm can be short on APS-C or street shooting, specially if you go for portraiture.

A 135mm is same as previous but a bit longer.

A cheap prime setup like this is not expensive to build : it's not fast, it's not new FL with now formula needed, thanks to the f2,8 setup that basically helps a lot considering all the pixel peeping. And at 200$ max, consumer won't cry.

This is what makes student that like /love photo but don't want to make there job of it interested. Ad this the WR kit lens and youngster will be more than happy !

With WR Pentax has the ability to aim young people between 18 to 35 that go outdoor often, do sports, road trip, and are not very carefull with there gear.
Ad a better support, and a very simple procedure for replacement and repair and you have a huge opportunity to enter and hurt the big two.


PS : get rid of KAF 3, and stay on KAF 2 even with SDM / DC motors.
The biggest fear about SDM is that if it failed, you're screwed !
With KAF 2 (SDM + screwdrive) you will always have AF no matter what, all it need is a small interruptor on the lens to choose between the 2 motorisation.

Last edited by aurele; 07-18-2012 at 09:19 AM.
07-18-2012, 10:34 AM   #55
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QuoteOriginally posted by Docrwm Quote
Interesting. Kill the better IQ tele-zoom and keep the weaker of the two that is also shorter. Ah, no. P&S folks are getting used to having 1 camera that does 12-20x. You really have to have an entry level zoom that does close to 300 if you want to entice the Soccer Moms into carrying a dSLR. An all-in-one that has good IQ like the 18-250 would be a better addition for the entry level market because all the 18-200+ and 28-200+ lenses appear from the reviews to get mediocre ratings and are all unfavorably compared to the old 18-250.
I think Docwrm has the better plan for the entry level. I have both the 50-200 WR and the 55-300. I'm almost always picking the 55-300 when I go out. With the 50-200, I frequently run out of magnification - it's doesn't have the reach that I need where zooming with my feet is impossible (frequently happens). So why do I keep the 50-200? It's WR. The beach is a harsh place for photo equipment, and the current electronics-packed equipment is nowhere near as forgiving of water/salt intrusion as my old film equipment. Give me a 55-300 WR, and the 50-200 is GONE. But in the meantime, at the beach, the 50-200 WR is on my K-5, unless the 18-55 WR is. That's my beach kit.

But changing lenses on the beach is a serious and risky pain. I get to a sheltered place to do the change. Then run back out to the beach. Whoa! Where did my picture go? A 18-250+ WR with "good" IQ would be far better for nasty conditions, hiking, family sports events, vacations, family anything. No lens changes. Very convenient also - no camera bag needed. Take only a camera and lens, with a battery and SD card in the pocket. Just what the entry level needs, IMO. The "good" IQ (not the "excellent" of Limited primes and pro-level primes and zooms), smaller aperture, and slower focusing will still motivate those who want better performance to upgrade, for those important additional Pentax sales. Give me a "good" IQ 18-250 WR, and the 50-200 is GONE.

Oh, and I think that WR should be standard on all lenses.
07-18-2012, 10:51 AM   #56
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QuoteOriginally posted by Blue Quote
The FA 50/2.8 macro has been gone for a long while.
That was just my mistyping. I meant FA 50mm F1.4. With the DA 50 coming out, there will be three <F2 lenses around the 50mm mark. I'd expect the old FA to be withdrawn.
07-18-2012, 12:06 PM   #57
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Missing: mainly fast-ish lenses.

1) 135 f/2 would be nice for some of the stuff I do.
2) 24-75 f/2.8 WR would be nice for some other people's needs (I prefer primes)
3) New 12-24 in WR [cough]and ff[/cough] would be nice.
4) Birding lenses are completely MIA. The 560 f/5.6 will probably be nice, and I believe there's a 100-300 or so on the roadmap, so we'll see. The f/5.6 is fine for me but it's not too compatible with T/C's so some people will still demand a better lens.
5) The gap between 21 and 31 is too large IMO. I'd like a 24mm f/2.8 limited WR.
6) 16-50 needs to have a different lens name if only for marketing purposes. Call it the 16-50 version Q or whatever.


Updates:
1) FA 77: I'm not as huge a fan of the F77 as some other people. It's supposed to be a portrait lens, but women in white dresses seem to end up having a purple halo. I'd prefer a slightly different optical formula if req'd to get rid of the halo.
2) All FA limited: I'd own the entire FA limited line, though, if they had quick-shift. That's too much of an advantage for me to ignore.
3) All limited: All of the limited's need to be updated to WR IMO.

Get-rid-ofs:

1) 16-45 seems to be a likely candidate
2) (one of) the two 40's do NOT seem to be a likely candidate to me. They use the same glass, right? What's the real cost to Pentax to keeping the two lines open?
3) I was never fond of the 50-135. People will probably shoot me over this one.
4) FA 50 f1.4?
5) The non-WR kit lens. Come on, all Pentax DSLR's are WR now.
07-18-2012, 12:42 PM   #58
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QuoteOriginally posted by ElJamoquio Quote
Updates:
3) All limited: All of the limited's need to be updated to WR IMO.
Do they need it?

Having used MF lenses for decades in all weathers and conditions,
I've tended to regard WR as little more than protection for in-lens motors,
at least on prime lenses.

QuoteOriginally posted by ElJamoquio Quote
Get-rid-ofs:
5) The non-WR kit lens. Come on, all Pentax DSLR's are WR now.
The non-WR DA L 18-55 is an amazing lens, since its price is often negative:
My K-x was cheaper with it than without it!
Don't mess with that magic!
07-18-2012, 01:07 PM   #59
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QuoteOriginally posted by lytrytyr Quote
Do they need it?
The non-WR DA L 18-55 is an amazing lens, since its price is often negative:
My K-x was cheaper with it than without it!
Don't mess with that magic!
Yes, plus the K-30 is the Mid-Range dSLR not the entry-level one. Pentax has said several times that a new entry -level dSLR is coming. So, I doubt that the K-r replacement will be WR. A non-WR kit lens therefore makes perfect sense for the lineup for that camera. Also, selling the non-WR lens with the WR camera makes 0 sense to me (other than saving a few dollars on the front and while also running an increased risk of getting bad press for having "WR cameras fail" because the lens was not WR). So, the non-WR with the K-r replacement and the WR model with the K-30 and K-5 replacement.
07-19-2012, 08:59 PM   #60
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QuoteOriginally posted by Docrwm Quote
Interesting. Kill the better IQ tele-zoom and keep the weaker of the two that is also shorter. Ah, no. P&S folks are getting used to having 1 camera that does 12-20x. You really have to have an entry level zoom that does close to 300 if you want to entice the Soccer Moms into carrying a dSLR. An all-in-one that has good IQ like the 18-250 would be a better addition for the entry level market because all the 18-200+ and 28-200+ lenses appear from the reviews to get mediocre ratings and are all unfavorably compared to the old 18-250.
I'd be fine with adding an 18-360 lens if it were practical. Heck, with all the kits Pentax has, I'd even favor exploring whether it would be feasible to make that a kit lens. That said, I think what you're describing is exactly what is going to keep point-and-shoots from being exterminated by cell phones. A good optic on a good (but small) sensor is what that consumer needs, not a DSLR with a huge lens. My guess is that a super-zoom for a small sensor would be far more cost effective, not to mention more portable and easier to weather seal. (Maybe a nice long zoom for the Q?) I'll take their money if they want to spend it, but I don't think that consumer grade K-mount super-zooms are where Pentax is going to gain profitable marketshare.

If you want a long-zoom with IQ, wouldn't a 70-300--designed as an intermediate-quality optic--fill that need? I have no problem killing a good product in order to replace it with a better product that makes more sense in the overall catalog. The system is where the long-term stability is, not any single product.

All of that aside, I prefer shooting primes, and so I have no clue whatsoever about the relative merits of the 50-200 and 55-300. You're probably right about my suggestion being the worse choice, but I'm going to argue for the sake of it anyway.

Cheers,
Jon

PS: Why not create a fixed aperture entry-level lens? I don't mean fixed maximum aperture; I mean, remove the aperture blades entirely. If you want to control depth of field, well, sorry, it is a fairly narrow aperture anyway. If you want to vary shutter speed, our cameras have lots of ISO range; if you want to vary ISO, we have shake reduction and much faster shutter speeds than in decades past. Aperture leaves and levers comprise a lot of moving parts in a lens, and therefore cost... An optically superior lens, if somewhat limited in the eyes of intermediate photogs, but at a much lower cost, might just be enough to kick up a blogosphere storm while dropping prices and get some attention on the brand. How limited would most kit lens buyers be by using only maximum aperture--supposing that the lens was corrected to have minimal aberrations at that aperture? Would it perhaps make sense to take an intermediate lens, put a slower fixed aperture in it, and maybe use smaller diameter lenses but of the same optical calculation? Much lower development costs, much lower entry-level price, and people would still buy the upgrade lens because of the added flexibility it offers. Win-win?
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