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07-25-2012, 09:25 AM   #1
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Pentax needs to return to its lens making roots

Hello Everyone,
I know that a lot of people are looking forward to September, to the announcement of Pentax's K-5 replacement and the possible announcement of their first full frame Dslr. Everyone knows that rumors have it that both of these cameras could have 24MP cmos' in them (APS-C and full frame). My concern is that Pentax has not really made and or has many lenses that will have excellent IQ with these more demanding sensors. IMHO I feel that Pentax Ricoh needs to return to its roots in order to continue to be a growing company in the dslr market. Pentax is known for their Limited line of prime lenses. Pentax should have a 2 tier system for their prime lenses. All Pentax primes from here on should be full frame because they don't have the resources that Canon and Nikon have to have 3 or 4 lenses of the same focal length. Tier 1 lenses should have the build quality similar to the FA primes but with tighter tolerances with WR seals like the 18-55 wr lens with metal lens mounts (I personally feel that plastic mounts cheapen the brand). These lenses would have a more accurate and quieter screw drive mechanism to keep the size and cost of the lens down. Most of them should (from 24mm) have an aperture of f/1.7 or 1.8 up to 135 mm lens with the 20 mm being f2.2 or 2.4 and the 160 mm the same. Pentax prime lenses need to be faster and have better resolution than their zoom lenses. All of the lenses need to be sharp wide open. The limited lens lenses would be tier 2 and they can start off with most of the same focal lengths they have now with wider apertures , WR seals and dc motors in them since it is cheaper to make and maybe more reliable than sdm . Both tiers should have updated optical formulas based on the best previous full frame design (FA, F, K, etc and make full frame versions of the DA limiteds) so that they minimize R & D costs and development time. All the lenses need to be able to have excellent IQ with a 36MP full frame sensor since Pentax does not update its lenses often. All of the lenses need to convey quality at a reasonable cost especially tier one lenses which at least 90% of Pentax owners should be able to afford. I feel that this would be a step in the right direction for Pentax Ricoh to gain more customers and respect in the Dslr market.

07-25-2012, 09:42 AM   #2
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Considering pentax was the first company to sell 1 million SLRs, i am not so certain that the "roots" are lenses, although I will acknowledge that pentax has a reputation for historically making very fine prime lenses.

But aside from whether the roots are lenses or cameras, one issue remains, to sell lenses you MUST have cameras. And cameras with high resolution is not the basis for sales. you need a systems approach, this means, not just optical designs, but electro-mechanical design for focusing, flash systems design etc....

One of the big reasons that there are not a ton of pro pentax photographers is because the flash system lags far behind nikon.

as for resolution, a full frame 24 MP sensor requires less resolution than the K5, In fact, you would need 35-40 MP in a full frame camera to reach the K5 sensor resolution so don't start on the issue that the lens resolution is a limiting case. Its not. at least not yet.

As for lenses, You are calling for screw drive, to keep size down, but demanding a 135F1.8, which is huge! this aperture defines a front element diameter of 75mm, with a probable front filter of 83mm and hence there would be no problem having a silent and reliable HSM (or what ever) motor in that volume.

your teir 2 lenses are being called as wider apertures than tier 1, which means no one makes monsters like what you are asking for.

I think you need to have a reality check on what you are asking, because it makes no sense at all
07-25-2012, 09:46 AM   #3
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wow, talk about putting yourself out there!
07-25-2012, 10:22 AM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by Lowell Goudge Quote
I think you need to have a reality check on what you are asking, because it makes no sense at all
Agree, not to be rude, everyone is entitled to an opinion, but that business plan is a recipe for disaster, IMHO.

Pentax already has a two tier lens line up, in zooms you have the DA and DA L models as tier one and the DA* as tier two. In primes they have only had tier two for awhile with the Limited lenses (not counting the FA 50 f/1.4). They are now adding the tier one line with the DA 35mm f/2.4 and the DA 50mm f/1.8.

No question Pentax needs to up their game on many fronts, camera, lenses, flash and support but asking for things like :
QuoteOriginally posted by V'cuz Quote
a more accurate and quieter screw drive mechanism
to be just pulled out of a hat is not cost effective. If Pentax does not have the resources that Canon and Nikon do to maintain multiple lenses where are they going to find the resources to upgrade all of their existing lenses? And who is going pay for lenses that suddenly cost even more? I know you said "at reasonable cost" but if you add seals and tighter tolerances, and bigger apertures that WILL increase the cost.

07-25-2012, 10:23 AM   #5
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Lowell Goudge,
I am not saying that tier 2 lenses have to have a larger aperture than tier 1 but they need to be faster than zooms. I know that flash and auto focus speed and accuracy need to be improved, but I was saying that this was a area I thought should also be improved, nothing more. As for the 135 mm lens at f/1.8 didn't Pentax already make that lens? It probably would require a motor to drive the lens but the point is that Pentax needs to bring back lens options that will make the Pentax brand more appealing to new dslr buyers. I am sorry to have upset you.
07-25-2012, 10:25 AM   #6
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Ok, then what should be done?
07-25-2012, 10:58 AM   #7
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without trying to tell pentax what they should do or perhaps more to the point how they should do it, (they don't listen to me any way, i have tried before and failed), what ricoh/pentax first need to decide is are they serious about taking down either nikon or canon, by introducing lenses that would largely be applied to pro's who have their gear sponsored or paid for by their employers. A top tier full frame line up, like the FA range of primes, plus some full frame fast zooms, has no other sustaining market, without a strong pro base. The reason sigma and tamron can offer fast zooms at a good price is because they sell them not only to pentax users but also canon and nikon users, (and sony etc).

If you really want these products from pentax, then pentax has to be seen as a viable long term market player in the pro market. They have elected a different approach at present, by going the fine art route with the 645D. In fact, they have always seemed to move to larger formats in the past 30 years, as opposed to the smaller 35mm or APS-C format cameras for pro use.

So the question is, do you want them to literally roll the dice, and gamble everything, trying to displace one of the two current market leaders. My preference is they stay where they are, but with a long term plan to take market share away.

I remember once someone asked the chairman of toyota about his strategy. he simply replied I want 0.5% per year from general motors, and, by the way, we are 12 years adhead of schedule.
07-25-2012, 11:13 AM   #8
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Quote:" So the question is, do you want them to literally roll the dice, and gamble everything, trying to displace one of the two current market leaders. My preference is they stay where they are, but with a long term plan to take market share away."..........agree

Just my opin: Pentax can not afford to compete with Nikon and Cannon. Pentax has always been a little different particulary over the last 40 years. I don't see how they can bring out a pro full frame system. I think they need to keep improving the excellent K-5 camera with upgrades. The K-30 seems to be a good second level camera. I would think future generations of the K-1 can become an interesting camera.

07-25-2012, 11:17 AM   #9
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About two months ago there were 110+ PK lens onthe B&H site; today is is down to 100.

I personally wouldn't mind seeing a type of three tier lens system n the PK varities.

1. Entry level lens; such as pancakes and also lens that don't have ideal aperatures.
2. Any type of midrange lens'.
3. Lens' tailored more towards the highest end optics and aperatures; all metal design
07-25-2012, 12:27 PM   #10
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What I really want to see is Pentax updating their existing lenses. For example the DA* 16-50 is due for an update to address its optical issues, not to mention SDM. This is something Canon does which I love. The 70-200 USM IS L wasn't quite up to the standard set by its predecessor so they addressed the issues and released the stellar II version. I don't see why Pentax can't do the same. They don't even have acknowledge any problems, just release a MK II version.
07-25-2012, 12:28 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Sol Invictus Quote
What I really want to see is Pentax updating their existing lenses. For example the DA* 16-50 is due for an update to address its optical issues, not to mention SDM. This is something Canon does which I love. The 70-200 USM IS L wasn't quite up to the standard set by its predecessor so they addressed the issues and released the stellar II version. I don't see why Pentax can't do the same. They don't even have acknowledge any problems, just release a MK II version.
Agreed. Release updates to the standard ranges in high quality. Release cheaper/smaller versions of budget lenses (16-45, primes).
07-25-2012, 12:30 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by mdodrill Quote
Quote:" So the question is, do you want them to literally roll the dice, and gamble everything, trying to displace one of the two current market leaders. My preference is they stay where they are, but with a long term plan to take market share away."..........agree

Just my opin: Pentax can not afford to compete with Nikon and Cannon. Pentax has always been a little different particulary over the last 40 years. I don't see how they can bring out a pro full frame system. I think they need to keep improving the excellent K-5 camera with upgrades. The K-30 seems to be a good second level camera. I would think future generations of the K-1 can become an interesting camera.
that's why I ask the question, I don't think they can compete with the big boys on that level, and survive. I think sony tried after purchasing minolta, but they really have not done anything special in terms of sales or inroads either. (of course that could be just that sony has not done much as a company in any of its markets either.)
07-25-2012, 12:37 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by V'cuz Quote
Lowell Goudge,
I am not saying that tier 2 lenses have to have a larger aperture than tier 1 but they need to be faster than zooms. I know that flash and auto focus speed and accuracy need to be improved, but I was saying that this was a area I thought should also be improved, nothing more. As for the 135 mm lens at f/1.8 didn't Pentax already make that lens? It probably would require a motor to drive the lens but the point is that Pentax needs to bring back lens options that will make the Pentax brand more appealing to new dslr buyers. I am sorry to have upset you.
In the rumors section there is the FF-thread, which contains literally hundreds of posts circling around the lenses Pentax should build or is expected to build or are seen as obsolete. Please not another thread like this.

Ben
07-25-2012, 12:42 PM   #14
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I am not asking for Ricoh Pentax to go head to head with Canon or Nikon. That would be suicide. What I am saying is if and when they decide to update their prime lenses, it would be to their benefit if all the new primes they made would be made wr and full frame since the Pentax k-30 and the K-5 and its' replacement are WR dslrs . Being that is how they seem to be making themselves different from Canon and Nikon, why not make the future lenses WR ? If they decide to make a FF dslr, they could already have lenses for it.
07-25-2012, 12:48 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by V'cuz Quote
I am not asking for Ricoh Pentax to go head to head with Canon or Nikon. That would be suicide. What I am saying is if and when they decide to update their prime lenses, it would be to their benefit if all the new primes they made would be made wr and full frame since the Pentax k-30 and the K-5 and its' replacement are WR dslrs . Being that is how they seem to be making themselves different from Canon and Nikon, why not make the future lenses WR ? If they decide to make a FF dslr, they could already have lenses for it.
Ok SO we agree that they should not go head to head with canon or nikon, that's good news. Here's the bad news. many of the lenses you ask for, imply, by what you are asking for, that pentax do exactly that.

To develop a multi tier lens system, with different build qualities, components and performance levels, and to have the top tier fast, would require the professional base to get the quantities affordable.

do pentax need to upgrade and update their line up, yes, that I can agree with, but I will leave the how, up to their marketing department (please don't laugh, it is hard enough for me to write that sentance as it is)
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