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02-12-2014, 03:32 PM   #31
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QuoteOriginally posted by cali92rs Quote
it seems like Pentax/Ricoh charge a premium just for being niche and different
[EDIT: I came to the thread late - I don't think you're bashing the lens - though some on this thread do. I also don't think you are unreasonable in your pricing questions, though in other cases some are.]

I wonder how much of their business model / pricing model is oriented to the sensibilities of traditional older Japanese male photographers (and, if that drives these decisions, whether we in the West are responding to our own sensibilites). Their pricing strategy is a mystery to me.

We might also benefit from an unerstanding of what it costs Ricoh Imaging to make the lens, what Ricoh Imaging's profit is out the factory door; what Ricoh Imaging America's markup to its dealers is; what their markup to the consumer is -- there could be a lot of marks moving that lens from Vietnam, Cebu or China to my door.


Last edited by monochrome; 02-12-2014 at 03:41 PM.
02-12-2014, 03:41 PM   #32
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QuoteOriginally posted by monochrome Quote
I wonder how much of their business model / pricing model is oriented to the sensibilities of traditional older Japanese male photographers (and, if that drives these decisions, whether we in the West are responding to our own senibilites). Their pricing strategy is a mystery to me.
I don't know. If we go by Ricoh's products of their recent past, like the GRDs and the GXRs, traditional is not the word i would use to describe their approach.
The GRD was widely loved by photographers, but also widely scoffed at due to their high prices as well.
02-12-2014, 03:49 PM   #33
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Well i think that mine is performing quite well, i was thinking of buying the Sigma 18-35mm for my Canon or Pentax cameras but size, weight and lens flare stopped me for the moment. WR is also a plus for me.
02-12-2014, 04:14 PM   #34
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I note that one of the others cons for the Sigma 18-35mm lens is inconsistent autofocus at times. I don't know how much of a problem that is for Canon and Nikon users, or how much it will be with respect to Pentax cameras once the lens is released. The Sigma lens does look spectacular though, but I would prefer something lighter when walking around.

02-12-2014, 06:07 PM   #35
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OP here. Still testing the 20-40, but also looking at alternative systems, namely Fuji. Regarding the 20-40, I think it takes very impressive photos, matching and sometimes surpassing my FA31. No kidding, the FA31 may be an amazing lens, but time waits for no one and technology has allowed for the creation of many worthy competitors (including the 20-40). However, the 20-40 is too expensive given the compromises of its slow speed. The Fuji 18-55 2.8-4 is a great lens to compare to, but haven't used it long enough to draw any conclusions. Generally however, I am frustrated with Pentax. I want compact, fast, silent, quality lenses. Quite frankly if Fuji can do it, I don't see why pentax can't. Moreover, Fuji lenses are priced reasonably. Other than the 20-40, there does not seem to be any innovation in lenses coming from pentax. Instead they are focused only on matching cannon and Nikon, product for product, and in price. I have not made up my mind yet. The k3 is impressive. However, my eyes have been opened as to the benefits of a smaller overall kit offered by mirrorless systems. On the flip side, I am not thrilled by the shot2shot delay in the Fuji, which is really more of an an issue because the evf blacks out during that time. On the other hand, the benefits of a high end evf which I have discovered in the Fuji XE-2 have opened my eyes to new possibilities (focus peaking, image review, split focusing, data and histogram, exposure accurate image). As I said in the original post, I will keep you posted.
02-12-2014, 06:37 PM   #36
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QuoteOriginally posted by cali92rs Quote
I don't know. If we go by Ricoh's products of their recent past, like the GRDs and the GXRs, traditional is not the word i would use to describe their approach.
The GRD was widely loved by photographers, but also widely scoffed at due to their high prices as well.
I was thinking more of the historical Pentax values. Finely-crafted lenses - over-engineered. Calssical, traditional image qualities rather than MTF test competitiveness, awareness of the experiential nature of photography beyond the mere image.

Last edited by monochrome; 02-12-2014 at 06:56 PM.
02-12-2014, 06:48 PM   #37
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QuoteOriginally posted by loganross Quote
. Quite frankly if Fuji can do it, I don't see why pentax can't. Moreover, Fuji lenses are priced reasonably.
Pentax uses the k-mount and the fuji is mirrorless. A mirrorless design allows for smaller lenses. So unless pentax ditches the K-mount, they arent going to get much smaller unless they stick with slower apertures.
02-12-2014, 07:44 PM   #38
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the fa31 is no bigger than the Fuji lenses and its a full frame lens. Thus I don't agree with your conclusions. It can be done, but reserving the effort for a prestige limited line of lenses has sadly been the objective.

02-12-2014, 08:30 PM   #39
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QuoteOriginally posted by loganross Quote
the fa31 is no bigger than the Fuji lenses and its a full frame lens. Thus I don't agree with your conclusions. It can be done, but reserving the effort for a prestige limited line of lenses has sadly been the objective.
Just because you don't buy them doesn't make it true...
Fuji 35mm f1.4 is 187 grams, filter thread is 52mm, length is 54.9mm
FA 31mm f1.8 is 343 grams, filter thread is 58mm, length is 68.5mm
02-12-2014, 08:48 PM   #40
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do you actually own them or did you just go look it up? I own them. Sadly, you missed the point. No one asked for pentax lenses the size of the Fuji 35. I logically pointed out that if pentax could make the FA 31mm ff lens 11 years ago, they can certainly make other high quality fast lenses for APC (of similar size) today.
02-12-2014, 09:18 PM   #41
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QuoteOriginally posted by loganross Quote
do you actually own them or did you just go look it up? I own them. Sadly, you missed the point. No one asked for pentax lenses the size of the Fuji 35. I logically pointed out that if pentax could make the FA 31mm ff lens 11 years ago, they can certainly make other high quality fast lenses for APC (of similar size) today.
You're right, I dont own them. I also dont own a hummer and a corvette, but i can tell by looking at them that one is bigger and heavier than the other. Maybe the ones you own are different sizes.

I was just going by your direct quote where you said that the 31mm was no bigger than fuji lenses.

I get your point. The reality is that lenses of the same focal length and aperture will be smaller for mirrorless cameras than those designed for SLRs. So if your hoping for a lens as fast and as small as a lens for a mirrorless system, its not going to happen.
02-12-2014, 09:28 PM   #42
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Agreed. But as you mentioned, I said Fuji Lenses. Consider the Fuji 23mm and the 18-55. I will also restate that if the 31 is a FF lenses, there is no reason why they can't make an APC lens the same size. Consider the 20-40 for example.
02-13-2014, 06:43 AM   #43
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QuoteOriginally posted by loganross Quote
do you actually own them or did you just go look it up? I own them. Sadly, you missed the point. No one asked for pentax lenses the size of the Fuji 35. I logically pointed out that if pentax could make the FA 31mm ff lens 11 years ago, they can certainly make other high quality fast lenses for APC (of similar size) today.
Except that Hoya 'retired' the genius who was instrumental in designing the Limiteds, who now works for a third-party lens maker and, possibly, some contract work. Consequently there can be no assurance Pentax can make such lenses today.
02-13-2014, 08:40 AM   #44
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QuoteOriginally posted by Kenntak Quote
I note that one of the others cons for the Sigma 18-35mm lens is inconsistent autofocus at times. I don't know how much of a problem that is for Canon and Nikon users, or how much it will be with respect to Pentax cameras once the lens is released. The Sigma lens does look spectacular though, but I would prefer something lighter when walking around.
This lens has only been tested on Nikon and Canon bodies in the reviews I have read. In DP's full review, the word "unfortunate" pops up a lot in regards to focus accuracy, especially on Canon bodies. Their review plainly states their difficulty in recommending it over a 17-50/2.8 because of the difficulty of using it wide open. If I honestly ask myself what I would mostly be shooting with a lens in this focal range, it would be landscapes, street shooting, and events and I would most likely be stopped down for all but a very few shots. For all but a very few occasions, the DA 20-40 would be more than sufficient (and lighter!) in my bag. This lens has received a lot of press but it isn't available for Pentax yet anyhow.

I'm not going to knock either lens. It's obvious just by looking at them that they were designed for completely different purposes and comparisons should consider that. I wish both of them were cheaper. I wish I could afford both.
02-13-2014, 10:17 AM - 1 Like   #45
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QuoteOriginally posted by cali92rs Quote
Compared to the Sigma 18-35mm.
The Sigma 18-35 is not currently available for the K mount. When it does come out, it will be the only zoom lens that, at least at some apertures, out resolves the DA 20-40 (and probably not by a significant amount). The fact is, all standard zooms above kit level are plenty sharp. The fact that one is a bit sharper than another is irrelevent.

QuoteOriginally posted by cali92rs Quote
when Pentax lenses don't perform well in tests, it doesnt matter because of "pixie dust".
"Pixie dust" is merely a metaphor to describe something people experience: namely, that tests don't determine how well lenses perform in the field. Case in point: the DA 10-17 may be the worst lens, in terms of test performance, of any lens by a reputable manufacturer currently in production. It's resolution is inferior to even to bottom of the barrel kit glass and I doubt you'll find another AF lens with worse purple fringing. But the actual images that the lens make, despite its optical weaknesses and its testing maldroitness, are stunning. Incredible colors, microcontrast, and flare control. Even though the lens counts for less than 2% of my total output, I've sold more images from that lens than any other piece of glass in my stable. The non-testable properties of a lens really can make a difference in the ultimate output. Thus all the loose talk about "pixie dust."

QuoteOriginally posted by cali92rs Quote
FWIW, i don't think the Pentax lens is average. From the pictures I have seen, it is capable of taking great photos. My issue is that it seems like Pentax/Ricoh charge a premium just for being niche and different.
OEM glass tends to cost more money, sometimes a lot more money, than 3rd party glass. Simply compare Nikon or Canon lens prices to Sigma prices. You'll generally pay more for OEM. Is the extra price worth it? It depends on your priorities. If all you care about is aperture and resolution, then Sigma and Tamron glass constitute better value. But if there are other things that concern you, such as build quality, workability with camera, flare control, color rendition, than OEM glass might be preferable.

The DA 20-40 has four main advantages over the Sigma 18-35: size, build quality, flare control, and color rendition. In landscape photography, those advantages are significant. The Sigma obviously has advantages for hand-held low-light photography and for DOF control. But for landscape use, it's not a very compelling product. In any landscape images involving direct sunlight, the DA 20-40 would enjoy huge advantages.

The Pentax DA 20-40 is the lightest high-end WR standard zoom on the market. It's even lighter than the mirrorless offerings in its class, like the Olympus 12-40/2.8 and the Sony Zeiss 24-70/4.
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