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01-23-2020, 09:43 PM   #1
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Third party / original manufacturer branded lens questions

Interesting to read over the past couple years... PF discussions about a third party lens manufacturer ...Tamron...making Pentax versions of Tamron lenses such as the 24-70 and 15-30.

In fact, I'm on record in another thread saying that at first I wasn't happy about the Pentax holy trinity of lenses including two out of these three (24-70, 15-30-both F 2.8) lenses being made by an outside manufacturer, namely Tamron in this case. But after getting a Pentax 24-70 (Tamron based)...I have absolutely no complaints and actually think this is a good idea on both the part of Pentax and Tamron.

So getting that out of the way, I can now delve into my question(s).

In the past while, Pentaxians have noted that some third party manufacturers have discontinued their practice of making Pentax mount lenses, while continuing to make lenses for Nikon, Canon, etc.

Sigma and Zeiss come to mind and there may be more.

I can appreciate their reasons. A business wants to remain in business and will make products to fill a healthy demand. If there isn't a big demand, then the product will be dropped. I understand that. A business needs to make a profit.

Now, Tamron doesn't make a Tamron branded, Pentax mount lens in the 24-70 and 15-30 f 2.8 variety, but they do make Pentax branded , Tamron based lenses in the 24-70/15-30 F 2.8 range.

I wonder if Tamron makes and sells more lenses to Pentaxians when those lenses have a Pentax name on them, then they would if there was a Tamron brand on them ?

I know there is no way of telling for sure because they don't make a Tamron branded Pentax mount lenses (24-70, 15-30) , but I do wonder if the sale of the Pentax branded 24-70 and 15-30 is healthier than they (Tamron and Pentax) anticipated ?

Another question would be, would a typical Pentaxian prefer to buy...say a 24-70 F 2.8...if it's labeled Pentax as opposed to the brand names, Tamron or Sigma, etc. ?


Last edited by lesmore49; 01-24-2020 at 11:11 AM. Reason: typo
01-23-2020, 10:46 PM - 1 Like   #2
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IMO the biggest advantage of rebranding lenses is that they can keep a faster pace on lens releases. Had they designed 15-30 and 24-70 by themself dfa* 50 would have been released much later and not been released yet, and dfa* 85 had been released in 3 years.

And a lens like 70-210/4 may never been released.

I prefer genuine Pentax designed lenses, but they do not have enought R&D staff for this, so rebranding is a good compromise.
We get lenses released faster and they do not have any compatibility issues like 3rd party lenses may have. And they will be fully supported in the future.

I have several 3rd party lenses, but it is mainly where there are gaps in Pentax portfolio.
Otherwise I generally prefer to buy a second hand Pentax lens over a new 3rd party lens if they are equivalent.
01-23-2020, 10:54 PM - 3 Likes   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by lesmore49 Quote
Sigma and Zeiss come to mind and there may be more.
I don't know about Sigma, but I know of sharing for:
  • Pentax-K 28/2.0 (Zeiss Distagon 28/2.0 "Hollywood"...collaboration)
  • Pentax-M 200/4 (XR Rikenon twin)
  • Pentax-M 28/3.5 (XR Rikenon twin)
  • Pentax-FA 100/3.5 Macro (Cosina, Vivitar, Promaster, etc. Likely made by Cosina)
  • Pentax-FA 28-105/4-5.6 [IF] (Tamron twin)*
  • Pentax-FA 28-200/3.8-5.6 AL [IF] (Tamron twin)*
  • Pentax-DA 12-24/4 (Tokina twin)
  • Pentax-DA* 16-50/2.8 (Tokina twin)
  • Pentax-DA* 50-135/2.8 (Tokina twin)
  • Pentax-DA 35/2.8 Macro Limited (rebadged as Tokina)
  • Pentax-DA 10-17/3.5-4.5 Fisheye (Tokina shared optics)
  • Pentax-DA 18-250/3.5-6.3 (Tamron-based)
  • Pentax-DA 18-270/3.5-6.3 (Tamron-based)
  • Pentax-D FA 100/2.8 Macro (rebadged as Tokina)
  • Pentax-D FA* 50/1.4 (rebadged as Tokina)
I believe there were a few other Tokina-made DA zooms, but will have to research it. Found it! Thanks @luftfluss! (Thanks too for the D FA* 50/1.4.)


Steve

* Thanks @TwoUptons for the hint regarding the Tamron-made FA zooms and @pres589 for telling me about the DA 10-17 FE and @des for reminding me of the two Tamron-based super-zooms and @Fogel70 for the D FA 100/2.8 Macro and DA 35/2.8 Macro Limited.

Last edited by stevebrot; 01-24-2020 at 09:57 PM.
01-24-2020, 01:39 AM   #4
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There's always the possibility, of course, that the Pentax/Tamron collaboration runs deeper than just the re-badging of Tamron lenses. It's just possible that Pentax actually design the lenses then "sub" out the work to Tamron ... much like I believe Vivitar and/or Soligor did "back in the day", possibly in exchange for Tamron being able to use the optical design in their other manufacture !?!


Just thinking like ... we'll probably never know for sure


Either way, my experience gives me great faith in the Tamron ethos and their designs, so if budget allowed and needs dictated I'd have no problem buying one, whoever's name is on it

01-24-2020, 02:26 AM - 1 Like   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by lesmore49 Quote
I wonder if Tamron makes and sells more lenses to Pentaxians when those lenses have a Pentax name on them, then they would if there was a Tamron brand on them ?
It's one of the questions. I simply believe that it's all about business partnership so that the operation of lens rebadge turns out as a win-win profitable deal. Some business academics called that kind of deal "Co-opetition". So, Tamron compete with Sigma, Tamron and Sigma both compete with Canon and Nikon on lenses, in a zero sum game style (sales won by one are lost by its competitor). In the case of Pentax, competitive third party offering would result in losses for both Pentax and the third parties because the market share is insufficient to be split and profitable. So with Sigma dropping Pentax, instead of having Pentax and Tamron split sales of lenses, they turn competition upside down, collaborate, so that Pentax and Tamron collaborate (collaboration between two competitors) and each grap 50% of the common business and have it profitable by having cost split. i.e Tamron and Pentax agree that Tamron won't make a lens for the K mount, Tamron provides the base lens, and Pentax pays for customization of the base Tamron lens (Tamron don't have to fund Pentax related costs). In other words, "if you can't compete with them, join them". Competiton is not always the most economical configuration, when the market is too small relative to R&D costs, monopoly offer more value to customers than competition would.

Last edited by biz-engineer; 01-24-2020 at 02:38 AM.
01-24-2020, 02:51 AM - 1 Like   #6
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Pentax does not just stick a label on a Tamron lens. They have their own coatings, weather resistance etc. There may be other differences too. They have shared with Tokina and Tamron for years (and Zeiss in the past, I think). Two current Tokina offerings are licensed Pentax designs. Pentax holds the patents on the optical design. I don't understand why this sharing of designs - optical and otherwise - is such an issue. I don't think there are so many variants of a "good" lens design (e.g. 24-70/f2.8) that everyone can have a completely different design. Better to have a good design which is licensed and shared around so that everyone can make some kind of profit, than have every manufacturer limited to just a few unique lenses that they can afford to produce. Sigma is getting out of K-mount because the market is too small. But they have invested in L mount with Leica and Panasonic. I think they sense the direction the greater part of the market will go.
01-24-2020, 03:58 AM - 2 Likes   #7
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This is great business for Tamron. Instead of building Tamron-branded K-mount lenses that might sit unsold for a long time due to low volume demand, they probably contract to make a specific number of Pentax-branded-and-tweaked units which Ricoh pays for as soon as they're built and packaged (or perhaps even in advance). It's a low-risk business for Tamron, and I'm sure they welcome this kind of collaborative effort.

01-24-2020, 04:50 AM - 1 Like   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by BigMackCam Quote
This is great business for Tamron. Instead of building Tamron-branded K-mount lenses that might sit unsold for a long time due to low volume demand, they probably contract to make a specific number of Pentax-branded-and-tweaked units which Ricoh pays for as soon as they're built and packaged (or perhaps even in advance). It's a low-risk business for Tamron, and I'm sure they welcome this kind of collaborative effort.
The only drawback I can think of this collaboration might be a mutual agreement that doesn't allow Tamron to develop and sell new lenses in K-mount. So even if Tamron might consider the release of a 150-600 G2 or 3 zoom in K-mount, maybe they can't do it and the only way to see such a lens (just an example) is only if Pentax is interested in rebranding the lens... Anyway I'm happy with this collaboration and also happy with the Ricoh/Pentax choices so far! I wish we see more rebranded lenses that fill gaps in Pentax FF (mostly) arsenal.
01-24-2020, 08:53 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
I don't know about Sigma, but I know of sharing for:
  • Pentax-K 28/2.0 (Zeiss Distagon 28/2.0 "Hollywood"...collaboration)
  • Pentax-M 200/4 (XR Rikenon twin)
  • Pentax-M 28/3.5 (XR Rikenon twin)
  • Pentax-FA 100/3.5 Macro (Cosina, Vivitar, Promaster, etc. Likely made by Cosina)
  • Pentax-DA* 16-50/2.8 (Tokina twin)
  • Pentax-DA* 50-135/2.8 (Tokina twin)
I believe there were a few other Tokina-made DA zooms, but will have to research it.


Steve
One more for your list:

  • Pentax-DA 12-24/4 (Tokina twin)


(You probably suspected this one)
01-24-2020, 09:06 AM - 1 Like   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by kypfer Quote
There's always the possibility, of course, that the Pentax/Tamron collaboration runs deeper than just the re-badging of Tamron lenses. It's just possible that Pentax actually design the lenses then "sub" out the work to Tamron ... much like I believe Vivitar and/or Soligor did "back in the day", possibly in exchange for Tamron being able to use the optical design in their other manufacture !?!


Just thinking like ... we'll probably never know for sure


Either way, my experience gives me great faith in the Tamron ethos and their designs, so if budget allowed and needs dictated I'd have no problem buying one, whoever's name is on it
Ricoh has essentially updated and relabeled Hirakawa Jun’s (supervision of these) Tamron designs. We worship his Pentax lenses. Why would we question his Tamron lenses?
01-24-2020, 11:21 AM   #11
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In The mid-90s a 28-105 and the 28-200 were both Tamron designs with Pentax tweaks of a minor and indeterminate nature ...

If it gives me options where I need them, good on them.

-Eric
01-24-2020, 12:09 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by TwoUptons Quote
In The mid-90s a 28-105 and the 28-200 were both Tamron designs with Pentax tweaks of a minor and indeterminate nature ...

If it gives me options where I need them, good on them.

-Eric
I had forgotten these two and will add them to my list! I was not heavy into photography at the time, but do remember magazine reviews of these two lenses.


Steve
01-24-2020, 12:25 PM   #13
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Tokina had a labeled copy of the 10-17 FE zoom as well. I don't think they sold very many. I remember reading about it having flaring issues; I think that they didn't get Pentax's full array of coatings and the lens suffered for it.

I don't care who makes the lens as long as it performs well, is reliable, does what I hope to get from it, and I can afford it. I would not want to be in a position where we only had Pentax to depend on for new lenses. While Pentax rarely produces "poor" lenses, it has happened, and I don't believe they are completely infallible in this regard.
01-24-2020, 12:30 PM - 1 Like   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by BigMackCam Quote
It's a low-risk business for Tamron
Absolutely. It's also lower margin business than selling Tamron branded lenses, but it isn't as if there is a big windfall waiting for third party manufacturers of K-mount lenses; as a customer of mine used to say, doubling your profit margin on 0 sales is still $0 profit. I keep beating my favourite dead horse; the photographic equipment industry has shrunken so much in the past 10 years that the economics of a growth industry don't apply. Forget about economies of scale and market share strategies, all that counts is making a positive profit margin on what is being sold today so the manufacturer can keeping selling products tomorrow. Not only is Tamron settling for a lower margin, but Ricoh is as well, compared to following through on the development of their own f4 ~70-2xx. It is much easier to get permission to introduce a product that will make a little money today than to get permission to develop a new product that might make more money later.
01-24-2020, 02:45 PM   #15
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Two more for Steve's list: the Tamron/Pentax 18-250 and 18-270 twins. Tamron released the 18-250 in K mount, before it was released with a Pentax badge as the DA 18-250. Tamron later released the 18-270 for various mounts but not K-mount; it was rebadged by Pentax as the DA 18-270. More recent Tamron-designed superzooms (16-300 and 18-400) have not been released in K mount.

Last edited by Des; 01-24-2020 at 04:19 PM.
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