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05-25-2022, 01:55 AM   #1
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I thought I'd treat myself to a new lens so naturally I read the reviews, but then maybe not that one, so what's this one like, umm! maybe not and this one has an sdm motor so not that one either.

So what have the independent makers got to offer, well not very much in Pentax mount, they seem to be deserting us one by one.

Is it because Pentaxians are so loyal they don't buy any other makes, probably not, nearly everyone has a Sigma or Tamron somewhere in their collection.

Is it that there are so few Pentaxians out there that the sales are so small its not worth tooling up for their mount ?

Is it because Pentax is not moving to mirrorless ?

Is it because the market as a whole is moving to mirrorless and the money is in mirrorless lenses ?

Why oh why are we being deserted. ?

05-25-2022, 02:14 AM - 2 Likes   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by PenPusher Quote
Why oh why are we being deserted. ?
At the very least, it is that the whole camera market is getting smaller because photographers already have what they need, mostly. In other words, the pie gets smaller, so even if each camera manufacturer keep the same slice of the pie, the absolute amount of revenue that can be pumped from the market is less. Below a certain revenue, new products can't break even anymore, can't make a profit. For third party to keep making new lenses for Pentax, Pentax would have to increase their share of the pie, which is hardly possible because every camera maker is fighting hard to maintain its share of the pie. So, overall, Sigma and Tamron will keep making lenses for the brands that have enough market share, Sony mostly.

And the size of pie slice getting smaller, it's becoming harder for Ricoh to make money with Pentax products, but they adapt by:
- releasing less products, selling the same product for longer in order to collect more total cash out of the same product development investments
- extending product life cycles on current products, such as updating lens coating on FA limited lenses, to trigger additional sales without having to spend in new lens designs
- reuse of Tamron lens designs, with some minor modifications such as coatings, finishing and in-camera lens corrections by software, to avoid lens development costs while still offering customers with choice of lenses having Pentax "OEM" properties.
- spreading product lines to get more money out of the same customers and generate multiple sources of cash (WG, GR, Theta, Pentax apsc, Pentax FF, Pentax MF) , such that combining small sources of cash together keeps the business alive.

Last edited by biz-engineer; 05-25-2022 at 02:23 AM.
05-25-2022, 03:55 AM   #3
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Reviews are subjective.
If possible rent any lens you are interested in and use it as much as possible in all situations during that period, that is the true test of what is right for your needs.
Also, make sure you know your camera and all its capabilities very well so you can see how that lens changes your results.
05-25-2022, 05:19 AM - 2 Likes   #4
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Yes the brand is smaller with lower sales.
Yes the buyers likely buy a lot more Pentax branded items than third party - in some ways this is a circular issue, few choices outside the brand increases the disparity.
Yes the move to mirrorless by other manufacturers means new designs that donít work with Pentax. Older designs and tooling are gradually being mothballed.

05-25-2022, 11:15 AM - 3 Likes   #5
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Yes, the third-party lens selection for Pentax is limited. There are some exceptions (think: Laowa, Samyang, Irix), but apart from that, and in particular if we value AF and other electronic functionality, as Pentaxians we're pretty much left to our own devices.

But then again, what drew me towards the Pentax system in the first place was not the cameras alone, although that played a part. It was also the way good Pentax glass renders, the pretty unique approach to lens design, and the seriousness Pentax brought to their line-up of APS-C lenses.

At least for the photography that I do, over the years, I've been able to build a fine kit of capable prime and zoom lenses, covering focal lengths between 11 and 300 mm, for just about anything that I might ever want to photograph on this planet - all from the Pentax ecosystem, and still there're several lenses, modern lenses, meaningful upgrades, I could get next (if I saved up long enough). Pentax's glacial pace of new releases also means that I don't constantly have to fear that my lenses will get obsolete six months after I purchased them, because there is something supposedly later and greater out there. It makes me value what I have, take the time to properly learn it and use it to some effect, and concentrate on the photography rather than chasing gear most of the time.

Therefore, what others may consider a serious limitation I have come to view as even kind of liberating. Plus, I've been there, done that: Back in the film days I used to have a whole bunch of third-party lenses for my Minolta X-700 (Sigma, Tokina, you name it), and don't get me wrong, those were nice lenses, but even back then, I preferred the rendering afforded by the original glass. So, do I feel deserted by the likes of Sigma? Not so much, can't bring myself to particularly care, but your mileage may vary.

The Old World at day - rendered by fine Pentax glass (here, the smc DA21):




Same lens, plenty of microcontrast for demanding b/w work (notice that the DA21 is not even the sharpest Pentax lens at that FL, but it still has that nice Limited rendering):


Last edited by Madaboutpix; 05-25-2022 at 12:31 PM. Reason: Sample photos added.
05-25-2022, 11:57 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by PenPusher Quote
I thought I'd treat myself to a new lens so naturally I read the reviews, but then maybe not that one, so what's this one like, umm! maybe not and this one has an sdm motor so not that one either.

So what have the independent makers got to offer, well not very much in Pentax mount, they seem to be deserting us one by one.

Is it because Pentaxians are so loyal they don't buy any other makes, probably not, nearly everyone has a Sigma or Tamron somewhere in their collection.

Is it that there are so few Pentaxians out there that the sales are so small its not worth tooling up for their mount ?

Is it because Pentax is not moving to mirrorless ?

Is it because the market as a whole is moving to mirrorless and the money is in mirrorless lenses ?

Why oh why are we being deserted. ?
Maybe it was that Pentax waited too long to enter the digital market? A bit like all those bands that performed at Woodstock 1969 were the big rock bands of that time, while the splendid Procol Harum was not able to perform there and never was as big as the Who, Santana, CSN&Y, Ten Years After, JImi Hendrix or The Band.
05-25-2022, 03:11 PM - 3 Likes   #7
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Imagine you were an exec in Sigma or Tamron. How are you going to make a business case for a K-mount version of one of your lenses? Pentax has maybe 3% share of the ILC market, if that. Even if your lens would fill a gap in the K-mount lineup (e.g. the Tamron/Sigma 150-600), how many units are you going to sell?

Pentax itself has to think hard about the business case for each new lens it releases - and they can at least say, "Well, we might not break even with this lens, but we need it so we can say we have that niche filled - and that will help bring new customers to the brand". Third party manufacturers can't say that.

I have been a PF member since 2014. In that time there have been endless calls for filling this or that gap in the lineup. Most have now been answered (particularly for crop cameras). Even standard zooms like the DA 16-85, DFA 28-105 and DA 55-300 are very high quality. There are good fisheyes and macros, affordable AF primes, a fine range of f2.8 zooms for both APS-C and FF, a good DFA 150-450, premium 21, 50 and 85 FF primes and a range of lovely and unique Limited lenses. That's before you dip into the legacy MF market. Enjoy what's available.

If you really need a specialty lens (like a tilt-shift or a 600mm AF lens), you might need to go to another brand (all those Nikon and Canon DSLRs being offloaded!). But for most users, most of the time, there are good options available in K-mount - and some things you can't get elsewhere.

What is the particular third party lens that prompted this lament?


Last edited by Des; 05-25-2022 at 03:19 PM.
05-25-2022, 05:48 PM - 1 Like   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Des Quote
Imagine you were an exec in Sigma or Tamron. How are you going to make a business case for a K-mount version of one of your lenses? Pentax has maybe 3% share of the ILC market, if that. Even if your lens would fill a gap in the K-mount lineup (e.g. the Tamron/Sigma 150-600), how many units are you going to sell?
I still think they'd sell a truckload of 150-600s to Pentax users. As CaNikon move inexorably to mirrorless, these existing DSLR lenses will be orphaned. It seems to me that they could still get a last few drops of value out of those designs by throwing a K-mount on them at moderate effort.
05-25-2022, 07:16 PM - 1 Like   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by Paul the Sunman Quote
I still think they'd sell a truckload of 150-600s to Pentax users.
A vanload maybe rather than a truckload! They are really the successor to the Bigmas, and they were very popular with Pentaxians. Even so, it would not have been truckloads.
QuoteOriginally posted by Paul the Sunman Quote
As CaNikon move inexorably to mirrorless, these existing DSLR lenses will be orphaned. It seems to me that they could still get a last few drops of value out of those designs by throwing a K-mount on them at moderate effort.
A collaboration with Tamron on a K-mount version of their Gen 2 150-600 would be nice, but Ricoh might be concerned about cannibalizing sales of the DFA 150-450.

You've highlighted the point that DSLR users across the board are going to have progressively fewer third party lenses available as the market shifts to mirrorless mounts.
05-25-2022, 08:04 PM   #10
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I know Pentax doesn't have a massive market share, and obviously I am not a lens company business expert. But still, I would have thought the big end with all the precision ground glass was what cost the greatest amount to design and manufacture. Sure, they have to put different mounts on, which they have to do anyway. Pentax may require extra effort, so charge more. Print some new boxes and you're done. The mirrorless shift may require a total redesign for the latest fad, but now they have a bunch of perfectly good old designs that could be sold to Pentax users with a little effort.
05-26-2022, 12:54 AM - 1 Like   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Just1MoreDave Quote
I know Pentax doesn't have a massive market share, and obviously I am not a lens company business expert. But still, I would have thought the big end with all the precision ground glass was what cost the greatest amount to design and manufacture. Sure, they have to put different mounts on, which they have to do anyway. Pentax may require extra effort, so charge more. Print some new boxes and you're done. The mirrorless shift may require a total redesign for the latest fad, but now they have a bunch of perfectly good old designs that could be sold to Pentax users with a little effort.

Those third-party manufacturers are no charities, they have businesses to run, and seriously, if the volume just isn't there, why would they put themselves through the hassle and expense?
05-26-2022, 01:29 AM   #12
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I might have got this wrong but to me, apart from additional electronics, the only real advantage in mirrorless is the reduction in body weight and size, you can't really do that much with lenses because an APS-C lens still has to cover an APS-C sensor, likewise a Full Frame lens still has to cover a full frame sensor so the lens size for whichever format is going to remain pretty much the same so Pentax's decision to stick with DSLR's seems reasonable as it leaves access to all their previous glass for all their users something they made sure to do when they changed mounts back in the 70's.

Of course you're going to have to redesign all your lenses if you switched to mirrorless as the focal plane to lens flange distance would be different while the throat size should be more or less the same which would be an enormous undertaking.
05-26-2022, 05:31 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by PenPusher Quote
So what have the independent makers got to offer, well not very much in Pentax mount, they seem to be deserting us one by one.
Sigma and Tamron have deserted, but Irix, Laowa and others are still there!
05-26-2022, 01:27 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by PenPusher Quote
I might have got this wrong but to me, apart from additional electronics, the only real advantage in mirrorless is the reduction in body weight and size, you can't really do that much with lenses because an APS-C lens still has to cover an APS-C sensor, likewise a Full Frame lens still has to cover a full frame sensor so the lens size for whichever format is going to remain pretty much the same so Pentax's decision to stick with DSLR's seems reasonable as it leaves access to all their previous glass for all their users something they made sure to do when they changed mounts back in the 70's.
Of course you're going to have to redesign all your lenses if you switched to mirrorless as the focal plane to lens flange distance would be different while the throat size should be more or less the same which would be an enormous undertaking.
Factor to consider here is that any K-mount lens (or other system that originated on an slr film camera) wider than about 40mm has to be retro-focus design, irrespective of full-frame or ASP-C, consequently more expensive by default.
By doing away with the mirror/prism etc. and incorporating a shorter distance from the lens mount to the sensor many more lenses can be designed without the overhead of retro-focus so, theoretically, they can be cheaper to produce, though this will be negated to a degree by the increased sophistication of modern designs.
Expanding on this, any lens much more than 50mm could theoretically be manufactured to fit any DSLR as the optical assembly could be universal, "just" the interface to the camera being unique.
Unfortunately, it's the sheer mechanical complexity of the differing camera mounts which make the physical assembly of these multitudinous lenses so expensive … separate assembly lines, individually trained personnel, arrangements for the storage of spares etc., and that's before the requisite reverse engineering of the various communication protocols etc. … and do you want to "only" support recent cameras and ignore screw-drive a/f completely or do you want to go the whole hog and hope to tempt some long-term owners into purchasing a new lens?
I get the impression "most" long-term Pentax users are fairly satisfied with the system they've built up, quite possibly over very many years, and it'd need to be something particularly special (at a special price) to encourage them to expand their lens collection further. That leaves new Pentax users, and they seem to be fairly thin on the ground! Not a very attractive marketplace for a manufacturer to consider tackling!
05-26-2022, 01:58 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by PenPusher Quote
I thought I'd treat myself to a new lens so naturally I read the reviews, but then maybe not that one, so what's this one like, umm! maybe not and this one has an sdm motor so not that one either.

So what have the independent makers got to offer, well not very much in Pentax mount, they seem to be deserting us one by one.

Is it because Pentaxians are so loyal they don't buy any other makes, probably not, nearly everyone has a Sigma or Tamron somewhere in their collection.

Is it that there are so few Pentaxians out there that the sales are so small its not worth tooling up for their mount ?

Is it because Pentax is not moving to mirrorless ?

Is it because the market as a whole is moving to mirrorless and the money is in mirrorless lenses ?

Why oh why are we being deserted. ?
I too am disgruntled about the discontinuance of some very good lenses for Pentax users. But the mirrorless trend has been taking over. It might be a good strategy for Ricoh to get deals made, if possible, with Sigma and Tamron, as they have right along, for certain lenses to be rebranded for Pentax to fill in some gaps. But some of these lenses have been discontinued for all brands, due to the shift to mirrorless.

Specifically, what have you been looking for but not finding to satisfy your needs?
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