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04-12-2009, 11:09 PM   #1
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Canadian Pentax users: Who else is disillusioned?

When I started building my Pentax system back in November, I was excited because I found a company that was offering great quality at a decent price. I chose Pentax mainly because I didn't want to be paying pro-level prices for a system when I wasn't a pro. But I have to admit that the (in some cases) enormous hike in the prices of lenses here in Canada has me seriously wondering if I made a mistake in choosing Pentax in the first place.

For one thing, I find it ridiculous that Pentax Canada has decided to price their APS-C lenses near those of full-frame offerings of the competition. And when I compare the prices of APS-C offerings like the DA* 50-135 to lenses like the Sigma 50-150 or 70-200, I no longer find any reason to want to spend several hundred more on the Pentax "equivalent" when the IQ and build quality of the Sigmas - according to reviews - are pretty much as good as those of the Pentax. I could live without weather-sealing and SDM for the amount I would save.

Also, it struck me like lightning once Pentax announced the medium-format 645D that they are not going to be going full-frame. This announcement, combined with the discontinuation of various FA lenses and the dwindling supplies of lenses like the FA 35 f2.0, made this conclusion obvious once I put one and one together. Now, although a non-pro like me has no need of a full-frame system, this realization about their non-full-frame ambitions has led me to question how long Pentax will continue their commitment to APS-C. If I continue to buy DA lenses and build a system around APS-C, will I have spent a few thousand dollars on something that will be obsolete in, say, 10 years? In other words, will Pentax focus exclusively on medium-format in a few short years and find some other format to replace APS-C in order to appease entry-level buyers? (Maybe even full-frame after all, with a whole new series of FA lenses?)

As you can tell, these price increases have thrown me into a tailspin of lack of confidence about Pentax. I have no issues about the quality of their product, but maybe I should have spent more on an APS-C Nikon body (to start) and some full-frame lenses simply because it's obvious that the full-frame format - especially as FF bodies drop in price - will be the mainstream format in a few short years. And if this is the case, will it push the APS-C offerings of companies like Pentax off the map?

So I'm pretty disillusioned right now, and I'm wondering if I'm the only Canadian Pentax owner who's jumped to such conclusions and is really regretting their move to Pentax based upon these recent price increases. Also, somebody please give me compelling evidence to prove my conclusions wrong and show me that Pentax is committed to APS-C for the very long-run, and that I haven't made a long-term mistake.

04-13-2009, 12:21 AM   #2
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Dunno, half of my lenses are nearing that "10 year" mark and they are *far* from obsolete... if anything, the digital camera of today is making these lenses shine.

QuoteOriginally posted by enoxatnep Quote
If I continue to buy DA lenses and build a system around APS-C, will I have spent a few thousand dollars on something that will be obsolete in, say, 10 years?
04-13-2009, 12:34 AM   #3
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I tend to agree that as Pentax has been great bang-for-buck-wise, serious price rises diminish that position. And while Pentax has said that they're not planning to go full frame, I personally find that lenses that only work on a crop sensor are of lower intrinsic value than those that could be used with FF too. I don't see 645D as a threat to APS-C as it is clearly of a different class and use (big, expensive cameras for pro studio/landscape use). I see a bigger risk in the whole company going belly-up. As I've posted before (obviously to some people's annoyance), I feel that Pentax has to go FF or they will go away. And no matter what they say officially, they must be seriously considering FF too and like any company, adjusting their strategy constantly.
04-13-2009, 04:31 AM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by enoxatnep Quote
Also, it struck me like lightning once Pentax announced the medium-format 645D that they are not going to be going full-frame. This announcement, combined with the discontinuation of various FA lenses and the dwindling supplies of lenses like the FA 35 f2.0, made this conclusion obvious once I put one and one together. Now, although a non-pro like me has no need of a full-frame system, this realization about their non-full-frame ambitions has led me to question how long Pentax will continue their commitment to APS-C. If I continue to buy DA lenses and build a system around APS-C, will I have spent a few thousand dollars on something that will be obsolete in, say, 10 years? In other words, will Pentax focus exclusively on medium-format in a few short years and find some other format to replace APS-C in order to appease entry-level buyers? (Maybe even full-frame after all, with a whole new series of FA lenses?)
just to be clear, and no I don't work for pentax, they have been very upfront about the comittment to ASP-C format and this being their only SLR format.

you should not be surprised by this.

04-13-2009, 05:24 AM   #5
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The thing that strikes me when I read the OP is you are basing decisions today on what may happen 10 years from now? Unless you are planning on being a Professional Photographer what does it matter? I dont even think they plan 10 years down the road or even 5 years down the road. Ten years ago did everyone have DSLR's heck ten years ago did we even have the internet as it exists now? Live today in the here and now not years in the future, if Pentax fills your needs now great if it doesn't switch. Do not sit there and lament about what maybe a decade from now or even five years from now, go out and take some pictures thats what the camera is for. OK stepping down off the soapbox now
04-13-2009, 06:58 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by enoxatnep Quote
If I continue to buy DA lenses and build a system around APS-C, will I have spent a few thousand dollars on something that will be obsolete in, say, 10 years?
I look around my house and, aside from one or two items of furniture, there is NOTHING that I'm still actively using that's as old as the Pentax lenses I bought during the 1970s. Pentax has been better than any other camera company at preserving my investment in these excellent legacy lenses.

When I got into photography, 35mm was the "amateur" format and 6x6 was the "pro" format. Today, APS-C is the "amateur" format and FF or larger is the "pro" format. APS-C is firmly entrenched and it's not going anywhere.
04-13-2009, 07:07 AM   #7
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Apart from the disproportional increase in the price of DA 40 and DA* 50-135, the other increases should have been expected given the change in CADJPY. You must have been living under a rock, if you haven't noticed the worldwide economic disaster and its results. If CAD goes up vs. USD, order lenses from the states until the prices here are readjusted again.
04-13-2009, 07:10 AM   #8
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I won't say disilusioned but this price increase has indeed killed what I consider pentax's strongest suit vs canonikon, which is value for money (in Canada). I guess it's not much of an issue if you're just a hobbyist and is comfortable buying online, and if you're a pro, the cost probably wouldn't be too much of a problem anyway since you earn money with it. Either way I still think they're shooting themselves the foot (especially with the FA 35 price increase and the release of Nikon 35/1.8 at the same time; not saying the two lenses are equal here, just comparison in terms of pricing.)

Oh well, there's always the marketplace...

04-13-2009, 07:49 AM   #9
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APS-c -> FF -> as K-mount -> M42?

Is this argument similar to what people must have felt in 1975, when the K-mount and K-series bodies were introduced?? (Where is the competitor to the Canon F1? Pentax is losing their position, etc.)

How about 1978, when M-series came out? (How is Pentax responding to Olympus?)

I am an amateur/enthusiast. I have had a Pentax camera of one model or another since 1977.

FWIW, I have ONE APS-c lens - DA55~300 (and rumors are that lens may cover APS-H).

I have a group of M42, K, M, A, FA and Tamron lenses (some purchased new, others purchased used) that more than meet my needs as an avid hobbyist, and I expect will continue so to do.

I don't need a Full-Frame sensor to print at the largest size I need (11x14) - APS-c is just fine.

I DO need Pentax to continue to support the K-mount, preferably, in the future, no longer crippled.

If I need a true full-frame image I can still shoot film.

My washer and dryer are 30 years old. One television was made in 1980. My Bose speakers were made in 1984. One Pioneer amp was made in 1973 - it is STILL better than anything I can get new for less than $4000. Another was made in 1998.

I use a number of tools, furniture and garments that are over 200 years old and in many cases they are better than new products designed to do the same thing.

If I want to get angry about being abandoned I just look at my audio and video cassettes and try to find even cheap players.
04-13-2009, 07:52 AM   #10
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Try to see the positive side : you can now, find the DA*300 mm for cheaper than a DA*50-135mm !!!

But I agree with you : what's happening here is a total non-sense. If they wanted to close the company in Canada, they wouldn't act differently.

Yesterday, I was in London Drugs and found one of the last DA* 50-135mm available in the market with the old price. I wanted it so much for a very long time : I had it it my hands and I asked myself "It will cost you 1120 $, and then after, what will you be able to buy ?" I gave it back to the saler. I think this was the best decision I could take.

Pentax Canada raised the price in a way which has not even a relation with the rate of US$ : it is totally disproportional. Canada is a small market of 33 millions people, so may be they don't care. But since I moved here, I noticed that it was the same with many companies here in North America. Just look at the choice on Amazon.com and Amazon.ca to convince yourself.
04-13-2009, 07:55 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by monochrome Quote
Is this argument similar to what people must have felt in 1975, when the K-mount and K-series bodies were introduced?? (Where is the competitor to the Canon F1? Pentax is losing their position, etc.)

How about 1978, when M-series came out? (How is Pentax responding to Olympus?)

I am an amateur/enthusiast. I have had a Pentax camera of one model or another since 1977.

FWIW, I have ONE APS-c lens - DA55~300 (and rumors are that lens may cover APS-H).

I have a group of M42, K, M, A, FA and Tamron lenses (some purchased new, others purchased used) that more than meet my needs as an avid hobbyist, and I expect will continue so to do.

I don't need a Full-Frame sensor to print at the largest size I need (11x14) - APS-c is just fine.

I DO need Pentax to continue to support the K-mount, preferably, in the future, no longer crippled.

If I need a true full-frame image I can still shoot film.

My washer and dryer are 30 years old. One television was made in 1980. My Bose speakers were made in 1984. One Pioneer amp was made in 1973 - it is STILL better than anything I can get new for less than $4000. Another was made in 1998.

I use a number of tools, furniture and garments that are over 200 years old and in many cases they are better than new products designed to do the same thing.

If I want to get angry about being abandoned I just look at my audio and video cassettes and try to find even cheap players.
The situation is not the same : we have an increase of price which reaches 100%, and there is no change in the technology : exactly the same product !
04-13-2009, 05:33 PM   #12
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Had a quick look of Henry's list price

50-135mm Can$1800 B&H US$749
K20D body only Can$1100
43mm Ltd Can$949 B&H US$459 This is insane. Who would have bought that in this day of on-line shopping?

I have not had interest in going through the other lenses. Seems like we are treated like idiots

I have not had much interest in acquiring more lenses but I can see the frustration of newcomers


Daniel

Last edited by danielchtong; 04-13-2009 at 05:44 PM.
04-13-2009, 06:32 PM   #13
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Original Poster
First of all, thanks Lowell for stating that Pentax has been "very upfront about the comittment to ASP-C format and this being their only SLR format". I'm just wondering if you have a link (or links) to a Pentax source that supports this. Google wasn't too helpful in this regard.

Also, emr, I agree with your statement:
QuoteOriginally posted by emr Quote
I don't see 645D as a threat to APS-C as it is clearly of a different class and use (big, expensive cameras for pro studio/landscape use). I see a bigger risk in the whole company going belly-up. As I've posted before (obviously to some people's annoyance), I feel that Pentax has to go FF or they will go away. And no matter what they say officially, they must be seriously considering FF too and like any company, adjusting their strategy constantly.
I do realize that I need to think about and take photos for today and not worry about what lies ahead. But budget-conscious folk like me chose Pentax also because of their commitment to backwards lens compatibility because we didn't want to have to try to come up with money for a new system format 10 years into the future due to "planned obsolescence". I wonder if they'll still be "backwards compatible" then?

Why I fear the demise of APS-C - and why I no longer wish to sink yet more money into it - is because Canon and Nikon call the shots and always will, like it or not. As full-frame technology eventually sinks below US $2,000, I can see them beginning to phase-out APS-C in favor of FF because that's what consumers will demand. They'll be willing to pay for it even if they'll never need it simply because FF will satisfy their lust for more megapixels whether or not they're great photographers. Consumers won't remain patient with a format like APS-C that cannot support more than 14-15 MP without serious degradation in image quality. But they'll salivate at the prospect of 25 MP for under $2,000. They'll both be offering FF bodies for this price in less than 3 years, and you read it here first

Anyhow, even though I personally don't need more than what the K20D and its APS-C successors will provide, I just don't want the day to arrive in only a few short years when APS-C falls out of favor and gets discontinued, and I get stuck with thousands of dollars of obsolete equipment that once appeared to be supported for the long term - even though Pentax is supposedly committed to the format right now.

Again, I got the jitters about all this once I realized that Pentax's commitment is to medium-format and not full frame at this time (perhaps for good) while seeing the FF direction that Canikon are taking. Thanks for putting up with my paranoia! I've enjoyed the responses thus far.
04-13-2009, 06:54 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by enoxatnep Quote
Again, I got the jitters about all this once I realized that Pentax's commitment is to medium-format and not full frame at this time (perhaps for good) while seeing the FF direction that Canikon are taking. Thanks for putting up with my paranoia! I've enjoyed the responses thus far.
Pentax has no reason to get into FF now that both Canikon are already in it
In one big stroke, Pentax has outresolved a lot of competition.
I wrote extensively in a predominantly Canikon forum re 645D

TPMG.CA :: View topic - Official rumour Pentax 645 D



Daniel
04-13-2009, 07:05 PM   #15
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Unless pentax can squeeze 25MB onto APSC and not lose image quality. After all, camera bodies are now just very specialised computers. Smaller and more powerful is not a far stretch to achieve. Seems like "make the sensor bigger" is not that hard a solution in the megapixel race...


mike
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