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09-16-2009, 09:27 AM   #16
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The various "consumer", "pro-sumer" and "pro" lens are really aimed at totally different target audiences:

Consumer Lenses - usually aimed at people who are stepping up from a Point & Shoot camera to their first DSLR. The kit lenses are aimed directly at these folks. They are about 300% better than they were 5 years ago. They have crap build quality but they have price points to reflect that as well. When used correctly (i.e., not used wide open, proper stabilized techniques, and proper exposure) these lenses produce amazing results given what you're paying for them. Now don't start whining about wide open performance or color fringing... ever shot a "kit" lens from 10 years ago on a new body? The defense rests.

"Prosumer" Lenses - these are aimed at advanced amateurs looking for better build quality, faster lenses, the higher optical performance, and reasonable pricing. They aren't going to be the best built, the highest optical performers, or the least expensive. They're exactly what they're designed to be -- compromises between these three factors. These are the Goldilocks Lenses. They're "just right" as long as you're not expecting them to be the cheapest, best built, fastest, or smallest. This is the market that Pentax faces the most competition. Nikon produces some fantastic pro-sumer lenses at slightly higher prices and slightly better performance (on average). I would argue that Pentax is still competitive in this market, however.

Pro Lenses - the DA* line. These are supposed to represent the best of the best. They're big, fast, and expensive. The difference for Pentax users (thankfully) is that they're targeted at the 95%+ of the market shooting cropped sensors. I have moved from Full Frame (Canon 5D) and I will say that I am very thankful that Pentax is focusing energy on making the highest quality cropped sensor lenses around for amazing prices. These are L-quality or whatever Nikon calls their top of the line lenses nowadays at prices about HALF or even ONE-THIRD of what the competition is charging for the FF versions (the Canon 70-200mm f/4L is the exception here but you give up IS).

Limiteds - these are a unique brand of lens and really aren't going to have direct competitors in my mind. They're beautiful feats of engineering with size/performance as the driving concept. Sure they're pricey but have you compared them to Zeiss? I'm not foolish enough to compare them to Leica glass but that's the point, they're a great, lower cost alternative designed specifically for Pentax. I'd say that ROCKS!

09-16-2009, 07:21 PM   #17
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QuoteOriginally posted by creampuff Quote
OP what you are suggesting of a two tier "professional" grade and "consumer" grade lens line-up already exists, except not in identical focal lengths. If you want a consumer grade lens to reach 300mm for example, look at the DA 55-300mm, if you want a better lens at that focal length, there is the DA* 300.

The reality is Pentax can ill afford to have many duplicate lenses of similar focal range that either cannibalise sales of one or the other, plus puts constraints on production, distribution and inventory. Not feasible imo.
Perhaps a better example would be the standard zoom range as follows:

Consumer: DA 18-55 F3.5 - 5.6 WR @ $230 CAD
Mid range: DA 17-70 F4 AL (IF) SDM @ $750 CAD
Pro grade: DA* 16-50 F2.8 @ $1100 CAD

You could duplicate this list with a mid range zoom although the pro grade would be the 50-135 and does not extend as far as the consumer grades which go to 200 or 300mm but at a cost of IQ that would not be tolerated in a pro grade lens.
09-17-2009, 04:42 PM   #18
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I think their selection is fairly complete. If you look at pricing structures, they are all fairly well-thought out. The extra marginal cost to bring another line of lenses probably outweighs the potential sales it might generate since most of the world is not prosumer.

For those wishing for lower prices, consider how much work is needed to design a lens (design != steal a design as is done in certain countries), acquire the materials, manufacture it, package it, and ship it. If it was feasibly cheaper, we'd all be making lenses in our garages.

The kit lenses fall into the <250 range, there are mid-grade lenses (16-45, 17-70, 55-300) for 250-600, and then you have the DA* lenses above there (plus 12-24, and a few others).

If Pentax had a larger user base, they might be able to afford bringing back some cheaper primes, but I suspect economies of scale are not there right now to justify that.
09-17-2009, 06:19 PM   #19
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QuoteOriginally posted by tr13 Quote
I tell you one small secret.
Pentax could produce same F2.8 lenses and sell them for about 1/3 of current price.
Without any speed penalty :-)
I find it better alternative.


If you know the secret to producing premium lenses for a 1/3 the price, start making them. Bet you'll be rich in no time.


Who wouldn't buy sub $300 31mm or 77mm LTDs? Or maybe get all DA* lenses in a package for sub $2000?


I'll take one of each.

09-17-2009, 07:05 PM   #20
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QuoteOriginally posted by Spock Quote
Further to this thread,

What if Pentax were to capitalise on the 'prosumer' nature of it's K7 flagship and produce a line of lenses a half stop slower than professional level but a half stop (or more) faster than its entry level lenses - ie. F3.3.
)
They did something today that accomplishes this.

They lowered the quality of the kit lenses moving to plastic mounts, including a 55-300 version.

By doing so, the17-70's etc all became distinctly "prosumer" and the f/2.8's are now fully professional.
09-17-2009, 10:47 PM   #21
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QuoteOriginally posted by MikePerham Quote
Consumer: DA 18-55 F3.5 - 5.6 WR @ $230 CAD
Mid range: DA 17-70 F4 AL (IF) SDM @ $750 CAD
Pro grade: DA* 16-50 F2.8 @ $1100 CAD

You could duplicate this list with a mid range zoom although the pro grade would be the 50-135 and does not extend as far as the consumer grades which go to 200 or 300mm but at a cost of IQ that would not be tolerated in a pro grade lens.
Fair enough, I concede that Pentax do now have Consumer, Mid range (Prosumer) and Pro-grade lenses in their present line up.

It's probably because I spend a lot of time looking for second-hand lenses that I am stuck in the past when Pentax did not have any prosumer products to offer in the wide gap between their consumer and pro lenses (as per my example of the FA28-70F4 and FA*28-70F2.8).
09-18-2009, 02:16 AM   #22
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QuoteOriginally posted by Spock Quote
Fair enough, I concede that Pentax do now have Consumer, Mid range (Prosumer) and Pro-grade lenses in their present line up.

It's probably because I spend a lot of time looking for second-hand lenses that I am stuck in the past when Pentax did not have any prosumer products to offer in the wide gap between their consumer and pro lenses (as per my example of the FA28-70F4 and FA*28-70F2.8).
I would say the biggest reason there isn't a "prosumer" grade of lenses, in between apertures ~2.8 and ~4, is because it would require far more effort and R&D than would pay off in the long run.

Everyone has a (24|28)-(60|70|75)mm f/2.8 lens. Nikon, Canon, Pentax, Sony, and just about everyone else. They also have (17|18)-(50|55|60|70)mm f/(3.8|4|4.5)-(5.6) basic kit lenses. This isn't accidental. Without being a professional in the subject, I would imagine it's because these are all well-established optical forumlae that have been around for decades and, through mass production and by virtue of already being researched and designed, are much cheaper to produce. They make more money for the company because they don't need to spend time and money finding out how to do something brand new like a 20-60mm f/3.5 lens or something.

Just look at Tamron, it took us this long to get a prime macro lens with an aperture larger than f/2.8. And no, Olympus doesn't count :P This must have taken a lot of research and development, and a lot of confidence in the lens' future success to spend all that money finding out an optical formula that would work.
09-18-2009, 07:52 AM   #23
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QuoteOriginally posted by Spock Quote
Fair enough, I concede that Pentax do now have Consumer, Mid range (Prosumer) and Pro-grade lenses in their present line up.

It's probably because I spend a lot of time looking for second-hand lenses that I am stuck in the past when Pentax did not have any prosumer products to offer in the wide gap between their consumer and pro lenses (as per my example of the FA28-70F4 and FA*28-70F2.8).
I think Pentax has a very good lens lineup for the most part and the prices are still good compared to the competition, even with the recent price hikes. I really don't like the terms consumer, prosumer, etc. as they imply quality and sometimes that isn't the case. I think that "pro" level lenses in many models indicate a heavier duty build with more metal and less plastic which should hold up to heavy use. I have noticed in the lens reviews section that a few reviewers have updated their opinions of a few lenses after being used for a few thousand shots and the lens started to get sloppy and loose. The quality of the optics weren't in question. I think most camera builders would like to see their own lenses on their customers cameras rather than aftermarket so they have to have a line that is competitive.

09-18-2009, 08:56 AM   #24
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Actually, they added plastic mount kit lenses when the K-m came out. And they didn't lower the quality as they still offer metal mount kit lenses. In fact, they recently added the option of more quality by weather-sealing a version of the kit lenses too.

QuoteOriginally posted by Aristophanes Quote
They did something today that accomplishes this.

They lowered the quality of the kit lenses moving to plastic mounts, including a 55-300 version.

By doing so, the17-70's etc all became distinctly "prosumer" and the f/2.8's are now fully professional.
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