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12-17-2009, 10:51 AM   #106
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QuoteOriginally posted by Igilligan Quote
This may be my favorite excuse yet for the 80% price increase of the FA 50...
To fund R&D for future lenses...

It looks to me like the entire lens R&D under hoya so far has been not about future lenses, but existing lenses...
How can we make existing lenses cheaper... remove metal mounts and replace with plastic, remove quick shift AF, and remove the lens hoods) then add an L to the front of the lens designation...
The other direction they seem to be going is adding some weather sealing to existing lenses... And the WS 100mm macro is a sales joke if you ask me. How many new camera owners are gonna pic a Weather Sealed 100mm macro as their first prime? How many experienced macro shooters need weather sealing for their bug / flower macros? haha Heck we dont even need AF for macros... this was a waste of time and money developing this lense in my humble opinion. They would have been better off weather sealing the 55-300 or DA 40 / 70.

Weather sealing is a welcome addition, but requires little "lens R&D", And in the end, if the lenses are priced so high that few can afford them what difference is that gonna make in saving the company?
Hoya/pentax is not going to stay alive as a company on the few of us loyal customers existing now... They need to attract new folks to buy their nice new bodies. If they have no lenses that the newbies can afford it will eventually affect sales IMHO. And they need to stop crippling sales by having no Camera bodies / lenses on the retail store shelves in the U.S.

If it had not been for the relatively low priced FA 50 / FA 35 when I bought my first DSLR it would have not been Pentax... Now the FA 50 has gone from $200 to $360 and will eventually be replaced completely by the DA 55 1.4 at $650. And the FA 35 has been replaced by the DA 35 which is $535
I understand that there is a little sarcasm going on here. Clearly most of the R and D budget is going to new camera bodies, not to lenses. Unlike in film days, a digital body is good for only 12 to 18 months -- there is constant work going on behind the scenes to come up with the new "next best thing." If these bodies are not decent, Pentax will fall and fall fast and hard.

As far as lenses go, Pentax has come up with a large number of new lenses in the last four years. Certainly there have not been many this year (only the DA 15 and 60-250?), but the costs of lens design are certainly not for weather sealing current models.

12-17-2009, 11:05 AM   #107
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QuoteOriginally posted by Marc Sabatella Quote
Anyhow, I'm not saying it isn't a shame that Hoya/Pentax found it necessary to raise the price on lenses. Obviously, it beats the alternative of Pentax going under. Whether there were *other* alternatives too, we really don't have the necessary information to know for sure, but I guess I don't see why people automatically *assume* that Hoya/Pentax is acting irresponsibly here, as opposed to simply doing the best they can with what they have to work with.
I've written this on other threads, and perhaps earlier on this thread. This is very important to understand.

Growing a business requires capital or cash flow. One or the other. Can't grow a business on ads and hope.

Capital, if available at all, is scarce and expensive right now (relative to inflation globally). Available capital flows to the highest Return-on-Capital option - which for Hoya is someting other than Pentax Imaging.

Hoya intends to grow Pentax (whether for eventual sale or as a "Brand Leader" consumer franchise) using CASH FLOW FROM EXISTING PRODUCTS to finance development and distribuition of the next generation of products.

In a case where the entire development cost is completely recovered and there is no cost-accounting addition to "cost" to defray these expenses, such as FA50/1.4 and FA35/2, the cash flow return by raising the prices to a "clearing level" is enormous - virtually 100%, to the extent that the lenses are drawn from existing stock and not actually manufactured [EDIT: there is significant conjecture that these lenses are no longer manufactured. That is not a known fact]. In cases of DA and DA* lenses where they are selling from stock the return isn't as great (they still must add back development costs), but it is still smart business.

New lenses, that are manufactured, have associated tax benefits of cost accounting, so "cash flow" is also quite good.

The art of using cash flow to fiannce future growth is knowing where to price, and what to manufacture versus what to draw down.

Pentax is reserving its (limited) future manufacturing capacity for new products rather than "second runs" of existing lenses.

We (who already have our lenses) should be quite pleased that Hoya is behaving as if it wants to grow Pentax, rather than selling it off and letting someone else milk it and kill it.

Last edited by monochrome; 12-18-2009 at 04:09 PM.
12-17-2009, 11:18 AM   #108
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QuoteOriginally posted by Marc Sabatella Quote
I guess I just find it odd that people would base entire camera system purchases on the price of two lenses (35mm and 50mm AF primes), especially when one of them (50) is not all that useful a focal length and an MF version really serves the need for that particular focal length quite well.
Ha ha, I just wrote in another thread about how I agree with you way too much. And the first post I read after that... I completely disagree with!

You find it odd because you have years of experience.

Many newbies, like myself a few years ago... have no idea of the concept of a "System". We were moving up from P&S bridge cams. So you look for features in a body you think you need, and a lens or two to go with it. Few newbies have any clue that they will be $2000 dollars in pretty quick, and still lusting for more... only then will they start to grasp that they are locked into a "System".

I had a 35 3.5 and fast 50 with my Pentax ME twenty years ago... so when I was looking for a lenses to go with my new K100d, b&H had the FA for $200... I came on the forums and it was highly recommended with a few folks talking about 'crop factor'...

Marc, until you put a 50mm lens on a cropped sensor you cant really wrap you mind around "crop factor/field of view".

It is not all that "odd" to think a new person looking to buy their first DSLR would look at the prices of an ultra zoom / or two kit combo, and a fast prime or two to make their initial decisions. You just have to try and forget your years of experience for a minute and think like a newbie.
12-17-2009, 11:41 AM   #109
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QuoteOriginally posted by Damn Brit Quote
Yeah well, some of you need a nanny... and diapers.
...cuz we ain't leaving till Tokina shows us dem lenses in K Mount

12-17-2009, 01:46 PM   #110
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QuoteOriginally posted by monochrome Quote
The art of using cash flow to fiannce future growth is knowing where to price, and what to manufacture versus what to draw down.

Pentax is reserving its (limited) future manufacturing capacity for new products rather than "second runs" of existing lenses.

We (who already have our lenses) should be quite pleased that Hoya is behaving as if it wants to grow Pentax, rather than selling it off and letting someone else milk it and kill it.
I thought this was an interesting post, and it makes perfect sense to me.

It raises a question: what might happen to lenses like the FA50/1.4 in the future? Right now, the lens is not discontinued, but not manufactured either. Otherwise we would see a progression like with the FA31: first, newly bought lenses "Assembled in Vietnam" then "Made in Vietnam". We might see "Assembled" lenses eventually, but will we see new lenses built in Vietnam?

I think the price spike means that Hoya sees the lens still is in demand, so eventually, production will start in Vietnam. Right now, I imagine a warehouse of lens boxes being slowly depleted. A super optimist might see the not-quite-discontinued status of the FA35 as an indication that this lens production will be moved too.

The lens production issue becomes very important for those hoping for a FF camera - unless you don't want lenses for it.
12-17-2009, 02:15 PM   #111
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QuoteOriginally posted by Just1MoreDave Quote
I thought this was an interesting post, and it makes perfect sense to me.

It raises a question: what might happen to lenses like the FA50/1.4 in the future? . . .

I think the price spike means that Hoya sees the lens still is in demand, so eventually, production will start in Vietnam. Right now, I imagine a warehouse of lens boxes being slowly depleted. A super optimist might see the not-quite-discontinued status of the FA35 as an indication that this lens production will be moved too.

The lens production issue becomes very important for those hoping for a FF camera - unless you don't want lenses for it.
I see hints that a FF camera is in the plans.

A FF body requires lenses whose image circle will cover the sensor area or the body is worthless. An easy fix (subject to some possible lens formula tweaking issues) might be to apply the digital coating to the rear element, re-clad the package in the "new" D-FA/100 Macro style exterior, and supply these as the introductory lenses w/ a "K-Lx" FF body.

Assuming the basic lens designs from the best manual focus lenses would still work (not necessarily a valid assumption due to European prohibition on lead in the old coatings, which might change the light transmission so much that the lens element formulas wouldn't work well), Hoya could cut their development cost dramatically by tweaking these old formulas and recladding the great lenses.

They could position the "Best" APS-c prime lens lineup, the "Classic" FF Pentax lens lineup and the "Best Value" medium format lineup.

FWIW, I called it right here, right now, and I have saved this post URL
12-17-2009, 02:28 PM   #112
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QuoteOriginally posted by Marc Sabatella Quote
especially when one of them (50) is not all that useful a focal length and an MF version really serves the need for that particular focal length quite well.
Other people will think differently about AF vs MF and even if the FL wasn't that great (I learned to appreciate it a lot more than I used to) then the inexpensive FA 50/1.4 was still a great "fix" (as in rope you into LBA) for kit lens users.

QuoteOriginally posted by Marc Sabatella Quote
Once again, yes, I think it would be great it Pentax were to offer an inexpensive 50/1.7 and 35/2 again.
Ah, c'mon, why didn't you say "cheap" again?

QuoteOriginally posted by Marc Sabatella Quote
Obviously, it beats the alternative of Pentax going under.
As you say, it is far from clear that "going under" would be the only alternative.

QuoteOriginally posted by Marc Sabatella Quote
...I don't see why people automatically *assume* that Hoya/Pentax is acting irresponsibly here, as opposed to simply doing the best they can with what they have to work with.
Why do you assume that raising lens prices is "the best they can"? Might it not be better to retain some affordable (underpriced, if you want) lenses in the line up for people like Gus who would not have chosen Pentax otherwise?

Somehow I don't think that selling remaining stock at a higher price will make such a difference for future R&D. How big would the stock have to be?

It seems few of us are business experts / fortunetellers so we cannot really reach a conclusion as to which strategy will be best for Pentax.

But I have a suggestion for those who are happy about the new prices (One forum member actually said this): Please include a donation to Pentax next time you buy something. This will help to keep prices down for all the rest of us who are not happy about Pentax adjusting the prices to become compatible with the competition.
12-17-2009, 03:00 PM   #113
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QuoteOriginally posted by monochrome Quote
We (who already have our lenses) should be quite pleased that Hoya is behaving as if it wants to grow Pentax, rather than selling it off and letting someone else milk it and kill it.
Mostly true. But one thing that worries me is that Pentax is making no effort to patch up its reputation (deserved or otherwise) regarding problematic lenses such as the 50-135 and the 16-50.

I just can't see the long-term wisdom of totally ignoring a bad rep. It would be very inexpensive for them to ask Ned or some other English speaker to prepare some sort of response, and then extend their warranty period to three years, as they did with K-7 bodies sold through Pentax USA, or to six years, as Tamron does with their lenses.

Alternatively they might publish actual numbers, showing everyone how reliable their lenses really are (IF they are.) But this is probably not an option, since the real percentage of defective lenses with Pentax (and other manufacturers) would probably scare the daylights out of almost anyone.

Alternatively, they might, and SHOULD, implement some simple testing of each instance of each lens, to be sure that NO defective lenses leave the factory. It's obvious that at least a few lenses have been Dead (or very sick) On Arrival at the first owner, and this is simply inexcusable for an $800 lens, regardless of the length of its warranty.

The fact that Pentax has chosen NOT to implement ANY of these responses to [rumors of] problematic lenses leads me to worry about their long-term prospects.

12-17-2009, 03:51 PM   #114
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QuoteOriginally posted by infosyn Quote
Mostly true. But one thing that worries me is that Pentax is making no effort to patch up its reputation (deserved or otherwise) regarding problematic lenses such as the 50-135 and the 16-50.

I just can't see the long-term wisdom of totally ignoring a bad rep. It would be very inexpensive for them to ask Ned or some other English speaker to prepare some sort of response, and then extend their warranty period to three years, as they did with K-7 bodies sold through Pentax USA, or to six years, as Tamron does with their lenses.

Alternatively they might publish actual numbers, showing everyone how reliable their lenses really are (IF they are.) But this is probably not an option, since the real percentage of defective lenses with Pentax (and other manufacturers) would probably scare the daylights out of almost anyone.

Alternatively, they might, and SHOULD, implement some simple testing of each instance of each lens, to be sure that NO defective lenses leave the factory. It's obvious that at least a few lenses have been Dead (or very sick) On Arrival at the first owner, and this is simply inexcusable for an $800 lens, regardless of the length of its warranty.

The fact that Pentax has chosen NOT to implement ANY of these responses to [rumors of] problematic lenses leads me to worry about their long-term prospects.
That's news to me. We all know that the DA 16-50 had and has some problems, whether from design flaws, bad construction or simply quality assurance. But that the 50-135 should suffer "a bad reputation" sounds very strange. From waht I have read (and seen in images) in this forum, the contrary is true, the 50-135 stands in highest regards, due to its prime-like performance.

Another point: NO manufacturer will publish data on faults of its products. The only industry that has a hard time to safeguard these data is the car industry with its regular recalls.

All in all, I see not the alleged "bad reputation" of Pentax. It is, still today, an enigmatic company for many people, but it does not suffer a generally bad reputation.

Ben
12-17-2009, 04:07 PM   #115
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ben_Edict Quote

All in all, I see not the alleged "bad reputation" of Pentax. It is, still today, an enigmatic company for many people, but it does not suffer a generally bad reputation.
I am with you Ben. Pentax's bad reputation seems to be limited to this site and dpReview. As to the problems with the DA* 50-135, I think he may be referring to SDM motor failures. That is the latest big issue, it seems. It is hard to determine how prevalent the problem is or whether this sort of problem is worse with Pentax than with other brands. One thing is certain...There are some very vocal users who have had SDM failures.

Steve
12-17-2009, 04:08 PM   #116
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I promise this is my last post in this thread...

Bennie...

I do not know where you have been but the DA* 50-135 is probably the most complained about lens on this or any pentax forum. Not for the IQ, which as you say is almost Prime like thru the range... but because of SDM failures and Hoya/Pentax lack of response to said problem... It may be the best IQ zoom pentax has ever made... but if the SDM motors fails it is a MF only lens or an expensive repair if out of the 1 year 'limited' warranty...

haha do you see how I used 'limited'... Oh man, I am on fire... thank you and good night! I will be here all week.

I bet you all can't wait until my K20 is fixed and I can go back to shootin' instead of complainin'
12-17-2009, 04:47 PM   #117
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QuoteOriginally posted by Igilligan Quote
I promise this is my last post in this thread...

Bennie...

I do not know where you have been but the DA* 50-135 is probably the most complained about lens on this or any pentax forum. Not for the IQ, which as you say is almost Prime like thru the range... but because of SDM failures and Hoya/Pentax lack of response to said problem... It may be the best IQ zoom pentax has ever made... but if the SDM motors fails it is a MF only lens or an expensive repair if out of the 1 year 'limited' warranty...

haha do you see how I used 'limited'... Oh man, I am on fire... thank you and good night! I will be here all week.

I bet you all can't wait until my K20 is fixed and I can go back to shootin' instead of complainin'
To further derail this thread, consider this article with comparative data from the guys that should know:
LensRentals.com - Lens Repair Data 3.5
They don't deal in Pentax, but my point is to show that this is a generic issue with AF systems, regardless of brand. Of particular interest is this statement:
"The Canon 50 f1.4 joins the list this period. Autofocus motor failure tended to hit hard at about one yearís use, which is why it hasnít shown up until now ó we only started stocking this lens about 18 months ago."
Steve
12-17-2009, 04:50 PM   #118
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QuoteOriginally posted by Igilligan Quote
You find it odd because you have years of experience.
Hmm, that's sort of true, but not really. I mean, my first SLR experience was indeed many years ago, but I was never particularly serious about it back then and forgotten most of whatever I had learned. I hadn't focused a camera manually in probably 20 years prior to getting my first DSLR in 2005. On the other hand, knowing I had managed it back in my youth, that every single picture my parents ever took of me as a kid was focused manually, and that my not-technically-inclined wife still shot a manual focus film camera (K1000), gave me confidence that this was a viable option, and it is true many newbies will lack that perspective. I definitely grant you have a point.

QuoteQuote:
Few newbies have any clue that they will be $2000 dollars in pretty quick, and still lusting for more... only then will they start to grasp that they are locked into a "System".
Interesting to consider whether educating them on this front will prove ultimately helpful or not. I know *I* wasn't thinking "system" when I bought my DSLR. If I had been, I'm pretty sure I'd have been even *more* likely to go with Pentax.

QuoteQuote:
It is not all that "odd" to think a new person looking to buy their first DSLR would look at the prices of an ultra zoom / or two kit combo, and a fast prime or two to make their initial decisions. You just have to try and forget your years of experience for a minute and think like a newbie.
You're right. But I'd still suggest that it might be more productive to work on reassuring / educating the consumer than it is to fan the flames. If I thought there was a very real possibilty that Hoya/Pentax had any real choice in the matter, and that if enough people complained they would simply lower prices again, I'd be among those asking them to do that. But again, I have to assume they have their reasons, and really, they aren't even particularly mysterious. So I think it more productive to suggest other alternatives, like putting out a DA35/2 and DA50/1.7, and trying to make the best of things as they are in the mean time.
12-17-2009, 04:52 PM   #119
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Priceless...

QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
To further derail this thread, consider this article with comparative data from the guys that should know:
LensRentals.com - Lens Repair Data 3.5
They don't deal in Pentax, but my point is to show that this is a generic issue with AF systems, regardless of brand. Of particular interest is this statement:
"The Canon 50 f1.4 joins the list this period. Autofocus motor failure tended to hit hard at about one year’s use, which is why it hasn’t shown up until now — we only started stocking this lens about 18 months ago."
Steve
Ha ha... A lens rental company "the guys who should know" and "They dont deal in Pentax"! Well that speaks volumes on so many levels!
12-17-2009, 04:59 PM   #120
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...or how about this one...
50mm f/1.4 AF failure - Photo.net Canon EOS Forum
I particularly like this quote:
"They are so bad Canon should eat the repair cost on every 50 1.4 they ever sold."
Sound familiar?

Steve
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