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06-07-2011, 06:41 PM   #1
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Can't find K-5 in any stores?

hi. I'm new to the Pentax forums. I'm contemplating selling some older Canon gear and upgrading to either a the Nikon D7000 or the K-5. I know they have essentially the same sensor, but it seems to me from the reviews that the K-5 has more of the features/ergonomics that I'm looking for.

However, I can't find the K-5 body in a B&M store anywhere... and I live in the San Francisco Bay Area, so its not like I'm out in the middle of nowhere. The Pentax Corporate web-site listed 3 authorized retailers in SF; and they all laughed when I called and said they carried no Pentax at all. And none of Fry's, Walmart, Best Buy, Costco, nor Wolf/Ritz stock the K-5.

I guess my question is, do all Pentaxians buy their gear strictly online now? For such a large $$ purchase as a new DSLR is, I'd at least like to hold one in my hands first before pulling the trigger. I live in one of the larger metropolitan regions in the whole U.S., so is this problem endemic to the entire country?

I'd like to support a smaller brand like Pentax, but I feel like they're making it difficult to take that leap. This is a sincere post; I'm not trying to bash the brand. I would appreciate any thoughts or suggestions you might have.

Thanks,
Chris

06-07-2011, 07:07 PM   #2
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Well, Pentax doesn't have much of a B&M presence. I don't mind as I buy my gear (including my very first dSLR 5 years ago) via the web. Sounds like you've checked the usual suspects in your town. Fry's here carries the Kr, but I don't know about the K5.

B&H and Adorama seem to be fine with people buying and trying (their reps post here frequently, so ask them if you'd like). I guess I'd recommend buying a kit (once you're certain of the return policy - and cost) online and trying it out. Of course, most people here like Pentax but many also have experience with other brands. You'll also hear about all the "warts" with Pentax (same as other brands, IMHO), so ask plenty of questions.

For me, Pentax's strengths are stabilization in the body, great high ISO performance, nice little prime lenses, and lens compatibility going back ~40 years. Weaknesses are lack of long lenses, cheap fast lenses, and (apparently) slower AF. I don't use other brands but the AF seems to work okay for me. Others with more experience with other brands think it's not quite up to those standards.
06-07-2011, 07:12 PM   #3
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The only two stores I was familiar with in the Washington DC area that carried Pentax dSLR gear -- Penn Camera and Ritz -- had some inventory as recently as a couple of years ago.

While Ritz has been downsizing, the guy at the Penn camera where I drop by some times told me that it just didn't pay much any more to carry Pentax because of the cost to maintain the inventory compared to the volume of sales.

There are, however some stores like B&H and Adorama who have large showrooms in NYC that carry plenty of Pentax gear.

Seems like a simple case of economics to me. Or corporate prerogative.
06-07-2011, 09:04 PM   #4
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I have never seen any of Pentax's upper level cameras (k-7, k-5) locally. If you want to try before you buy, purchase the camera online (B&H, Adorama, Amazon) and then do a return should you not like the camera. I've done returns with Amazon w/o problems in the past and they often cover the return shipping.

Your other option is to rent it through BorrowLenses. They have K-5 bodies for rent and I think they charge $95 for a 3 day rental. You can complete the rental online and they can either mail it to you or you can pick up at one of their partner locations. Picking up is cheaper, plus Rayko Photo Center on 3rd St (SF) is one of their pickup locations. If you've never been to Rayko, they're a photo gallery and public darkroom. It'll make you want to shoot film

06-07-2011, 09:23 PM   #5
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Got to wonder what on earth is going on in the states with Pentax distribution. I have 4 camera stores near where I work and every one of them stock Pentax and all have a K-5 in store on display. One even has a 645D on display.
06-07-2011, 09:45 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by twitch Quote
Got to wonder what on earth is going on in the states with Pentax distribution. I have 4 camera stores near where I work and every one of them stock Pentax and all have a K-5 in store on display. One even has a 645D on display.
Australia is a totally different demographic market.
06-07-2011, 10:46 PM   #7
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Yeah i can play with a 645d in Perth if i want to
06-07-2011, 10:49 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by manishved Quote
Australia is a totally different demographic market.
is it all the kangaroos?

06-08-2011, 06:05 AM   #9
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Going to Baltimore soon, does anyone know if there is a Pentax seller in the Baltimore area??? I'm looking for that "tipping point" on a K5 purchase and I'm sure holding one would supply the catalyst.
06-08-2011, 06:56 AM   #10
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There are a total of 13 retailers in the U.S. selling the K-5 according to the Pentax website, several of which are on-line only. Never looked at that before. Yikes. Even at B&H another Pentaxian wrote the area devoted to Pentax is tiny compared to Canikon and even Olympus/Sony.
06-08-2011, 07:13 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by manishved Quote
Australia is a totally different demographic market.
QuoteOriginally posted by twitch Quote
is it all the kangaroos?
Since there are 5 B&M stores near me with K-5's on hand (only 1 with 645D), it must be more than the kangaroos... or polar bears.

Maybe quality of life? (Kidding - I know it's the smaller population, mainly in concentrated areas...)
06-08-2011, 08:08 PM   #12
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Thanks

Thanks einstrigger. I'm able to do a 3-day rental of a K-5 and lens for ~$130 from BorrowLens, including courier service to the East Bay. I think I'm going to use the service to demo the K-5... its not exactly cheap, but it appears to be the only way I can try out some Pentax gear before purchasing.

I'll most likely rent the K-5 with a 12-24mm f/4. They also have the 21mm, 35mm, and 40mm Limited Primes, and I know how great the Ltd primes are. But I would most likely start out my kit with a zoom, either the 16-45mm or 17-70mm, and this seems like the closest approximation.

Thanks again for the help.
06-09-2011, 07:49 AM   #13
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I think this is a big problem for Pentax. When people ask me for recomendations about what camera to buy, I try to tell them what I know about the different strengths weaknesses of the different brands, and I like to tell them to try them out and see how they feel to them. If they want to do that in the United States, unless they live in a few specific areas, that takes Pentax out of the competition.

Interesting to hear about borrowlenses.com. This is the first that I've heard about any of the rental places carrying Pentax other than Cameralensrentals.com. People from this site have reported good experiences with cameralensrentals.com, so you might compare there. Good luck with your choice.
06-09-2011, 08:10 AM   #14
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I am not often impressed by Pentax Canada, but they seem to have done a much better job of staying in Brick and Mortar stores here. downtown Toronto there is 4 stores i know of without even looking with the DSLR lineup, none I know of with the 546D on display though
AFAIK pretty much every major Canadian city has decent representation, though no big box per se (unless Henry's camera falls under big box)
Advertising presence is close to non-existent though, and even in the stores stocking it they are relegated to a small area not typically featured well

but at least they are there
06-09-2011, 09:28 AM   #15
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When I was looking to upgrade from my Nikon, I bought the K-5 sight unseen (physically obviously) and instantly fell in love with its weight and the way it felt in my hand.
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