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11-05-2014, 10:15 PM   #1
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Where do you see Pentax in 5 years?

"Image capturing devices" market is changing a lot faster than any of us could have predicted 5 years ago. According to some marketing and behavioral experts, in less than 5 years some brands like Nikon (whose 80% business comes from photo gear sales), may well disappear.

Point, shoot, collapse: Why big camera companies are the next BlackBerry | Financial Post

What this article does not mention, is what could happen to brands like Pentax, Olympus and others who are subsidiaries of bigger corporations that have good business levels in other products as medical imaging, office machines, home electronics, etc.

What do you think? Are we following the dinosaur, LP records, 8track tapes, VCR's and portable CD players path?

Are we ready to accept a smartphone as a good replacement for our beloved gear?

Not me of course, but I do recognize there may come a moment in time, where the quality photo gear sales are so reduced, it may become impossible to produce or will be priced so high, it may be impossible to buy.

11-05-2014, 10:38 PM   #2
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I think the camera industry as we know it will undergo significant changes within the next 2-5 years. I would be surprised if there were as many enthusiast camera manufacturer's around, this date, 5 years hence.

Pentax maybe one that goes down for the count...or perhaps not. Pentax is just a small division of a very large company, Ricoh. Not that Ricoh would 'carry' Pentax if they aren't at least breaking even.

I note the article says N+C, particularly N, may well be in trouble as their sales are down. I'm no economic guru so I don't know much about that, but I do have a feeling that photography is going to change big time...in everything from which maker will still be around, which retailer will still be around, etc.

One thing I've noted is that large camera dealers are not as common as they once were. In my city, I've noticed that there is only one dealer of a large camera retailer still here...down from three of the same company dealer, only about a year or so ago. I don't know why. But on the surface it doesn't bode well, does it ?

I do know that phone cameras are killing the P+S market. Will phone cameras continue to improve and within a few years be able to produce the same quality pix as a DSLR ? Don't know....but what if they can and the difference between a smart phone's pix and that of a DSLR, becomes very narrow ?

Then what ?

I also have noticed this summer while wandering around outdoor events that this year, I'm about the only guy carrying a DSLR. Last year and before, there were always usually a couple of other guys.

Now ...camera wise...it seems that it's me, with a DSLR and....then a horde of smartphones. snapping away.

Now I've had SLR's, TLR's , Leicas, DSLR's since the late '60's and as an old dog....don't plan to ever not be without a really good, high end camera.

But as your linked article says...most people, unlike me, aren't interested in only having excellent, high resolution photographs and the camera equipment that can produce quality.
11-05-2014, 11:03 PM   #3
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Is Sony there going the right way with this. I wouldnt want to loose great control from the lens side.
But if I can attach my lens to a great sensor somehow, why not

11-05-2014, 11:11 PM   #4
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Side by side Mamiya.

I love K-3, but if Pentax will not make a definite jump on
the field of APS-C and FF (!), they will slowly lose clients.

11-05-2014, 11:46 PM   #5
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Smartphones cannot do everything. I really don't see wildlife documentaries and every magazine cover or World Press Award winner being shot on a smartphone. What the article majors on is software and the extent to which clever software has trumped hardware for many, many people because of the convenience factor and "good enough", especially when remembering that the output is going to be uploaded for viewing on a screen in 99 per cent of cases. The Japanese camera companies have eschewed software in large part and are still using traditional analogue approaches for just about everything. That's great for purists and those with special needs but there aren't enough of them to go round. This article also forgets that a reduction in sales does not necessarily equate to a corresponding reduction in use. It may equate to folks buying a digital camera far less often now because in general they have gotten good enough not to need replacing for a long time - the update cycle. So I would say that this gloom and doom article isn't any different from all the others which have appeared over the past couple of years. The camera companies which can embrace software and mobile tech better than others will likely do OK. They may not be Japanese and they may not even yet exist. The others will fade away or occupy niches so specialized that most of us will have no need for their products and would not be able to afford them anyway. Which ones will make it and which ones won't is anybody's guess. At the moment just about the only company showing willing in this sphere is Sony but Sony Corp seems to be in such a mess that what Sony are doing in photography could easily end up being owned by someone else. Still, since Sony seem to own the sensors being used in so many cameras from smartphones on up they must already be a winner of a kind. These predictions are really dodgy to make anyway since no one can predict the future. though I'd say that convenience + good enough is a pretty sure bet to follow when looking at the mass market for anything. The really tricky question is what's left over when that has been accounted for. The automobile changed everything about transport but it didn't suddenly make horses extinct.

Last edited by mecrox; 11-05-2014 at 11:52 PM.
11-05-2014, 11:54 PM   #6
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Npr had a report on the DSLR camera industry last week. A fourty precenty drop in sales this year. The take away was that only photo enthusiasts will buy them and producing them will be a "cottage industry ". Five years max.
11-06-2014, 12:36 AM   #7
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I see myself holding a Pentax FF.

As long as there is demand, photography won't die down. I don't believe phones can fully replace cameras, so people will always have the need for cameras.
11-06-2014, 12:37 AM   #8
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Well. it is all speculation and opinion but I think Pentax will be one of the big 3 or at least push neck and neck with Sony being as Nikon and Canon are clearly out front. Although some people say they are doomed for many years now, here they are and they are strong and profitable. With Ricoh behind them, they have deep pockets. They have a very strong MF system which the pros do talk about with some strong specs, they have arguably the best APS-C in the K-3, the best mid level in the K-50 and they just released an entry level K-S1 that takes them to a new generation. Oh, and don't forget about the Q series. I see a full frame out mid 2015 because if they were not pushing out FF lenses, for what reason if not for a FF camera.


Pentax is moving forward and that is good. So many others are saying that the video is not good enough, mirrorless will be the future and DSLR's big and bulky will be a think of the past. I could be wrong but I am not so sure of these comments. There are enough true photographers out there who will want a DSLR, not a smartphone and Pentax will still be strong and growing in these areas. I think a lot here in the forum miss the point many times when they look at a camera and compare it to what they expect in ergonomics, color, flair and they scratch their heads but the problem is that the market is not just a US and European market. What gives Pentax strong now, as it has been for many years, is the Asian market.

11-06-2014, 01:08 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by rburgoss Quote
"What do you think? Are we following the dinosaur, LP records, 8track tapes, VCR's and portable CD players path?

Are we ready to accept a smartphone as a good replacement for our beloved gear?

Not me of course, but I do recognize there may come a moment in time, where the quality photo gear sales are so reduced, it may become impossible to produce or will be priced so high, it may be impossible to buy.


Well, everything's possible. World is simply changing and not always to better.


I remember 20 years ago: we loved music, we were able to invest great part of our limited "student" budget into CDs, tickets to shows, etc.. Nowadays music is so much accessible (thanks to internet, etc.), but when I look around and see teenagers these days, I don't really see so much music-enthusiasm.


But that's only one example. Somehow it seems me that the world (well, say the people) tends to become "shallow". If something's not easy and fast, (most) young people are not addressed. There must be some effort to read books, so it's more simple to sit for hours in front of TV. And so on...


Consequently, I guess the camera companies are in danger, because it's easier to take a selfie on iPhone than think about exposition and composition on DSLR.
11-06-2014, 01:18 AM   #10
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11-06-2014, 01:26 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by rburgoss Quote
Where do you see Pentax in 5 years?
In my case not hard to predict
1. My camera bag
2. My office
3. My work
4. My holidays
5. And still depleting my bank account

Some things are hard to predict like new technology, but my behaviour after my first pentax camera in 1973 is much easier.
11-06-2014, 01:30 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by Bob from Aus Quote
In my case not hard to predict
1. My camera bag
2. My office
3. My work
4. My holidays
5. And still depleting my bank account

Some things are hard to predict like new technology, but my behaviour after my first pentax camera in 1973 is much easier.
You forgot one:
6. Everyday on this forum
11-06-2014, 02:21 AM   #13
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It's not that phones are better than DSLRs it's just that they're seen to be good enough for a purpose. Quote from the article: “image quality as a primary value is now second to connectivity to Web services like Facebook.” I'm sticking my neck out but this may be a cyclical thing. There's going to be a generation of children whose lives have been captured on second rate sensors for tiny low fi web images who have had no privacy nor a high quality visual record of their childhoods. Wait for the backlash. Also there are more photographers out there than ever before. A good proportion of them may aspire to something better than their Instagram filtered snapshots. The camera companies who survive will be the ones who catch the next wave. Whether the KS1 is a good move or not time will tell. But at least it's an attempt. My guess is the imaginative companies like Sony, Panasonic and let's hope Ricoh are around for the long term.
In five years I may still have my K5 because I don't need anything better. This is another problem the major camera companies have as mecrox points out. I'll also have an APSC equivalent of the Lumix LX100 , maybe a development of the Ricoh GR.
11-06-2014, 02:30 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by officiousbystander Quote
There's going to be a generation of children whose lives have been captured on second rate sensors for tiny low fi web images who have had no privacy nor a high quality visual record of their childhoods.


Umm, I doubt it will be seen as something wrong; I belong to a generation where lucky ones have an album (or three!) of photos taken by an enthusiastic family member and the rest have a handful of Polaroids (if that) from various school events. If anything, they'll feel they did much better than their parents.
11-06-2014, 02:36 AM - 1 Like   #15
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I think another big factor in recent years has been that there simply haven't been that many big advances in technology to make enthusiasts upgrade. For instance, if you had bought a K-5, a D7000 or a 7D for years ago, would you really gain much by upgrading to their 2014 equivalents? Even if you take DXO as a gauge, APS-C has been stuck around the 80 mark since then. I think we need a big jump in sensor quality to persuade more enthusiast users to upgrade. The rumors of Sony and Canon working on multi-layer, Foveon-like sensors are interesting. That would make a real difference.

I think the article is a bit simplistic in claiming that smartphones are the main reason for the decline. I'm sure they have an effect on new users and their expectations of connectivity, but I can't see many people seeing them as a direct replacement for a DSLR. Mirrorless cameras are more likely replacement.

I also think it is wrong to assume that Japanese companies can't see this coming or don't have a plan to deal with it. Japanese companies are pretty resilient and resourceful when they have to be. Weren't Sharp, Sony and Olympus supposed to be dead by now? Well, they aren't.
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