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02-20-2019, 11:44 AM   #1
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ILC market niches, Leica and Pentax

Hello All,

I read often, on this and other forums, that Pentax is doomed because the brand is niche manufacturer, without enough revenues to sustain investments that would revamp the range.

This may be certainly true (not that it is doomed! I am talking about the revenues) but I wonder how the situation is, compared to Leica.

I never read Leica is doomed! but clearly it is a niche manufacturer, given the high price tag their camera have, however, their line-up is not limited to the M, and they have different lens mounts and sensor sizes, and I see frequent announcements of new items.

I wonder how the two brands compare in terms of revenues AND volume sales.

I tried to find out with Google, but wasn't able.

-G

02-20-2019, 12:11 PM   #2
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Well, there's a big difference between Pentax and Leica. The niche of Leica is clearly defined compared to the one of Pentax. You can't really find a subsitute for a Leica in other makers camera lineup. But you can find similar products to most Pentax in others lineup. Meaning that Leica don't have to follow the market leaders with their new products launches. Because people who want their products will still buy them, no matter what other makers have to offer. But Pentax doesn't have the luxury to fall too far behind. Because their consumer base could switch to similar products from other brands offering better technology, value or better at meeting their needs. Thus, Pentax has to sustain a pace of development comparable to other makers if they want to stay relevant in the market while Leica don't, at least not to the same extent.


Said otherwise, Leica operates mostly in a market niche where it's the sole player. While Pentax products have to compete with the ones of Canon, Nikon, Sony...
02-20-2019, 12:28 PM   #3
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I agree.

My rear thought was, what if Pentax stepped up the quality of its offering, in order to have better margins?

Clearly, there are people willing to spend much more, for a little edge in quality.
02-20-2019, 12:33 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by CarlJF Quote
Said otherwise, Leica operates mostly in a market niche where it's the sole player. While Pentax products have to compete with the ones of Canon, Nikon, Sony...
Being better or different isn't easy in a market where there are only two large sensor manufacturers.

Leica is bigger then Ricoh-Imaging. I have no idea who makes those Leica camera's that are just rebranded Panasonic models. It is easier when someone else makes your products and productdesign for a part of your portfolio.

I wonder if the new Tamron Opera lenses will also be available as Pentax original lenses?

02-20-2019, 12:39 PM   #5
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QuoteQuote:
Leica is bigger then Ricoh-Imaging
Really? that explains something.
02-20-2019, 12:40 PM   #6
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I've certainly wondered this as well. From a minimal amount of searching, it does look like Leica is doing well financially.
They do have a niche...very high end and I think a little more oriented to street photography.

Seems like Pentax could build on their existing strengths in landscape and still photography to go down a similar road, but it would mean giving up entirely on trying to compete in video/wildlife/sports. Which they barely do now any way. But also on the lower/value end of the market, which would probably be more painful to a lot of the current Pentax user base.
02-20-2019, 12:41 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by Gian Quote
Hello All,

I read often, on this and other forums, that Pentax is doomed because the brand is niche manufacturer, without enough revenues to sustain investments that would revamp the range.

This may be certainly true (not that it is doomed! I am talking about the revenues) but I wonder how the situation is, compared to Leica.

I never read Leica is doomed! but clearly it is a niche manufacturer, given the high price tag their camera have, however, their line-up is not limited to the M, and they have different lens mounts and sensor sizes, and I see frequent announcements of new items.

I wonder how the two brands compare in terms of revenues AND volume sales.

I tried to find out with Google, but wasn't able.

-G
Leica is a long established company that has partnered with Panasonic to develop a line of Lumix/Leica models (akin to Gibson having an Asian Epiphone subsidiary that also produces similar models that are less expensive). recently hey developed a new T/SL mount that has been adopted for Lumix/SiGMA/Leica mirrorless partnership. They also have a thriving medical device and optical subsidiary.

I think a possible better approach in looking at Pentax is that they are a small segment of RICOH an international Imaging Company and having a camera imaging division like Pentax is good for RICOH. They barely support it but as niche brand Pentax could not survive on its own. As a division of a larger conglomerate, as long as it doesn't lose money, it can be useful in optical and imaging design, etc. Thus, I am not a naysayer and believe that Pentax will survive the DSLR shake out.
02-20-2019, 12:42 PM - 1 Like   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Gian Quote
My rear thought was, what if Pentax stepped up the quality of its offering, in order to have better margins?

Clearly, there are people willing to spend much more, for a little edge in quality.
This does seem to be the trajectory Pentax are on under Ricoh to some extent - the newer * lenses are top quality - the trouble is that the competitors also offer very good lenses amongst their range and that it takes a long time to establish a reputation like Leica has to the extent that people, as mentioned above, see Leica s the best optically and best made even when the cameras are so-so technologically

02-20-2019, 12:49 PM   #9
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Thread moved to "Photographic Industry and Professionals" forum.
02-20-2019, 12:52 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by ffking Quote
This does seem to be the trajectory Pentax are on under Ricoh to some extent - the newer * lenses are top quality - the trouble is that the competitors also offer very good lenses amongst their range and that it takes a long time to establish a reputation like Leica has to the extent that people, as mentioned above, see Leica s the best optically and best made even when the cameras are so-so technologically

I use both Pentax and Leica (in previous posts I have called Pentax the Leica of Japan) kits and the largest difference is the cost of a Leica system. My K-1 series cost about 5,000 to build. It took over twice that for the Leica kit. The 35mm f/2 summicron was 2,500 by itself. I will say that the Leica for landscape and still or street photos is superior in overall quality, but for durability, weather resistance, telephoto prowess, I choose Pentax in the field. Most Leica's are not weather resistant and have has sensor, shutter and other issues over the years. Leica does honor its products though and its own repair facility in NJ is top-notch.

Leica Glass is excellent but it's also double the top end lenses by Pentax that produce 90% of the Leica lenses sharpness. Pentax also has an auto focus component. Leica's CL is a mirrorless 24mp with excellent modern features but costs $2,600 for the body alone. It's 1/2 the size of the K-1 series but it also costs 30% more than the Pentax and is APSc versus FF and 36mp power.....It images beautifully but it always costs more for the little 'red dot'.
02-20-2019, 12:55 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by RonHendriks1966 Quote
Leica is bigger then Ricoh-Imaging.
Gross sales or total capitalization?

BTW...since Leica is more than just cameras and camera lenses, perhaps it would be best to limit the comparison to Leica Camera, AG and subtract the ophthalmic lens and laser rangefinder entities.

QuoteOriginally posted by RonHendriks1966 Quote
I have no idea who makes those Leica camera's that are just rebranded Panasonic models.
Hint: It starts with a "P" and it ain't Pentax.


Steve
02-20-2019, 01:45 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by Gian Quote
I wonder how the two brands compare in terms of revenues AND volume sales.
FWIW, from a press release:
QuoteQuote:
The Leica Camera Group achieved revenue of almost 400 million euros in the past financial year 2016/2017
No idea how much revenue Pentax got for the same period. But I really doubt it would be even close to this since Pentax has been bought for about $100 millions a few years before...


And to put things in perspective, Canon Imaging sold for 9 billions euros in revenue for the same period...

Last edited by CarlJF; 02-20-2019 at 02:09 PM.
02-20-2019, 02:05 PM - 1 Like   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by CarlJF Quote
No idea how much revenue Pentax got for the same period. But I really doubt it would be even close to this...
As @stevebrot mentioned, though, Leica's business covers a much wider range than the Ricoh Imaging division. If we could strip everything out of those Leica numbers except for cameras, lenses and accessories, I wonder how the figures would stack up then...
02-20-2019, 02:15 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by BigMackCam Quote
As @stevebrot mentioned, though, Leica's business covers a much wider range than the Ricoh Imaging division. If we could strip everything out of those Leica numbers except for cameras, lenses and accessories, I wonder how the figures would stack up then...
I think they would be equal or more...Leica has a better distribution network. In the Metro Philly area alone (5th largest in the U.S.)--there are no Pentax dealers --ZIp, Nada, Nyet. Leica, in comparison has at least 4 or 5. I go to North Jersey or NYC to look at Pentax....Sad. Leica also has 2 dozen retail stores in major cities...Pentax has Zip, Nada, Yet stores....my best estimate is Leica sells more...plus they have their "value" line of altered Panasonic models for volume....see my comments a few replies above...etc.

Last edited by Merv-O; 02-20-2019 at 02:16 PM. Reason: typo
02-20-2019, 02:17 PM - 1 Like   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by BigMackCam Quote
As @stevebrot mentioned, though, Leica's business covers a much wider range than the Ricoh Imaging division. If we could strip everything out of those Leica numbers except for cameras, lenses and accessories, I wonder how the figures would stack up then...
Right. At a glance, we have Leica Camera, Leica Microsystems, Leica Biosystems and Leica Geosystems.
Leica - Four Independent Companies Share the Leica Brand

---------- Post added 20-02-19 at 11:21 PM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by Merv-O Quote
I think they would be equal or more...Leica has a better distribution network. In the Metro Philly area alone (5th largest in the U.S.)--there are no Pentax dealers --ZIp, Nada, Nyet. Leica, in comparison has at least 4 or 5. I go to North Jersey or NYC to look at Pentax....Sad. Leica also has 2 dozen retail stores in major cities...Pentax has Zip, Nada, Yet stores....my best estimate is Leica sells more...plus they have their "value" line of altered Panasonic models for volume....see my comments a few replies above...etc.
"Sells more", or sells more expensive?
We just have to pay some $5,000 for a K-1 to make that happen
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