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06-02-2010, 11:34 AM   #121
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QuoteOriginally posted by mikemike Quote
For the same reason BMW doesn't sell floor mats for Fords.
That's apples and oranges.


What I think could plausibly be the reason, is that Pentax regards their lenses as the prime (no pun intended) reason for buying into the Pentax system. If you could get these lenses with a Nikon or a Canon body, there is one reason less to buy a Pentax body.

06-02-2010, 12:16 PM   #122
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QuoteOriginally posted by Asahiflex Quote
OK, I'll agree, but ONLY if this cheap fast 50 is better optically than Canon's Plastic Fantastic.
If it's a copy of the M 50mm f1.7's optics (as I've suggested) it would be better than most 50mm DSLR lenses on the market.
06-02-2010, 12:19 PM   #123
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I got my FA50/1.4 for $150 used in January 2009. In January 2010 I sold it for $250 and bought a used FA50/1.7 at a slightly lower price.

I got my Nikon 50/1.8D (metal mount, aperture ring) for $90 used, and it sells for $110 new. It's about as sharp wide open as the Pentax 50/1.7.

I use the Nikon a lot more often than the Pentax mainly because it's a better/more comfortable FL on the D700 than it is on the K-7. On the K-7, I tend to use my DA35 Limited a lot more often, but I'd love to have an equivalent of the Nikon AF-S 35/1.8G ($200).
06-02-2010, 01:24 PM   #124
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QuoteOriginally posted by kevinschoenmakers Quote
That's apples and oranges.


What I think could plausibly be the reason, is that Pentax regards their lenses as the prime (no pun intended) reason for buying into the Pentax system. If you could get these lenses with a Nikon or a Canon body, there is one reason less to buy a Pentax body.
The only reason to buy Pentax bodies is to be able to use the lenses. The cameras themselves are pretty outclassed by the competition.

06-02-2010, 01:32 PM   #125
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QuoteOriginally posted by Wheatfield Quote
The only reason to buy Pentax bodies is to be able to use the lenses. The cameras themselves are pretty outclassed by the competition.
You know, it took me a while to come to terms with that. I sort of knew deep inside, but just didn't want to acknowledge it. But I agree with you though wholeheartedly. There are no other reasons to buy Pentax bodies. None. For me anyway.
06-02-2010, 01:53 PM   #126
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QuoteOriginally posted by Wheatfield Quote
The only reason to buy Pentax bodies is to be able to use the lenses. The cameras themselves are pretty outclassed by the competition.
Some of the Canon & Nikon APS-C sensors seem to deliver some bland looking images.
06-02-2010, 04:06 PM   #127
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QuoteOriginally posted by Wheatfield Quote
The only reason to buy Pentax bodies is to be able to use the lenses. The cameras themselves are pretty outclassed by the competition.
This is true to a large extent, though the K-x is obviously a class leader in a lot of ways, and the K-7 has some things going for it (ergonomics and weather sealing at its price point) that the competition can't match.
06-02-2010, 04:15 PM   #128
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QuoteOriginally posted by Wheatfield Quote
The only reason to buy Pentax bodies is to be able to use the lenses. The cameras themselves are pretty outclassed by the competition.
Depends on your priorities. At the time I purchased my K20D, it was the same price as a Canon 450D/XSi. The other day I had my K20D sitting in the garden on a tripod in rain heavy enough to make me go inside and exchange my jacket for a heavier one. The K20D just laughed while a 450D would perhaps not have survived - this was in fact the reason I ultimately went for the K20D since I live in a part of the world with frequent rain. To get even basic weather sealing from Canon you have to give them £1700 for a 5D Mk II. The K20D also beats the 450D with a big stick for image quality.

Sure, Pentax DSLRs do lag noticeably behind competitors in some areas (fastest in-production lens under £500 is now the 70mm f2.4, screwdrive autofocus speed [let's leave the SDM debacle out of this :P], framerate) but for my use the areas Pentax chooses to concentrate on in its bodies are more important.

06-02-2010, 04:27 PM   #129
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QuoteOriginally posted by falconeye Quote
There is no a-priori reason why Pentax only sells lenses to people owning a Pentax body.

In fact, I am really wondering why the smaller players (Sony, Pentax, Olympus if they were 35mm) don't sell lenses into the bigger Canikon market.

Of course, Canikon could respond by cross-selling as well. Which would only strengthen the proposition of the smaller players.

In the end, the arbitrary protection of market segments caused by incompatible mount specifications should go away. Market forces should have eliminated these long ago. That they are still with us means markets don't work as anticipated.


P.S.
There is a small chance that this closed system idea is a Japanese thing. I remember that German system cameras used to be interchangeable (M39, M42 etc.) and still are in the microscope market. Also, C/CS mounts in video cameras and ocular fitting in astro equipment are interchangeable.

It remains to be seen if a closed mount for SLD cameras (aka EVIL) can succeed. There are 4 already (µFT, NX, E-mount, M-series) and they may sink each other
This simply reinforces the position that interchangeability of lenses is a fiction for the majority of "camera" buyers. Who needs it?

They buy a camera and 2 interchangeable lenses, and all the options in the world really apply to 20% of the market, the prosumer. People buy the promise of accessories and interchangeable lenses, but rarely execute.

Remember on SLR's you usually got a 50mm normal prime....and a flash! That was the standard kit system.

Now, it's a built-in flash plus a 2 lens zoom offering and it's also a videocam.

I bet a few people pick up a cheap normal (non-IS) prime in the Canikon world, but this is in no way the reason why they bought a Canikon in the first place. If anything, these primes make $15 per unit to Canikon. On their vast user base, that's a decent revenue stream, but for Pentax, that's unsustainable, especially if it cannibalizes the Limiteds where the profit margin is probably $150 per unit. If Nikon makes $15 net on their 35mm prime, then Pentax has to sell their DA 35 Macro at $550 to make the same net per customer. This is where small market share kills.

Are markets rational? Try reading "The Myth of the Rational Market" (and any economics paper by Stiglitz who has, frankly/sadly, killed the concept of the invisible hand). Market forces create closed systems. Try a study of Confederate railways pre-US Civil War. Wow!

Is a closed system Japanese? JPEG says no.
06-02-2010, 06:27 PM   #130
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QuoteOriginally posted by Aristophanes Quote
...
You seem to like to contradict what I say. Without entering any real discussion though.

To pick up on one notion you use ...

I am really getting tired about this 80% buy single or double kit and that's it argument. Even if it would hold true it would be ridiculous.

A company better produces products which make sense. Because it will succeed. Make the best possible product and you get your chance. Ask Apple.

And an SLR with one or two lenses doesn't make sense. Never did. I do remember very well that people not requiring a choice of lenses were buying 35mm rangefinder cameras with fixed lens or interchangeable with a second lens. This option has returned with the mirrorless cameras now. The lack of larger format bridge cameras has temporarily distorted the market but it will be rectified soon.

SLRs have been and are made to offer access to a large choice of glass. And a majority of people does understand this. That's the reason why SLR was invented actually. Because it enables a larger selection of glass than rangefinders do.

One last note ... the temporarily skyrocketing digital camera prices may have obscured the fundamental truth that camera business is about optics and mechanics, i.e, is about lenses. Lenses are what will keep optical companies alive in the near future after camera electronics became a commodity.
06-02-2010, 06:44 PM   #131
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I know people with a DSLR and one or two lenses; two brothers in law, a niece and my daughter. No one else in my extended family owns a dslr. It's anecdotal, but there clearly are people like this. My niece would have more lenses if she could afford them, for the others it's not a question of cost, they just don't care enough to buy more lenses, the camera does what they want it to do with what they have.

Last edited by audiobomber; 06-03-2010 at 04:49 AM.
06-02-2010, 06:55 PM   #132
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QuoteOriginally posted by Aristophanes Quote
I bet a few people pick up a cheap normal (non-IS) prime in the Canikon world, but this is in no way the reason why they bought a Canikon in the first place. If anything, these primes make $15 per unit to Canikon. On their vast user base, that's a decent revenue stream, but for Pentax, that's unsustainable, especially if it cannibalizes the Limiteds where the profit margin is probably $150 per unit. If Nikon makes $15 net on their 35mm prime, then Pentax has to sell their DA 35 Macro at $550 to make the same net per customer. This is where small market share kills.
If Pentax's strategy is to force people into high end lenses, then they need to change their mount. Pentax legacy lenses cannibalize sales just as much, if not more so than any theoretical entry level primes. If you are price sensitive, and want a APSC normal prime, a mint FA 35/f2 is a very attractive option compared to the 31/f1.8 Limited. And there's always the Sigma 30/f1.4. Pentax doesn't exist in a vacuum. A Pentax user buying either of those lenses (which is more likely than a price conscious shopper simply accepting that he has to pay a grand for the Limited) makes Pentax nothing. If there were a Pentax option, even a lower markup one, that's profit they're not making now.
06-02-2010, 08:26 PM   #133
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QuoteOriginally posted by falconeye Quote
You seem to like to contradict what I say. Without entering any real discussion though.

To pick up on one notion you use ...

I am really getting tired about this 80% buy single or double kit and that's it argument. Even if it would hold true it would be ridiculous.

A company better produces products which make sense. Because it will succeed. Make the best possible product and you get your chance. Ask Apple.

And an SLR with one or two lenses doesn't make sense. Never did. I do remember very well that people not requiring a choice of lenses were buying 35mm rangefinder cameras with fixed lens or interchangeable with a second lens. This option has returned with the mirrorless cameras now. The lack of larger format bridge cameras has temporarily distorted the market but it will be rectified soon.

SLRs have been and are made to offer access to a large choice of glass. And a majority of people does understand this. That's the reason why SLR was invented actually. Because it enables a larger selection of glass than rangefinders do.

One last note ... the temporarily skyrocketing digital camera prices may have obscured the fundamental truth that camera business is about optics and mechanics, i.e, is about lenses. Lenses are what will keep optical companies alive in the near future after camera electronics became a commodity.
I don't know how it works in your market area, but I asked this very question of my local camera store a while back.
They say the majority of SLR buyers never move past the kit lens, and the ones who do (and we are now talking about the vast majority of buyers, never move beyond the basic 2 zoom kit.

They aren't buying SLR cameras to have access to a bunch of lens options, they are buying them because they have been told that they take better pictures than their P&S cameras.

This is the way it was when I sold cameras in the 80s, and it's still how it works. We think we are the norm, but the bulk of the SLR market really are using their cameras as glorified P&Ss.
06-02-2010, 10:21 PM   #134
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QuoteOriginally posted by falconeye Quote
You seem to like to contradict what I say. Without entering any real discussion though.

To pick up on one notion you use ...

I am really getting tired about this 80% buy single or double kit and that's it argument. Even if it would hold true it would be ridiculous.

A company better produces products which make sense. Because it will succeed. Make the best possible product and you get your chance. Ask Apple.

And an SLR with one or two lenses doesn't make sense. Never did. I do remember very well that people not requiring a choice of lenses were buying 35mm rangefinder cameras with fixed lens or interchangeable with a second lens. This option has returned with the mirrorless cameras now. The lack of larger format bridge cameras has temporarily distorted the market but it will be rectified soon.

SLRs have been and are made to offer access to a large choice of glass. And a majority of people does understand this. That's the reason why SLR was invented actually. Because it enables a larger selection of glass than rangefinders do.

One last note ... the temporarily skyrocketing digital camera prices may have obscured the fundamental truth that camera business is about optics and mechanics, i.e, is about lenses. Lenses are what will keep optical companies alive in the near future after camera electronics became a commodity.
Actually, you were making my point, and effectively arguing against the idea that a slew of cheap primes a la Canikon will push the big guns over the edge and drive up Pentax market share. The supposition in this thread is that people really "want" inexpensive primes and that's what drives them to to a brand. This is simply not true. The vast bulk of unit sales towards general revenues in cameras are for low to mid-price cameras with stock (kit) lenses. Over 80% of unit sales makes up 60% of gross revenues.

Most people buy a camera, with the intention of being a more dedicated, perhaps better photographer than they really have the time to invest. Vernacular photography is largely about letting the equipment be the star if your eye for photographic aesthetics is simply average. It was long known in photo marketing that the average SLR buyer was simply moving up their snapshot adequacy by buying better gear.

Same then as now. Except that for the same $$ you can get another lens but (arguably) a less rugged body, because there is an element of built-in obsolescence with DSLR bodies by design. This is where the customer turnover is. Not lenses.

A large majority of DSLR people do have the intent to buy more glass. Relatively few do. The same concept exists in cars where people buy SUV's that never go offroad or see an inch of snow; or the guy who buys a BNW supercycle only to ride up and down the driveway wearing loafers. How many North American Porsche buyers ever open it up? Not many, and I know a few who fear a ticket and higher insurance rates rather than really driving their "race car".

I totally agree that the optics people will define the market, as they should. Problem is, their mounts are locked into form factors tied to proprietary electronics.

Back to the topic of the thread: most people will not move past the kit lens, and that's OK. The colourful K-x and some really good zooms is Pentax's revenue generator in a commodity market. People buy within their budgets, though cameras are often seen as an absolute necessity for a household. But the margins are made on high-end glass, so until there is a very large prosumer base for Pentax, the likelihood of cheaper primes is non-existent. There is a "Pentax Premium" at work here.
06-02-2010, 10:50 PM   #135
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QuoteOriginally posted by junyo Quote
If Pentax's strategy is to force people into high end lenses, then they need to change their mount. Pentax legacy lenses cannibalize sales just as much, if not more so than any theoretical entry level primes. If you are price sensitive, and want a APSC normal prime, a mint FA 35/f2 is a very attractive option compared to the 31/f1.8 Limited. And there's always the Sigma 30/f1.4. Pentax doesn't exist in a vacuum. A Pentax user buying either of those lenses (which is more likely than a price conscious shopper simply accepting that he has to pay a grand for the Limited) makes Pentax nothing. If there were a Pentax option, even a lower markup one, that's profit they're not making now.
You're right. To make money in today's market they have to run away from their legacy. Oly is doing so to a large degree, as is Sony.

Pentax's legacy glass support is a two-edged sword. They have a relatively small market. They compete against third-party suppliers. They make an inexpensive prime at 35 and another at 50 they are also competing against their own primes that are image stabilized from eBay, and are "good enough", even deriable being retro from the analogue era. This forum doesn't help matters by rating legacy glass so high. How can Pentax compete with a $90 A 50/1.7? They can't.

Look at their prime strategy:

Da*55 and DA 35 Macro. Two critical distances on APS-C and they are expensive, well built, with value-added in WR and macro respectively. Every time you buy one of these you are paying for Pentax's in-body IS system. This is the complete opposite of Canikon which foregoes IS/VR for the cheap primes. For Canikon it is old school, and cheap. They are effectively building the A 50/1.7 equivalent for their mount now whereas Pentax aims customers at legacy glass to make up for a lack of market size to keep those factories running.

Now look at the other Pentax primes. The DA 15, 21, 40, and 70. You also pay the in-body IS premium. You are getting fast lenses with exceptionally small, pancake or near profiles. That's a design premium. That's the added value.

Finally, look at the Limiteds: 31, 43, and 77. They are sunk cost designs and materials, that certainly fetch a very high margin for the company after all these years. Who cares if they cross over with the DA series because they serve a different purpose: they keep the FF flame alive, and they are status symbols, the Coach handbags of lenses.

The entire prime line-up is designed to add value where Pentax, because of small market share, cannot add revenues through gross unit sales. If you want inexpensive primes, buy legacy, or switch mounts, likely to a non-IS system. With Pentax, primes are now value-added investments in the system at a considerable cost to the consumer. Pentax is focused on making quality zooms (55-300 for example) that satisfy the majority of the market who do not, and will likely never, buy prime lenses.

Last edited by Aristophanes; 06-03-2010 at 12:02 AM.
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