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05-12-2013, 01:44 PM   #121
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QuoteOriginally posted by IchabodCrane Quote
I believe you brought it up in post #64 (page 5).
If you will kindly read that Reply in the context of single every other Reply I have made in this and the other thread regarding Ricoh's objectives for Pentax, some of which reference Ricoh's corporate culture and ability to play a long game to achieve a goal (illustrated by their history in the office equipment business) I make it perfectly clear in numerous prior and subsequent posts that Pentax believes it can be the number 3 full line camera maker.

I will concede you are quite adept at picking one word out of one sentence in one Reply and assigning to that one word an unintended universality. If I confused you I hereby offer my sincere apologies.

05-12-2013, 04:09 PM   #122
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Some of this is perhaps all moot. Japan's electronics industries are largely in an existential crisis:

Sony is a financial mess and a fading brand. None of its non-Playstation gods sell well anymore, and even the venerable PS is looking vulnerable top .99 cent apps, at least as far as dinging cash flow. Its PC biz is largely sunk.

Nintendo is hurting.

Seiko, makes watches and other items (shutters) in pain because watches have become passé to redundant with smartphones. They're not anywhere near the discretionary spent items they once were.

Hitachi, Panasonic, Toshiba, all have lost huge ground to the LG and Samsung trains out of Seoul. All sorts of areas.

Copiers? We've lost 50% of our copiers in our unit in 1 year. Printers (Canon, Epson/Seiko) also on their way out. We will print a lot, but less and less due to paperless...everything.

Not a single Japanese manufacturer outside their DoCoMo domestic market makes a viable smartphone for international resale.

And in cameras, while the Japanese still reign supreme, there's trouble as volumes are way, way down due to smartphones and saturation. There's model overload (Fuji, Canon, Panasonic, Nikon) and far too much sameness with brands only differentiating based on distribution. The whole Japanese sales model is dying due to direct and online sales (see lens price hike thread).

If it were not for the optics side of the biz and the entrenched technical capabilities therein, and some industrial capacity (Sony's sensors) we'd probably see even more problems for the Japanese manufacturers.

Where this will all lead is anyone's guess, but clearly Japanese industries are having issues with design, pricing, and whole business models. So for Ricoh to hang their flag on a troubled market using old business models that are failing elsewhere is not really a reason for hope.
05-12-2013, 06:18 PM   #123
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QuoteOriginally posted by monochrome Quote
If you will kindly read that Reply in the context of single every other Reply I have made in this and the other thread regarding Ricoh's objectives for Pentax, some of which reference Ricoh's corporate culture and ability to play a long game to achieve a goal (illustrated by their history in the office equipment business) I make it perfectly clear in numerous prior and subsequent posts that Pentax believes it can be the number 3 full line camera maker.

I will concede you are quite adept at picking one word out of one sentence in one Reply and assigning to that one word an unintended universality. If I confused you I hereby offer my sincere apologies.
Sorry I took you post the wrong way. I thought you were saying Pentax/Ricoh intended to be a strong #1 in the camera market but I now understand that's not what you meant. Please accept my apologies for responding along those lines.
05-12-2013, 08:05 PM   #124
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QuoteOriginally posted by IchabodCrane Quote
Sorry I took you post the wrong way. I thought you were saying Pentax/Ricoh intended to be a strong #1 in the camera market but I now understand that's not what you meant. Please accept my apologies for responding along those lines.
Hah hah. It's all good. I was all set to make some wisecrack about Ichabod's Cranium intercepting a pumpkin.

05-12-2013, 11:39 PM   #125
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QuoteOriginally posted by Aristophanes Quote
Not a single Japanese manufacturer outside their DoCoMo domestic market makes a viable smartphone for international resale.

And in cameras, while the Japanese still reign supreme, there's trouble as volumes are way, way down due to smartphones and saturation. There's model overload (Fuji, Canon, Panasonic, Nikon) and far too much sameness with brands only differentiating based on distribution. The whole Japanese sales model is dying due to direct and online sales (see lens price hike thread).

If it were not for the optics side of the biz and the entrenched technical capabilities therein, and some industrial capacity (Sony's sensors) we'd probably see even more problems for the Japanese manufacturers.

Where this will all lead is anyone's guess, but clearly Japanese industries are having issues with design, pricing, and whole business models. So for Ricoh to hang their flag on a troubled market using old business models that are failing elsewhere is not really a reason for hope.
Sony definitely does; their latest flagship for example, the Xperia Z, is a nice (albeit big) smartphone, and is receiving a lot of attention.

The ILC camera market is down, but not because of the smartphones. I would not declare the camera market "troubled", until we have a clue about the root cause of this decline, and when/if it will recover.

Yeah, Ricoh's efforts are doomed from the start. We all know that...
05-12-2013, 11:50 PM   #126
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QuoteOriginally posted by Aristophanes Quote
Some of this is perhaps all moot. Japan's electronics industries are largely in an existential crisis:

Sony is a financial mess and a fading brand. None of its non-Playstation gods sell well anymore, and even the venerable PS is looking vulnerable top .99 cent apps, at least as far as dinging cash flow. Its PC biz is largely sunk.

Nintendo is hurting.

Seiko, makes watches and other items (shutters) in pain because watches have become passé to redundant with smartphones. They're not anywhere near the discretionary spent items they once were.

Hitachi, Panasonic, Toshiba, all have lost huge ground to the LG and Samsung trains out of Seoul. All sorts of areas.

Copiers? We've lost 50% of our copiers in our unit in 1 year. Printers (Canon, Epson/Seiko) also on their way out. We will print a lot, but less and less due to paperless...everything.

Not a single Japanese manufacturer outside their DoCoMo domestic market makes a viable smartphone for international resale.

And in cameras, while the Japanese still reign supreme, there's trouble as volumes are way, way down due to smartphones and saturation. There's model overload (Fuji, Canon, Panasonic, Nikon) and far too much sameness with brands only differentiating based on distribution. The whole Japanese sales model is dying due to direct and online sales (see lens price hike thread).

If it were not for the optics side of the biz and the entrenched technical capabilities therein, and some industrial capacity (Sony's sensors) we'd probably see even more problems for the Japanese manufacturers.

Where this will all lead is anyone's guess, but clearly Japanese industries are having issues with design, pricing, and whole business models. So for Ricoh to hang their flag on a troubled market using old business models that are failing elsewhere is not really a reason for hope.
...and the good news is??? Sounds like we will have continued off-loading sales of various products. poorer warranty and support service, and all the other signs of companies trying to cut their costs. thanks for sharing this information!!
05-13-2013, 12:29 AM - 1 Like   #127
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QuoteOriginally posted by philbaum Quote
...and the good news is??? Sounds like we will have continued off-loading sales of various products. poorer warranty and support service, and all the other signs of companies trying to cut their costs. thanks for sharing this information!!

Well the good things is that market is obviously saturated. With economic downturn, the combination of two means consumers will be less crazy and will try to purchase equipment that will hold value. The age of good old-fashioned loyalty isn't over, though. When people are cornered in the economic downturn, and when the end of it seems to be distant and path towards it slow, they will invest and shop smartly, rather than buy and forget impulsively.

New customers come every day, and many old customers with old equipment will review their purchases this year. Some customers will come next year, but not all customers will review all their purchases each year, as crazily as before. And that is also why has camera market crumbled; every single fool of a company was producing cameras just because they could — not because market needed it.

Thus the good recipe is: making equipment with long term strategies, and long lasting values. This translates in less frequent updates, moderate profits, but high quality stuff at decent prices. Japanese companies must invest in their core values now — superb workmanship, best in optics, fantastic value for money. It is something one draws from own rich heritage and history, something cheap imitators and wannabes cannot have.

Seen the MX-1 brass plates? A total novelty, but a sign of future times too. Pentax Ricoh clearly says: the future of camera market is not cheap plastic and a camera you will throw away tomorrow, but a camera you will *love* to use for years. In the age of cheap smartphones that hold no value, a new type of camera must be wrapped in an emotional layer that holds value. With this a good and updated warranty policy would also be helpful, to keep the customers loyal. That is philosophy shift too I'd like to see more and more in other manufacturers.

In the long term, I see a shakeup in camera makers business, and I see only the best quality offer to stay — technically, optically, supportively. The producers of cheap and junk equipment will go, and others who are top players quality wise, to stay in game and be healthy must optimise heavily, and refrain from producing senseless junk. So far I find encouraging to see that Pentax Ricoh optimising and rethinking a lot. A good sign.

I also think DSLRs are absolutely best branch in camera business to reap such long-term awards. I see Pentax Ricoh working hard there — building systems that will hold value and be seen as investments.

But what must be over with is the most insane saturation of the still valuable DSLR market by biggest camera players, like Nikon and Canon. They are on the verge to make even DSLR market totally worthless if they keep up saturating their lines with most senseless models that are nothing but plastic junk wrapped around sensors. In my opinion, they need to optimise their lineup, cut off at least two models, to keep the value of other models. Like that they will stay afloat and be seen as a quality and no-nonsense choice.

If nothing else, I hope to see Pentax doing that. Now they have only two models. They need not 8 models like Nikon, but 4 will be perfectly ok, in a stretch from APS-C to FF.

Last edited by Uluru; 05-13-2013 at 12:51 AM.
05-13-2013, 05:18 AM   #128
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QuoteOriginally posted by Uluru Quote
Well the good things is that market is obviously saturated. With economic downturn, the combination of two means consumers will be less crazy and will try to purchase equipment that will hold value. The age of good old-fashioned loyalty isn't over, though. When people are cornered in the economic downturn, and when the end of it seems to be distant and path towards it slow, they will invest and shop smartly, rather than buy and forget impulsively.

New customers come every day, and many old customers with old equipment will review their purchases this year. Some customers will come next year, but not all customers will review all their purchases each year, as crazily as before. And that is also why has camera market crumbled; every single fool of a company was producing cameras just because they could — not because market needed it.

Thus the good recipe is: making equipment with long term strategies, and long lasting values. This translates in less frequent updates, moderate profits, but high quality stuff at decent prices. Japanese companies must invest in their core values now — superb workmanship, best in optics, fantastic value for money. It is something one draws from own rich heritage and history, something cheap imitators and wannabes cannot have.

Seen the MX-1 brass plates? A total novelty, but a sign of future times too. Pentax Ricoh clearly says: the future of camera market is not cheap plastic and a camera you will throw away tomorrow, but a camera you will *love* to use for years. In the age of cheap smartphones that hold no value, a new type of camera must be wrapped in an emotional layer that holds value. With this a good and updated warranty policy would also be helpful, to keep the customers loyal. That is philosophy shift too I'd like to see more and more in other manufacturers.

In the long term, I see a shakeup in camera makers business, and I see only the best quality offer to stay — technically, optically, supportively. The producers of cheap and junk equipment will go, and others who are top players quality wise, to stay in game and be healthy must optimise heavily, and refrain from producing senseless junk. So far I find encouraging to see that Pentax Ricoh optimising and rethinking a lot. A good sign.

I also think DSLRs are absolutely best branch in camera business to reap such long-term awards. I see Pentax Ricoh working hard there — building systems that will hold value and be seen as investments.

But what must be over with is the most insane saturation of the still valuable DSLR market by biggest camera players, like Nikon and Canon. They are on the verge to make even DSLR market totally worthless if they keep up saturating their lines with most senseless models that are nothing but plastic junk wrapped around sensors. In my opinion, they need to optimise their lineup, cut off at least two models, to keep the value of other models. Like that they will stay afloat and be seen as a quality and no-nonsense choice.

If nothing else, I hope to see Pentax doing that. Now they have only two models. They need not 8 models like Nikon, but 4 will be perfectly ok, in a stretch from APS-C to FF.

I'd guess that Pentax has big potential opportunities across swathes of the world where so far it has been hardly represented - the Indian Subcontinent, the Middle East, Latin America, i.e. In addition, there are plenty of opportunities in countries where Pentax has been represented but has remained so low profile that few customers know it's there - the UK, e.g., but likely in more than half of the world's top ten economies. So perhaps Pentax could do much better simply by selling itself better, without changing anything else too much. That said, no one yet seems to have come up with a sales model to replace the now-defunct B&M dealer system. For a supplier, which is all a camera company is, the huge retailing combines now around just want to drive down your margins and take your profit.

I wonder whether it would be feasible for Pentax to trial a really first-class web store in, say, one territory with a good "try before you buy" system - as Tom Hogan has suggested. That's one possibility.

Otherwise, digital and modern marketing take no prisoners. Products quickly start to look stale - outmoded electronics, superceded OS, etc - and no one wants to buy the day before yesterday's product at today's prices. Even the mighty Leica has had to change.

Nikon really does seem to have overdone the plastic fantastic angle, though, and one wonders how much of their stock has really sold or is still sitting in warehouses and the supply chain.

An example of Pentax's low-profile in the UK: the two biggest stockists of Pentax cameras listed on their UK website are both national consumer goods chains with scores of branches all over. When I looked about a week ago, one chain did not list a single Pentax camera except for the K-01 and the other listed the K5 and the K30 but both as out of stock. In other words, beyond a tiny number of dealers and the odd shop here and there, Pentax cameras are currently unavailable here other than through Amazon and the usual net retailers where you take your chances with grey market imports and dodgy third parties. Find a way round this, if it is possible, and one could see how sales might improve without a single new product being introduced.

05-13-2013, 05:21 AM   #129
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QuoteOriginally posted by Uluru Quote
In the age of cheap smartphones that hold no value, a new type of camera must be wrapped in an emotional layer that holds value.
1. Smartphones are not cheap.
2. Cameras in phones are.
3. Value is what Thom Hogan was writing about.
4. Japan has been stupid pricing its recent products.
5. And they've saturated the market.
6. And there are far too many models.
7. DP Review admits it cannot hope to keep up with reviews.
8. No reviews, no sales as storefront customer service for electronics declines in utility.

I disagree that most models are plastic junk. I routinely see excellent, used Nikon D40/60 5000's on the market locally. In fact, I think that the recent sales slowdown is, in part, related to the used market. Think D700.

I like Ricoh's latest GR, but from what I see, the whole Japanese business model a la the copier business is dead. So if that's Ricoh's DNA in how to make a market share impact, it will fail. Ricoh has too many camera models. Whole markets are simplifying both product lines and distribution systems with cameras in phones acting like a brake on standalone camera ubiquity. The megapixels and other features have now reached a point where upgrades are less often necessary for consumers.

The market is awash in substantially over-priced/under-value mirrorless systems selling not so well, and a DSLR saturated market holding its own based on price, features, and installed base.
05-13-2013, 06:09 AM   #130
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Well that's pretty gloomy. Perhaps Ricoh should just punt the $125mm as a bad idea and close up shop.
05-13-2013, 07:12 AM   #131
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I'll give Ricoh $500 for Pentax.
05-13-2013, 07:47 AM   #132
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QuoteOriginally posted by ElJamoquio Quote
I'll give Ricoh $500 for Pentax.
it isn't the $500. It's the hundreds of millions over the coming years, when capital is scarce, expensive and Pentax competes with all the other opportunities Ricoh might have.

It is a marginal allocation game theory exercise. They don't have to offer the highest ROI for the first dollar Ricoh has, but they sure do for the last dollar.
05-13-2013, 07:55 AM - 1 Like   #133
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QuoteOriginally posted by monochrome Quote
it isn't the $500. It's the hundreds of millions over the coming years, when capital is scarce, expensive and Pentax competes with all the other opportunities Ricoh might have.

It is a marginal allocation game theory exercise. They don't have to offer the highest ROI for the first dollar Ricoh has, but they sure do for the last dollar.
$600.
05-13-2013, 08:06 AM   #134
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As far as I've heard, cameras are still a growth market.
05-13-2013, 11:47 AM   #135
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QuoteOriginally posted by Uluru Quote
Thus the good recipe is: making equipment with long term strategies, and long lasting values. This translates in less frequent updates, moderate profits, but high quality stuff at decent prices. Japanese companies must invest in their core values now — superb workmanship, best in optics, fantastic value for money. It is something one draws from own rich heritage and history, something cheap imitators and wannabes cannot have.
.
I agree. I think when one changes model names/numbers too much, a mfr is just buying themselves a whole lot more marketing to sell the product. I can remember when Volkswagon introduced the bug. Year after year, they had minor upgrades to it but it was always called the bug. It had long term characteristics, e.g. reliability, easy to repair, fuel economy that never changed. It had legions of supporters, including parts suppliers. It was air cooled so that one never had to change the radiator antifreeze, because there was no radiator, at least in the early models. Meanwhile, american car mfr were changing their models every year and the bug was cleaning their clock in units sold.

The basic Pentax flagship model starting with the K7, then the K5 and now the K5ii and K5iis all use the same body and battery. Thats great and the kind of thing i'm talking about, except for the somewhat flakey model names :-). Some folks in this forum have complained about the lack of improvements in the K5ii series, but i don't think so. Pentax fixed what they needed to in the AF regarding low light, and then upgraded resolution in the 5iis by playing with the AA filter. As a potential buyer, I then know what to expect. Cheers to Pentax for that.

Keep it simple and the buying public is more likely to remember the model name when they see it in advertising and from previous generations of that camera. Canon is doing that with the 5D. Also it saves cost in manufacturing and eliminating bugs with the basic body hardware.
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