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01-14-2017, 01:08 AM - 5 Likes   #1
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Sigma bad news, Pentax good news

Spoke to the Sigma rep at the SWPP trade show in London yesterday. Asked about their strategy around Pentax going forward. He wasn't positive saying that two more lenses were shortly to be pulled (didn't know which but doubted it was the 35mm Art). Said volumes just weren't there.

Pentax saying they were very pleased with K1 sales (although U.K. customers can expect more price rises due to exch. rates soon). They were quite open about their ongoing collaboration with Tamron, citing the new Tamron lenses as the probable new channel for more Pentax lenses in due course. Also said, in every case, they use the Tamron design but will continue to fit with their own Pentax glass.


Last edited by HippyHippo; 01-14-2017 at 01:13 AM.
01-14-2017, 01:26 AM - 1 Like   #2
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Thanks for the report.

Always worth noting, however, that trade show floor guys aren't Japan HQ guys. Often the perspective from company HQ is different from the view from the edges of the empire.
01-14-2017, 01:52 AM   #3
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There will be a day Sigma will return, and on their knees, to Pentax, but, by that time, there will be enough of other than Sigma glass available
01-14-2017, 01:53 AM   #4
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Good point... unlikely as it is

01-14-2017, 01:58 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by Dariusz Quote
There will be a day Sigma will return, and on their knees, to Pentax, but, by that time, there will be enough of other than Sigma glass available
Very dramatic, Dariusz, but we're not breaking up with a lover!

01-14-2017, 02:12 AM   #6
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Lenses aren't an issue at all. Why? Because the life cycle of lenses is much longer than the life cycle of camera bodies due to technology of camera bodies changing faster than lens tech. So, as long as a company makes new camera bodies, the investment in the mount is safe because you can continue to use the lenses you already invested in, with new camera tech. A lens that does not exist in K mount isn't a problem for you because you won't spend money to acquire it. On the contrary , if Ricoh would stop making K mount compatible camera bodies, you'd write off your K mount lenses after the end of life of the latest K mount camera body. Until now, Ricoh seems to continue to release K mount camera bodies, so, anyone having K mount lenses can continue using those lens assets without having to buy lenses of another mount.

If a third party lens manufacturer stops making K mount lenses, that's less redundant choice for the customer, but that consolidates the sales of lenses commercialized by the camera manufacturer itself, which makes the camera manufacturer stronger. Do not forget that Sigma and Tamron were never created for the good of camera makers, they basically offered cheaper made lenses taken customers away from OEMs, although they don't have to pay for the R&D of camera bodies and high grade OEM lenses. In economics, given fixed cost of R&D , the benefit of free market competition stops when the market shrinks, because the extra cost of duplicated R&D spending becomes higher than the benefits of increased market size of lower priced products. When volumes go down, third party suppliers are a risk when their business model is based on making low cost products (low cost pays off when volumes are high, and when volumes are low, lower units cost does not offset R&D costs anymore). And if Sigma and Tamron would disappear, given lower volumes, that would make the camera business economics more efficient.

Last edited by biz-engineer; 01-14-2017 at 02:29 AM.
01-14-2017, 02:20 AM   #7
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We can assume that sigma 4,5mm circular fisheye is not getting enough sales in K-mount
01-14-2017, 02:31 AM   #8
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Every time Sigma stops a K mount lens, that's good new for Pentax because Pentax can sell more lenses of their own.

01-14-2017, 03:23 AM - 2 Likes   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by biz-engineer Quote
Lenses aren't an issue at all. Why? Because the life cycle of lenses is much longer than the life cycle of camera bodies due to technology of camera bodies changing faster than lens tech. So, as long as a company makes new camera bodies, the investment in the mount is safe because you can continue to use the lenses you already invested in, with new camera tech. A lens that does not exist in K mount isn't a problem for you because you won't spend money to acquire it. On the contrary , if Ricoh would stop making K mount compatible camera bodies, you'd write off your K mount lenses after the end of life of the latest K mount camera body. Until now, Ricoh seems to continue to release K mount camera bodies, so, anyone having K mount lenses can continue using those lens assets without having to buy lenses of another mount.

If a third party lens manufacturer stops making K mount lenses, that's less redundant choice for the customer, but that consolidates the sales of lenses commercialized by the camera manufacturer itself, which makes the camera manufacturer stronger. Do not forget that Sigma and Tamron were never created for the good of camera makers, they basically offered cheaper made lenses taken customers away from OEMs, although they don't have to pay for the R&D of camera bodies and high grade OEM lenses. In economics, given fixed cost of R&D , the benefit of free market competition stops when the market shrinks, because the extra cost of duplicated R&D spending becomes higher than the benefits of increased market size of lower priced products. When volumes go down, third party suppliers are a risk when their business model is based on making low cost products (low cost pays off when volumes are high, and when volumes are low, lower units cost does not offset R&D costs anymore). And if Sigma and Tamron would disappear, given lower volumes, that would make the camera business economics more efficient.
Sigma does not consider itself a low cost alternative anymore. The Art series lenses are currently unmatched, even Leica and Zeiss have tears in their eyes and cannot keep up. The huge aspherical lenses in the f/1.4 Art series are rather unique. In this regard Sigma is ahead of all the others at the moment. They still go for larger volumes, not for exotic designs. Sigma strategy has shifted significantly in recent years.

Pentax does not offer a complete or superior range of lenses in all categories. And lenses should not subsidise for camera R&D, each product should have its own business plan. From a user perspective third party lenses like Sigma Art series are very welcome for Pentax K-mount.
01-14-2017, 03:28 AM - 1 Like   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by zapp Quote
. And lenses should not subsidise for camera R&D, each product should have its own business plan.
?

Happens all the time in the industry.

Sell a body a bit cheaper, make it back on the lenses and accessories.



01-14-2017, 03:35 AM   #11
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In which industry it happens "all the time"? The examples used are the classic razor&blades, and printer&ink... but I don't remember ever seeing camera&lens.
01-14-2017, 03:44 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by zapp Quote
Sigma does not consider itself a low cost alternative anymore. The Art series lenses are currently unmatched, even Leica and Zeiss have tears in their eyes and cannot keep up. The huge aspherical lenses in the f/1.4 Art series are rather unique. In this regard Sigma is ahead of all the others at the moment. They still go for larger volumes, not for exotic designs. Sigma strategy has shifted significantly in recent years.

Pentax does not offer a complete or superior range of lenses in all categories. And lenses should not subsidise for camera R&D, each product should have its own business plan. From a user perspective third party lenses like Sigma Art series are very welcome for Pentax K-mount.
Sigma is a third party player who doesn't license their lenses. They have some glass that is excellent optically, but they are still forced to sell at lower prices compared to the brands who make the camera bodies. The Sigma 35 f1.4 is priced 899 on Amazon, while the Nikon 35mm f1.4 is priced at 1696 and the Canon 35mm f1.4 II is priced at 1696. No one is saying that Sigma makes bad glass, they are just saying that they end up having to sell their lenses for less than the original brand.

I think it is not unusual for camera brands to cut pricing on camera bodies to the lowest possible in order to build user base. If you make that up on lens sales, then it more than works out. It's the printer/printer cartridge, razor/razor blade model of sales and it seems to work pretty well.
01-14-2017, 03:47 AM - 2 Likes   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by zapp Quote
Sigma does not consider itself a low cost alternative anymore. The Art series lenses are currently unmatched, even Leica and Zeiss have tears in their eyes and cannot keep up. The huge aspherical lenses in the f/1.4 Art series are rather unique. In this regard Sigma is ahead of all the others at the moment. They still go for larger volumes, not for exotic designs. Sigma strategy has shifted significantly in recent years. Pentax does not offer a complete or superior range of lenses in all categories. And lenses should not subsidise for camera R&D, each product should have its own business plan. From a user perspective third party lenses like Sigma Art series are very welcome for Pentax K-mount.
I need to provide more details.

Lets imagine you buy a Canon ILC (I take a brand that represent the market), then you need lenses to mount on your new Canon camera. Beside the Camera, Canon offers you a variety of high quality premium glass.
1) Ten years ago, if you could not afford the Canon glass, you had a reason to buy cheaper glass from Tamron or Sigma, the build quality and optical quality was less, but if you were not a pro and on a budget, you'd get the Sigma or Tamron lens.

2) In 2017, Sigma and Tamron designed new lenses with quality at the same level as Canon L lenses, and they offer them at a price almost as expensive at the Canon L glass. But, if you mount the Canon L glass on the Canon DSLR , it works best because the Canon camera was tested with the lens, the coating of the lens and the color filter array and white balance automation were designed for Canon lens coatings, and whenever you'd develop in camera jpeg, you'd have lens correction for the Canon L lenses but no lens correction for the Sigma or Tamron lens of the similar price. What do you do? Do you buy the Canon L lens or do you buy the Sigma lens.

Personally, in year 2000 , if I wanted a cheap lens, I'd buy a Sigma or Tamron lens. However, in 2017, if I have the choice between a premium Canon L USM II lens and a Sigma premium lens, I get the Canon L USM II because the price difference is small, but the Canon L offer me a lot more (faster AF, better coatings, etc).

If Sigma / Tamron, do premium lenses, they sell less because customer have less good reasons to buy them.

Regarding Sigma Art optical quality, there are too components to it:
1) The user placebo perception , call it "Art" all of a sudden make it higher quality. For example, some of the Art series lenses are actual "C" grade lenses which are optically low cost...
2) The true optical quality which is, as good as OEM lenses in best cases, otherwise still slightly inferior.

If you take a Art lens, it is good, but it is not true that it is unmatched. Take Zeiss and Leica lenses, they are better than the best of Sigma. And take the best of Canon or Nikon, they are as good as the best of Sigma.

One thing that appeals to me is the spirit of the "Art" lenses, the name itself inspire me, and especially as opposed to non "Art" lens, you immediately feel that you belong to another class. So , if you test a "Art" lens, you gonna give it the best conditions to deliver the maximum MTF because you are already biased by knowing it's a Art lens.

Last edited by biz-engineer; 01-14-2017 at 04:07 AM.
01-14-2017, 04:00 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by biz-engineer Quote
I need to provide more details.
Lets imagine you buy ILC, then you need lenses for the mount. Your supply of lenses give you a choice of high quality premium glass. Ten years ago, if you could not afford the OEM branded glass, you buying rationale was to get the cheaper glass
I think some people use the word "cheap" to mean poor quality and there certainly have been times in the past where Sigma offered lenses that were not great in terms of optical quality and build. However, in this thread, I think the term is being used simply that Sigma lenses are priced lower than the brand name alternatives. If you run down a list of lenses 24-70 f2.8, 70-200 f2.8, etc you find that Sigma's lenses are priced lower than Canon and Nikon's lenses.

Would they sell many if they were priced the same? I don't know. Some people love their Sigma lenses. As a Pentax shooter, I like the compact size that lenses like the FA 31 and FA 77 offer and have consistently chosen those over Sigma's 35 and 85 offerings. Maybe that's why their k mount sales aren't better than they are.
01-14-2017, 04:09 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by Kunzite Quote
In which industry it happens "all the time"? The examples used are the classic razor&blades, and printer&ink... but I don't remember ever seeing camera&lens.
Sony do it, Pentax do it (K-1, 645Z), Fuji charge a premium for their lenses, Canon with their L series glass.

Very common, Kunzite.

In this model, Sigma, Tamron and Tokina are parasites, not friends.

Naturally, we consumers think differently.
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