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04-19-2017, 06:46 AM - 2 Likes   #181
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QuoteOriginally posted by lukulele Quote
Ah, brevity and the power thereof, eh?
Good point! Here's a brief summary of what I'm trying to say:

Sophisticated photographers switch systems or buy second systems (50% of K-1 buyers are new to Pentax) --> Pentax can ignore "entry-level" cameras.

Smartphones are destroying the low-end of the ILC market --> Pentax should ignore "entry-level" cameras.

Brick and mortar retail is dying --> Pentax can ignore that channel.

K-mount is a poor design choice for MILC -- Pentax should avoid it.

A non-K-mount MILC requires massive investment in new bodies and lenses and provides no synergies with the Pentax DSLR product line --> Pentax should avoid it.

04-19-2017, 09:29 AM   #182
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QuoteOriginally posted by photoptimist Quote
Good point! Here's a brief summary of what I'm trying to say:

Sophisticated photographers switch systems or buy second systems (50% of K-1 buyers are new to Pentax) --> Pentax can ignore "entry-level" cameras.

Smartphones are destroying the low-end of the ILC market --> Pentax should ignore "entry-level" cameras.

Brick and mortar retail is dying --> Pentax can ignore that channel.

K-mount is a poor design choice for MILC -- Pentax should avoid it.

A non-K-mount MILC requires massive investment in new bodies and lenses and provides no synergies with the Pentax DSLR product line --> Pentax should avoid it.
Thanks for condensing your thoughts. The novels above were a bit hard to follow at a glance.

The problem I see with your position is that it basically boils down to, pentax should only focus on high end (and thus expensive) models with existing tech that is easily backward compatible. I understand why but to me, this seams like stagnation by playing it safe in an shrinking market.

I can understand moving away from brick and mortar stores. I can agree that the k-mount is inappropriate for a mirrorless system. But I think it would behoove pentax to invest in future technologies. In my mind that includes a new mount for an MILC system, should they go that route.

Smart phones are certainly making it harder for entry level ILC cameras but I believe there is still money to be made in that segment. I think part of the problem is, for people who use smartphone cameras, would they even buy a entry level ILC if smartphones didnít have cameras?

If yes, can pentax (or camera manufactures in general) show the general public the difference between a smartphone image and a entry level ILC. For people who use the camera just because it's already there, can that be used as a stepping stone to and entry level ILC (mirrorless or dslr)?

I think a very compact inexpensive APS-C MILC would be great for that. Maybe they could even explore the possibility of jumping into the micro 4/3's ring. No issue with lens availability there.
04-19-2017, 10:16 AM   #183
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QuoteOriginally posted by lukulele Quote
Ah, brevity and the power thereof, eh?
Without brevity this world would be a boring place.
04-19-2017, 10:17 AM   #184
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QuoteOriginally posted by photoptimist Quote
Good point! Here's a brief summary of what I'm trying to say:

Sophisticated photographers switch systems or buy second systems (50% of K-1 buyers are new to Pentax) --> Pentax can ignore "entry-level" cameras.

Smartphones are destroying the low-end of the ILC market --> Pentax should ignore "entry-level" cameras.

Brick and mortar retail is dying --> Pentax can ignore that channel.

K-mount is a poor design choice for MILC -- Pentax should avoid it.

A non-K-mount MILC requires massive investment in new bodies and lenses and provides no synergies with the Pentax DSLR product line --> Pentax should avoid it.
The K mount lives.

Long live the K mount!

04-19-2017, 12:48 PM   #185
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QuoteOriginally posted by serothis Quote
Thanks for condensing your thoughts. The novels above were a bit hard to follow at a glance.

The problem I see with your position is that it basically boils down to, pentax should only focus on high end (and thus expensive) models with existing tech that is easily backward compatible. I understand why but to me, this seams like stagnation by playing it safe in an shrinking market.

I can understand moving away from brick and mortar stores. I can agree that the k-mount is inappropriate for a mirrorless system. But I think it would behoove pentax to invest in future technologies. In my mind that includes a new mount for an MILC system, should they go that route.

Smart phones are certainly making it harder for entry level ILC cameras but I believe there is still money to be made in that segment. I think part of the problem is, for people who use smartphone cameras, would they even buy a entry level ILC if smartphones didnít have cameras?

If yes, can pentax (or camera manufactures in general) show the general public the difference between a smartphone image and a entry level ILC. For people who use the camera just because it's already there, can that be used as a stepping stone to and entry level ILC (mirrorless or dslr)?

I think a very compact inexpensive APS-C MILC would be great for that. Maybe they could even explore the possibility of jumping into the micro 4/3's ring. No issue with lens availability there.
Good points!

Are there really many differences between smartphone images and entry level ILC images? The resolutions are similar. Phone's panorama modes and digital zooming replicate ILC kit lens performance. If anything, the superior computing and telecom resources inside a smartphone give them the advantage in fun filters and connectivity to social media. The only clear advantages of ILC are in longer telephoto and non-flash low-light conditions.

Smartphones are the entry-level cameras of today.

A very compact inexpensive APS-C MILC would be a smartphone minus social media, instagram filters, etc. It does nothing for Pentax except put them in competition with all the other compact inexpensive MILCs on the market.

We agree that Pentax should invest in future technologies but disagree as to which ones.
04-19-2017, 07:51 PM   #186
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QuoteOriginally posted by photoptimist Quote
Good points!
Are there really many differences between smartphone images and entry level ILC images? The resolutions are similar. Phone's panorama modes and digital zooming replicate ILC kit lens performance.
When I got my Q-7 I was hearing similar stuff here - "don't bother with crop-sensor camera - just make corresponding crop of image from your K-mount camera." So I used a paper target in my backyard to give me reproducible results. I had five different lenses that could go to 300mm {everything from a 300mm Super Tacumar to a Pentax-DA 55-300mm}. I tried each lens on my Q-7 and then compared the best in that series {70-300mm Sigma} against a K-30 image suitably cropped. The K-30 had so few pixels left that it was the equivalent of taking a knife to a gun fight.

Before you ever reach 3X, you've thrown away so many pixels that you cannot come even close to what real glass can do. What may be true is that many users don't care, just as many don't notice/care when their phone takes so long to lock focus when taking a picture from a moving car (*), many don't notice rolling shutter effect {how many fly in prop-driven planes any more}, etc


(*) Last November I took the train out to San Diego so I could be my daughter's relief driver as she moved back to Indiana {her stuff in a moving van; cats with us in her car} in three days. Over and over again she was frustrated trying to take a picture from the car, because by the time her smartphone was ready to operate the shutter, the thing of interest was behind us.

QuoteOriginally posted by photoptimist Quote
Smartphones are the entry-level cameras of today.
That all depends on how you define "entry level". They are the "Kodak Brownie" replacement. They are not the "my first adjustable camera" {the role often filled by a K-1000, or in my case by a cheap Yashica rangefinder camera} replacement. There was a time in the 1980's when lots of people seemed to be enamored with ILC technology; I never quite understood that, but most bubbles are hard to understand.
04-20-2017, 01:55 AM - 2 Likes   #187
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QuoteOriginally posted by photoptimist Quote
Good point! Here's a brief summary of what I'm trying to say:

Sophisticated photographers switch systems or buy second systems (50% of K-1 buyers are new to Pentax) --> Pentax can ignore "entry-level" cameras.

Smartphones are destroying the low-end of the ILC market --> Pentax should ignore "entry-level" cameras.

Brick and mortar retail is dying --> Pentax can ignore that channel.

K-mount is a poor design choice for MILC -- Pentax should avoid it.

A non-K-mount MILC requires massive investment in new bodies and lenses and provides no synergies with the Pentax DSLR product line --> Pentax should avoid it.
Just add a couple of observations.

First, ignoring bricks and mortar retailing will blow any chance of Pentax trying to position themselves as a kind of Leica, especially in Japan. This may be the only long-term option they have. How many people spend $15K or $20K buying medium-format gear over the internet sight unseen? Retail is far from a dead letter.

Second, avoiding MILC is almost certainly avoiding what the market will become over the next few years even at the higher ends. Video is involved in that too, and the future for primarily stills-only cameras of a traditional kind doesn't look good.

I suspect Ricoh have only two options. One is investing what is necessary to keep up with the competition in a rapidly changing market. The other is not to do that but accept a slow fade-out. If you concentrate on selling to your established user base, which is mainly what Ricoh have done so far, then eventually you will fade away as they age and fade away too.

One thing not often mentioned is the possibility of withdrawing from most of the world, where TBH Pentax struggles anyway. Instead, save a few bob in overheads and concentrate on the luxury brands game in Japan and a few places in the Far East. Most of the revenue Pentax makes is and has always been concentrated there anyway.

Last edited by mecrox; 04-20-2017 at 02:18 AM.
04-20-2017, 03:07 AM   #188
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QuoteOriginally posted by Nicolas06 Quote
Like any investment, you see how much you spend and how much you get back. If that investment bring more than it cost and more than other investments, then it is a good investment. Otherwise, it is a bad investment. Already Pentax doesn't sell much and so most of the cost is the R&D and their biggest issues they don't mak enough to invest in R&D. On the opposite, the cost to make and sell one more body is quite small. Maybe a KP once all the R&D is paid cost 150$ and could be sold with a benefit for $400. The asked price is more than $1000, because you need to pay all the engineers a salary.

If you spend even 50$ of marketing per additional unit sold, that mean your cost for a KP is $200 instead of $150. And you may have to sell it to at least $500 to make a profit. Still the asked price is $1000 and even with subtential price reductions to $800 or $600, this is a net benefit for Pentax/Ricoh. This is also beneficial for the end user because basically it spread the high ficed cost of R&D among more units.

But this is worth it if it cost $50 or $100 pe body, not $500 and also this is worth it if you can actually manage to attract more users at all. With innovative products, key differentiators... Not just product that are more of the same (KP = K3 with less feature and tweaked high iso sensor that funily like Fuji has great high iso performance bu need longer exposure time as the same iso that the older bodies).



I think pro like to have some brick and mortar with support and a human relation. I also think that most sales are still made in hypermarkets and generic electronic shop that are still well there. You'll also notice that overall most cities have lot of shop selling lot of different stuff, so the shops are not going away anytime soon. But often right now you need to have both: the shop and the website. Before you had a shop and just to exist was enough. Now you need to have a strategy, be a good seller. But that's it.



This is the business model, you first sell something cheap and that work quite well to a prospect at a fair price. You sell it almost at what it cost you plus a small margin. Then some of theses people will become more interrested for various reason and start to buy into your system: more lenses, more advanced camera etc. If you sell only highend gear, you depend on people that are already using your brand (and that started from scratch with low investement), or that were disatisfied with the proposition their own brand had and didn't care to leverage what they already had.

This happen if your product is so much superior and unique that the competitor can't actually compete. If you are similar to the competition for high end gear but you rely on the competition entry level gear to attract new clients you will get only few newcomers and you'll have to bet on disatified people from the competition. That's quite a dangerous game to play.

I mean there are strategy to compensate that: advertisement, make products so unique that people are still willing to pay for it even if they didn't try before. Example is apple or Audi. Pentax isn't there. Pentax hasn't a reputation of premium, luxury, of being better than the competion. Quite the opposite in fact. They get bashed all the time in forum like dpreview and their product while great are not outstanding and have limitations. This will not work for Pentax, not if there not some game changer in the middle. A new high end APSC or FF DSLR like we had dozen isn't a game changer. Doing that just keep the echosystem working and avoid losing people but doesn't create new clients. For now being late for K1 mean that we lost lot of people and gained back very few. For new clients you need a different product, you need advertisement and you need it to be easy and affordable to try your products.



Objectively Pentax product are not significantly cheaper or better than the competition. They don't cover more niche with a wider variety of products. They are not longer well known or have a better reputation than the competition. People have no reason to switch except if their other manufactuer is particulary bad. But with Canon having the best echosystem, Nikon having the best AF, Pana/Olympus having the smallest high quality ILC, what remain for Pentax to attract people?

There was K30, K50, K70, KS2. Great product at a low price that take the chance to attract new users that may buy a lens or two and then may continue to invest there as the product are good. They are not outstandly better, but they are no terrible neither. They have for themselve some key assets like cheap WR kit lenses, SR, cheap great build quality bodies, a set of small lenses in a compact system. The last advantage is no longer a differentiator because of the mirrorless competition that is offering now a better compromize. WR and good build quality is common in high end so a differentiator only for entry level gear. If you don't sell it anymore, this isn't a differentiator anymore and it isn't anyway an asset for high end gear where everybody does it already. SR is now availabe in half of the market and the other half ensure to have almost all its lenses stabilized so it doesn't really matter. People speak of old K-mount lenses and MF lenses, but again half of the market does that and does it better thanks to mirrorless... You can mount any old DSLR lens on them. Not just Pentax.

The first reason to buy KP or K1 is because you have some K-mount. And I would say some AF K-mount. Otherwise, some Pana/Olympus/Fuji mirrorless are going to be more compact while keeping high quality, Nikon is going to offer you better AF/action/sport and acces to many affordable telezooms for birding/wildlife at good price. Sony/Nikon/Canon all have a solution for a cheaper entry level FF (as low at 850€ for Sony and 1100-1300 for Nikon) and higher end higher value proposition. Better AF, better lens echosystem...

Selling stuff doesn't happen all by itself. If you can't be better, you don't want to advertise, you don't want to try unique or inoovative products, you get exactly what Pentax is: a company that just follow since it had invented the reflex concept many years ago... But that was LOOOONNNNNG ago. At some point if you take no risk, people are leaving. Doesn't say it didn't happen. Pentax didn't go from #1 to the last by acquiring new clients and keeping the old ones!

When I started 5 years ago now. Pentax had cheaper/lighter APSC lenses, it had WR in its entry level and it had SR that was unique and on K5 a 80 iso mode that offered the best performance of all APSC body at that time...

Now if I was to start over I would not do it in Pentax and if Pentax doesn't provide the product I want/need one day I may spend my money on the competition. My father can confirm I took more than one look recently to m4/3, Fuji, Sony... I may not sell my Pentax gear just yet, might keep it for a long time. But at least the lack of value proposition mean the next thousand euro spend on gear is unlikely to be for Pentax, even through I have quite some invested: DA15, DA21, FA31, FA77, F135, HD55-300, DA10-17, K3... And if the competition manage to do better, I may switch.

By itself, I agree nobody care of me alone. But this is repeating story of the past 20 years for Pentax. They don't really attract that many new users with their product, whatever you say. And while there some interresting products that keep the user base from eroding too fast (like K1) or make people invest more, there are more people leaving than comming. And the K1 was a one shot effect that may apply for the next 2 years no more. When everybody that wanted it in k-mount has an FF, they not buy another one except if there something new they really want. Back to innovation again.
I fully agree.

I am a faithful Pentax user since my Spotmatic I bought 47 years ago when I was a student, and I bought a lot of recent Pentax lenses in the last three years, both zooms and limited DA primes, plus some legacy gear I had from the film era.

But technology has moved and I am now trying M43, which seems to offer today the best compromise between size, IQ and photographic abilities.

I started M43 with a miniature GM5 body and the two most compact kit zooms (12-32 and 35-100). it is half the weight and size of K3+DA18-135, which is very nice when hiking or traveling, and it allows mee to be unoticed in tourist sightseeing, street shooting or social events, and places where DSLR are not welcome (i also use compacts for these needs).

The mirrorless AF-C performance is not stellar, but that is also true in Pentax world.

I also bought a few cheap converters to experiment the subject separation and bokeh I can expect from M43, which will help me to decide which prime lenses or extra zooms are really worth buying for my kind of photography.

If I am happy with my first experience in M43, I will probably buy more lenses and a higher end body in this system.

As I dont really need the money and I have a large house, I will probably keep most of my Pentax K gear, selling only some of the entry level or legacy gear I never use anymore.
But I wont buy anymore in Pentax K-mount, unless it can offer me a really better handling performance (ergonomy, convenience, a mirrorless K-mount, AF-C tracking, dynamic range).

I am not interested in FF K1, too big, too heavy, too expensive and it would drive me to buy ecpensive new lenses rather than spend my money in traveling.

---------- Post added 04-20-17 at 12:31 PM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by photoptimist Quote
Good point! Here's a brief summary of what I'm trying to say:

Sophisticated photographers switch systems or buy second systems (50% of K-1 buyers are new to Pentax) --> Pentax can ignore "entry-level" cameras.

Smartphones are destroying the low-end of the ILC market --> Pentax should ignore "entry-level" cameras.

Brick and mortar retail is dying --> Pentax can ignore that channel.

K-mount is a poor design choice for MILC -- Pentax should avoid it.

A non-K-mount MILC requires massive investment in new bodies and lenses and provides no synergies with the Pentax DSLR product line --> Pentax should avoid it.
I disagree with most of these conclusions.

For instance I agree that a new mount mirrorless is out of reach for Pentax, it would need huge R&D and marketing and would be a direct competitor to the already well established numerous offerings by M43, Sony and Fuji.

But IMO a mirrorless FF K mount could be a very efficient move, as the lens echosystem is already there, besides motorized AF with DA and D-FA lenses, it could offer screwdriven AF with all film era FA and F lenses. The only direct competitor would be Sony A7-A9 serie, whose AF echosystem is much smaller.
The Pentax trumps vs A7/A9 would be on ruggedness, ergonomy, small high quality primes and zooms and AF with all legacy lenses.

K-mount would mean it would be thicker than an A7-A9, but I dont think it would really matter as most lenses could be the same size or smaller, and most FF users want a deep grip.

It would need a R&D in PDAF on sensor and hybrid AF, but anyway this effort is needed if Pentax wants to stay in business as DSLR will probably soon shrink to high end Canikon AF machine guns for shooting action.

04-20-2017, 06:47 AM   #189
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Like most of us, I have no idea what Ricoh's medium-to-long term plan is for Pentax. But if I am to take them at their word, they appear to be so cautious and conservative (a classic Japanese management trait) that they are getting themselves into serious trouble. They're observing mirrorless trends? Still? That's it? If they're being honest with us, then they've clearly mistimed yet another seismic shift in the industry that John Flores was talking about. I'm hoping they're simply being coy about their plans. But I wouldn't put money in it.

Meanwhile, I suspect there's going to be a major shakeout among camera makers over the next few years. Nikon has finally pulled its head out of the sand - this late date - and admitted they're kind of in trouble. I love micro four thirds but Panasonic appears to be reoganizing its camera division and will probably put out less in the years ahead... and Olympus has been a question mark for a few years now. Honestly, a decade from now I expect there to be only two or three major camera makers left: Canon and Fuji... and possibly Sony. Of course, there is always the chance of an aggressive and successful upstart from China.
04-20-2017, 04:23 PM   #190
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Why will Fuji survive?
04-20-2017, 08:12 PM - 2 Likes   #191
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QuoteOriginally posted by UncleVanya Quote
Why will Fuji survive?
A few reasons.

1) Fuji, like Canon, is a part of a larger, stable company - a company that is committed to photography, one that began in film a century ago. But, unlike Kodak, has managed to avoid arrogance and costly mistakes.

2) Fuji is on an upward trajectory, both in terms of product and sales. Each generation of their new X-cameras is markedly better than the last.

3 Fuji seems to have a loyal following - no doubt boosted by the company's policy of extending as many updates and improvements to its cameras as the hardware can handle.

4) Fuji seems to understand its market position and is striking a fine balance in terms of cost, quality and features. Fuji knows that, for most people, it's the new Leica and is actively working to be that. A company like Nikon seems to have been clueless about its market position for some time. Just ask Thom Hogan.

5). If you were to quietly talk to Canon engineers and executives (as a number of people have), they would tell you (as they have others) that it's not Nikon that they're afraid of. Once they passed Nikon in sales, there was no looking back. It is - and always has been - Fuji that they were worried about.

Other brands, like Nikon, may survive. But I suspect the company won't be independent for that many more years. Like others, I love Pentax, but it's clear that it's almost a hobby business for Ricoh. Sony and Panasonic cameras are parts of large companies, too. But, regrettably, Panasonic may be pulling back. It's hard to tell what Sony's long-term commitment is but with the announcement of the new A9, they seem pretty serious.

Last edited by Biro; 04-20-2017 at 08:43 PM.
04-21-2017, 12:07 AM   #192
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Fuji will keep on manufacturing cameras as long as the Instax system will remain the cash cow it is today.
04-21-2017, 12:33 AM   #193
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QuoteOriginally posted by Biro Quote
A few reasons.

1) Fuji, like Canon, is a part of a larger, stable company - a company that is committed to photography, one that began in film a century ago. But, unlike Kodak, has managed to avoid arrogance and costly mistakes.

2) Fuji is on an upward trajectory, both in terms of product and sales. Each generation of their new X-cameras is markedly better than the last.

3 Fuji seems to have a loyal following - no doubt boosted by the company's policy of extending as many updates and improvements to its cameras as the hardware can handle.

4) Fuji seems to understand its market position and is striking a fine balance in terms of cost, quality and features. Fuji knows that, for most people, it's the new Leica and is actively working to be that. A company like Nikon seems to have been clueless about its market position for some time. Just ask Thom Hogan.

5). If you were to quietly talk to Canon engineers and executives (as a number of people have), they would tell you (as they have others) that it's not Nikon that they're afraid of. Once they passed Nikon in sales, there was no looking back. It is - and always has been - Fuji that they were worried about.

Other brands, like Nikon, may survive. But I suspect the company won't be independent for that many more years. Like others, I love Pentax, but it's clear that it's almost a hobby business for Ricoh. Sony and Panasonic cameras are parts of large companies, too. But, regrettably, Panasonic may be pulling back. It's hard to tell what Sony's long-term commitment is but with the announcement of the new A9, they seem pretty serious.
With Ricoh being tired of their hobby, they will see other pleasure then Pentax. If I read you correctly.
04-21-2017, 03:17 AM   #194
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QuoteOriginally posted by RonHendriks1966 Quote
With Ricoh being tired of their hobby, they will see other pleasure then Pentax. If I read you correctly.
I don't know. Perhaps if they can simply keep Pentax in the black they can go on indefinitely. But it might always be a tiny, niche player. Ricoh tells us they want to grow Pentax but, while the cameras they make are great, we're not really seeing any innovation, are we? The cameras are good, solid, tough pieces that make great photographs. But it's clear more is needed in the 21st century. Pentax doesn't seem to have the resources to keep up.

I was one of the people who told Pentaxians to be patient when Ricoh bought the business. Give them at least three years, I said. Well, that time has past and while the K1 is a great camera, it still lags behind the competition in terms of autofocus and video, despite its improvements. Pentax is still moving cautiously and incrementally. And, because of sea changes in the camera industry that are beyond the control of the camera makers, much more is needed to grow ithese days.

Please don't misunderstand. I've never been a "Pentax is doomed" guy. One bright spot is the 645 line. But - what's this? We suddenly have surprise competition from Fuji. The new KP seems like a nice, smaller camera that's perfect for Limited primes. But autofocus is subpar compared to the competition and battery life is lousy. Pentax doesn't seem to have the resources for big, bold, game-changing moves that are needed to get ahead in the 21st century.

It might be enough for many existing Pentaxians - I don't plan on selling my kit - but if Pentax can't grow strongly, what's going to happen as the industry as a whole continues to slow? There'll only be so many survivors and I'd like Pentax to be one of them.

Last edited by Biro; 04-21-2017 at 05:11 AM.
04-21-2017, 03:48 AM - 1 Like   #195
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QuoteOriginally posted by Biro Quote
(...) It's taking forever to get lenses for the K1 - and most are rebranded Tamrons. (...)
This is decidedly the era of alternative facts...

HD D FA★ 70-200mm f/2.8 ED DC AW: 100% Ricoh Imaging
HD D FA 150-450mm f/4.5-5.6 ED DC AW: 100% Ricoh Imaging
HD D FA 24-70mm f/2.8 ED SDM WR: rebranded Tamron
HD D FA 15-30mm f/2.8 SDM WR: rebranded Tamron
HD D FA 28-105mm f/3.5-5.6 ED DC WR: 100% Ricoh Imaging

D FA★ 50mm f/1.4: Ricoh Imaging
D FA★ 85mm f/1.4: Ricoh Imaging
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