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07-15-2009, 02:08 PM   #1
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Penn Camera (N. VA, MD, DC) discontinues Pentax

I learned today that Penn Camera, a prominent camera chain in northern VA, DC and MD has stopped carrying Pentax equipment. It was not clear from the conversation I had with the salesman whether this is a Penn Camera decision or a Pentax one. However this reduces Pentax's presence in the DC Metro area to Ace Camera in Ashburn, VA. If this was indeed a Pentax decision, it is very important that those of us in the area patronize Ace, otherwise we may lose even them.

I'm really beginning to worry about Pentax and their current marketing approach. How can people chose Pentax cameras if they can't hold them? One of Pentax's strengths has always been the quality feel of the cameras. If we are restricted to internet sales, they will just lose more and more customers.

Very depressed today.

Mike

07-15-2009, 02:33 PM   #2
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I wasn't fussed about any alarmism about Ritz, particularly since they've been in the habit of getting the cameras they sell on credit, but it definitely sounds like a problem if a smaller chain won't be carrying them.

I can't see this kind of move being good for camera stores, either: if you can't check out the various options, why bother walking in the door to begin with?
07-15-2009, 02:51 PM   #3
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Oh wow this makes me so very sad. I bought my K10D from the Penn store in Springfield. I agree, this is not good for Pentax. What on earth is wrong with these people. Why are they so adverse to pushing their product for shelf space? Sheesh.
07-15-2009, 03:19 PM   #4
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It is the same everywhere, Pentax is no longer on the shelves at any stores I contacted in Minneapolis or Milwaukee. I guess Pentax feels they can sell enough cameras to current users and don't need to have them in stores for non Pentax users to see.

I for one won't purchase a $1.200 camera body without holding it first since I don't have that kind of money to spend on something I don't want.

Tom

07-15-2009, 04:22 PM   #5
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Then again, a lot of camera chains in general are being closed (ones that hold CaNikon as well).
07-15-2009, 05:02 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by GLXLR Quote
Then again, a lot of camera chains in general are being closed (ones that hold CaNikon as well).
You never really know what's behind things like this, there can be adversarial tactics by other brands putting pressure on retailers, things like with Ritz where the major brands were letting them run up big debts for stock: could be that right now a couple of the bigger corporations are in too much of a position to basically dictate who can sell what, and they probably have every interest in the world in people not getting to handle a K-7.
07-15-2009, 06:55 PM   #7
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I'm somewhat new to the forum, drawn here largely because of a growing interest in Pentax. The more I read the more I like (and what a great forum).

I've always had Canikon, and wanted to handle a K20D before buying. I called a large, nearby, well established camera store because their web site listed Pentax, and inquired about them, wanting to come in and check them out.

He said in a terse, "funny you should ask" tone, basically that they stopped carrying Pentax sometime back because it didn't seem they are going anywhere (and acknowledged they should take it off their website).

It seems contrary, but assuming Pentax is staying in the game, given their new products, that they are going for an all-online business model, similar to Kindle, Apple (to a large extent), et. al. They could greatly cut marketing costs and depend on the internet and word of mouth for promotion and focus on designing great products. It doesn't seem out of the question. Just send the product back if you don't like it, like a shirt or laptop.

I used to work in a camera store and know it sounds like heresy, but maybe they just want to change the game with Canikon, make news rules, and be a major player that way. One idea anyway.......
07-16-2009, 06:15 AM   #8
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Overall I really like Penn Camera, and when I had Canon gear they were a great resource to check out almost any lens before I decided to buy it. But I must say I've been unimpressed with 1) their knowledge of Pentax in genral (um, oh yeah, we do carry Pentax don't we...) and 2) their selection of either Pentax brand or 3rd party lenses (as a side note they have made the decision not to carry Sigma lenses at all, which is also frustrating.)

So I understand why they don't "fight" to keep Pentax in their stores - most people come in looking for Canikon gear, and that's what their sales force is comfortable with - plus they have more lenses to upsell in those brands. Ironically I have found them to be a great source for used Pentax lenses, especially MF ones - they often sell them below market value.

Ironically as well, I noticed that the Ritz headquarters store in Beltsville, MD was increasing its Pentax lens lineup during the height of the liquidation sale. During a visit to the store I was able to try out the DA35, DA55-300, and the DA*16-50. Go figure.

07-16-2009, 07:11 AM   #9
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they never had much of a selection in the first place, but some was better that none. one of the older salesman i talked to was actually very fond of the old pentax, and had a lot of respect, but said pentax just didnt market or ever talk to them.

most of the other employees didnt care for pentax, i asked if they sold any m42 lenses and they had no clue what i was talking about.

in order to get publicity to the masses, it would be better to have pentax cameras in big electronic stores (ie. best buy, even ritz was a big chain). however, for people who knew cameras or did research, penn camera was the best bet and now they have no representation.

i was in the nyc area and was contemplating handling the k-7 @ B&H to see how it was, but waited cause i was convinced i could go to penn camera and handle it later.....
07-16-2009, 07:26 AM   #10
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Funny, I just bought some M42 lenses from them The way they list used Pentax lenses in their system always confuses the emplyees and myself - PK includes M and A mount lenses, PKA and PAF both mean auto focus.. I think for M42 they list as "Universal" mount. But like I said, in the end I've found quite a few good older lenses there.

I actually think they could sell more Pentax bodies if they advertised bundles with some of their used lenses, especially the MF ones. That would draw real attention to the compatibility benefit, and it would differentiate them from big box and online stores.
07-16-2009, 08:41 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by MRRiley Quote
I learned today that Penn Camera, a prominent camera chain in northern VA, DC and MD has stopped carrying Pentax equipment. It was not clear from the conversation I had with the salesman whether this is a Penn Camera decision or a Pentax one. However this reduces Pentax's presence in the DC Metro area to Ace Camera in Ashburn, VA. If this was indeed a Pentax decision, it is very important that those of us in the area patronize Ace, otherwise we may lose even them.

I'm really beginning to worry about Pentax and their current marketing approach. How can people chose Pentax cameras if they can't hold them? One of Pentax's strengths has always been the quality feel of the cameras. If we are restricted to internet sales, they will just lose more and more customers.

Very depressed today.

Mike
It is my opinion that Hoya has very little interest in marketing the Pentax line in the USA. I seriously doubt you can find a K-7 on the shelves of any camera store with the exception of B&H and Adorama in New York City. Sure you can buy them via the internet from Wal Mart, Amazon and Best Buy, but if you get a bad one where is the customer service.

Yes is it a very sad day USA Pentax owners.
07-16-2009, 08:51 AM   #12
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Walmart, Bestbuy and every large internet seller like Amazon have the K-7 so what is the big deal. Pentax made the right business move to raise the minimum yearly Pentax orders to $100,000 from $50,000 . Its now 2009 and deadbeat Pentax dealers are history. My first SLR purchase was the Canon Pellix QL with 58mm F1.2 in 1966 from a Pentax dealer in Hong Kong by mail order from Alaska and all my camera purchases in the last 15 years were over the internet with zero problems.
07-16-2009, 10:18 AM   #13
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Well, Jog, since the actual Pentax *cameras* don't necessarily fare as well by spinning specs and statistics as do some of the bigger brands, who can just claim they're 'the best' all they like, I don't think an Internet-only marketing scheme is *really* the best way for Pentax to get themselves positioned as a viable third-party alternative, when so much of the strengths of the products really *are* in how they feel, handle, the viewfinders, the ergonomics, the build quality and solidity you get for the money...

Pentaxes not being in the stores for people to handle, and get the word out, reduces them to being basically a bunch of numbers and thumbnail pictures, things to debate over, and thus too often push people to take a step down in quality and handling in hopes of being able to get something better in another system later.

As a Canon FD shooter, what digital SLR system I added to the stable was pretty much a wide-open field. Specs matter, but not as much as what I call 'interface,' what happens between my hands and eyes. The work I usually do doesn't require high performance or impressive features, but feel and controls are key. I want a machine that I can get to know so well I can expect to wake up in the next lifetime with my hands knowing how to level that baby.

Especially with the K-7, not that that isn't competitive on features with just about anything else, certainly for the money, the whole reason for the change in chassis is about that metal body and compactness and handling and quality. It's just words on the Net till someone handles one, though. Not that I have. But I know what a metal body feels like.

When I got my K20d, I'd never handled one. But I'd handled a K200d, and I figured if Pentax could do entry-level like *that* for feel, that, especially given I didn't have the extra grand for a d300 anyway, I could be reasonably-confident I'd like what they did with something a bit bigger.

And, how. When the K20 arrived, I was like, 'Ooh, now this is solid.'

Canikon fans may scoff, but if they just *hold* the thing, they respect that. Often with a note of surprise. You can't get that from viral marketing, you've got to put the product in someone's hands.

Pentax should take heed, and play to the strengths, not what some marketing hack says.

Also, photo retailers should realize that it's *in their best interest* to carry as many different brands as possible. The Canon/Nikon duopoly only makes their services less valuable than comparing two sets of specs on a screen. The more variety, the more someone wants to talk to a human being and touch the things, someplace where they are.
07-16-2009, 03:23 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by fwbigd Quote
It is my opinion that Hoya has very little interest in marketing the Pentax line in the USA. I seriously doubt you can find a K-7 on the shelves of any camera store with the exception of B&H and Adorama in New York City. Sure you can buy them via the internet from Wal Mart, Amazon and Best Buy, but if you get a bad one where is the customer service.

Yes is it a very sad day USA Pentax owners.
Ace Photo in Ashburn, VA has 2 K-7s on the way and expects to have them in by next week. Ace is committed to Pentax and probably has more Pentax camera, lenses and accessories than all the other camera stores in Virginia combined. Heck they even have the battery grip for the K-7 already (forgot to ask the price when I was in there this afternoon picking up a D-BG2 for my new K20D).

Sucks hearing thar Penn has dropped Sigma as well. They might as well change the name of the store to CaNikon Cameras.

Mike

p.s. Ace Photo's website stinks at the moment. They are supposedly rebuilding it, but for now it's darn near useless. other than telling you how to get there.

Last edited by MRRiley; 07-16-2009 at 03:34 PM.
07-16-2009, 04:50 PM   #15
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What's going on with Pentax in this great country?

Attached is an image just posted in my German forum
(c) copyright by user TripleYYY at digitalfotonetz.de, posted here

It shows an average Pentax display cabinet in an average European electronic chain store (Mediamarkt) in an average European town (Giessen, pop. 70,000). If you look carefully, you can spot two sealed K-7 kit boxes at the center of the lower border of the image.

But I agree that the exhibition space dedicated to Pentax is shrinking in most places over here, too.

Last edited by falconeye; 06-15-2011 at 05:29 AM.
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