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08-12-2009, 06:43 PM   #31
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QuoteOriginally posted by Aristophanes Quote
Except DSLR's and lenses are not "commodity" priced. They are scaled and channel priced based on flagship to loss leader strategies.

Data I have seen (my biz) is that online sales, especially for non-consumable, higher-end products, relies on hands-on experience. If not, the return and refund mechanisms have to be seamless and financially integrated with the initial product sale. either that, or the product has to be self-contained and known, like most Apple products. Pentax is selling a "lens system", as are its competitors. The loyal don't care, but new entrants won't go ear the brand unless it is on the store shelf, with a promo, with knowledgeable sales staff. This is still ow 95% of retail works. If this were not the case, then why isn't Pentax Leica?

Or does it want to be Leica? There's a slow-mo train wreck.

No strategy is not a strategy. Pentax has pretty much zero marketing. Great products, very good engineering, but no presence. It's like Nikon circa 1982, a company run by engineers who got creamed by Canon (and Minolta) who knew that marketing sells.
I'll buy most of that, though Thom Hogan believes that dSLRs might be nearing commoditization:

"Just to be clear, it's not that I like driving nails (otherwise I'd be a carpenter). With any popular product we get a long cycle that drives it towards commodity--commoditization happens to all popular products. There are two types of winners when that happens: (1) the two or three companies that establish the economies of scale and branding to win the category; and (2) the companies that take the opportunity to splinter off and create new, highly profitable niches."

Like I said, I don't have the data. I just know from watching the evolution of digital business models that there likely are price and product tipping points where B&M loses part of its relevance. Whether that is here/now with cameras isn't clear to me...

08-12-2009, 06:47 PM   #32
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QuoteOriginally posted by dnaseigel Quote
There are additional dynamics feeding Jack's frustration. As a local photo specialty retailer who happens to have Pentax as the leading brand in the store, I am always shocked that other retailers fail, as it were, to see the light. However in the case of Jack's purchase it is possible that he purchased his gear at, for instance, Ken's Camera. They were a very long time supporter of Pentax, but for reasons that were somewhat beyond their control, Pentax was dropped from their line-up. The Minnig family that owns Ken's is one of the great photo retailers in this country. I have been fortunate enough to benefit from the great business sense they bring to the industry, and I hope that they will have the opportunity to advantageously bring Pentax back to their store.

I think it would be very interesting to have some representative from Pentax comment on why their brand is disappearing from retailer's shelves; and it is disappearing at a considerable pace. I would love to know if they are concerned about that or if they really do plan on product fulfillment occuring without b&m storefront sales.

DS

I know I was making a generalisation David, but your store and others like it are exceptions and it's a credit to you and your ilk that you choose to be Camera and Photographic stores rather than 'most popular band and the P&S crowd' stores.

Anyone who thought I was defending Pentax in any way by my statements, think again, I was merely stating things as I see them. I think it's a damn shame that stores don't carry Pentax and I think it's a damn shame that Pentax don't make more effort to sell there wares.

Jack, if you thought I was attacking you (and it appears that you do by your tone and the bold red lettering) you too can think again. I was merely making observations on what you had posted.

As for your old thread, that takes all of five seconds to find, much quicker than starting a new one. If you want to find threads that you have started in future, go to your profile page, click on statistics, then click on 'threads started by'. You can also do that with any other members profile.
08-12-2009, 06:51 PM   #33
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My local camera store (specific only to Arkansas) is very successful and continues to carry Pentax. Not sure if things have changed, since I've not gone in once the K7 was released and there have been a few staffing changes. Nothing significant however.

Jack, this is not a paid political announcement for Camera Craft: if you want to really buy from a non-local Pentax dealer, go with David (dnaseigel) at his store. Tom, David, Chris et al are exceptionally great people and very knowledgeable about Pentax and all the brands.

Cheers,
Marc

David: you can mail me that nice gift certificate (or K7 with grip) to my home address.... Seriously, I speak the truth about their store=that is no joke.
08-12-2009, 07:04 PM   #34
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Handling a camera definitely affected my choice of DSLR system. It was picking up a K100D in a local independent electronics store on Yonge St. that convinced me Pentax had cameras that were comparable or better than Nikon build quality and handling. There are quite a few places in Toronto to buy Pentax. Henry's always has a solid selection of bodies and lenses, and they actually keep a full selection of accessories in stock. Aden seem to have a love affair with the Limited lenses -- a great selection are usually on display in the coveted front window, even though they don't display bodies or pedestrian DA lenses. Even Blacks, the consumer camera chain, carries some Pentax bodies and lenses in their two locations right downtown.

Since deciding to buy my *ist DL, I have watched the stock of Pentax product come and go and come again in local stores. It seems a bit like the tides... while the Nikon and Canon stocks are constant, the Pentax stock seems to ebb and flow. Perhaps it's affected by availability, as selection seems best early in the life cycle of a new Pentax camera. Once the cameras are long in the tooth and a new model has been announced, there seems to be less stock on the shelves.

I'm satisfied by local stocking, and glad I can handle gear. I don't know that I would purchase a camera without trying it out. I know that my test drive of a K10D was awe-inspiring, and convinced me that it was a real competitor for the Nikon D200. Handling the K10D guaranteed that I would finally buy one.

08-12-2009, 07:09 PM   #35
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QuoteOriginally posted by Damn Brit Quote
Jack, if you thought I was attacking you (and it appears that you do by your tone and the bold red lettering) you too can think again. I was merely making observations on what you had posted.

As for your old thread, that takes all of five seconds to find, much quicker than starting a new one. If you want to find threads that you have started in future, go to your profile page, click on statistics, then click on 'threads started by'. You can also do that with any other members profile.
Will do. I got in too big a hurry. I had just got home frustrated by finding yet another store closed today at Tacoma Mall.
08-12-2009, 07:45 PM   #36
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QuoteOriginally posted by jack56 Quote
This post made elsewhere today and my concerns about Pentax:


I live near a tiny area myself, the Greater Seattle Metro and can't find ANYONE carrying Pentax. Ritz, Kits & Wolf use to, but tell me that Pentax don't support it anymore.
The largest professional Camera Store in the area:
Welcome To Glazer's Camera | Glazer's Camera
Don't carry Pentax either.
This all happened in the last couple months.

Seattle & LA area don't carry Pentax, who does?

It sure looks to me that Pentax is in some kind of trouble.
Kinda late. This kinda stuff has been posted for months.

In all honesty though, there is little point in having Pentax store cameras in small stores. There are a lot of bigger stores in the east side that still carry Pentax (BH photo have their own stores in New York and other cities). Don't think it is a big problem. Any how, the small stores usually dissuade anyone from getting Pentax, so in the end it doesn't matter. Went to Ritz a few months ago. The lady there was wondering why I was looking at Pentax lenses and a used K10D body for $399. I said I was interested in buying a camera. Then she laughed and of course I asked why. She said that Pentax only has 3 lenses, the 18-55mm, 50mm f/1.4, and the 50-200mm.
Then I laughed, said "Pentax must really suck then", and then left. That exact store is now replaced by a Subway.

Fun fun

Last edited by GLXLR; 08-12-2009 at 07:51 PM.
08-12-2009, 07:54 PM   #37
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Even if Pentax went under tomorrow, I'd still have a great body (K20d) and a bevy of fine lenses. I'd still wake up the next morning, put on my pants one leg at a time, and go out and take pictures. And the next day and the week and the next month and the next year.

And then I'd pick up some more lenses at fire sale prices as others left the fold, the sweet DA* 50-135, an FA77, etc... and go out and take more pictures for another year.

And then I'd pick up a used K-7 or two. And then go out and take picture for another year. Or 5. Or maybe 10, if there were still photos to take.
08-12-2009, 08:03 PM   #38
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I think Pentax is doing ok, with a couple of exceptions.

Look, Pentax can't compete with Canon and Nikon on their own turf , similar to the way Apple doesn't compete with Dell & Microsoft. Apple, BTW has been going out of business for the last 20 yrs.

Canon & Nikon have deep pockets, a luxry that Pentax does not enjoy. And while the tech in say Canon's flagship bodies and lenses trickle down to the prosumer and consumer lines. Not all of Canon's L glass is that great. It's because Canon want's people to feel part of the club. Hence, they release some L pieces that are just gussied up consumer fare. Doesn't matter that it's not a real L piece they'll sell really, really well because of the branding.

Pentax, has to be really careful. Spending millions on a TV ad campaign would be high risk and it would be doubtful that such a push would sell enough cameras/lenses/accessories to be worth it. B&M stores are expensive to feed and and it's expensive to pay sales agents to get and maintain relationships with B&M stores. It's not worth the extra expense if the buyer ends up buying the stuff online after they hold it at the B&M store anyway.

Pentax is a niche brand and that's what they seem to be trying to embrace. They can't saturate Wal-Mart and Best Buy and extend huge lines of credit to the Ritz's and Wolf's of the world. Look at the bags Nikon and Canon were left holding when Ritz/Wolf went bankrupt. Thank god that Pentax wasn't exposed like that. That would have really put them in trouble.

Nope, Pentax needs to hang back. Try and build a loyal following and let that following do the selling for them. They need to keep costs down and try and restore some profitability. Hopefully, like Apple if it's done right profit margins more than make up for market share.

When I look at the images coming from say a DA* 60-250 f4 , it's clear to me that Pentax does indeed have a plan. That's one fine piece of kit that can more than hold it's own against any lens in it's class across the board. IQ, price, everything.


Apple doesn't sell $429 towers complete with 19" monitors with free shipping, 4 gigs of RAM and 300 Gig HDDs. There's no profit to be made there. Let Dell have it.

That's the way Hoya/Pentax is thinking and I think that's their best bet.

Regards,
Mike



08-12-2009, 08:06 PM   #39
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QuoteOriginally posted by johnmflores Quote
Even if Pentax went under tomorrow, I'd still have a great body (K20d) and a bevy of fine lenses. I'd still wake up the next morning, put on my pants one leg at a time, and go out and take pictures. And the next day and the week and the next month and the next year.

And then I'd pick up some more lenses at fire sale prices as others left the fold, the sweet DA* 50-135, an FA77, etc... and go out and take more pictures for another year.

And then I'd pick up a used K-7 or two. And then go out and take picture for another year. Or 5. Or maybe 10, if there were still photos to take.
I'd do the exact same thing. If one had several K10's, K20's around for cheap, you'd be set. Why pay Nikon & Canon's sky high prices.

After thorough checking there is ONE store that has Pentax equipment in a 200 mile radius around me, (Seattle/Tacoma/Olympia) and that is in Downtown Seattle's Cameras West‎, 1908 4th Ave, Seattle, WA and they have a good selection. They're well known online too, so that helps them. So I have to drive 40 miles to see any Pentax equipment anymore.
08-12-2009, 08:18 PM   #40
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QuoteOriginally posted by Aristophanes Quote
Funny enough, I just came back from a major camera store and read this thread!

The talk I had with the salesperson (very knowledgeable and brand agnostic) was that they still carry Pentax (Henry's in Canada). But that Pentax has nor promos, no marketing, and no salesmanship. Nothing. So the brand is on the edge.

Shame is, he likes the product and would push it if Pentax got off their butts and put out marketing and sales promos. The brand is getting clobbered, and it's worse at the compact end, he said. There is no piggyback marketing off flagship models.

And no, it is not Nikanon world. they sell and get great promo from Sony and Olympus, both of whom have actually been edging market share in critical areas at Nikanon's expense. Biggest selling points; 1) Not Nikanon!, 2) in-body IS.

Of the other 2 local independents, 1 no longer carries Pentax, and the other it is special order, at high prices.

The big box stores have largely dropped Pentax entirely save for some token compacts. they used to sell and promote the line, but no one is marketing. It's a huge dead zone of declining sales.

This is in Canada, and it's obvious there really is no Pentax Canada anymore. They have no presence, no marketing, no budget. That is a surefire way to lose customers forever.
Pentax gear is available in Western Canada, or at least my city. As stated in my post I have no trouble getting gear. Can't speak about the East or the Maritimes.

However I do agree with you that I think Pentax Canada needs to step up to the plate more.

Canon absolutely dominates advertising and camera space. Nikon comes in second.
08-12-2009, 09:12 PM   #41
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I've yet to buy a dslr I had not held beforehand

I've yet to buy a dslr I had not held beforehand.

K20D

D700

5D

All touched & chatted with real Reps about them prior to later purchases.

I've handled D3 and 5DII and Oly E-3 right after release and didn't buy them so I don't buy everything I try. I think Hoya is underestimating their new hands off, buy to try, approach to pentax gear sales. You know, one must buy from online vendor to try a K-7 as opposed to just visiting their local shops in USA.

Canon and Nikon still have Reps. I can find Canon and Nikon locally at numerous locations. Pentax used to compete locally. What changed? They got sold off to Hoya.

Hoya is a huge company. Pentax brand is Hoya's company to do with as they (Hoya) likes.

I still get hung up when people say "Pentax this" and "Pentax that". Pentax is owned by Hoya. I'd say Pentax retreating from local stores by requiring 100k annual minimums which Canon and Nikon do not is a Hoya decision. Doulbling some lens prices globally is a Hoya decision:

Fewer sales at higher price points means more profits on existing inventory, gear made by fewer employees mainly at outsourced locations and its all then rep'd by fewer employees. No ads to buy as its all gone to viral & free internet marketing now. Didn't I read this in last hoya ceo report a month ago? Fewer sales at higher margins lead to better profits.

Last edited by Samsungian; 08-12-2009 at 09:24 PM.
08-12-2009, 09:28 PM   #42
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This is sad to see. I was hoping they'd only closed 400, not all of them.
Ritz Camera seeks to sell remaining stores - Charlotte Business Journal:

Many of these stores carried Pentax.
08-12-2009, 09:29 PM   #43
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Just my own 0.02, but this appears (to me) to be a Pentax USA decision or US retailer decision as opposed to Pentax being in trouble. In Canada it appears that the distribution hasn't changed focus and all but one store that I'm aware of around me carries a certain amount of Pentax stock. (ETA: ) And that one store has never carried Pentax products in any sort of volume.

Having said that, if Pentax USA is choosing to step away from the retail chain or is only dealing with larger retailers and relying on internet sales only, I think they might be shooting themselves in the foot as it will largely cater to the existing Pentax user-base instead of reaching potential new customers. On the other hand, how many existing retailers are pushing Canon/Nikon on new users, leaving the Pentax body out of the comparison? On paper and out of the sales-persons hands, Pentax cameras compete very well. Add a biased opinion and it could put Pentax out of the running no matter how good or bad the camera is.

Either way, I don't think Pentax is in trouble. I don't think that they will ever hit 'trouble' but I do think they're gambling in the US market and whether it pays off remains to be seen.
08-12-2009, 09:46 PM   #44
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Maybe we oughta do a "Pentaxians Unite day" or something where all of the pentax forums people go out to places people like to photograph and use their pentax gear. I know it's cheesy and we're just free advertising pawns but sometimes you just gotta represent.
08-12-2009, 09:59 PM   #45
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Let me put this in another way. On higher end cameras, like Cars, I've always read the reviews first then go for test drives. In the Cameras case, I always like to see how it feels in my hand, how it looks and handles during shots. Sure, I may not buy that camera from that store, but whatever brand I'm looking at doesn't lose in the long run because they still get the sale in the end no matter where I buy it. I will NOT buy any camera unless I can look at it and try it out first. Sure, this last time, I got the K20D used, but I ended up buying a bunch of Pentax gear for it and that counts too. I know I wouldn't have gotten the Pentax if I hadn't tried it out first (the K10D, then K20D). I would have gotten the new Nikon D5000 instead. Why? Because I like what I saw when I tried the Nikon out in a store. But also I saw and tried out the Pentax and went "Wow" I like this! ....and that would have NOT happened reading reviews etc.
I don't think I'm alone in this practice.

So, in the long run, I think Pentax is shooting themselves in the foot by not having them in the local stores.
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