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06-10-2011, 08:54 AM - 1 Like   #16
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C&N mind-control rays.

06-10-2011, 08:58 AM   #17
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A little late to the conversation but I'll add my 3 anyway. I don't think lack of a FF body is the reason Pentax isn't 'popular'. Walk up to anyone you see using whatever the latest incarnation of the Canon Rebel is and ask why they didn't buy a full frame camera. Likely, you'll get one of 3 answers. 1: What is a full frame body? 2: Too big and heavy. 3: Too Expensive.

I would love to have a Pentax full 35mm frame body. In fact, I have several but their sensors are only good for about 36 shots at a time and I have to pay more money to see them. That, or play chemist.

It's been 3 years since I could walk into a store and put my hands on a Pentax dSLR. To say they aren't "Popular" however, is a misconception. How may other company subsidiaries do you see surviving with the lack of marketing and in store presence that HoyaTax has?

06-10-2011, 02:12 PM   #18
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I agree... Nothing to do with full frame IMO
The lack of Pentax popularity has IMO got to be down to their lack of marketing... Spend a day watching UK TV right now and you'll see a Nikon advert every hour and a Canon one every two (although they seem to be pushing printers at the moment...)... Pentax on the other hand seem to spend a grand total of "Ziltch" on TV advertising and at a guess around 10% of CaNikon's joint 'print' advertising budget...

The appear to get gear to reviewers, so if a 'seeks to be clued-up' consummer is looking for a camera it gets on their list of possible buys, but the 'normal-joe' consummer who walks into a Jessops camera shop off the street has never seen a Pentax advertisment and probably doesn't know they even make DSLR's
06-10-2011, 02:52 PM - 1 Like   #19
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Buying one's first DSLR is complicated. There's half a dozen price points just between $500-$2000, features that you won't understand if you'll want, need or use until you own the camera, and a million contradictory opinions to read on the internet. I've wanted one since about 2003, but I suffered with high-end P&S compacts until 2010 because I had analysis paralysis on what to buy.

I was really close to just buying a Nikon D5000 based on price and name alone. I knew the name and figured it would be a no-brainer purchase and I could avoid a bunch of research. A friend - who happens to shoot Nikon - had been reading reviews of the Pentax K-x and said that if he was able to start over he would've gotten a K-x instead of his D40x. My initial reaction was "Pentax? Isn't that some off-brand?" I'm usually pretty proud of my inability to be influenced by marketing (and lack thereof), and in hindsight I'm still ashamed that I was slightly repulsed by the thought of going with a lesser-known brand. I ended up doing the research I had considered avoiding in the first place, and came away with a K-7.

Unfortunately, most people aren't capable or willing to make that leap. I'm really glad I didn't just close my eyes and jump in credit card-first. I actually enjoy the research aspect of starting a new hobby, but most consumers just want to make an easy decision. Advertising makes them think they can spend money that way and still feel satisfied with what they bought. To answer the original question, that's why Pentax isn't more popular. Without marketing, the casual consumer will never give them a chance. I am about farthest thing there is from a casual consumer, and I was really close to just overlooking Pentax solely out of ignorance.

If I had bought a D5000 last year, and then learned everything I know now about Pentax, I'd have been extremely disappointed in the D5000 and would've already sold it. But had I gone Nikon, I'd probably never have known anything about Pentax and been ignorant and happy with a far inferior camera.

06-10-2011, 03:09 PM   #20
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Who knows what Pentax's current management is thinking?

But one possibility is that they have decided that they have a niche market and they will just remain one:

-Have a few identifying markers: weather resistance, in-body stabilization, smaller cameras, smaller lenses.
-Focus on the 2 ends of the market: APS-C and Medium format
-Make a play for certain countries: Japan with wild colors like pink, white etc dslr's
-Leave longer lenses to third party manufacturers like sigma.
-Continue with the limited prime lenses as a distinguishing feature

I cannot say that this is a wrong strategy. I think it is keeping Pentax in the black.
06-10-2011, 03:16 PM   #21
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Pentax definitely does not market as much as Canon, Nikon or even Sony and Pentax also only has a 2 camera line up where as others have many many more.
06-10-2011, 07:59 PM   #22
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Pentax USA now has a well defined marketing focus. "Be Interesting" which mentions aspects like "Be Adventurous (waterproof digicam), " "Be Obsessed (K-5)," and "Be Colorful (K-r)" tying in all of the unique aspects of their tools. That along with things like the new GPS add-on and recent WR lenses shows that there is a positive push to improve things and help photographers understand what they offer and what their outlook on tools is. Well I'd really like to see lens road maps, but maybe someday they will do that again...

Edit: I should also mention here in a 150,000 resident city we have two local camera shops. One has a big selection of Pentax and the other has a body or two off and on. Within 100 miles we have a Fry's that has some Pentax as well.
06-17-2011, 04:51 AM   #23
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QuoteOriginally posted by SpecialK Quote
Most people buy (and sell) brand names they know and see. Pentax's lack of marketing in the US results in no brand-recognition.
Not just in the US. Europe also has a severe lack of Pentax equipment.

06-17-2011, 12:47 PM   #24
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I'm not sure the whole marketing thing is as important as it is made out to be. Perhaps it has importance now that Pentax is a minor player; but being a minor player means they have less revenue to devote to marketing.

Pentax's loss of popularity -- and market share -- stems largely from its having been typecast as a economy and learner brand back in the seventies and eighties. How many fledgling photographers of that era started with the Pentax K1000 but then, when they had more money and felt the need to get a better camera, they moved on to Nikon or Canon? I can remember that in the late seventies and eighties, just about everyone I knew who was into photography regarded Nikon as the gold standard. If you could afford Nikon (it was expensive), that's the camera you would get. I doubt marketing could have changed that impression; nor that it can work to break the similar dynamic in play today with Canon. Photo-enthusiasts will tend to gravitate to whichever brands are most used by professionals.
06-17-2011, 12:54 PM   #25
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Who cares? Just support the brand enough to make pentax a decent profit and be able to develop a bit more.
10-25-2011, 12:20 AM   #26
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Interesting though, I'll be staying with Pentax as it's what I started with so see no reason to change.
Go shopping in Melbourne and the only places you find Pentax is dedicated camera stores. JB/HN/DS/K-Mart none of them will have Pentax, all will have Canon and some will have Nikon.
Think to when you last ever saw a Pentax in product placement in a movie or TV show? I cannot recall seeing one, all the cop shows and their genre' will show the forensic people taking photo's with Canons or maybe Nikons.
Even though logically I know when you get down to it there's not a huge difference between brands and even though I'll be staying with Pentax and wont be influenced away, somewhere along the way I picked up the perception that still lingers that Nikons are the real Pro Camera.
10-25-2011, 03:17 AM   #27
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We all eagerly await Pentax-Ricoh Imaging Corp's marketing blast.
10-25-2011, 03:30 AM   #28
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QuoteOriginally posted by Mychael Quote
I cannot recall seeing one, all the cop shows and their genre' will show the forensic people taking photo's with Canons or maybe Nikons.
Oddly enough, I happen to know for a fact that at least some of the police in Japan use Pentax. I've personally set up and done shots with a K20D belonging to the Nishi-Urawa (Saitama) Police Department. The cop was glad to hand it over as he personally was a Canon guy and not entirely familiar with the K20D.

Maybe TV cops don't use them, but somebody managed to sell the real cops a batch.
10-25-2011, 04:39 AM   #29
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I think Pentax just don't care about marketing, and when they do, their ads are downright cliche and boring. If I were a teenager looking for something cool to buy, I would steer clear of Pentax.
10-25-2011, 09:11 AM   #30
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I think Pentax popularity peaked back when Honeywell Photographic was the US distributor, and they were branded Honeywell Pentax. They had great marketing, which was based on creating the image that Pentax was a high-precision instrument that was a joy to use. They used to advertize "Just hold a Pentax" - and indeed it was (and is) the designed "feel" that made them different. Because Asahi was primarily an optical company they had a FULL line of lenses: choices at every focal length. They advertized in the same "professional" magazines that Leica did, reaching the engineers, doctors, etc that appreciated quality. They also had fantastic stock and great service centers, and Honeywell added full lines of other photo equipment (still use my Honeywell Nikor developing tanks...)
After Honeywell we saw the model and feature proliferation that simply tried to compete by list of specifications, and the focus into the higher volume point & shoot models. The LX had a long production run, but they tried to compete on features rather than the quality-precision message. I still think it would have sold much more if the stress was to work the market to get people to pick it up and "feel" it. That's when the quality comes across.
I recall 30+ years ago a young engineer who worked for me bought a new car based on its tests and specifcations, so he got a Corvette. Within a year he sold it and bought a BMW like mine (back when most folks didn't know what a BMW was...), because it just felt so much better in normal driving.
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