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10-17-2013, 02:54 PM   #16
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Buy Pentax lenses when they're worth the price tag and ignore the overpriced.
I have excellent Sigma and Tamron lenses, also Samyang (Walimex here in Germany) are really good.
I would never buy the DA* 16-50, because I find the price unreasonable. The Sigma and Tamron alternatives are equal (apart from WR).
But when I find that a lens is worth it, I'll pay the price and the "SMC DA 35mm f/2.8 Macro Limited" is so worth it!

10-17-2013, 04:24 PM   #17
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Fall of 2007, I paid $189 from Adorama for my FA50/1.4. I felt a little like I was stealing compared to the competition, but I consoled my conscience since relatively awesome value on nice products seemed to be the Pentax theme. I remember also considering the FA35/2.0 at the time, but it was considerably more expensive but I can't recall exactly how much more. I'd probably buy neither new at today's prices.

It's a bit of a kick in pants for anyone who chose Pentax a few years back based on the great value of items you planned to purchase as the years went by and finances became available. I always expected lens prices to climb a little with inflation, and a bit of up and down fluctuations thrown in especially since I'm in the wacky Canadian market, but I would never have predicted some prices to more than double over such a short time frame. I've yet to see a good explanation to justify such drastic price increases.
10-17-2013, 04:25 PM   #18
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Here in Canada I haven't noticed any increase.. But the lenses were always way more than us prices. Now they are more even.
10-17-2013, 04:49 PM   #19
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I notice inflation everywhere where progress of production efficiency or global trade cannot hide it. Cars, lenses, homes, restaurants, stock rates etc. The money created by zero interest rates has to go somewhere, after all. Interesting how it doesn't go into the officially listed products for the inflation rate index

Lens price increases with all manufacturers. I particularly watch Pentax and Nikon and both increase the same way. Canon seems to be worse even, look at their new tele lenses ... This is because lens production involves many manual steps and qualified labour is getting more expensive. Also, the richer part of the market is getting richer every year. Therefore, the spread between cheap and expensive glass is probably increasing over time too.

I actually assume it isn't a new phenomenon. If somebody has lens price lists from the 70s or 90s, the prices may have always increased in a similiar manner.

10-17-2013, 05:51 PM   #20
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QuoteOriginally posted by Dr_who Quote
Here in Canada I haven't noticed any increase.. But the lenses were always way more than us prices. Now they are more even.
There has been an increase. There was a decrease first though. When I bought my FA50 from Adorama, it was well over $300 in Canada so I ordered from cross border and saved a good chunk. A few months after my purchase, the Canadian price plummeted to near $200, enough that I ended up saving very little given the shipping cost. It was a correction long overdue at the time to get things more in line with the exchange rate (CDN$ was worth more than US$, and awesomely I was living in Canada at the time but getting paid in US$ as I worked cross border). It's now close to $400 in Canada
10-18-2013, 05:37 AM   #21
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QuoteOriginally posted by falconeye Quote
I notice inflation everywhere where progress of production efficiency or global trade cannot hide it. Cars, lenses, homes, restaurants, stock rates etc. The money created by zero interest rates has to go somewhere, after all. Interesting how it doesn't go into the officially listed products for the inflation rate index

Lens price increases with all manufacturers. I particularly watch Pentax and Nikon and both increase the same way. Canon seems to be worse even, look at their new tele lenses ... This is because lens production involves many manual steps and qualified labour is getting more expensive. Also, the richer part of the market is getting richer every year. Therefore, the spread between cheap and expensive glass is probably increasing over time too.

I actually assume it isn't a new phenomenon. If somebody has lens price lists from the 70s or 90s, the prices may have always increased in a similiar manner.
Like I said in my original post, I wouldn't be surprised if the newest lenses came out at really high prices. Right now the DA 50 1.8 is selling for about half of the FA 50 1.4, even though the DA is the much newer design. I realize that extra 2/3 of a stop is valuable. I'm wondering if the anticipation of full-frame Pentax DSLR is driving up the demand for the FA, and thus the price.

Lens inflation seems worse than college tuition in some cases.
10-18-2013, 08:19 AM   #22
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QuoteOriginally posted by millsware Quote
Like I said in my original post, I wouldn't be surprised if the newest lenses came out at really high prices. Right now the DA 50 1.8 is selling for about half of the FA 50 1.4, even though the DA is the much newer design. I realize that extra 2/3 of a stop is valuable. I'm wondering if the anticipation of full-frame Pentax DSLR is driving up the demand for the FA, and thus the price.

Lens inflation seems worse than college tuition in some cases.
Except that DA 50 is a full frame lens
10-18-2013, 07:15 PM   #23
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QuoteOriginally posted by falconeye Quote
I notice inflation everywhere where progress of production efficiency or global trade cannot hide it.
I trust your analysis is correct, but I don't think that on its own it explains the up to 100% price increase of Pentax lenses.

It may have been the case that Pentax identified an issue with the large price discrepancy between certain US box shifters and the rest of the world. They may have observed an undesirable level of self-importing, i.e., customers avoiding local prices but still applying for warranty services through international warranties. Or they have observed that sales through the box shifters weren't helped by the high discounts to the extent you would expect.

Whatever their reasons were, I think it is pretty clear that Pentax deliberately decided to move away from a "budget solution" image, probably towards a "weather-sealed and small" image. In any event, they deliberately stopped to let their lenses have a price advantage compared to other manufacturers.

I wish the Pentax brand all the best and if MAP is what it takes to get it back to where it belongs then so be it. But I am also very frustrated by the insane lens price increases which apparently do not even benefit the manufacturer but only dealers.

In this day and age, I do not see why a box-shifter or a dealer that does not add any noteworthy value to a product (unlike educated, highly informed shop owners did in the past) should earn $600 on a lens sale.

I believe the distributor concept where there is an extra margin-adding layer between manufacturer, dealer, and customer is a dying one and find it frustrating that it take so long to disappear.

N.B., all the above are just naive thoughts. I don't have any noteworthy background in the relevant areas.

I chose Pentax for many reasons and "fair pricing" was one of them. The term "fair pricing" probably makes a lot of people cringe, but I don't care. I'm not excited to see Pentax offering lenses at prices I don't understand. Overall, at the moment I cannot wholeheartedly recommend anyone to buy into a Pentax system with the 16-50/2.8 and the 50-135/2.8 having a terrible reputation in terms of SDM reliability but a Canikon-like price tag. I don't see how many other lenses justify their price tag either.

Luckily, Pentax do not appear to apply the same price increase strategy to camera bodies. Probably because the market does not allow them to.

Hence I still recommend Pentax bodies, but only to those who are prepared to choose their lenses electively, i.e., have no problem to choose from third-party offerings as well.


Last edited by Class A; 10-18-2013 at 07:20 PM.
10-19-2013, 07:30 AM   #24
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QuoteOriginally posted by Bernie_Rain Quote
Buy Pentax lenses when they're worth the price tag and ignore the overpriced.
But how am I to know which ones are 'overpriced'? I have finally accepted the maxim that you generally get what you pay for, and I understand that good camera lenses are precisely made items that should cost money to make.

This discussion is interesting, especially as I am fairly new to the DSLR world. However maybe my original question wasn't clear enough. I meant to ask why is the FA 50mm 1.4 lens selling for over twice as much as it was 4 years ago. The lens is the same. The MAP explains part of it, but in the article that was linked to that, the price had already gone from $200 to $359 and didn't immediately change.
10-19-2013, 09:49 AM - 1 Like   #25
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When you consider that the lens was designed and first built three or four corporations ago, in a much different consumer environment, today's price has so many components that it could take a book to explain. Probably no one knows the whole story.

When Pentax introduced their autofocus line in 1987, they had a product called the Pentax-F AF Adapter, a 1.7x teleconverter that could autofocus by itself. You could use it with older lenses and your new camera to have a bit of autofocus and not have to buy all new telephoto lenses. The official production was for ten years, through 1997. After a while, most users were buying new autofocus lenses. But seven years later, Pentax stopped making a lot of telephoto lenses. It was tough to find anything above 300mm for their new line of DSLRs. So these AF adapters became popular on the used market, rising in price from $100 to $400+. A couple of years ago, new ones appeared on the market, marked "Assembled in Vietnam". I imagine someone came across a warehouse of parts for these things, knew what the current market price was, and saw a way to turn dead inventory into cash. The new ones happened to sell just above the current used market price.

I get the impression that so much goes into producing the glass elements that they make huge batches in advance. It may take years for those elements to make it into a finished lens. And with some pressure to make the recent investment in Pentax turn a profit, no one will say "let's just sell them at the old price". It's more like "let's see what people will pay."
10-20-2013, 07:21 AM   #26
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QuoteQuote:
But how am I to know which ones are 'overpriced'? I have finally accepted the maxim that you generally get what you pay for, and I understand that good camera lenses are precisely made items that should cost money to make.
"Overpriced" is perhaps not the right term as opinions and perceptions differ on what is "overpriced".
Reading reviews, tests and browsing forums you'll gather information about different lenses and their qualities.

Everybody has a different perception of "overpriced". I think that the "Pentax DA* 16-50" is too expensive compared with the Sigma and Tamron alternatives. The "Sigma 17-50 2.8" and the "Tamron SP 17-50 2.8" equal the "Pentax DA* 16-50 2.8" in image quality / sharpness.
There are numbers / facts to consider, but also personal preferences. If you want weather resistance, because that will let you feel "free" as you can shoot in bad weather during rain, then the "DA* 16-50 2.8" is without any alternatve.

The "Pentax SMC 35mm f/2.8 limited Macro" is so well built, so sharp and reproduces such beautiful colors that for the price I paid (new) I consider it having a very good price-performance-ratio.
10-20-2013, 07:43 AM   #27
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QuoteOriginally posted by Bernie_Rain Quote
"Overpriced" is perhaps not the right term as opinions and perceptions differ on what is "overpriced".
Reading reviews, tests and browsing forums you'll gather information about different lenses and their qualities.

Everybody has a different perception of "overpriced". I think that the "Pentax DA* 16-50" is too expensive compared with the Sigma and Tamron alternatives. The "Sigma 17-50 2.8" and the "Tamron SP 17-50 2.8" equal the "Pentax DA* 16-50 2.8" in image quality / sharpness.
There are numbers / facts to consider, but also personal preferences. If you want weather resistance, because that will let you feel "free" as you can shoot in bad weather during rain, then the "DA* 16-50 2.8" is without any alternatve.

The "Pentax SMC 35mm f/2.8 limited Macro" is so well built, so sharp and reproduces such beautiful colors that for the price I paid (new) I consider it having a very good price-performance-ratio.
Thanks for the response, it brings up two new questions that I think I will ask in another thread, but feel free to respond here.

How do people decide on lenses to buy (price/quality, value)? There are only two decent camera stores in Pittsburgh that I know of and neither carries a lot of Pentax stuff. Spending hundreds of dollars on a lens that I've only read reviews on is a big jump.

Also, scientifically how does one lens display better colors than another?
10-20-2013, 08:53 AM   #28
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QuoteOriginally posted by millsware Quote
How do people decide on lenses to buy (price/quality, value)? There are only two decent camera stores in Pittsburgh that I know of and neither carries a lot of Pentax stuff. Spending hundreds of dollars on a lens that I've only read reviews on is a big jump.
You can rent them at cameralensrentals.com If you only intend to keep it for a few days, the rental prices are pretty decent.

Trying out a lens in a camera store would not be of much help. You need to use it for a few days.
10-20-2013, 02:49 PM   #29
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QuoteOriginally posted by psychdoc Quote
You can rent them at cameralensrentals.com If you only intend to keep it for a few days, the rental prices are pretty decent.

Trying out a lens in a camera store would not be of much help. You need to use it for a few days.
This site is way cheaper than some of the others I've seen. Thanks.

However, it would still cost about $90 to try out a lens like the DA* 50-135. That's a lot of scratch for a test run.
10-20-2013, 05:27 PM   #30
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QuoteOriginally posted by millsware Quote
How do people decide on lenses to buy (price/quality, value)?
On all sorts of criteria, as value is largely subjective (some would argue entirely subjective). What's valuable to me might be worthless to you. Any lens that you buy and don't use (much) is a poor value (for you), unless you are a collector (or reseller and can sell it at a profit).

Evaluating a lens is really difficult for most of us. The differences tend to be rather small, and for most types of photography these differences are much less important than the skills of the photographer. Most relatively modern lenses are good enough for most purposes, so long as the base characteristics (focal length and largest aperture) are appropriate to the situation. I'm a raging hypocrite to say so, as I have had a bad case of LBA for the last couple of years, and now have way too many lenses. The standard advice is good: ask yourself what kinds of photography you want to do, and where your current kit limits you.
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