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07-19-2011, 03:00 PM   #1
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Where does Pentax exist?

I have been researching online for quite some time with the aim of upgrading my Samsung GX20 (to a K-5 or K-7) and also to buy some good quality glass.
After many hours spent in front of computer screens, I thought it was time to experience some hands-on time.
Finding a dealer who got Pentax cameras (in stock) however - without taking a day off work in order to get there - is a bit like playing the lottery. I live in Cornwall and work in Germany and therefore spend a lot of time waiting in airports. But when I ask for Pentax SLRs (duty free or not) I get told that Pentax cameras are not available at duty free stores. So, Pentax, if I can neither find a shop locally or even an international airport, where I can actually test and feel your (IMO) great products, something surely isn't right!?!? How do people actually know that a product like the K-5 for example actually exists? Or is it just me, constantly being in the wrong places???
Another shocker I came across was the pricing of third party lenses for Pentax cameras: the Sigma 70-200 2,8 HSM II for example sells for about 500 GBP on Amazon UK. Except with a Pentax mount, which is priced around 1000 GBP. Is that because we have no other choice, as Pentax hasn't got an equivalent lens in it's current lens programme and therefore Pentax owners will pay any price to get one?
I can buy a Canon or Nikon on every street corner it seems and I don't think Pentax has to live up the reputation of being the hidden gem within the lot! Please Pentax (or Hoya), sort your PR department out and make yourself known to the world.
As for me, I'm none the wiser what to do now, as I really love my camera and IQ, but feel like I'm stuck in a system that requires a premium (time, effort and money) to stay with?!
Am I the only one getting frustrated?????

07-19-2011, 03:17 PM   #2
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Well I bought my first Pentax DSLR over the counter at Jessops Evesham. Bought my second Pentax, a K200d, from ebay after handling one at PC World. I handled the K7 and Kx at PC World and London Cameras before buying online. My nearest Jessops (Birmingham) has the Kx, Kr, K5 and 645D. They even have a small selection of lenses! Even the small Jessops in Leamington has the K5 and Kr. So things aren't so bad, and definitely getting better.

I haven't noticed third party lenses being generally more expensive for Pentax.
07-19-2011, 03:25 PM   #3
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I've started to notice a small premium placed on third party lenses for Pentax, but I've never seen a 100% markup. I was looking to get one of the the Bell and Howell Samyangs from and it was 40 dollars more in Pentax mount. The Sigma you mentioned seems to go for the same price for Canikon and Pentax on (US).
07-19-2011, 07:33 PM   #4
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I also haven't seen big differences in prices for third-party lenses for different mounts.

The Sigma 70-200 HSM II can be had from Adorama for the equivalent of 588 GBP. It costs the same for other mounts (Amazon UK has it for 542 GBP for Nikon mount).

As for the lack of Pentax presence in many shops, yes that's unfortunate, but I think cameras like the K-5 are worth getting them from where ever it takes.

07-20-2011, 06:57 AM   #5
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I would have had to order the K5 from another country and then have zero backup support.

Can you imagine if I had done so and it was plagued with sensor spots, floppy mirror, inconsistent flash metering and low light focus errors.

What recourse would I have had.

Worth whatever it takes???????????
07-23-2011, 02:19 AM   #6
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Thanks for your input and views.
I am relieved to hear that at least some of us are lucky enough to live in an area where Pentax products are easily available
Unfortunately, Cornwall, or the the north of Germany - thinking of it, doesn't seem to be such an area. In order to get hold of a K-5 body in an official shop, I'd have to travel 133 miles and for a 55-300mm lens 113 miles (one way). Stores usually have K-r and K-x models with the usual kit lenses in store, whereas K-7 and K-5 are on special offer online, recommended lenses usually being Sigma lenses. I know that the "other two" have a different budget, but if you go to a shop with the intention of buying a specific camera or lens and can't get hold of one, it surely makes you think twice before ordering online (apart from pro equipment)? Or do we all rely on reviews and personal experience these days?
Unfortunately, ordering from the overseas is not an option for me as in addition to shipping costs I'd have to pay taxes on top, but thank you for looking.
Instead of upgrading to a new body or expensive lense I've decided to order a 55-300 mm lens which will hopefully be a great addition to my kit without making a great commitment - for the time being at least. Fingers crossed .....
Come on Pentax :-)
07-23-2011, 10:08 AM   #7
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I may have touched a Pentax some decades ago, like just after the Nixon years, but I really don't recall. My first hands-on was when my online-ordered K20D and AF360 arrived on my porch. (The DA10-17, DA18-250, and FA50/1.4 came a few days later from other sources -- and this all landed on an in-law's porch actually 'cause I was traveling at the time.)

I didn't fret about the 'feel'. I've handled enough cameras to feel comfortable with anything except that damn Graflex 9x12. I *had* felt enough cheap plastic CaNikons to know that I wanted something heftier. Analyzing user reviews showed that the K20D got fewer whines-bitches-moans-groans and desires for immediate upgrade than did other cams in its price range. Yes, I plotted a gripes-per-cost curve and Pentax won! So I wasn't really bothered by the lack of opportunity to palpate before purchasing. Besides, the retailers all had good return policies. Ya don't like it, ya send it back, etc.

I am rarely anywhere I can go into a shop and try a Pentax-compatible lens. Even more rarely can I afford such. (Exception: a photo co-op in Santa Fe NM with a stock of vintage glass.) The lack of B&M doesn't really bother me. But that's just me. I don't blame others for wanting to pre-experience what they're shelling-out money for. I certainly did enough of that decades ago. Prepaid return policies make all the difference!
07-25-2011, 10:33 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by dylansalt Quote
I would have had to order the K5 from another country and then have zero backup support.
Living in the same country as you, I bought the K5 locally in November 2010. It was replaced locally for a sensor stain free unit. And the service center is around the corner.

If I recall correctly, your Nikon 7000 has attracted more dust on the sensor in the first few months of its life than the Pentax that it replaced in its whole life

07-27-2011, 03:04 AM   #9
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Have you tried Jessops or Cornwall Cameras in Truro?
Jessops where I am are usually quite helpful at getting hold of items to try.
The only other places I know of where you are are Jessops and London Camera Exchange (again, usually helpful) in Plymouth (yes I know its the other side of the water!!)
07-29-2011, 01:16 PM   #10
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Got my 55-300mm through on Tuesday and took about 200 pictures the same day to properly test it, as, after reading all these great reviews and reports, my expectations were pretty high.
The lens felt well made and very compact. The reach also fantastic - so was the AF actually - but when I looked at the pictures at home I was very disappointed: none of the images were actually sharp They look like being taken with a very slight soft focus filter. Additionally the bokeh is not very pleasing imo.
The picture of the flower/plant I've attached was taken on a cloudy but bright day, RAW format, converted in PSE 7, no wind, @300mm, f 6.3,1/800sec, ISO 100, SR on. I have taken quite a few pictures with AF-S and AF-C and this actually is the best one. Adjustment with regards to font- or back focusing made matters only worse. I got a second opinion from my brother who is a Canon user and he got the same impression - must be something wrong with the lens?!
I'm sure it's not my camera as it can produce excellent results with my Sigma lens (or even my 18-55mm kit lens). I've attached a picture of a snake I took a few months ago as comparison. Or are my expectations too high????
Unfortunately there was no option with Amazon to exchange the item, only full refund was offered. I could have ordered another one but the refund process takes about 10-14 days, so I would have had to pay for a new lens on top of the returned item. So much for returning items if you're not happy ...
I will therefore make the effort to go to a dealer who got the lens in stock and test it there and then. Saves a lot of disappointment and "equipment-free" time in the long run.
Jessops I've tried but I wasn't aware of Cornwall Cameras in Truro. Will give them a ring as soon as. Thank you W412ren!
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07-30-2011, 01:10 AM   #11
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I handled a K7 at Jacobs before some time later I brought one 2nd hand:

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08-04-2011, 09:42 AM   #12
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@samyo: Maybe the blur was brought about by motion, with the wind blowing the flower and if you zoomed the lens to somewhere like 200-300 camera shake would might have occured. ~~~Sorry for my sucky english

Anyway, just got my 55-300 too but i still have to test it in good light,
08-04-2011, 04:42 PM   #13
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I never tried a DSLR before purchasing it. I guess that works better with Pentax than with other brands. With Canon or Sony or Nikon, there is so much variation between their body styles that it helps to actually see the cameras and the differences between them.

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