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04-02-2012, 08:56 PM - 4 Likes   #1
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A Pentax Analysis

I've just posted a blog post about my experiences with Pentax, including links to its history as a company as well as what I consider to be its main advantages and disadvantages based both upon personal experience and what I've gleaned from sites like this and others as well. I hope it's of benefit to people who would otherwise never think of Pentax as an option, and perhaps it will be of interest to people like us who already use and appreciate this brand.

04-02-2012, 10:29 PM   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by enoxatnep Quote
I've just posted a blog post about my experiences with Pentax, including links to its history as a company as well as what I consider to be its main advantages and disadvantages based both upon personal experience and what I've gleaned from sites like this and others as well. I hope it's of benefit to people who would otherwise never think of Pentax as an option, and perhaps it will be of interest to people like us who already use and appreciate this brand.
Excellent write-up. I just forwarded the link to my friend, looking to buy a DSLR, who was saying " what is Pentax....never heard of the name...".
One thing you might want to update your blogspot is about the full-frame body, now that they have announced a model with full frame.

Thanks
04-02-2012, 10:43 PM   #3
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Actually, that full-frame was sadly an April Fool's joke, and I might add a very bad one at that - bad in the sense of getting one's hopes up only to have them come crashing down with the realization that a FF Pentax is still a pipe dream.

Last edited by enoxatnep; 04-02-2012 at 10:50 PM.
04-02-2012, 10:45 PM   #4
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Evening Eno,

I liked the blog post very much and agree with your views. I think that they are well stated and it reads very well. One item that you touch on that I have not seen addressed is Pentax's lens offerings as compared to Canon and Nikons. By virtue of actual numbers, both Canon and Nikon easily exceed the number that Pentax offers. However, if you go back and scratch the surface a bit and just count the image stabilized lenses offered by both Canon and Nikon, the dramatic difference in numbers tends to even out, remarkably well.

You can also look at the various types of lenses that actually offer IS. The last I looked there were no wide angle IS lenses available. Now, I do agree that the need for a stabilized wide angle may not be perceived as large as telephoto, however in the evening with out a tripod, it can come in handy.

I will be the first one to indicate that Pentax does not offer a full line of lenses that matches Canon and Nikon. Pentax is limited to 300mm until their new 560mm actually arrives. Pentax does not offer any tilt/shift or teleconverters and their macro support is pretty small.

I certainly believe that Pentax needs to do a better job here. The main point is that the absolute raw numbers does provide a somewhat distorted view.



04-03-2012, 12:12 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by vsmouli Quote
One thing you might want to update your blogspot is about the full-frame body, now that they have announced a model with full frame.
Thanks so much for the posts like this we'll be answering for you over the next month or so, Adam.

enoxatnep, your article looks good at a glance, I'll read it in detail as soon as I have time. Thanks for posting and linking it here.
04-03-2012, 12:35 AM   #6
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I think it's a really good piece, but when I'm trying to sell people on Pentax I tend to add caveats about the only things Nikon really does better - flash and autofocus. I then mention that those things are only relevant to a fairly small number of users, while in-body SR, small light lenses and great ergonomics are relevant to everybody.

Regarding full frame, yeah - we'll probably get it one day; 2012, 2013, 2014 - but if it's important then clearly Pentax is not the brand to choose right now.
04-03-2012, 04:09 AM   #7
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Thanks for writing this blog post on Pentax.

Here are a few things I didn't get:
  • Why is the fact that Pentax produces the 645D a plus for Pentax? I have a Pentax APS-C camera and AFAIC, the 645D could be produced by Canon or Kyocera.
  • Do you know that Canon produces professional TV cameras with high quality optics? They also have a long history of producing outstanding still photography lenses. I do not see any reason to "discriminate" Canon as a manufacturer that isn't as "optical" as Pentax, for example, just because they happen to produce copiers and printers as well.
  • I'd be more specific about the SDM issues which only seem to plague the 16-50 and the 50-135 to a significant extent. To the best of my knowledge, the failure rate for SDM primes, for example is not abnormally high.
  • Why does the fact that some legacy FF Pentax lenses are still very useful on APS-C and hence still being sold constitute an "identity crisis"? I don't see that argument at all.
I hope you see the constructive part in my comments.
04-03-2012, 04:49 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Class A Quote
Thanks for writing this blog post on Pentax.

Here are a few things I didn't get:[list][*] Why is the fact that Pentax produces the 645D a plus for Pentax? I have a Pentax APS-C camera and AFAIC, the 645D could be produced by Canon or Kyocera.
.
Is your question "Why is the fact that Pentax produces a 645D a plus for me?" Generically speaking, you can use 645 lenses on APS-C (not sure why you would want to).

From Pentax's standpoint (a) the 645D is a good generator of revenue. Even if there aren't very many sold per year, the margin in both the 645D and its lense is such that they make money. (b) it is a bragging point. Clearly, it doesn't satisfy the desire that many have for full frame 35mm camera, but it is a flagship with a very high level of image quality available for those who can afford it. In many ways, it is an awful lot easier for Pentax to release a competitive digital medium format camera, than to try to enter the highly spec-ed world of full frame 35mm cameras. Not saying they shouldn't try, but I can understand why they haven't till now...

04-03-2012, 05:37 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by Class A Quote
Do you know that Canon produces professional TV cameras with high quality optics? They also have a long history of producing outstanding still photography lenses.
Unlike Asahi and Nikon, Canon actually did start (in the 1930s) as a company to produce high-quality cameras. They started (by 3 men) as the "Precision Optical Instrument Laboratory" to make an affordable Japanese camera that could compete with the German cameras.
But... They didn't make the optics! They made the mechanical camera portion, and contracted with Nippon Kogaku (Japan Optical Co - who later became Nikon) to produce the lenses and rangefinders.
Nikon and Asahi were indeed optical companies who moved primarily into cameras after WWII.
As Canon grew after the war, they also became an excellent lens design and manufacturing company, and lured me away from Pentax in 1967.
Pentax, Canon, and Nikon all had very extensive lens lines in the 1960s, and most of their revenue came from lens sales. Since there were few zoom lenses, people needed more individual lenses to support their habit.
04-03-2012, 06:47 AM   #10
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Hey Class A, I didn't take offense to anything you "didn't get". However, I will elaborate on this one:
QuoteOriginally posted by Class A Quote
  • Why does the fact that some legacy FF Pentax lenses are still very useful on APS-C and hence still being sold constitute an "identity crisis"? I don't see that argument at all.
Simply put, I find it strange for Pentax to still be producing a handful of their FA lenses when they don't have a digital full-frame body to support it. I don't find it strange if, from a financial standpoint, they are still profiting greatly from the production and sale of these lenses - why else would they still produce them, right? However, when they came out with the D-FA 100 mm Macro WR only a couple of years ago, why have full-frame capability in this lens with no digital full-frame SLR to slap it onto? Is somebody from the film era seriously going to buy this lens, or are they going to buy a far cheaper used macro offering in another mount? The Pentax logic here just escapes me; I feel like I'm being "teased" into thinking that somehow they're thinking full-frame but doing nothing about it.

That said, would I personally go with full-frame? Not unless my income justified it and I became a sports photographer overnight! I just think it needs to be an option for those who think they need it, even though for all intents and purposes most photographers really don't, other than speed junkies. Aside from massive enlargements, APS-C has been shown time and again to hold its weight quite nicely even with less-than-massive enlargements. And I personally think that Pentax won't try to go head-to-head with the top-of-the-line Canons because they've already trumped these cameras resolution-wise with the 645D, and at a price-point that's not much more. However, nothing can match the speed of Canikon right now which, unless you're into that type of photography, full-frame simply makes no sense for most photographers.

In conclusion, I will stir the hornet's nest more by stating that for photographers who think FF is the only way to go and who turn their noses up at APS-C, I would argue that their FF desire is more for bragging rights than anything else. People like this are hiding their photographic insecurities behind a big camera.

Last edited by enoxatnep; 04-03-2012 at 06:56 AM.
04-03-2012, 08:24 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Class A Quote
  • Do you know that Canon produces professional TV cameras with high quality optics? They also have a long history of producing outstanding still photography lenses. I do not see any reason to "discriminate" Canon as a manufacturer that isn't as "optical" as Pentax, for example, just because they happen to produce copiers and printers as well.
You're right. Canon has done a remarkable job despite having their 'fingers' in other 'pies' besides optics. There's no questioning the optical quality of Canon products, that's for sure!
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