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06-28-2013, 09:56 AM   #1
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Why are Pentax DSLR's so rare?

I've loved Pentax cameras since I had my first 35mm SLR and have been loyal to Pentax ever since. Back in the 35 mm film days I used to see Pentax cameras everywhere.

My Pentax DSLR is almost the only one I ever see. Recently I was on a trip to a location where you'd expect to see piles of DSLRs, and indeed I did, but my Pentax was the only Pentax to be found. The photos it took on this occasion were fantastic, and I have no complaints with the camera at all, so I'm mystified why I never see another Pentax.

On the trip I saw, as to be expected, a lot of Canons. And for the first time in a long time I saw a lot of Nikons. Not one Pentax, however.

Why aren't there more Pentax DSLRs out there?

06-28-2013, 10:12 AM   #2
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Pentax has next to no market share in the US, unfortunately. Nikon has been growing, on the other hand, and their DSLRs are getting more and more recognition for their high IQ.

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06-28-2013, 10:19 AM   #3
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I recently bought a Fujifilm X-E1 at a camera store. I was talking to the salesman and said I shoot Pentax and love the system. He said they are great cameras and are all over Asia but the Corp does not support the product in the USA particularly at the Brick and Mortor stores like his. Maybe this will change over time with the Ricoh take over.
06-28-2013, 10:31 AM   #4
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Did it's marketing just fail after film died?

On its market share in Asia, maybe that's right, but based on my informal observation of Japanese tourist in Oahu, Nikons seem the most popular with them. I didn't see a single Pentax around there, other than mine.

In thinking on it, the only other Pentax digital camera of any kind I've seen around this year is in the hands of a co-worker, who has one of the compact ones they know make.

06-28-2013, 10:49 AM   #5
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I have randomly seen Pentax users walk by, at very unexpected times. Thus far, most of them were Asians with colored Pentax camera. Two Caucasians were with K10D and K7. I wish I could get colored K-5. When I had white K-x, random ladies would come and talk to me about the camera. Now it's just black, serious looking thing like everyone else.
06-28-2013, 10:52 AM   #6
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The decline of Pentax was long and slow. Pentax rested too long on the laurels of the Spotmatic and didn't adopt a bayonet mount until 1975. They developed the LX but never improved it. They were first to release an AF camera, but it didn't work very well. When Minolta came out with the Maxxum, Canon and Nikon responded within a year. It took Pentax two. Pentax passed up an opportunity to get into FF DSLRs early on, but that probably saved the company (see Contax...). They failed to follow up on the popularity of the K10D and poisoned their relationships with retail stores. Then Hoya bought the company and cut things to the bone so that the camera unit would be attractive for buyout...

It remains to be seen whether Ricoh can turn things around, but being Japanese they are surely taking a long view.

FWIW I have seen one other Pentax, two years ago, a white K-x or K-r...

Last edited by boriscleto; 06-28-2013 at 10:57 AM.
06-28-2013, 11:07 AM   #7
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I live in NYC and I will occasionally see another Pentax camera - I think I've seen around 5 "in the wild" in the past year. Pentax just doesn't market their products here but that seems to be changing, albeit, slowly. I was in Adorama just two days ago and they had a huge Pentax Q display which specifically was showcasing the color choices. It would have been impossible to miss.

Very few pros shoot Pentax. I was just on a wildlife photography workshop and the guy running it was not a gear snob at all. But, he had no clue about what Pentax was doing and I didn't blame him - Pentax doesn't have many long lens options for sports/wildlife shooters. Canon is coming out with things like the 200-400 f4 with the 1.4 tc built in - then you compare that to the old 250-600mm f5.6 and you realize that when you throw the tc in on the Canon, you have nearly the same range as the Pentax. Why Pentax doesn't look at Canon's release and say, "Oh - here's an opportunity to recapture some part of the sports/wildlife crowd," I 'll never know. Lots of pros were using a pre-production version of that lens at the London Olympics...
06-28-2013, 11:15 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by dmort Quote
I live in NYC and I will occasionally see another Pentax camera - I think I've seen around 5 "in the wild" in the past year. Pentax just doesn't market their products here but that seems to be changing, albeit, slowly. I was in Adorama just two days ago and they had a huge Pentax Q display which specifically was showcasing the color choices. It would have been impossible to miss.
You live in a place where you can go to a store and buy a Pentax. That is a huge difference from most of the US...

06-28-2013, 11:35 AM   #9
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I travel a bit and I'm always on the look out for anything Pentax - and like you point out, it just isn't out there. But the story isn't all that different at the big shops in NYC...

Adorama had nothing of note about 6 months ago. And at B and H, the Pentax gear is stuffed back in a corner and sales people look at you funny when you ask them to pull the k5 (or god forbid a k-01 or a q) down off the wall. I actually got made fun of once by a sales guy for having Pentax gear... (it was good natured but he would never had made the same joke if I was using a Nikon or a Canon).

I was merely pointing out that in a big NYC camera shop, that historically has had no Pentax ads on the walls or gear in prominent positions, there was a big Q display. Maybe that is the first baby step in the right direction?
06-28-2013, 11:43 AM   #10
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I agree with all the above.

In my experience, any time I go to a brick and mortar and ask someone something (this is rare enough) they are over enthused and either shoot Pentax themselves, had in the past, or are holding put for lenses and FF.

So IMO, Pentaxians are too "in the closet" and not out there enough. I carry my Kr with pride.
06-28-2013, 12:03 PM   #11
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A very different story for me: Last year before I started acquiring better glass for my Pentax gear, I considered jumping to Nikon.

At one of the popular stores of Montreal, talking about my photography habits and shooting conditions, I was received with that statement from the salesman: "I would stick to Pentax if I were you".

That's because of my interests for outdoor activities (fishing mainly). He told me that he had been seeing other brands coming back with damage from humidity but rarely if ever a Pentax. That encouraged me to stick to the brand.

Now I that got some of the glass I wanted, I'm waiting for the successor of the K-5 ;-)
06-28-2013, 12:14 PM - 2 Likes   #12
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I'm a teacher and my school does community service projects. Earlier this year, I was supervising some maintenance work in Riverside Park. We were putting down hay to protect grass from runners who don't stay on the paths. Anyways, the weather was horrible - really bad. 38 degrees and raining. My pentax k5 shot through this with zero problems. I was completely unconcerned. I love that I don't have to worry about weather with a pentax. And it's a point that should be marketed more.
06-28-2013, 12:37 PM   #13
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In two years, I've only seen two "in the wild". The most recent was a random encounter with a guy wielding a 645d. Talk about whipping it out.

I have yet to find a store that actually sells them, though.

Last edited by ofer4; 06-28-2013 at 12:47 PM.
06-28-2013, 01:07 PM   #14
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I have been to Japan several times... Pentax's presence there is everywhere. In North America, it is a different story, partly because of 1) the buy-and-return policy here and 2) the population is so wide spread. Pentax being a much smaller company cannot afford to have people return cameras/lens for no particular reason at all. Since Canikon has the largest share of the market they can afford to do that as there production volume are much higher and hence lower cost. Even in Canada, I still prefer to buy my camera gear from online stores with more straight return policy (ie. only if defective), the few times I bought from Henry's appears to me that the product has been used and returned within the grace period. And since I was paying the "on sales discounted" price, I was not going to complain about that.
06-28-2013, 01:11 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by aleonx3 Quote
In North America, it is a different story, partly because of 1) the buy-and-return policy here and 2) the population is so wide spread.
I never considered the effects of a return policy. That is interesting.
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