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12-04-2013, 07:13 PM   #1
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Pentax DSLR manufacturing volumes

Had a quick look at the Pentax Serial Number database here:
Pentax Serial Number Database - PentaxForums.com
to look into how many cameras Pentax has been making.

Overall, the K-5 seems to have sold well for Pentax. But it looks like the older cameras like the K20D and K10D were pretty good sellers too.

K-5
Close-range of serial numbers:
4549461 (last serial) -
3453027 (first serial)
=======
1,096,434

K-x
Close-range of serial numbers:
3983874 (last serial) -
3418468 (first serial)
=======
565,406

K-7
Close-range of serial numbers:
3949211 (last serial) -
3374134 (first serial)
=======
575,077

K-20D
Close-range of serial numbers:
3844834 (last serial) -
2565783 (first serial)
=======
1,279,051

K-10D
Close-range of serial numbers:
3396226 (last serial) -
1909500 (first serial)
=======
1,486,726

The serial numbers do seem to be an OK guide to manufacturing volume, especially using the numbers in close sequence. If anything, the volumes indicated are likely to be very conservative, since this data source has a very small sample size.

The K-x serials also seem to go very, very high for only a few serials, so I've excluded those outliers. This may make the K-x numbers much more conservative than they really are, since (as I understand it), Pentax actually sold a LOT of K-x's.

It may be the same story with the K-20D. Some of the most recent serials in the database are much higher than the rest of the pack. They may also be typos.

Some things like the silver models of some cameras, or other special editions like the Grand Prix editions, seem to have a different serial number sequence, so they have not been included.

It's interesting to check these numbers against the flickr Camera Finder totals for images shot with each of these cameras (data from today):

K10D - 11,276,882
K-x - 6,449,606
K-5 - 5,754,066
K20D - 5,340,342
K-7 - 3,860,101

The flickr data seems to generally tally with the serial database numbers, but the flickr data does, I think, confirm that the K-x data from the serial numbers database might be substantially understating how may K-x's were made.

12-04-2013, 07:47 PM   #2
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The their production count really in the millions? I thought that there were gaps in the serials for different regions and production runs.

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12-04-2013, 07:51 PM   #3
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I have no idea how Pentax assigns serial numbers, but they may not be sequential. Some of the digits may be coded to different things.
12-04-2013, 07:52 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by Adam Quote
I thought that there were gaps in the serials for different regions and production runs.
I tried to tally only the serials that ran in close sequence. Most of those sequences were pretty tight, which suggests consistent production runs.

While there were a few serials for each camera that were miles above or below the norm, most of the serials fell within a consistent range.

The overall numbers here, even if in the millions, maybe aren't that surprising when you recall that the Cebu factory recently celebrated making 20 million Pentaxes.

12-04-2013, 07:59 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by rawr Quote
I tried to tally only the serials that ran in close sequence. Most of those sequences were pretty tight, which suggests consistent production runs.

While there were a few serials for each camera that were miles above or below the norm, most of the serials fell within a consistent range.

The overall numbers here, even if in the millions, maybe aren't that surprising when you recall that the Cebu factory recently celebrated making 20 million Pentaxes.
That was 10 million since 1985 I believe. And another 10 before then. That would put the average production just shy of a million a year. I wonder if Pentax has posted more info about this on its web site?

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12-04-2013, 08:14 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by Adam Quote
That would put the average production just shy of a million a year.
That's still consistent with the serial number database - eg K-5 production ran from 2010-2012, judging from the serial number data. Two years, 1 million K-5 bodies or so. Add in some overlapping production for K-x's, then K-r's, then K-5II's and 1 million/ year overall seems about right. Some other non-DSLR bodies may also have emerged from Cebu (although I suspect most Optios etc are China-made).
12-04-2013, 10:36 PM   #7
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I took the number pairs, tagged them with the model number, and then did a sort. If they were sequential runs, they would sort in to ordered sets of
{begin
end}.
They did not...
1909500 K-10D
2565783 K-20D
3374134 K-7
3396226 K-10D
3418468 K-x
3453027 K-5
3844834 K-20D
3949211 K-7
3983874 K-x
4549461 K-5
So what this indicates is that there are model runs within the ordered sequence of serial numbers. At best the number of camera units produced would be the low number - the high number or 2,639,961 across all the models indicated.


Last edited by interested_observer; 12-04-2013 at 10:42 PM.
12-04-2013, 11:46 PM   #8
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Interesting. I never considered the possibility that the serial numbers represent a consistent numeric series across all camera models, if that's what you are putting forward.

I guess the test of this would be to find in the database a serial number that is shared by more than one camera ... eg if a K-x and a K-5 had the same serial.

12-05-2013, 07:08 AM   #9
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Morning Rawr,

That was indeed my assumption - since it was probably the simplistic (well at least to me). There does seem to be some validity with the early models being at the beginning and the later models at the end, with a bit of order in terms of model succession. A bit of concern would also be if they used some number sequences to represent the inherent model, but who knows. One indication against that is that both the K10 spans a number of the sequences - i.e., the 10 through the 33, with the K20, and K7 themselves starting within that range - also with the K7 starting with the same sequence as when the K10 is concluding. It does appear that the lower order digits do represent a serialized run/sequence.

12-06-2013, 11:49 PM   #10
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Back when everyone was worried about getting a K5 with sensor stains I seem to remember that the sequence of serial numbers could not be related to manufacture date. I can't remember exactly, but that was my impression. This would mean that SNs were not allocated to bodies sequentially during construction. If so, I doubt that the range of serial numbers can be a reliable guide to total numbers made. I could be wrong here for a number of reasons (!)
12-07-2013, 12:24 AM   #11
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Surely they've sold more Kx numbers than that?
12-07-2013, 03:06 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by rod_grant Quote
K5 with sensor stains I seem to remember that the sequence of serial numbers could not be related to manufacture date
I think the serial numbers do sequentially align with manufacture dates closely enough. In the serial number database, you can see quite well how there is a cluster of early K-5 serials with the sensor stains, but practically none after a certain date (Feb/March 2011), since lots of people reported both the stains problem, and their manufacture dates, in the database.

QuoteOriginally posted by jkomp316 Quote
Surely they've sold more Kx numbers than that?
That's what I thought too. The K-x is the Pentax camera I still see the most of on the street or at large public events. More people need to add their serials into the database to boost the sample size
12-07-2013, 06:59 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by Adam Quote
That was 10 million since 1985 I believe. And another 10 before then. That would put the average production just shy of a million a year.
The Cebu site recently celebrated making 20 million cameras, and I have been trying to find out how long Pentax cameras have been made in the Philippines. Both my MZ-S and MZ-3 (the newest of the "old" Pentax cameras I have, made in the 1990s) have "Made in Japan" stamped on them. Clearly then, the 20 million made at Cebu does not include the 10 million made up to 1985. Or am I missing something here?
12-07-2013, 09:19 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by Cynog Ap Brychan Quote
The Cebu site recently celebrated making 20 million cameras, and I have been trying to find out how long Pentax cameras have been made in the Philippines. Both my MZ-S and MZ-3 (the newest of the "old" Pentax cameras I have, made in the 1990s) have "Made in Japan" stamped on them. Clearly then, the 20 million made at Cebu does not include the 10 million made up to 1985. Or am I missing something here?
The celebration was at Cebu but I thought they were talking about all Pentax production. Perhaps I misunderstood.
12-07-2013, 11:57 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by Mikesul Quote
The celebration was at Cebu but I thought they were talking about all Pentax production. Perhaps I misunderstood.
I thought so too, but I'm not 100% sure.

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