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12-29-2013, 10:12 AM   #16
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This place is not too far from me in the UK. Never been to the shop but have purchased with them online before. They certainly seem to be pushing Pentax whenever I visit their site.


SRS Microsystems ? Pentax, Nikon and Olympus Digital Cameras, Camera Accessories and Lenses

12-29-2013, 11:26 AM   #17
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QuoteOriginally posted by TaoMaas Quote
Pentax isn't conceding much of the North American market to Canikon, while they build up their base in the rest of the world.
I think that they lost almost all of their "market presence" in the US. I'm sure there are multiple reasons for that but most point at Hoya for really making US dealers mad. And when you are #3 (or 4 or 5) it is extremely hard to get back in. A camera dealer HAS to carry the top two brands, they have about 70% market share. After that you can pick any of the next two or three brands to stock depending on space, inventory dollars and whether you like the sales rep or not. Not carrying one of those is not going to really hurt you. Not having Canon or Nikon on the shelf will hurt you.

But we are starting to see many reports of Pentax returning to US dealers that have not stocked them in years. That is a significant turn around, that took time and effort. Ricoh sales reps have to walk into a store that may have an antagonistic attitude toward Pentax as a brand and convince that retailer to let them have shelf space, employee training time and inventory dollars. Why would any retailer do that when they can just sell Canikon and take no risk?

To set up a small Pentax display with two of each camera (just basic body only plus 2 different kits, no colors at all) and just one of each available lens (no FA's, no third party, no colors) it would take a minimum of $35,000 @ retail. Say $18 to 20k at cost if they get 45 - 50% margin which I doubt they do. And that is just DSLR, no Q, no x-5, no P&S, no mirrorless. So just as a mental exercise imagine walking into your local camera shop and ask the guy behind the counter for $20k and 3 or 4 running feet of shelf space. I'm confident you will not like the answer you get.

The amazing thing to me is that Ricoh has been able to do that. And I think they will continue to do so. And I think we will get more advertising but not yet. Marketing, market presence and production all have to be in lock step. If one gets ahead of the others bad things happen. It sounds as if the k-3 is moving very close to expectations with some shortages. What if Ricoh had spent $10 million on advertising in the US / Canada for the k-3 at Christmas? Would they have sold any more cameras? Possibly not if there are not enough to go around now. And not only would they be out $10 million they have would upset consumers with a negative impression of Pentax.
12-29-2013, 12:03 PM   #18
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QuoteOriginally posted by monochrome Quote
All those middle class manufacturing jobs will come back to us. Eventually.
Not if a robot can do it., ie. Apple's new "Made in America" Mac Pro.
12-29-2013, 12:14 PM   #19
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For quite some time, I felt that Ricoh would be a great overlord for Pentax simply because - as a major corporation with at least some experience in the photography business - progress would be made in marketing and developing a niche. Ricoh is known for its deliberative and steady approach, and pricing that does not allow for much in the way product discounting (holding MSRP). Unfortunately, the photo market carves up this kind of approach, especially so when you fail to find a successful niche product line.

I'm looking lately at what the other, better niche players are doing. Olympus (for all its corporate pratfalls) and - especially - Fuji are showing the way and leaving Ricoh/Pentax in the dust. Sony developed the first viable mirrorless full frame, and that was another opportunity lost for Pentax. This is based on opportunity - not a personal desire (I'm not a likely buyer of a mirrorless FF). So, ahead of Pentax in the pecking order are Canon, Nikon, Sony, Olympus, Fuji, probably Panasonic - with only deep-pocketed Samsung running a poor-performing, rather aimless loss-leading photo division.

Pentax really can't afford to lose much more ground. Two years ago, we were hoping to see Pentax narrow the distance from the big three. Now, at least five brands are well ahead in the dSLR/ILC market.

12-29-2013, 03:21 PM   #20
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QuoteOriginally posted by ScooterMaxi Jim Quote
Now, at least five brands are well ahead in the dSLR/ILC market.
There's another thread here that sort of contradicts your claims. It uses actual JPN 2013 sales numbers.
12-29-2013, 03:52 PM   #21
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I've personally been a bit more impressed with Pentax sales and marketing techniques this winter than all 5 previous put together. K3 seems to be a real good thing. Hopefully Ricoh can keep this momentum going.
12-29-2013, 04:02 PM   #22
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So, yesterday we went out browsing shops. Was in 4 different electronics stores (chains, but different chains) locally here (we're in the EU) and in each of them there was a rather large Pentax display set up: K-50/K5ii/K5iis, with a variety of lenses, different in each shop (DA and DA*, no Ltd).

In 3 of these 4 shops, the Pentax display was the first thing one saw when entering the shop, with efforts required to miss the displays in all 4 of them.

Perhaps Pentax/Ricoh has (rightfully - cf what Pentax USA was doing under Hoya) determined that the US isn't a priority at this time, and is focusing on strengthening their foothold in other, more interesting, markets?
12-29-2013, 05:36 PM   #23
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I think the OP didn't look hard enough for killer deals in Canada during the Xmas season. I picked up a Limited SMC lens for $ 150 off the regular asking price....a week or so before Xmas....in Canada.

Henry's, Don's....had some really good prices and some featured Pentax equipment.

Pentax was a relatively big player in the slr world back in the '60's and '70's.

12-29-2013, 05:37 PM   #24
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While I agree R-O-W is the strategy, and the U.S. market is not a priority for Pentax, my comments aren't so much directed at transitory market share as it is a matter of long-term strategy regarding product. It is pretty clear that the margins taken on a per unit basis are much higher for Fuji and Olympus. Nothing in the long-term strategy looks the least bit favorable for Pentax. On a much more tenuous and small-scale comparison, I'm of the view that Pentax is in the same situation as the complaint Thom Hogan is making regarding Nikon. The problem is much more immediate for Pentax, though.

Other than improvements in particular models on a year-to-year basis, tell me what in the Pentax strategy is going to bring a large share of new customers into the fold? Where will a higher level of professional users come from? What demographic other than older legacy users such as most of us on this forum are strongly attracted to the brand?
12-29-2013, 06:06 PM   #25
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I do agree that Pentax has effectively no presence in most of the US... in CA they have no presence.

If I go to MOST places - they have the 2 big players - Canon and Nikon.
Many stores also carry Sony and Samsung (Best Buy/Frys)

The strange thing that I see is that many of the places that carry P&S cameras carry items like 'Panasonic/Lumix', 'Kodak (who?)', 'Olympus', 'GE', 'Vivitar' - but not Pentax ?? - Not even the X-5?

Ok - I see one item here - Pentax Optio and WG cameras are at Target... but that's about it, and they start at +$120 USD. Most of the above P&S are < $100.

Pentax doesn't have the high production model update/turnover that Canon/Nikon/Sony/Samsung have - those companies are HUGE manufacturing sales giants. Out of all of these companies - only Nikon is a dedicated camera/lens manufacturer.
Eg. When I go to Sam's Club, there's whole pallets of Canon Rebel T3i / T5 as well as Nikon D5200 / D7100's for holiday sales - how many Sam's Clubs are there ???
How many actually sell ? (These aren't iPhones!)

Sony is a large multiheaded beast, just like Samsung, making everything from sensors to TVs, computers, cellphones, tablets - and they all fit together. Sony has a BIG tie into the movie industry, Samsung is working its way in.
Sony/Samsung have consumer cameras as a 'piece' of their consumer line. They don't appear to have the professional stature that Canon/Nikon have, but have HUGE financial backing of the parent company and can sell 'retail' almost anywhere. At the SLR level, I don't see the attraction. At the mirrorless/ 4/3 size, they'll sell product, and erode Canon/Nikon and even Pentax sales.

Canon makes primarily camera lenses/gear/photocopiers/printers/camera gear - they're pretty focuses on imaging products - and have ties into movie industry! Canon has a large global SALES presence - period.
Nikon makes primarily camera lenses/gear - they're VERY VERY focused. It doesn't have a big movie industry, but has a large global SALES presence.

Pentax - IMHO, part of an industrial copier company, now has a retail side - can they get Ricoh/Pentax to compete ? Probably only as a niche player, (at least in the US!!) as long as they aren't pushing the sales, displays, or have the desire that Canon/Nikon do. Pentax isn't the fabricator that Sony/Samsung is - where they can push a new model every month. Pentax, IMHO makes a limited amount of QUALITY product (SDM motor not included!).

It costs a LOT to have a presence in the US - I can't say for other markets. Mom/Pop stores = big upfront costs. Stores like Best Buy/WalMart = BIG corporate deals - they need volume / low cost to make profits.
12-29-2013, 06:11 PM   #26
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QuoteOriginally posted by ScooterMaxi Jim Quote
What demographic other than older legacy users such as most of us on this forum are strongly attracted to the brand?
Women 25 - 40. I've been involved in selecting a dslr for 3 women in that group over the last year. I was asked for a recommendation because they know I am 'into' photography. In all cases I told them any of the major brands would be more than sufficient for their needs and they should actually pick up and handle the various cameras to see what 'felt' right. At no point did I recommend Pentax although they all know that's what I shoot.

All three felt the Pentax 'felt' best and fit their hands best. But the clincher was when they found that Pentax was available in colors. That clinched the deal.

I'm not going to generalize on this, just reporting the facts in a small group.

I am amazed though that people can look at the current situation and come up with so widely varying opinions. My opinion is that Ricoh has worked miracles to get to where they are and that we are only seeing the tip of the iceberg. The little we have seen indicates they are methodically rebuilding a company and product line starting in the basement. So R&D, and production have seen all of the work so far. Complaints about no marketing may be justified, but there is no point in spending money until the products, production and sales infrastructure exist. I don't think RIcoh gives two tacos for market share over the next 3 or 4 years. I think they are focused on 5 to 10 years out. Which makes things look bad to those wanting to see results NOW.
12-29-2013, 06:14 PM   #27
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QuoteOriginally posted by ScooterMaxi Jim Quote
While I agree R-O-W is the strategy, and the U.S. market is not a priority for Pentax, my comments aren't so much directed at transitory market share as it is a matter of long-term strategy regarding product. It is pretty clear that the margins taken on a per unit basis are much higher for Fuji and Olympus. Nothing in the long-term strategy looks the least bit favorable for Pentax. On a much more tenuous and small-scale comparison, I'm of the view that Pentax is in the same situation as the complaint Thom Hogan is making regarding Nikon. The problem is much more immediate for Pentax, though.

Other than improvements in particular models on a year-to-year basis, tell me what in the Pentax strategy is going to bring a large share of new customers into the fold? Where will a higher level of professional users come from? What demographic other than older legacy users such as most of us on this forum are strongly attracted to the brand?
What attracts new users to your door is marketing. I doubt features have anything to do with it. Many first time buyers have no idea what the features are, or what they might mean to them. What sells Pentax, would be in body shake reduction, Water Resistant construction, lenses that are top quality and portable, and a great APS-c lens line up.

Marketed properly, those things could bring a huge number of new customers into the fold. If you read the Pentax ads, you know what their strategy is. In your case, it would seem you don't think it will work. And that's your opinion. But the fact that those things are not compelling for you, hardly means that they won't be compelling for others, if they are aware of them. I tend to think that Pentax can do just fine with their current line up. If they can be on par with the Nikon D7100 and ahead of any Canon APS-c offering, which is where in my opinion they should be, then they'll do just fine, and sell a lot more cameras than they are selling right now.
12-29-2013, 08:33 PM   #28
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QuoteOriginally posted by jatrax Quote
Women 25 - 40. I've been involved in selecting a dslr for 3 women in that group over the last year. I was asked for a recommendation because they know I am 'into' photography. In all cases I told them any of the major brands would be more than sufficient for their needs and they should actually pick up and handle the various cameras to see what 'felt' right. At no point did I recommend Pentax although they all know that's what I shoot.

All three felt the Pentax 'felt' best and fit their hands best. But the clincher was when they found that Pentax was available in colors. That clinched the deal.
That's one of the BIG reasons my wife liked Pentax... She knows very little about cameras in general.
Put down a black Canon, Nikon, Sony and a Pentax - and it would be a hard choice.

Put down a black Canon, Nikon, Sony and a Red/White/Blue/Purple Pentax - and she'd pick the Pentax every time.

The RED K-x (now Crystal RED K-30), for her was a good 'conversation piece'. This is similar to those that will go and purchase track pants that display 'PINK' across the ass. Its for attention.
Does it work - yes. I get questions all the time on it. I personally would have gone for white myself, but I purchased what was in stock and on sale.

For the size factor, the K-x is probably the same size as the Canon SL-1, but a bit heavier.
12-29-2013, 08:54 PM   #29
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Both of you make good points regarding Pentax & potential market demographics. I'm a 38 year old mom. I bought my Pentax K-x in Dec 2009. I actually bought it sight unseen due to recommendations on Steve's Digicams and a LOT of extensive research. However, I tend to do a LOT of obsessive research before I purchase. By the time I pull the trigger, I'm 99.999% certain that I've made the right choice for me. However, many moms aren't completely insane. They'll go down to the local big box retailer & look at cameras. And Pentax isn't there on the shelf. Canon is there. Nikon, with Ashton Kutcher ads, is there. Sony, a freaking electronics manufacturer - not an optics maker, is there. Hell, even Samsung is there with Android TouchWiz camera/phones next to their phablets. Where's Pentax?
12-29-2013, 10:22 PM   #30
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I wonder if there is any information on the "attach rate" for various camera manufacturers. For each camera body, how many lenses are purchased?

I imagine that for canon and nikon, that number is probably between 0 and 1 because the volume of big box buyers just sticking to their kit lens. For canon, nikon's products that don't see the shelf of a mass market retailer and the rest of manufacturers the number is probably 1-5.

I wouldn't view olympus and panasonic as a big threat because they are both in horrible shape financially. Olympus much worse than panasonic but the u43 market relies on these companies' successful symbiosis if either fails the future of u43 will likely end.

Fuji will face the same uphill battle as Sigma trying to use a radically different sensor. They took the market by surprise but it will be hard to keep it up over a few generations of sensor technology.

Sony succeeds in spite of them being sony, they have a long tradition of shooting reloading when they shoot themselves in the foot. They continue to succeed because often their retail CE side is just a catalyst for the rest of their manufacturing and R+D bringing new things to market. Every component and bit of logic that goes into a sony camera is available for for purchase or through licensing to a company like Pentax. I think Ricoh's best bet is to ride Sony's coat tails and to surpass sony when the time is right. Sony won't even be mad when the time comes.
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