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01-27-2014, 10:48 PM   #1
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What is the strength of PENTAX/RICOH now?

I can probably consider myself a fan of Pentax cameras. But I am worry about the brand, and how it stand out in the crowd to survive.

The strengths of Pentax that make it unique, are slowly gone....
1. Smaller DSLR - gone, not considering the mirrorless, it is not the smallest DSLR anymore.
2. Weather seal - gone, many have gone this route, the new Fuji's X-T1 is weather seal, even the Sony A7 is.
3. K-mount - access to thousands of cheap, old lenses, gone, mirrorless essentially make a 'universal' mount;
4. In-body stabilization - OK, I give PENTAX this.
5. buttons, wheels, ease of access - gone, look at the direct controls these new cameras got.
6. "Best in value", long gone.
7. SMC? gone, everyone have one and even now we replace it with that stupid "HD" designation.

Video certainly not the best, flash system not the best, ISO performance no longer claim the best in APSC (like K5), ergonomics is a personal things.

What else is left? The K-3, the only really special, shock the camera world worthy thing about it is the sensor-shake AA filter thing.

No, this is not a PENTAX is doom thread.... seriously what exactly is our unique point?

We are like that boy in the class who is not doing very bad, but not very good either, do everything in moderate... usually very quiet, may sometime surprise you with some innovations but not really ground breaking either... we just kind of hang around in the middle, always playing catch up.

I guess just one of those day when you see other camera company brings out exciting product and all your camera company brings out is a teleconverter they promise 5 yrs ago....

01-27-2014, 11:07 PM - 2 Likes   #2
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The only person who could possibly think that all the K-3 has to offer is no AA filter is one who does not shoot with one.

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01-27-2014, 11:10 PM   #3
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I suppose that's one way to look at it, but I'm a bit more positive. Compared to other cameras that Pentax competes with on a price point basis, you get a lot of bang for you buck.

Look at the k500. Dual control wheels, pentaprism 100% viewfinder, IBS, lens micro adjustments, good responsive AF for around $400 w/ lens.
Or the k50, add WR body and lens - the competition has more MP and maybe wifi, but lose second wheel, get a pentamirror, and a buffer that fills up too fast. I'd take the more ergonomic Pentax...
K3 has similar advantages at where it's competing. I don't think Pentax wins by a hail mary pass, it wins by winning individual battles on head to head comparisons of value in the marketplace. Pentax does not have to have exclusive features that no one else has, it just needs to have a good combination of features that exceed what other brands have at a pricepoint.
01-27-2014, 11:31 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by vagrant10 Quote
I don't think Pentax wins by a hail mary pass, it wins by winning individual battles on head to head comparisons of value in the marketplace. Pentax does not have to have exclusive features that no one else has, it just needs to have a good combination of features that exceed what other brands have at a pricepoint.
that's what I agree, but the question is, is this enough?
in the past PENTAX seem to always have something innovative, now not sure what is their unique selling point.

at one point it seem to be those small, metal, fine finishing DA limited, although not fast, but with incredible value, but then they kill it with price hike and the new "HD" version, using paint instead of engrave to write those focal length and aperture on the lens barrel. Unfortunately, other company also starts to have 'pancake lens'....

Ricoh really needs to work harder, which I think they are capable (GR, and GXR - brave move)...

01-27-2014, 11:31 PM   #5
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I think the question may be better asked by country/region.
In the US at least, from a consumer perspective, its not very visible.
Almost everyone that has seen K-x or K-30 and found that it was Pentax thought it was film - as they haven't seen Penax'since film days. As a consumer, Pentax has little visibility in the US, specifically the Los Angeles area.

Their strength is/was rugged cameras -WG and weather sealed/rugged aps-c. medium frame is a niche as well (also rugged / weather sealed)
01-27-2014, 11:32 PM - 1 Like   #6
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You didn't go looking at the quick reviews of the Fuji X-T1 did you?

They told Truman not to cross the bridge. . .and look what happened

M
01-27-2014, 11:45 PM - 2 Likes   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by LFLee Quote
No, this is not a PENTAX is doom thread.... seriously what exactly is our unique point?
The people who chose PENTAX.
01-27-2014, 11:56 PM - 3 Likes   #8
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So Fuji T1 inadvertently provoked this thread?
As to, how shall Pentax survive if all they can do is a big 645D, a K-3 or a floppy K-01?
Aren't we tired of such threads popping out every single time some new camera by some camera manufacturer comes out, to which Pentax must have a ready answer or they are as doomed as dodos?
Dear God, I never heard or read such perpetuated nonsense stories in days of film when everyone was selling 4x less cameras; did digital age come with preinstalled doom and gloom mindset?
Let's stop being crying kids and grow up.

PS. Anyway, Ricoh Imaging has lots of reasons to keep silent. Wait till CP+ and see why ..


Last edited by Uluru; 01-28-2014 at 04:49 AM.
01-28-2014, 12:10 AM   #9
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Here in Sweden old stock of SMC Limiteds are generally quite a bit more expensive than the new HD ones now, at least the same price. A lot of lenses has dropped in price in online stores since last summer, like 16-50 and 14/2.8, so I don't experience the same price hike as some here seems to do.
01-28-2014, 12:15 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by LFLee Quote
No, this is not a PENTAX is doom thread.... seriously what exactly is our unique point?
I don't think that Pentax wants to be unique any longer . They've been unique for ten years and how has that served them with their market share?

Just look at what Ricoh has done with Pentax since acquisition. They took the edgy and unique K30 and Canikonized it by rounding rounding out it's shape and called it a K50.

QuoteOriginally posted by LFLee Quote
at one point it seem to be those small, metal, fine finishing DA limited, although not fast, but with incredible value, but then they kill it with price hike and the new "HD" version, using paint instead of engrave to write those focal length and aperture on the lens barrel.
Just as you've stated, they have taken the unique Pentax engraving and copied Zeiss with the new lens designation. They've also taken the unique green Pentax lens barrel ring and made it red just like Canon and 3rd party lens manufacturers. They've even done away with SMC, and called their newly engineered lens coating "HD", by far the most generic designation known to the 21st century.

So I think they're done with being the unique underdog. They must think that "going mainstream" might actually allow them to go mainstream. And I don't blame them. Why continue doing the same thing if doing the same thing isn't working?

Last edited by geomez; 01-28-2014 at 12:18 AM. Reason: sspelling
01-28-2014, 12:32 AM - 1 Like   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by LFLee Quote
I can probably consider myself a fan of Pentax cameras. But I am worry about the brand, and how it stand out in the crowd to survive.

The strengths of Pentax that make it unique, are slowly gone....
1. Smaller DSLR - gone, not considering the mirrorless, it is not the smallest DSLR anymore.
2. Weather seal - gone, many have gone this route, the new Fuji's X-T1 is weather seal, even the Sony A7 is.
3. K-mount - access to thousands of cheap, old lenses, gone, mirrorless essentially make a 'universal' mount;
4. In-body stabilization - OK, I give PENTAX this.
5. buttons, wheels, ease of access - gone, look at the direct controls these new cameras got.
6. "Best in value", long gone.
7. SMC? gone, everyone have one and even now we replace it with that stupid "HD" designation.

Video certainly not the best, flash system not the best, ISO performance no longer claim the best in APSC (like K5), ergonomics is a personal things.

What else is left? The K-3, the only really special, shock the camera world worthy thing about it is the sensor-shake AA filter thing.

No, this is not a PENTAX is doom thread.... seriously what exactly is our unique point?

We are like that boy in the class who is not doing very bad, but not very good either, do everything in moderate... usually very quiet, may sometime surprise you with some innovations but not really ground breaking either... we just kind of hang around in the middle, always playing catch up.

I guess just one of those day when you see other camera company brings out exciting product and all your camera company brings out is a teleconverter they promise 5 yrs ago....

Good points made, and if no 'chest thumping' occurs, this can make a fine discussion/thread.

I too have some of these doubts, but I think things can change very fast.
The points you mentioned also look better (worse for Pentax) in parts, but they are not a whole.
No brands have a system that is better at all the points you have mentioned.



1. Smaller DSLR - gone, not considering the mirrorless, it is not the smallest DSLR anymore.
>> Still one of the smallest DSLR systems, considering features and performance thrown in.
MILC is MILC with its type of AF which still needs improvement (maybe except m4/3)
Laggy shutter response for some (improved to the point of being as good for some, still some way to go for others)
EVF (some better, some not too good; some folks just hate it no matter what)


2. Weather seal - gone, many have gone this route, the new Fuji's X-T1 is weather seal, even the Sony A7 is.
>> I am surprised how fast and how many makers are taking this up too.
I had thought no one else would be bothered with it as a selling point.
Seems like one should never sit on his laurels.
Pentax still has the variety of cheap sealed lenses as well as the expensive high end ones. (no one has that for now)


3. K-mount - access to thousands of cheap, old lenses, gone, mirrorless essentially make a 'universal' mount;
>> True.
I think a camera like the A7/r has most other cameras for use of adapted lenses irrelevant.
Even the 5D series which had the shortest flange distance and could take the most lenses does not come close to the easy of adapting lenses on MILCs.
However, on a Pentax, we do get wide open operation (ie. brighter viewfinder or less gained up EVF)
We have a more troublesome green button metering though....


4. In-body stabilization - OK, I give PENTAX this.


5. buttons, wheels, ease of access - gone, look at the direct controls these new cameras got.
>> Still there imho.
I had the 5D (old camera perhaps unfair); G3; have the A7.
Pentax still comes out tops in terms of handling, interface and features.
Sony just doesn't seem to know how a photographer uses the camera (the 'flow' and buttons just seem 'wrong')
Canon is better, still Pentax is better.
MILCs like the G3,OMD, A7, are generally more button cramped.




6. "Best in value", long gone.
>> Could certainly be better
Still I think what is on offer is at the least commensurate with what the buyer gets.
Take the limiteds for example.
Size, build, performance, all excellent.
If it was some other brand (esp. Zeiss or Leica) its not going to be this sort of price.
Another example would be the Nikon 58/1.4.
Its roughly the same idea as the DA55/1.4, but Nikon marketing can praise it to the high heavens that its something unique and worth the buyers money.



7. SMC? gone, everyone have one and even now we replace it with that stupid "HD" designation.
>> Still one one of the best coatings around, but this would be hard to prove.


There are challenges every year and no one is staying put.
Unfortunately, Pentax stood still for a good 3 years due to all the change in ownerships.
There were lots of missed opportunities when rivals faltered. (XP1 poor AF/handling; D600 sensor stain; No MILC response from Canikon; Canon lack of sensor innovation).

The bright side is this.
2013 saw some of the best cameras in their class from Pentax/Ricoh.
Q7 (smallest ILC and a compact pns alternative); GR; K3.
Seems like Pentax/Ricoh aims for being slow to launch, but very good when they do.
01-28-2014, 12:55 AM   #12
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I bought the K5, then the Sony Nex 5n, then the Nex 6, Now the K3 which will arrive on Wed.

There are no perfect cameras, and if you want to find out what Pentax does best, buy a camera from a different mfr. It all depends on what you need the camera for. Thats what i did, and now i'm back to buying the K3- that ought to tell you what my opinion is.

Fuji cameras certainly have had their issues in the past few years.

I'm buying the K3 for extremely low light focusing and quiet shutters which are hard to find, not even the Nexes or the D600 compare on shutter noise levels. :-) The switchable AA filter is revolutionary - wow.
01-28-2014, 01:05 AM   #13
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100% coverage prism viewfinders aren't that common outside of pro stuff.
01-28-2014, 01:23 AM   #14
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01-28-2014, 01:50 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by LFLee Quote
Smaller DSLR - gone, not considering the mirrorless, it is not the smallest DSLR anymore.
I don't think "small" has to always be the "smallest". Reduced to a friendly size is already enough.

QuoteOriginally posted by LFLee Quote
Weather seal - gone, many have gone this route, the new Fuji's X-T1 is weather seal, even the Sony A7 is.
But at a given price, Pentax still have the best WR in the DSLR category.


QuoteOriginally posted by vagrant10 Quote
Compared to other cameras that Pentax competes with on a price point basis, you get a lot of bang for you buck.
Agreed, not all are gone when you compare Pentax's products to its class competitors.
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