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05-10-2007, 07:16 AM   #16
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QuoteOriginally posted by benjikan Quote
I don't know if it was a leak. I think when one sells a corporate headquarter, it is big news. Imagine the value of the real estate in downtown Tokyo. Someone has to act as the vendor of the property. Once that decision is made, it becomes common knowledge. "Property for Sale."

Ben

Ben,

This was my first thought too.

Few may realize this, but the Australian Government, several years back, erased their entire national debt by selling their downtown Embassy in Tokyo. They raised mega billions from the sale and eventually moved their Embassy to some more remote local to save money.

Personally, however, I am NOT AT ALL pleased with Pentax at this point in time. I do not have any crystal ball or inside information on what will or won't happen. But if it looks like a duck, quacks like a duck and walks like a duck it probably is a duck. In this case perhaps a dead duck...under the Pentax logo anyway.

The dropping of the 645D to me is an issue that transcends that camera itself. It speaks of lost management, unfocused goals, and the perpetual loss and misdirection of tight fiscal resources. Personally, there are many photographers who would benefit from price performance ration of the 645D. Personally, I don't see how Pentax would lose with its introduction.

Further, forgive me if I read this wrong...since there have been no quality translations yet that I have seen, but there seems to be the impression that Pentax will not do professional DSLR's only mid to high mid DSLR. Is this a good idea from a company that wants to sell in a competitive marketplace....I think... not so much!

To me it looks like Pentax has one shot to survive on its own. When their gag order lapses they had better come out of the corner with both fists swinging. And they had better deliver. I'll stick with them if they deliver by Fall, but I'll move to Nikon if they deliver more of the same nebulous propoganda.

Stephen

05-10-2007, 07:32 AM   #17
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See my post at https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/pentax-news-releases/6812-645d-dead-3.html
For my take on this.

Regards,
05-10-2007, 08:03 AM   #18
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I don't keep up with this sort of thing, so take anything I say with a large grain of salt. But I don't place too much importance on the decision to sell the Tokyo headquarters and relocate elsewhere.

They certainly wouldn't be the first company to relocate within Japan. With Japan's outstanding public transportation systems and with fiber optic internet access becoming the norm in Japan (mine is getting installed tomorrow, out here in the boonies of Gunma Prefecture), a Tokyo headquarters is like the old saw about yachts: holes in the water that you pour money into.

It is typical of major corporations that the best-n-brightest live outside Tokyo....often far outside Tokyo. Heck, you can even buy commuter passes on the Shinkansen (bullet trains). It isn't uncommon for people to commute from over 100km away. Relocating to a less congested area, with improved quality of life and more affordable housing and shorter commutes can actually serve to attract and retain the sort of people a company relies on for continued strength and growth. A major presence in Tokyo is no longer the de rigeur status symbol that it once was. (It has long been common even for companies out in the sticks to maintain a tiny broom closet "headquarters" in Tokyo merely for the prestige associated with having a Tokyo address. A world-class company such as Pentax doesn't have to rely on such tawdry gimmicks).
05-10-2007, 08:26 AM   #19
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Well, I'm probably in the minority here but what the hey, that's nothing new to me. IMHO a Hoya takeover would/will (it's not dead yet by a long shot) be a good thing for Pentax, all of Pentax. There has been a lot of noise here and in other forums that a Hoya takeover would be bad, "Hoya isn't interested in Pentax optical imaging" etc. I don't know how anybody can make such a statement. Why would Hoya ditch one of the most profitable divisions Pentax has? Sounds pretty foolish to me, and Hoya is anything but foolish, they are doing very well, thank you very much. From what I can gather the board coup of a couple months back was about board members being afraid of their jobs, nothing more. And they ousted the one person who made the optical imaging division profitable! Folly! Now, they are in the position of selling off property, abandoning product lines etc. Hopefully Hoya will take over Pentax, and use it's deep pockets to fund some good R&D in lenses and bodies.

NaCl(that's my story and I'm sticking to it)H2O

05-10-2007, 09:14 AM   #20
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QuoteOriginally posted by celetron Quote
What I am trying to say here is that Pentax plp should be more careful on their moves and their communication policy against their customers, since every other brand fanboy right now is looking for any possible chance to hurt Pentax reputation... Mind that most of the people bought the K10 are not pros but armatures that don’t know much about photography. If pentax allows a speculation to be consolidated and which implies the company is about to lose its strength or that K10 is a camera with no future ahead most of these customers will get panic.
I suppose some in the K100/K10D market might make purchasing decisions on what the "fanboys" for other brands say. However, I don't think people active on the online photography Ford versus Chev arguments are anywhere near a significant percentage of the people who buy these kinds of cameras. Mostly, they probably spend as much time jousting with each other regarding who purchased the superior camera as they do actually taking photos.

If Pentax dealers start disappearing, or Pentax dealers start telling prospective customers "Pentax is dying", then that would be a problem.

Any half decent store, whether they're selling cameras or outdoors equipment, is going to listen to the customer describe what they are looking for, then show them the options from the brands they are a dealer for, with the pros and cons for each choice. And if the "fanboys" have raised some questions in the prospective customer's mind, then those get answered as well.

All the manufacturers make very good cameras in the K-series market. Yet each have their own strengths and weaknesses, and that's what makes it a competitive market. If Pentax can continue to deliver products in the level the K10D operates in, for example, with those kinds of features for that kind of pricing, I don't think they're going to have a problem in the DSLR market.

What is a K10D body going for right now, after rebate? I'm guessing somewhere around $700 if you shop hard? Can you find a Nikon or Canon offering a similar performance level/features for about the same cost? I'm not going to spend an hour doing theoretical shopping, but I doubt it. I suspect the pricing difference might be just enough to go a long ways towards a very nice lens - which may also have a rebate on it.

For many people who don't have unwanted money falling out of their pockets, that is significant. Add a feature set that may be more appealing than the competition, that is also significant. Between the two of them, that can translate into market share.

They may not have a lot of success with the folks who think it is just as important what brand name is embroidered on your camera strap and camera body as what the product does, but those kind of consumers aren't the meat and bones of the market anyways. Besides, to some point, they are offset by those who don't want to have what everyone else is using. Some of us remember the Amiga computers. Incredibly ineptly marketing under Commodore ownership, yet the sheer force of the Amiga user base kept it alive for many years when (in honesty) users would have been just as well off with a PC or Mac. Those users DIDN'T WANT to own a computer like everyone else - there was a certain status in being different.

I don't know enough about multinationals, global business plans, the internal workings of Hoya and Pentax, etc to make any informed comments on that. But if you can continue to deliver a competitive product of high quality and market it reasonably well, you should be okay.
05-10-2007, 09:35 AM   #21
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I'm a huge pentax fan...the k10d is serving me well. But honestly I have positioned myself very specifically in the dslr world so that I'm not really that concerned about what happens to body makers.

With my dedicated m42 / Takmuar lineup, I can throw these lenses on any body and be relatively content. Pentax is the best choice bar none, but other bodies from Sony and Canon would do in a pinch. The way I look at it, investing in m42 is a pretty darn sure thing
05-10-2007, 10:06 AM   #22
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I don't really care about the 645D and the medium format cameras, so wheter they keep making them or not...
But of course, having such cameras is always good for the image/prestige of the company.

About the p&s, there are so many different brands and cameras anyway... and except for the weather resistant ones, I don't think Pentax p&s are anything special, so again, not a problem if they stop making them.


In fact, it could be a good thing to see Pentax concentratre on dslr cameras and lenses, bcs it would (at least I hope it) allow them to increase the production rates and develop/release more lenses and cameras (and to do it faster).

Last edited by Lazar; 05-10-2007 at 10:30 AM.
05-10-2007, 11:13 AM   #23
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QuoteOriginally posted by Rick Quote
What is a K10D body going for right now, after rebate? I'm guessing somewhere around $700 if you shop hard? Can you find a Nikon or Canon offering a similar performance level/features for about the same cost?
Amazon and Adorama are both selling the K10D body only right now for $805. After the $50 rebate from Pentax, that comes to a price of $755. The Canon Rebel XTi from Adorama is $665, nearly $100 less. Even with the kit lens, the XTi is cheaper. I have no doubt that the K10D is a better camera overall. But, well, there are obvious advantages to buying from the industry leader. Nikon's D80 seems to be more expensive than the K10D. I don't mention the Nikon D40 as it is designed to compete in the same space as the K100D, not with the K10D.

Pentax's position now is like the position that Apple was in in the mid-90s. While the company is selling a demonstrably superior product, they're selling it to a distinctly small share of the market. And there are real advantages to being a consumer with a product that the majority of vendors support - with software and hardware add-ons for your computer, or with lenses and other accessories for your computer.

I can't imagine Pentax's camera business going belly up at this time. But stranger things have happened. I'm pretty happy with my kit now. I can use the K10D with the lenses and accessories I've got for the next several years. If in 2009 I have to sell everything on the cheap and start over with, say, Nikon, well, I may then look back and consider buying Pentax in 2006 to have been a financial mistake. But right now, I'm still comfortable with my decision.

And for the record, I want to add that, like Rick, I do not style myself a "proud owner" of a Pentax product. For me, it's about the photos, not about the camera. I bought Pentax last year because I thought it offered the best camera FOR THE PRICE I could afford. I want to stick with Pentax now because I like the camera I've got now and can't afford to switch. I would like to stay with Pentax long-term because it's in my own interest to make the most of the investment. But I have no warm and fuzzy feelings about the company. If money were no object, well, I would have purchased a Nikon in the first place.

Will

05-10-2007, 11:25 AM   #24
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QuoteOriginally posted by Rick Quote
I don't know enough about multinationals, global business plans, the internal workings of Hoya and Pentax, etc to make any informed comments...
Ditto for me, and (excuse me for possibly taking a liberty regarding others) the same probably applies to 99.9% of all the posters on this issue.

This is just so much speculation - and kinda futile really - nothing we say or do will change what's happenning... but hey - there seems to be no shortage of bandwidth...

I know, I know, I could just not read it, but it's kind of morbidly fascinating to see other people getting all wound up about events they have absolutely no control over or impact on...

Lipitor, anyone?
05-10-2007, 11:43 AM   #25
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To answer Bens question...

QuoteOriginally posted by benjikan Quote
Since hearing the news about corporate decisions being made by Pentax, how do we feel about these moves and are Pentax going to be a stronger more focused company as a result? I would really like to hear your impressions in regard to this event. We are the ears, eyes and pulse of the company and our feedback is important.

Thanks
Ben
I think emotionally the loss of the 645D is a shame, but it must have absorbed a huge number of talented Pentax engineers who could have been working on SLRs. Plus, the 645D requires a new "system" since the old 645 lenses can no longer be manufactured - 645D was a "bet the house" move made for emotional reasons (Pentax is a MF company at heart).

Using the same engineers, resources and capital to make profitable DSLRs and quality lenses will net Pentax more income in the longer term since they have already committed most of the capital investment and new models will likely be based around some of the components already developed. For most inhabitants of this forum, more/better SLRs and lenses is a good thing.

Selling the HQ is a well known capital raising move - they will lease back some of the building I suspect, but raise huge capital in the meantime which will enable them to be in a position to buy back ALL their shares and hence resist a hostile takeover. It may also be a good long term strategy if worldwide property prices follow the US market and go into decline. it will also do wonders for their long term debt situation which will go down well with the banks

Overall I doubt they will pull out of compact cameras completely. They have focused on a small number of derivative models and their cost base much be quite low. They sell reasonably well in some markets and they have an opportunity to do a bit better.

However they have a whole raft of less profitable product lines including components where they are feeling the pinch in terms of downward price pressure and I guess they will pull out of that area.

Overall, the sadness I feel over the 645D is more emotional than logical. If it means the new DSLRs and lenses get more attention then my head is all for it. I always wondered if it was a bit of a white elephant anyway.
05-10-2007, 01:04 PM   #26
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High Finance Hi-Jinks

Hi Ben,

It seems to me that overall, the quasi-announced changes make sense given the current circumstances (business conditions and the Hoya deal).

With regards to Hoya, I was initially enthused about the deal as it looked to have the ingredients to make a solid 3rd player in the DSLR market and the corporrate fits looked really good. After all, Hoya is a major glass supplier, Pentax has the optical know-how and a solid patent line-up, and the medical imaging division is a winner, while Hoya has the cash to grow the business. If Samsung could come up with CMOS sensors, perhaps even FF down the road, it seems to me that the resulting entity would be very well positioned to grow in a market that still has some growth years left in it.

Alas Hoya had different plans, it seems.

With regards to the 645D, I have a different take on that. I have more than a sneaking suspicion that any cancellation of the 645D might have only partly to do with cutting costs and increasing focus (not bad things, mind you). I think that it is at least equally possible that Pentax has been struggling with the image quality that they can obtain from the large sensors out there (Dalsa/Kodak) and as has always been the case with Pentax, decided that if the image quality wasn't up to their standards there was no sense in continuing with it at this time.

I think that there is a market to be served with a 645D, as Pentax proved in the past, and I also think it could be a profitable market. However, given that for many years Canon has had FF cameras in the market niche formerly occupied by MF, one could not hope to have the same market as one might have seen even 2 years ago, and if the image quality did not blow away the FF Canon cameras, you might not be able to sell many at all.

After all, if the FF Canon image quality reasonably fulfills the role formerly played by the MF cameras, who needs the size, slow speed, weight, and huge file sizes of MF digital? Even if the MF digital is significantly better than the Canon FF, the Canon is more flexible and bridges more easily downwards into work that you would not even consider doing with with a MF type camera.

Pentax would be better off driving Samsung to produce a CMOS FF sensor for future high-end camera development.

In my opinion, Nikon has the same problem here as Pentax. No matter what anyone uses, or anyone says, nothing Nikon makes really competes in image quality with the best FF Canon cameras, and certainly would not compete with a good MF digital solution. It is really amazing how competitive Nikon has managed to be with just the APS-C lineup.

BTW, there is little money in the P&S digital camera market regardless of how good your product is, so dropping those makes perfect sense. Leave that market to the mass market electronics suppliers, or re-badge Samsung cameras if you need a market presence in that area.

All in all, if they can keep the company together, stay profitable, and increase the pace of development for cameras aimed at the mid to high end amateur market, they will be playing to their strength which imo, is a high level of bang for the buck for us regular folks and optics second to none.

Frankly, and no offense intended, I have always hated all of the pandering to the pros that goes on in the camera industry. There are not that many pros versus the entire market for cameras, and worrying too much about what they want or think is like deciding how to design and sell cars by what the Formula 1 guys are doing or saying.

Ray
05-10-2007, 01:33 PM   #27
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Battle With SPARX

QuoteOriginally posted by benjikan Quote
Since hearing the news about corporate decisions being made by Pentax, how do we feel about these moves and are Pentax going to be a stronger more focused company as a result? I would really like to hear your impressions in regard to this event. We are the ears, eyes and pulse of the company and our feedback is important.
I believe that the real motivation behind the announcement is the upcoming battle with the SPARX Group next month. You may recall this announcement at the end of April:

“HSBC Fund Services Sparx Asset Management Corporated,” which is a fund service operated by an affiliate of SPARX Group Co., Ltd. (Head office: Shinagawa-ku, Tokyo, President CEO: Shuhei Abe), [demanded] the use of stockholder proposal rights at the 77th ordinary general meeting of shareholders that will be held in June, 2007.

SPARX wants to re-instate the ousted Board members and proceed with a deal that would cash out their investment by selling Pentax to Hoya. So the stage is set for the show-down in June. As I recall, SPARX control about 25% of the stock so they can't win this battle without the support of other shareholders.

The announcement to cut unprofitable products puts the current management in the position of showing a strong push to higher profits. This will serve to blunt the SPARX initiative by showing the future profitibility of the company to shareholders that may be on the fence.

Note that SPARX is based in Toyko. Perhaps moving the Pentax company headquarters away from Toyko creates both a physical separation and a psychological separation between SPARX and Pentax.
05-10-2007, 02:06 PM   #28
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QuoteOriginally posted by GaryML Quote
Note that SPARX is based in Toyko. Perhaps moving the Pentax company headquarters away from Toyko creates both a physical separation and a psychological separation between SPARX and Pentax.
from the article:

QuoteQuote:
Central to the plans is the sale of the land and buildings at Pentax's headquarters in Tokyo's Itabashi Ward, where its administrative departments and an R&D center are located. Some operations will be transferred to towns in Tochigi and Saitama prefectures, where the company already has plants, while head office functions will remain in Tokyo. It expects to gain around 12 billion yen from the sale.
05-10-2007, 04:53 PM   #29
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Pentax to sell land, facility HQ in Tokyo : Business : DAILY YOMIURI ONLINE (The Daily Yomiuri)
05-10-2007, 05:34 PM   #30
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QuoteOriginally posted by jeffkrol Quote
Jeff,

Thanks for the heads up.

Well, going on its own seems the only truly viable option. It seems that they are determined to succeed. Let's assume they will succeed until proven otherwise... but the BS needs to stop when Pentax is allowed to SPEAK again.

Stephen
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