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12-02-2009, 06:42 AM   #1
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So how to we get the KX moving?

Bear with me here. I'm frustrated. Big time. And I don't really want to buy a KX. But Pentax Corp frustrates the H*LL out of me.

I'm looking all over various forums and seeing comments and shots posted about the KX. Great performance and reviews from sites and owners. This sensor is a winner and it's a really well featured camera.

Is it for me specifically? No. But I will buy one before next years wedding season if there isn't a K-7s (s standing for Sensor or (gulp) Sony). It would get limited use, but in tough light, it will make all the difference for me. What's my K20D lacking? HIGH ISO PERFORMANCE. If I shot what Ben K shoots or Devisor (studio and controled light), then this would not be an issue. The K20D is fine and so would the K-7. But in a church with stained glass windows and 4 ceiling lights 60 feet above my head with the combined output of a candle. Or a reception with that ever so pretty lighting, that you couldn’t read the menu without a flashlight. High ISO performance is critical.

So back to my point. I look at threads like this and the comments that praise the KX sensor.. Then go to a site like this and have a look at the IQ from this camera. Then compare it to the high ISO's of something like a Canon 7D or Nikon D90. These are significantly more expensive cameras and the little KX can hold it's head very high. So then read reviews like this

So why am I frustrated? Have a look at the sales rank on Amazon. The KX is 26th. Yes it's new but it's been out enough to be higher.

There is no way in the world that the Canon (for more money) T1i should be selling that much better. The KX can match or exceed the T1i's performance in every respect I can see and the KX has SR!!!! This camera should be on the top of every new, amateur or advanced shooters wish list. But 99% of them don’t know it exists.

So where's the issue? It's Marketing! Marketing, marketing, marketing. Did you get that? Is anyone listening in P/H land? Marketing please.

The engineers have done their jobs just fine. Now sell the camera please.
So my frustration is that this camera could vault the Pentax brand much higher up the food chain. I have no delusions that Pentax will rival Nikon or Canon in sales. That's not the point.
Camera bodies sell lenses. Lenses make profit. Profit makes R&D money and marketing money available. Marketing money sells more cameras which sell more lenses which make more profits. R&D money produces SDM II and new FF bodies, new lenses we want.

See why a little $599.00 (Adorama) camera is so important to each and every one of us?


End Rant.


Last edited by Peter Zack; 12-02-2009 at 07:04 AM.
12-02-2009, 07:06 AM   #2
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26, 49, 73 and 82.

I think this is the first time where there are multiple available lens combinations bundled as a kit as well, isn't it? That kind of dilutes the sales ranking (just as all of those bundles of the bigger brands do as well...though yes, they are generally higher!)

As great as the amazon sales chart is, I think a lot of pentax buyers are pretty frugal with their money - there were alot of deals through bing cashback over the last week (through ebay, walmart, newegg, etc); newegg hasn't been able to keep them in stock either with their $50 coupon/free sling bag deal that ran for a couple of weeks.

I do agree there is a general lack of marketing though. It appears they are pretty aggressive online (although I tend to several of the pentax forums...so having pentax ad heads would only make sense). How great would it be to see a TV spot though? I actually kinda like the recent sony 'panel style' ones (not all camera related of course), and then there are the usual canon and nikon commercials. I'm no marketing guru, but the only thing I could see holding TV advertising back would be there are so many intangibles that Pentax gets right over the competition - how do you portray that in a 30 second spot? That leaves them with cornering the niche market they tend to corner through solid reviews and a specs list a mile long, which is only enticing to those who know what they are looking for (sadly a large chunk of the marketplace doesn't!)...my 2 cents
12-02-2009, 07:14 AM   #3
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I agree but the TV spot only needs to get the person interested. Then redirect them to a more informed web site to really nail the features home to a new buyer. Say a TV ad that shows a bunch of 20 somethings at a party in low light,great background music and the camera shooting a clear image with SR.

Think about it. They have a great caption already "Be interesting" They have a cool camera that can be multi coloured. It is packed with great features and great IQ.

What's missing? The customer.....

Take the ad budget and pick a few high visiblity TV shows/events/movies and push the camera out there. Online ads are fine to a point. But remember, you go to the Pentax section of Photo.net as an example and the ads are all Pentax. Go to P.N's Canon section and they change to Canon. Of course, we're already somewhat brand loyal. Those ads are not generally hitting that many new customers.
12-02-2009, 07:17 AM   #4
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Pentax USA need to use funky marketing material like this Pentax Germany [?] ad, which would work well on TV:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UOR-qVVcG5k

Ad plotline: Dark, handsome young hipsters and beautiful young urbanites who model during the day and play in bands during the evening have great lives and own Pentax K-x's.

Ad subtext: the future of photography is Pentax, especially if you want to get laid.




Last edited by rawr; 12-02-2009 at 07:22 AM.
12-02-2009, 07:19 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by Peter Zack Quote

So where's the issue? It's Marketing! Marketing, marketing, marketing. Did you get that? Is anyone listening in P/H land? Marketing please.
no no no... it's because it doesn't have AF segment indicators in the view finder!!!

12-02-2009, 07:32 AM   #6
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68deluxe, Sorry I disagree. Do you really think that a new or entry level buyer cares one bit if there's a red dot in the center of the screen? Nope not at all. They don't even know that some cameras have this.
12-02-2009, 07:34 AM   #7
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I feel your frustrations here. One of my co-workers is considering getting into the DSLR world, and want's one that can do at least 720p video and has good still image IQ. He's narrowed it down to three options: Canon T1i, Nikon D5000, and Pentax K-x (per my suggestion...otherwise he would have not known about Pentax). They are all comparable cameras and should all do what he needs. I am trying to remain somewhat unbiased in helping him select a camera because I don't want to be a Pentax fan-boy and the cameras are all very capable and each has it's pros and cons.

However, a couple things to note.

1. I think that the in body SR is bad for pentax marketing. The Canon/Nikon kits for the T1i/D5000 both come with IS or VR kit lenses, their image stabilization monikers. But you look at the Pentax kit lens, and it doesn't have any special image stabilization. So that gets people thinking that the Canon/Nikon is better. I've had to explain at least 3 times (to the same guy) over the past 2 days that Pentax has in body SR and doesn't need it in the lenses. So although it may be a bonus to those who understand the benefits of in-body SR, it is probably bad for selling kits.

2. Since all three cameras I have listed here are basically the same in terms of features/cost/performance, my main suggestion to my co-worker is to actually go handle the cameras and then choose which ever one was the most ergonomic to him. This is very important because if you are uncomfortable using a camera then you won't use it as much. I have let my co-worker handle my K200D and K-7 and he loves the awesome build quality of those, and even went as far as to say that the Canons he had handled recently felt like toys compared to the Pentax. However, I don't have a K-x for him to handle. Ok, so he can just go to a store and check it out, right? NO!! No big box stores or local camera stores for miles carry any Pentax at all. This is the biggest disappointment IMO because the feel of Pentax cameras was what initially sold me on the brand. Oh my, when I held the Pentax K200D vs. the comparable Nikon/Canon, there was no debate left in my mind. Cameras need to be visible and holdable in stores or it will not sell (except to gadget geeks who just read online reviews and buy without seeing/touching something, but we're talking about joe scmoe consumer here).

3. Canon/Nikon have too much momentum. It's really not fair. Even if someone sees pentax for $50 cheaper with equal or greater specs/performance, they've NEVER seen anyone else in their life using pentax (unless they are 50 years old and saw pentax from film era). So they think, "No one buys pentax, something must be wrong. Canon/Nikon is very popular, it must be the right choice. Or at least it's a SAFE choice." Now I've worked hard to disband that belief in the people I've talked to about cameras. It's been tough going, but it's nice to explain to people that Canon/Nikon are not the only answer in DSLR world.

It would have been nice to see weather resistant seals in the K-x too, but I'm sure that would hurt K-7 sales even more. They are sort of ruining their outdoor exploration theme that I remember them pursueing a couple years ago when all cameras were sealed. Too bad, I would have liked to see pentax go in that direction. Although the K-7 fits that bill perfectly: small, fast, sealed. I like mine.
12-02-2009, 07:36 AM   #8
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rawr that spot nailed what I was trying to say. You could cut that ad in 2-30 second spots and run it during a football game or some other event type show and see the sales go. They really got the point across well with that ad.

Do they run it on TV in Germany?

12-02-2009, 07:37 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by 68deluxe Quote
no no no... it's because it doesn't have AF segment indicators in the view finder!!!

No one cares about this except Pentax fan-boys and haters. Entry level buyers want to use the live view LCD screen for composition anyways, until they learn that optical viewfinder is way better after they buy the camera.
12-02-2009, 07:48 AM   #10
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arpaagent , I would counter your first point in several ways. 1) The C/N bodies are inferior and don't have SR built in so you will be forced to spend more later. 2) Any older (bargain) lenses you find get SR too. 3) There's more to break in a VR/IS lens with anti shake in each lens.

Your point to stores is well taken. Pentax got rid of the reps and are basing everything on Online sales. Dumb. Just plain dumb. Why? Photographers, either casual or serious are usually tactile and visual people (it's the nature of this hobby or profession). We need to see and touch these things. I know I learn much better by being shown something than by reading a book. Same for selling a camera as your point explains. You are in a bad spot. You can't honestly say that the KX will feel like the K-7. it doesn't and no matter how much you prep him, he'll be disappointed. he'd be better off buying a KX online with a solid (free) return policy and testing it out himself.

As for safe and momentum, yes but how did they get there? Advertising and word of mouth. So Pentax needs to get the right celeb spokes person and go push some TV ads. Give Tiger woods a camera. Well maybe today that's not the right guy....
12-02-2009, 08:04 AM   #11
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Peter,

I'm also with you about in-body SR being superior (I love my old glass, after all). But, keep in mind that a lot of entry level buyers will never get past the kit lens so the fact that it works with older lenses may not matter to them. Also, it's not an easy task to convince someone that in-body SR is better, especially when reviews and people consistently say that in-lens IS provides slightly better stabilization. Very true about buying IS with every lens is expensive, and I made sure to make that a point to my co-worker. I just wanted to give him all the information and allow him to make a decision on his own rather than pushing something on him.

There is one good thing about IS in lenses: the optical viewfinder benefits from the IS. It's really nice to use an IS telephoto lenses through the optical viewfinder because the image that you see if very steady compared to what you'd see in a pentax. That's really the only benefit that I see from in-lens IS.

True about marketing, it does have to start somewhere. And the bad thing is that Pentax DID have some momentum in the classic film days, but they lost it. I have seen more Pentax ads online and in mags recently, so maybe they are trying to improve on this some. But yes, they need a good spokesperson that will move units. Nikon has Ashton Kutcher. Canon has Maria Sharpova (and used to have andre agassi)...guess they like tennis.

So, what international star/figure represents Pentax? Maybe if we can figure that out we can suggest it to pentax.
12-02-2009, 08:13 AM   #12
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There is no store presence, that's the problem ... no one has a clue who Pentax is besides nerds like us.
12-02-2009, 08:14 AM   #13
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Point taken Jim. You don't want to force the issue. If he's not happy, you have to live with it and it's not your job to do Pentax's job.

I'd buy anything from Halle Berry or Penelope Cruz
12-02-2009, 08:26 AM   #14
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I am sure Ned knows what he's doing but I think they need to continue down this weather esistant, smallish, rugged niche they are sort of dipping their toe into.

They cannot out Canikon Canikon, ask Sony .... it's impossible. Pentax cannot chicken out though, they have to keep pushing .... rugged, small, weather esistant .... keep pushing .. keep pushing ...... don't veer from it.

Sponsor or run ads during things like X-Games, triathlon, surfing ........ sponsor trails in National Parks .... keep plugging at that market. Work with joint prootions with brands like Colombia, Colorado, North Face, Subaru, Jeep .... you get the picture.
12-02-2009, 08:30 AM   #15
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I'm sure he does but he's one guy. I really think this has to come from Japan. They have to decide to make a splash in key markets.

Maybe another could be Tony Hawk? Different client base, but it might make sense.
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