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05-13-2017, 12:58 PM   #1
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Best Buy has allll the cameras (except Pentax)

I discovered recently (this week and confirmed today with a trip there) that Best Buy [the American electronics and appliance store] carries DSLRs. A large section of the store is dedicated to cameras.. they're all sitting out to try too.. so I tried them all.

Canon, Nikon, Sony... and oops wait.. no Pentax. None.

The Nikons felt very nice in hand to me not quite K-1 nice but nice enough. They are plastic/carbonate yet sturdy. The Autofocus on the D610, D750, D810, and D500 I tried were all lightning quick to lock on. No hunting.. no lag.. just boom.. instantly locked as soon as my finger went half down on the shutter-release button. I tried them with a 24-120 f/4, 24-85 variable ap, and the uber pricey nikkor 24-70 f/2.8... oh and a kit 16-80mm on the D500. It was fantastic!

The flip screen on the D500/D750 is decent but the Pentax design is far superior imo.

Menus were confusing.. but that might just be because I'm used to Pentax. That said, the Pentax foldering of menu items seems way more logical in general compared to Nikon.


The Canon 6D I tried was pretty subpar to me.. Just sort of cheap.. How Canon sells those so easily is beyond me.

I find the Sony mirrorless viewfinders are AWFUL. I mean retechedly bad. It was a step up from feeling like looking at a replay of an 80s VHS tape strapped to my eye.. the original A7 was especially bad. Very slow to refresh and somewhat grainy. The A7 II was better in that regard but still not anywhere close to where I think it should be to consider going mirrorless. Plus, I couldn't imagine using a 300 or 400mm lens on such a tiny body. It would be great for pancake primes though imo. I think this is a viable platform but it isn't fully cooked yet imo.

It was too bad though that I saw no Pentax out.. not even the more consumery K-70 or K-S1/2 series bodies.. nothing Pentax.

At Bestbuy they seem to have a sales clerk per brand.. spoke to the Nikon (young) guy.. I asked him if he was familiar with the Pentax K-1. He said a little but I got the feeling that meant really 'not at all' and he didn't want to admit not knowing. Yet he didn't really seem all that interested in it either, even though he shared with me that he wasn't brand-centric personally and had owned all the major brands (I guess minus Pentax ?)... oh well.

So yeah.. if you're interested in trying out some DSLRs or Mirrorless bodies.. go to your local Bestbuy. First time in this city I've been to a store that had an assortment of DSLRs beyond the entry D3000 or T5 type cameras.. it was nice. They also didn't hassle me.. just let me try them out (tethered to the table, of course). Memory card doors were openable.. if I had wanted to try taking a few photos with each too.

05-13-2017, 01:06 PM   #2
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We have two BB's reasonably close. One has a small selection of DSLRs under glass, basically one Canon and one Nikon with some cheap tripods and bags. They used to have a huge point & shoot display as well but that has gone.
The other had nicer camera displays similar to what you describe, Nikon display counter, Canon display counter, Sony display counter with full on graphics and dedicated sales staff. But no Pentax of course. They did have a huge Nikon one display but the last time I was there it was gone and the sales guy said it had not sold well as was discontinued.

As has been said before this is not Ricoh's sales strategy. The cost to have those displays in BB has to be enormous. Far more than RIcoh can afford. I am assuming that the manufacturers paid for the display space as is common in retail "store in a store" displays. They might even have to kick in to cover part of the sales staff expense as well.
05-13-2017, 01:09 PM   #3
mee
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This looks similar to the setup at my local Bestbuy.. I guess it isn't in every one then!

05-13-2017, 01:13 PM   #4
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Yeah that looks like I remember, except the Sony display was twice as large as the others. Totally dominated the area. But I have not been back there in a year, it is a little too far for casual shopping and the close one handles my needs which is rare. Unless you need a cell phone or a giant in home movie studio there isn't much there for me any more.

05-13-2017, 01:19 PM   #5
mee
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I don't think I had been in there in at least 4 or 5 years until today.. higher pricing and a 40 minute drive for me. But it was a pleasure getting to handle so many cameras.
05-13-2017, 01:24 PM   #6
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Big Box retail wants to stock the stuff that sells the most, if Pentaxians weren't buying from BB, they stop stocking it. The independents have the same motivation, my local only sells used Pentax lenses (at pretty good prices). I try to buy a lot of my accessories from my local store, I'd like to see them stick around.

Every lens I've bought in the last two years has been used from PF marketplace, though B&H and Adorama do have some great deals on lenses as well.
05-13-2017, 01:35 PM   #7
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This is sort of sad, but really hasn't changed much since I bought my DS many years ago. Pentax was poorly represented everywhere then, and is apparently even less so today. It "is what it is".

I do find it somewhat ironic that as we mourn this situation, Best Buy is itself in a major struggle with online giant Amazon....even Walmart....and others.
The world has changed and is still changing....how it all shakes out is anyones guess, but for now, I'm loving my K1 and try to spend more time enjoying it and less time worrying about...things I can't change!

The bird doesn't get out often and any thread that suggests Pentax is Doomed...brings his attention and he wants to get out for a few minutes of fame.

My guess is the bird will die of old age and Pentax will still be around....


Regards!
05-13-2017, 01:42 PM   #8
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I think it would be cool to see Pentax in a store like BB. Of course, I never actually spend money at BB and haven't for 10-12 years. But it might help with brand recognition. Oh well.


Last edited by 1434; 05-13-2017 at 04:40 PM.
05-13-2017, 04:29 PM   #9
mee
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*WARNING* This is going to sound negative. So if you're sensitive to comments that aren't all roses and puppies, please skip this post. *WARNING*




Yet I'm afraid word of mouth isn't going to get the brand well known when there are so few mouths sharing Pentax over here..

It would be beneficial to have a couple cameras, on display hand holdable, to say 'hello world, we exist, and our products are worth your consideration' alongside the Canikonys. Even if it isn't a super expensive branding/marketing spiel like Canikony are each doing.
Just have one or two out.. they can afford that... I think they have to afford it if they want to thrive over here and stop being the old guy brand.

No offense to the older in attendance, but there is more money to be spent (over time) by bright eyed 20 or 30 year olds just starting out than most older folks who already have a well stocked lens lineup and are pretty set in their ways..

Right now the novice can go into a department store here, see Nikon and Canon (Walmart, Target, and now I see some Best Buys).. but no Pentax at all. S o they're not even a consideration at the moment they should be a consideration.. completely off the table. Pentax loses that money. Because, they seem to NOT exist in the US outside of through online vendors. Not going to make money unless you spend money. And spending money on at least a tiny bit of store shelf space, to me, would show me (as a Pentax product owner) that you care about the brand here in this country. And, for the newcomer, that .. well the brand exists and products are available.. people don't even know there is a Pentax.

Please keep in mind the different train of thoughts.. of course these are generalizations but I think rather valid ones.. the novice photographer is likely looking for cheap bundles for the lowest possible dollar... Those are the people most likely to walk into a department store and buy there.

The enthusiast and advanced users are more likely to try in the store, if possible, and buy where cheapest... or just buy online period.

Yet even if no one buys in store (and it stinks for the store) it benefits the brand to have them on display.. even if they aren't spending multi-millions on big displays and advertising blitzes.. have a couple cameras on display. Introduce yourself to the buying public..

In any case, even if you entirely discount my waffling above, It was great trying out all the cameras in person.. never have I seen so many in one place and I got to mark off some from my curiosity.

That said.. I'm now pondering a D750 even more after getting to physically hold it and give it a try. It is just such a nice camera. But I don't see Pentax making any in-roads over here without some kind of marketing and sales plan. And they have zero at the moment. Nada, Zip, Zero, Zilch. Have to be in it to win it.. as the saying goes. Pentax isn't in it... they're coasting in a 'down' market.. expecting the fantastic products they do make to somehow speak for themselves. That's a little concerning to me.
05-13-2017, 04:57 PM - 1 Like   #10
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Not negative, just realistic. I've no idea how they dig out of such a small market share without spending huge amounts of money they are not willing to spend.

Well, actually I do have some ideas but the only thing that would work given their budget is a social media guerrilla campaign. And that is so foreign to Ricoh culture that I doubt they even understand the words. My wife is a blogger in a small way and the results a good blog post can get are astounding. And companies do realize that, she is a "brand ambassador" for two companies and gets free stuff from a bunch of others.

Ricoh could use social media, blogs, brand ambassadors, to start getting brand recognition. Want to see how it's done? Check out these guys: Electric Pressure Cooker, Smart Cooker, Multi Cooker, ??????? They love their customers, they love their customers stories, they 'get' social media and the internet. They have their own blog, Facebook and so on and actually use them. They have people blogging for them, writing for them and mentioning them in every food blog and forum on earth. No big ad budget, no TV ads, no super bowl ads. Just honest grassroots brand building by interacting and helping their customers be successful.
05-13-2017, 05:05 PM   #11
mee
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QuoteOriginally posted by jatrax Quote
Not negative, just realistic. I've no idea how they dig out of such a small market share without spending huge amounts of money they are not willing to spend.

Well, actually I do have some ideas but the only thing that would work given their budget is a social media guerrilla campaign. And that is so foreign to Ricoh culture that I doubt they even understand the words. My wife is a blogger in a small way and the results a good blog post can get are astounding. And companies do realize that, she is a "brand ambassador" for two companies and gets free stuff from a bunch of others.

Ricoh could use social media, blogs, brand ambassadors, to start getting brand recognition. Want to see how it's done? Check out these guys: Electric Pressure Cooker, Smart Cooker, Multi Cooker, ??????? They love their customers, they love their customers stories, they 'get' social media and the internet. They have their own blog, Facebook and so on and actually use them. They have people blogging for them, writing for them and mentioning them in every food blog and forum on earth. No big ad budget, no TV ads, no super bowl ads. Just honest grassroots brand building by interacting and helping their customers be successful.
I like that idea.

Back in the late 80s or early 90s I remember not being able to get away from the Andre Agassi Canon commercials.. they were on television very very regularly. That was during a mature/slow film camera period.. when Canon wasn't the juggernaut they currently are. I think the marketing worked well to get the Canon name in people's heads. I can't imagine how much money Canon spent on it though..
05-13-2017, 05:10 PM - 1 Like   #12
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I think Pentax has given up on the US market. They are willing to let it be served completely by some combo of Amazon, B and H and Adorama. This isn't a particularly new development, but as you say, it is hard to grow when no one ever sees you.

But I don't even know what sort of a staff they still employ in the US. Not many folks from what I can tell.
05-13-2017, 05:30 PM   #13
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I bought a Pentax because there was a great deal on the kit. Not every new customer is from retail
05-13-2017, 06:55 PM   #14
mee
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So is Ricoh Imaging Japan kind of gun shy about Western employees handling their business overseas now?

And where did they spent the money over here? Outside of a few magazine advertisements over the past few years, I haven't see anything Pentax related in public.. haha I do remember the K-S1 big hands ad though.

I miss the folks in Colorado.. they got stuff moving when I had issues with repair services and stuck with me through my 2 month ordeal.. to the point they eventually just replaced my item with a new one. I had the Director in Canada (in charge of NA products) ear.. one of the head guys in Colorado on my phone.. and the web manager on email. They all seemed rather interested in resolving my issues. That's service... even when repair services themself were wonky for me.

I was actually tossing around the idea in my head to take a quick flight to Denver and, of many things to do there, say hello and thanks to them. Well that was around the time I discovered they had been silently cut.. the whole office. Too bad.

Still.. there is plenty of opportunity to grow.. even if not on Canon or Sony levels.. just have to get all the pieces together. And I think one of those is much deeper brand image in the states.. somehow, some way.. maybe we can get Pete Sampras to come out of retirement and shoot some commercials for Pentax.
05-13-2017, 07:04 PM - 1 Like   #15
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^^ All those people cost money - people are always the most expensive part of anything. When they moved from Golden to Denver they brought 50 people. Then there were all the third-party contractors, the event costs, direct marketing expenses (supporting Dealers), inventory expense, office space, travel reimbursement, promotional allowances for gifting product - it adds up.
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