End of an Era

Discussion in 'Digital Cameras' started by jeremy, Dec 21, 2006.

  1. jeremy

    jeremy Guest

    Well, many of us sensed that it was coming.

    Pentax had been a longtime user of Hoya optical glass, but to see Hoya
    swallow Pentax us is disconcerting.

    These mergers nearly always result in big changes, and I would not be
    surprised if the "Pentax" name disappears entirely over the next few years.

    Pentax, for me, was never really the same after they changed their name from
    Asahi Optical Co. to Pentax Corp. They came out with uninspiring cameras
    that came and went without making their marks, unlike the Spotmatic series
    did.

    They cheapened their lenses once they introduced the "A" series. THis was
    particularly disconcerting because the optical performance of the "A" lenses
    was superior to that of the screwmounts and the original K-mounts, while the
    mechanical build quality had deteriorated noticably. Just like new cars.
    Better fuel economy and more amenities, at the expense of less sheet metal
    and smaller overall size.

    When I heard that Pentax had just invested in a lot of factory space in
    VIETNAM I knew that they had given up on their legacy.

    I'm depressed. THat's progress, I suppose.
     
    jeremy, Dec 21, 2006
    #1
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  2. They had already swallowed a big chunk of Pentax, as their subsidiary
    brand Tokina makes most of the popular lenses (not the special stuff)

    David
     
    David Kilpatrick, Dec 21, 2006
    #2
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  3. jeremy

    jeremy Guest

    No, the driving factor is that Pentax has lagged behind Canon and Nikon in
    the digital camera business, and is now having to deal with competition from
    companies that previously had not entered the camera business, like Sony,
    Panasonic, Casio and HP. Pentax screwed up, big-time, and they are no
    longer viable.

    Hoya will get no more mileage out of the Pentax brand name than Konica got
    out of their use of the Minolta name. People are getting wise to the fact
    that the mere presence of a well-known brand name does not guarantee that
    the former quality levels are going to be maintained.

    I'm upset over the loss of Pentax, but I really have only myself to blame.
    Pentax began going down the slippery slope shortly after they abandoned the
    screw mount. Their cameras and lenses slowly began to be cheapened, and
    build quality became noticeably inferior to previous products. Nikon and
    Canon did the same thing, but they maintained parallel lines of
    "professional" gear, priced high, but still available to those that wanted
    it. What did Pentax do? They exited the professional camera market when
    they withdrew the LX from production, and they produced only 3 FA Limited
    lenses for film cameras, and even those had non-standard focal lengths.

    I read recently that Pentax committed to expanding their factories in
    VIETNAM, apparently as a means of keeping their costs down because of
    cheaper labor. Sorry, but this boy ain't buying a Vietnamese camera--not
    from Pentax and not from anybody else, either. And I think that a lot of us
    feel the same way.

    I don't anticipate crowds lining up to buy the "Hoya-Pentax" brand of
    cameras and lenses ("SMC Hoya-Pentax?")

    It just may be the right time for me to embrace plastic bodies and buy some
    Nikon or Canon digital gear. I'm just in the dumps over hearing that news
    of Pentax's upcoming demise. We're going to become orphans.
     
    jeremy, Dec 21, 2006
    #3
  4. jeremy

    jeremy Guest

    I was hoping that Pentax might release a full crop digital body that would
    take their older 35mm lenses, but that appears to be a pipe dream now. Time
    to start looking for a new camera brand.
     
    jeremy, Dec 21, 2006
    #4
  5. I don't know about that - with the new company having approximately 20x
    the capitalisation of Pentax, I think the chances of them progressing
    more rapidly are significantly higher. There is nothing wrong with
    Hoya/Tokina optics, and now they have a camera system to match their
    stuff to. With more money to throw around for things like R&D,
    marketing, and quite possibly some new high end gear, the brand can only
    improve. Before you jump ship, just remember that Canon don't have
    approx 70% market share (in Australia at least, not sure about rest of
    the world) because they are any better than the competition, it's simply
    because they have been marketed better.
     
    Graham Fountain, Dec 21, 2006
    #5
  6. jeremy

    J. Clarke Guest

    There's also the little matter that they have a camera and lens for just
    about any niche you can imagine, while the competition doesn't.
     
    J. Clarke, Dec 21, 2006
    #6
  7. jeremy

    just bob Guest

    I'm not worried about me being able to get out of the way, I'm worried about
    the teenagers, alcoholics or both who I never see coming.
     
    just bob, Dec 21, 2006
    #7
  8. jeremy

    Starlord Guest

    I have to carry my Telescopes in my car which happens to be a 1974 plmy, and
    I don't need to smog it either.


    --
    There are those who believe that life here, began out there, far across the
    universe, with tribes of humans, who may have been the forefathers of the
    Egyptians, or the Toltechs, or the Mayans. Some believe that they may yet be
    brothers of man, who even now fight to survive, somewhere beyond the
    heavens.


    The Lone Sidewalk Astronomer of Rosamond
    Telescope Buyers FAQ
    http://home.inreach.com/starlord
    Sidewalk Astronomy
    www.sidewalkastronomy.info
    The Church of Eternity
    http://home.inreach.com/starlord/church/Eternity.html
     
    Starlord, Dec 22, 2006
    #8
  9. jeremy

    Bob Hickey Guest

    whole problem right there. Avoid, nimble, maneuverable? That's a joke,
    right? I'd be happy to see "awake". I'd be happy to see "off the phone" I'd
    be happy to see "make-up already done"..The limit of most peoples driving
    knowledge is that soon after an accident, something will blow up right in
    their face to save them. Mostly, after the crumple zone is done crumpling;
    said air bag is much closer to the victim. Bob Hickey
     
    Bob Hickey, Dec 22, 2006
    #9
  10. jeremy

    W Paul Mills Guest

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    The reason Pentax could not do this is the lack of capital. So this
    could change now for the better. Then again, depends on the direction
    the merged company takes. They may abandon the camera market, and may
    not. Only time will tell.

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    W Paul Mills, Dec 22, 2006
    #10
  11. jeremy

    ASAAR Guest

    If/when you sprain your sacroiliac, there's a really neat $150 P&S
    camera I know of that can take pictures nearly as well as some $5000
    cameras. Then you would need neither a big car nor a pack mule.



    <g>
     
    ASAAR, Dec 22, 2006
    #11
  12. jeremy

    TW Guest

    I welcome the change if it means that the long term viability of the K-mount
    is secure. I have a substantial investment in K-mount lenses. Unlike Minolta
    and later KM, Pentax has demonstrated clearly that it is an innovative
    company and (finally) has the ability to adapt to the changing market
    quicker than competition with the recent release of K100 and K10 cameras.
    What this does is to make Pentax attractive to potential buyers. This is not
    an uncommon tactics when a company realized that it might not be able to
    raise enough fund to finance long term R&D. There is a no down side since
    there will be significant return if the products do sell well. There is no
    reason to hold onto a name. A name is only a name. What is important, to me
    anyway, is the viability of a set of tools that allows me to pursue
    photography. BTW, I started using a Pentax MX in 1979 and since bought and
    sold a P30, 5n, *ist. I am now using a DS and a K10D.
     
    TW, Dec 22, 2006
    #12
  13. Really? - So Canon would have a fisheye that can be used on the 400D/30D
    and their predecessors if they have a lens for every niche right? Oh
    that's right they don't. Nikon and Pentax both have fisheyes for their
    digitals.
    Canon would have a number of zooms beyond 300mm wouldn't they? Well
    actually they only have 1, the 100-400L, while Nikon and Pentax have a
    number of zooms extending out to 600mm.
    I'm guessing then that Canon would have a "travel" type lens, such as a
    28-300, very handy lenses when you want to travel light. Oops, nothing
    there either.
    Sorry, what were you saying?
     
    Graham Fountain, Dec 22, 2006
    #13
  14. jeremy

    J. Clarke Guest

    What part of "just about" are you having trouble with?

    Asperger's? High function autism?
     
    J. Clarke, Dec 22, 2006
    #14
  15. jeremy

    jeremy Guest

    I can't think offhand of any major company that was helped in its financial
    woes by being merged into a bigger, better-capitalized company. Typically,
    the stronger company buys up the weaker one's resources, customers and
    assets at pennies on the dollar and then sells off or shuts down the parts
    that do not fit with the stronger company's vision.

    What if Hoya were to rebadge their Tokina lenses as "Pentax" and then sell
    off the camera unit to Samsung? Perhaps even allow Samsung to use the
    Pentax name for a period of time, and then to gradually wean customers over
    to the Samsung name, while Tokina lenses were now selling more briskly under
    the Pentax brand? That is only one possible scenario.

    Pentax's reputation was built by their lenses, not their camera bodies.
    Their last noteworthy camera was the LX, and they killed it off, rather than
    improve it like Nikon did with their F series. Even if Pentax were to
    release a new super "professional" camera model right now, who would buy it?
    Professionals have migrated to digital, and those that require a top-notch
    film camera would buy the Nikon F6.

    Pentax withdrew from the competition years ago, and now that contest is over
    and they can't come back. They have discovered, as did Minolta, Bronica,
    Contax and Olympus have, that their prior dominance in the film domain was
    no guarantee of success in digital--and the buyers are virtually all buying
    digital.

    I am saddened to see Pentax's demise. All of my film cameras are Pentaxes,
    as are all of my lenses, but there is no hope of their being around to
    supply me with future photo gear. If the rest of their customer base
    becomes of a like mind, they will disappear from the market.
     
    jeremy, Dec 22, 2006
    #15
  16. jeremy

    jeremy Guest

    As I understand it, Pentax has not charged royalties to other manufacturers
    that incorporated the K-mount, so that is not a factor.

    The mount would have little value to an independent manufacturer unless
    there was a major player, like Pentax, serving to anchor it. And, there are
    few independent brands out there. Vivitar, Chinon, not exactly inspiring.

    All the more reason for buyers to stick with the big brands in the hope that
    their investments won't go down the drain. When I eventually buy into a
    DSLR system, it is going to be Nikon. I had stated previously that I would
    not even consider Pentax--and this from someone that has shot nothing BUT
    Pentax film cameras and lenses for nearly 35 years.
     
    jeremy, Dec 22, 2006
    #16
  17. Sadly, that seems the most likely future scenario :^(
     
    Charles Gillen, Dec 22, 2006
    #17
  18. jeremy

    Bill Funk Guest

    And its bling factor is... ?
    :)
     
    Bill Funk, Dec 22, 2006
    #18
  19. jeremy

    Mark Roberts Guest

    Really? How about Nikon when it was bought by Mitsubishi?
     
    Mark Roberts, Dec 22, 2006
    #19
  20. jeremy

    jeremy Guest

    It's not so much the price point, it's the prospect of it all being eclipsed
    by newer technology within less than a year. I am uncomfortable with that.
    I want to create images, not get onto a never-ending upgrade treadmill.

    Dante Stella says it better than I can:

    http://www.dantestella.com/technical/digital.html
     
    jeremy, Dec 23, 2006
    #20
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