Whatever happened to Pentax?

Discussion in 'Pentax' started by Dudley Hanks, Mar 8, 2008.

  1. Dudley Hanks

    Dudley Hanks Guest

    Back in the '60s, '70s and even into the '80s Pentax was right up there with
    Canon and Nikon. But, today, it seems like the company doesn't even get
    honourable mention in the brand wars. What happened?

    As for myself, the last few times I've gone to buy a camera, I was
    purchasing a compact that both my wife and I would be using. She likes an
    optical view-finder while I use the LCD. This more-or-less ruled out
    Pentax, since I couldn't find a Pentax with an optical finder at any of the
    local camera shops.

    I still have an old Pentax P3 film SLR that shoots great shots, and I pull
    it out every now and then. I can't think of any reason why the quality of
    Pentax film cameras should not have carried over into the digital world.

    What about the rest of you? Any ideas on why Pentax has sort of faded into
    the background?

    Dudley Hanks, Mar 8, 2008
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  2. Dudley Hanks

    sally Guest

    Canon and Nikon are just better at developing and marketing new products.
    Pentax and Yashica are trying to come back, but that will be difficult.
    sally, Mar 8, 2008
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  3. Dudley Hanks

    Guest Guest

    they haven't faded at all. they just released the k200d and k20d dslrs
    and have others in the works. they're not as big as nikon or canon but
    they do offer a decent alternative.

    Guest, Mar 8, 2008
  4. Dudley Hanks

    Doug Jewell Guest

    Not sure about in the rest of the world, but their
    distribution within Australia didn't move with the times,
    and hence their availability was poorer than other brands.

    They have also pretty much abandoned the serious pro market,
    leaving that for Canon and Nikon. They are still a fairly
    strong player in the advanced amateur category at #3 in DSLR
    (albeit a long way behind Canon and Nikon). In the compact
    camera market they are just another one of the masses.
    If an optical viewfinder is one of your requirements, you
    will rule out pretty much everyone. Canon and Sony are the
    only ones left with optical viewfinders in their P&S
    cameras, and even those two are reducing the number of
    models with it.
    The quality has continued over. Their DSLRs are considered
    by many to offer very good value for money. The new K200D
    and K20D, just like their predecessors the K100D and K10D
    both offer features that will cost a lot more to get in any
    other brand.
    The digital SLRs are also compatible with older lenses
    (Although some limitations apply to lenses that don't have
    the "A" setting).
    Because Pentax don't have the serious pro 35mm format
    digitals, that market has been left to Canon and Nikon. As a
    result, these 2 hold the vast majority of the market share.

    Actually Nikon have only been a major player again in the
    last couple of years - they almost became marginalised too -
    the D40/D40x were the start of their clawback, helped by the
    D200, and now with the D3/D300 they are well and truly back
    in the game.
    Doug Jewell, Mar 8, 2008
  5. Dudley Hanks

    Pudentame Guest

    Still around.

    Their K-10D is one of the top rated DSLRs, and they've just announced a
    K-20D @ 14Mpx - body about $1K.

    And unlike Nikon and Canon Pentax DSLRs are backward compatible with ALL
    of Pentax's legacy lenses; going all the way back to screw mount
    (although somewhat grudgingly and with some limitations in functionality
    - but you CAN use them).
    Pudentame, Mar 8, 2008
  6. Dudley Hanks

    Guest Guest

    that's not entirely true. pentax dropped the coupler so non-a lenses
    need an extra step to stop down and meter. however, it's a single
    button to press and that's easier than with low end nikon; mid and high
    end nikon meter normally. pentax sdm lenses won't work on earlier
    cameras, such as the k100d. and then there's ricoh's k mount variant
    where the lens mounts, but gets stuck on the camera and needs to be
    surgically removed. so there's some issues with pentax too.

    on nikon, just about every ai lens or later will mount and work, with
    some limitations in functionality, just like pentax.
    Guest, Mar 8, 2008
  7. Dudley Hanks

    George Kerby Guest

    The first SLR with spot metering as I recall in the late 60's.
    George Kerby, Mar 9, 2008
  8. Dudley Hanks

    Doug Jewell Guest

    They work, they won't autofocus. Which is the same situation
    you will have with Nikon if you mount a non-AFS lens on a
    D40/D40x. Which basically means most 3rd party lenses won't
    deliver AF on these cameras.
    A Ricoh K-Mount isn't a pentax lens though. Although there
    are some limitations with focus and metering, you can
    attach, and then take a photograph with all old Pentax K
    mount lenses, or with a suitable adapter you can also use
    thread, 645 and 67 lenses. If it is non-Pentax, but in K,
    Thread, 645, or 67 mount, then it will most probably still
    work. The Ricoh lenses can be modified and then will work
    fine. Compare this scenario with Canon and Nikon, where not
    even all the genuine lenses will work.
    Yes, but if it is a non-AI lens, then on some cameras you
    have no metering at all (at least pentax gives stop-down
    metering), and on some models they won't fire at all. If it
    is a non-AFS lens, which is a LOT, even current models, then
    you will have no AF on some models.
    Doug Jewell, Mar 9, 2008
  9. Dudley Hanks

    Dudley Hanks Guest

    Well, sort of. If my memory isn't too fuzzy, I think that they "said" they
    were going to make the first SLR with spot metering -- the Spotmatic.
    Pentax made a pre-production model according to its claims, but when it hit
    production the spot sensoring turned out to be a couple of sensors that
    really only read an average of the light in the viewfinder. I'm not sure if
    they later modified the spotmatic to actually use spot metering, or whether
    one of the other giants got it into production first.

    Trying to Remember,
    Dudley Hanks, Mar 9, 2008
  10. Dudley Hanks

    Dudley Hanks Guest

    I think the two things I like best about Pentax was that they used really
    good glass in their lenses, and my big hands always seem to fit the controls
    even though the body sizes have been quite small.
    Dudley Hanks, Mar 9, 2008
  11. I have a Spotmatic SPII -- still in good working order. It's a classic, but
    in spite of the catchy name, it only measures some sort of center-weighted
    average. Don't believe that the Spotmatic, or even its early 1980's
    successors (like the ME Super that I also have) ever did any more than
    that. On the other hand, film is a lot more tolerant of overexposure than
    digital, so spot measuring for highlights was not as big a deal as it is
    Happy Traveler, Mar 9, 2008
  12. Dudley Hanks

    Dudley Hanks Guest

    Yes, that is a classic.

    I read something on the net a while back that Pentax wants to revive the
    concept / name with a digital version. Have you heard anything about that?

    Take Good Care of Your Classic,
    Dudley Hanks, Mar 9, 2008
  13. Dudley Hanks

    The Dave© Guest

    As P&Ss get smaller, and LCD screens get bigger, there's simply not
    enough room for a viewfinder on many of the cameras. Add to that the
    number of consumers who prefer viewfinders dwindling, and... well, it's
    a pretty easy guess where that goes.
    The Dave©, Mar 9, 2008
  14. Dudley Hanks

    Dudley Hanks Guest

    So true. Fortunately, it won't be an issue for me anymore, since my wife is
    now using adigital Rebel XT and loving it...
    Dudley Hanks, Mar 9, 2008
  15. And the dwindling numbers of optical finder fans seem to be shifting toward
    DSLRs. Also with more and more first time users learning with an inexpensive
    P&S and thus are more used to/comfortable with an LCD finder, fewer and
    fewer general consumers are asking for optical finders.

    Randy Berbaum, Mar 9, 2008
  16. FWIW, Pentax is _the_ camera of choice for medium format film landscape
    photographers in Japan. They split the medium format film market with
    Mamiya, whose cameras are seen more as studio cameras. Interestingly, only
    one of the Pentax and Mamiya medium format film cameras has been
    discontinued. Yet. (My best bet is that most of the Mamiya cameras are, like
    the Hasselblad 500 series, not being mfd, but are still being sold as new
    from stock. But Mamiya is still advertising (6645AFD, 7II, RB67(!!!), and
    RZ67) in the current magazines here.)

    David J. Littleboy
    Tokyo, Japan
    David J. Littleboy, Mar 9, 2008
  17. Dudley Hanks

    Doug Jewell Guest

    Yeah, from what I can understand talking to the a few
    working pros around here, Pentax pretty much own the MF
    category. Unfortunately that category has started to take a
    hit with more and more switching to high end 35mm digital
    like the Canon 1DIII and Nikon D3. There was a time not so
    long ago, when most of the serious wedding photographers
    were shooting Pentax or Mamiya 645 equipment - now it is all
    30D or 5D. The price has gone down, but so has the quality IMO.
    Have you heard any word on the much rumoured 645 Digital?
    If/When that comes out, that should really make people stand
    up and take notice of Pentax again as a serious pro brand.

    A full-frame 35mm DSLR wouldn't go astray in their range
    either, but since it appears most of the film format lenses
    have been discontinued (including the 50/1.4, what are they
    thinking?), I can't see that happening any time soon :(
    Doug Jewell, Mar 9, 2008
  18. Dudley Hanks

    RichA Guest

    It's a camera made for women no doubt.
    RichA, Mar 9, 2008
  19. Dudley Hanks

    Doug Jewell Guest

    And with more and more DSLRs now coming with live view, I
    wonder how long it will be before the inevitable happens and
    someone releases an SLR without a viewfinder (of course
    technically, it won't be an SLR, it will be camera with
    interchangeable lenses and a large sensor).
    Doug Jewell, Mar 9, 2008
  20. Dudley Hanks

    Dudley Hanks Guest

    It's a camera made for women no doubt.

    Well, I've shot a few frames off myself, and I quite like the way it
    handles. Haven't found a major bug in it yet.

    But, then again, I always think that it's the mind behind the viewfinder
    that counts the most, not the intelligence of the circuit board.

    Take Care,
    Dudley Hanks, Mar 9, 2008
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