Whatever happened to Pentax?

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

  1. Dudley Hanks

    Pete D Guest

    "Dudley Hanks" <> wrote in message
    news:xsJAj.75018$w57.21273@edtnps90...
    >
    > "Happy Traveler" <> wrote in message
    > news:...
    >>I have a Spotmatic SPII -- still in good working order. It's a classic,
    >>but in spite of the catchy name, it only measures some sort of
    >>center-weighted average. Don't believe that the Spotmatic, or even its
    >>early 1980's successors (like the ME Super that I also have) ever did any
    >>more than that. On the other hand, film is a lot more tolerant of
    >>overexposure than digital, so spot measuring for highlights was not as big
    >>a deal as it is now...
    >>
    >>
    >> "Dudley Hanks" <> wrote in message
    >> news:IQGAj.69831$FO1.22055@edtnps82...
    >>>
    >>> 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.

    >>
    >>

    >
    >
    > 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


    Indeed, I have a box full that I still use. :)
     
    Pete D, Mar 9, 2008
    #21
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  2. Dudley Hanks

    Dudley Hanks Guest

    "Doug Jewell" <> wrote in message
    news:47d39cb1$0$19210$...
    > The Dave© wrote:
    >>> Doug Jewell wrote:
    >>>> 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.
    >>> 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.

    >>
    >> 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.

    > 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).


    Bridge camera? Pro-sumer?

    But, for pro use, I think it'll be a while yet. If nothing else, it's hard
    to beat the confidence one derives from looking through the lens and seeing
    the actual scene one is about to capture.

    Take Care,
    Dudley
     
    Dudley Hanks, Mar 9, 2008
    #22
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  3. Dudley Hanks <> wrote:

    > "Doug Jewell" <> wrote in message
    > news:47d39cb1$0$19210$...
    >> The Dave? wrote:
    >>>> Doug Jewell wrote:


    >>> 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.


    >> 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).


    > Bridge camera? Pro-sumer?


    > But, for pro use, I think it'll be a while yet. If nothing else, it's hard
    > to beat the confidence one derives from looking through the lens and seeing
    > the actual scene one is about to capture.


    I hear that some camera makers are working on a screen which will
    allow you to look through the lens and see not just the scene you're
    about to capture, but exactly how the camera will in fact capture it,
    including if you wish such technical details as aperture, shutter,
    what the camera chose to focus on if using autofocus, areas of the
    image which are overexposed and so on.

    That should be even more confidence building, don't you think?

    --
    Chris Malcolm DoD #205
    IPAB, Informatics, JCMB, King's Buildings, Edinburgh, EH9 3JZ, UK
    [http://www.dai.ed.ac.uk/homes/cam/]
     
    Chris Malcolm, Mar 9, 2008
    #23
  4. Dudley Hanks

    Sander Guest

    Doug Jewell wrote:
    > nospam wrote:
    >> pentax sdm lenses won't work on earlier
    >> cameras, such as the k100d.


    > 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.


    Not only do they work... they will autofocus too!
    The pentax DA* lenses have a double AF system.
    On cameras that support it they will use SDM and on older cameras
    they'll revert to the old screwdrive AF.

    SR.
     
    Sander, Mar 9, 2008
    #24
  5. Jaakko Lintula, Mar 9, 2008
    #25
  6. Dudley Hanks

    Peter Chant Guest

    sally wrote:


    > 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.


    Yashica?

    Surely that's a name that's not been used in years. Who owns it?

    Pete

    --
    http://www.petezilla.co.uk
     
    Peter Chant, Mar 9, 2008
    #26
  7. Dudley Hanks

    ray Guest

    On Sun, 09 Mar 2008 16:16:35 +0000, Peter Chant wrote:

    > sally wrote:
    >
    >
    >> 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.

    >
    > Yashica?
    >
    > Surely that's a name that's not been used in years. Who owns it?
    >
    > Pete


    There was a recent news story about the namebrand making a reappearance.
     
    ray, Mar 9, 2008
    #27
  8. Dudley Hanks

    Jeremy Guest

    "Dudley Hanks" <> wrote in message
    news:IQGAj.69831$FO1.22055@edtnps82...
    >
    > "George Kerby" <> wrote in message
    > news:C3F88C39.47FCD%...
    >>
    >>
    >>
    >> On 3/8/08 2:46 PM, in article nWCAj.74916$w57.63673@edtnps90, "Dudley
    >> Hanks"
    >> <> wrote:
    >>
    >>> 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?
    >>>

    >> The first SLR with spot metering as I recall in the late 60's.
    >>

    >
    > 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
    >
    >


    Pentax introduced the prototype Spotmatic at Photokina in 1960, describing
    it as having a TTL spot meter. The camera wasn't actually released till 4
    years later, and it featured an averaging meter, but Pentax kept the
    "Spotmatic" name. The camera was neither "Spot metering" nor "automatic."

    That notwithstanding, I still have my original Spotmatic IIa from 1973, and
    it looks in mint condition and performs flawlessly. I've accumulated 22 SMC
    Takumar lenses over the past 35 years, along with another 11 camera bodies,
    bellows and other accessories. I use them all, and have no plans to "go
    digital." I scan my films and am quite happy with that arrangement.

    The lenses are superb, and it would cost a fortune to replicate the system
    in digital if, in fact, such prime lenses were even available.

    Not bad for equipment that has been in service for a third of a century!
     
    Jeremy, Mar 9, 2008
    #28
  9. Dudley Hanks wrote:
    > 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?
    >
    > Pondering,
    > Dudley
    >
    >
    >

    What is in a brand name? I prefer to buy on quality, price and a product
    that does what I want - rather than follow the 'trendy/in' names.

    The K10D does that and is one of the best cameras Pentax has ever made.

    --
    Clive

    Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take.....
    but by the moments that take our breath away.
     
    Clive Sinclair, Mar 9, 2008
    #29
  10. Dudley Hanks

    Pete D Guest

    "Dudley Hanks" <> wrote in message
    news:1gNAj.75035$w57.344@edtnps90...
    >
    > "Doug Jewell" <> wrote in message
    > news:47d39cb1$0$19210$...
    >> The Dave© wrote:
    >>>> Doug Jewell wrote:
    >>>>> 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.
    >>>> 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.
    >>>
    >>> 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.

    >> 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).

    >
    > Bridge camera? Pro-sumer?
    >
    > But, for pro use, I think it'll be a while yet. If nothing else, it's
    > hard to beat the confidence one derives from looking through the lens and
    > seeing the actual scene one is about to capture.
    >
    > Take Care,
    > Dudley


    Speaking of live view, have you had a look at the newer D-SLRs that have
    liveview that can be fed out to a larger screen? Could be helpful for vision
    impaired photogs.

    Apparently it is pretty good on the K20D.
     
    Pete D, Mar 9, 2008
    #30
  11. Dudley Hanks

    Pete D Guest

    "Sander" <> wrote in message
    news:b29b0$47d3ba85$1884ced6$...
    > Doug Jewell wrote:
    >> nospam wrote:
    >>> pentax sdm lenses won't work on earlier
    >>> cameras, such as the k100d.

    >
    >> 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.

    >
    > Not only do they work... they will autofocus too!
    > The pentax DA* lenses have a double AF system.
    > On cameras that support it they will use SDM and on older cameras they'll
    > revert to the old screwdrive AF.
    >
    > SR.


    Damn Pentax is awesome, what a great feature.
     
    Pete D, Mar 9, 2008
    #31
  12. Dudley Hanks

    Doug Jewell Guest

    Pete D wrote:

    >
    > Speaking of live view, have you had a look at the newer D-SLRs that have
    > liveview that can be fed out to a larger screen? Could be helpful for vision
    > impaired photogs.
    >
    > Apparently it is pretty good on the K20D.

    I wonder how well it performs in very low light - I'm
    thinking of it's application astronomical photography.
     
    Doug Jewell, Mar 9, 2008
    #32
  13. Dudley Hanks

    Dudley Hanks Guest

    "Jeremy" <> wrote in message
    news:8iUAj.4259$Y33.3118@trndny07...
    >
    > Pentax introduced the prototype Spotmatic at Photokina in 1960, describing
    > it as having a TTL spot meter. The camera wasn't actually released till 4
    > years later, and it featured an averaging meter, but Pentax kept the
    > "Spotmatic" name. The camera was neither "Spot metering" nor "automatic."
    >
    > That notwithstanding, I still have my original Spotmatic IIa from 1973,
    > and it looks in mint condition and performs flawlessly. I've accumulated
    > 22 SMC Takumar lenses over the past 35 years, along with another 11 camera
    > bodies, bellows and other accessories. I use them all, and have no plans
    > to "go digital." I scan my films and am quite happy with that
    > arrangement.
    >
    > The lenses are superb, and it would cost a fortune to replicate the system
    > in digital if, in fact, such prime lenses were even available.
    >
    > Not bad for equipment that has been in service for a third of a century!
    >


    Yes, it's a great camera. In fact, I was reading an article a week or so
    back which touted the Spotmatic as one of the best cameras to use when you
    visit a developing country.

    The author's point was that, if you only have a digital, and if your camera
    / memory cards fail, you might not be able to fix or replace while in that
    country. Yet, film tends to be available, and the Spotmatic has a proven
    reputation for reliable service in rough conditions -- even 30+ years after
    production.

    You're a lucky photog...

    Dudley
     
    Dudley Hanks, Mar 9, 2008
    #33
  14. Dudley Hanks

    Pudentame Guest

    The Dave© wrote:
    >> Doug Jewell wrote:
    >>> 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.

    >> 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.

    >
    > 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.


    Yeah, but you still get lousy pictures holding the damn thing out at
    arms length to frame and focus ... not to mention all the additional
    camera movement from trying to trip the shutter at the end of that long
    lever arm.
     
    Pudentame, Mar 9, 2008
    #34
  15. Dudley Hanks

    Pudentame Guest

    Doug Jewell wrote:
    > David J. Littleboy wrote:
    >> "Doug Jewell" <> wrote:
    >>> Dudley Hanks wrote:
    >>>> 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?
    >>> 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.

    >>
    >> 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.)

    > 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.
    >


    It appears to have been almost ready for market when Hoya acquired
    Pentax. Since then the project is variously described as canceled or "on
    hold".

    I don't know if the market is really there for medium format digital,
    since all the MF digital I know of on the market are actually crop
    sensors, none of them actually 6x4.5, 6x6, or 6x7.

    I figure a full-frame DSLR would get images as good as a crop sensor MF
    digital.


    > 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 :(
    >>


    Not soon, but not impossible either. Nikon swore for years they were
    never going to offer a full frame digital, and look at the D-3.

    And I think the 645D development effort may someday see the light of day
    as a FF DSLR.

    Or not.

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

    >>
    >> Yep.
    >>
    >> David J. Littleboy
    >> Tokyo, Japan
    >>
    >>
     
    Pudentame, Mar 9, 2008
    #35
  16. Dudley Hanks

    Pudentame Guest

    Dudley Hanks wrote:
    > "Happy Traveler" <> wrote in message
    > news:...
    >> 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
    >> now...
    >>
    >>
    >> "Dudley Hanks" <> wrote in message
    >> news:IQGAj.69831$FO1.22055@edtnps82...
    >>> 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.

    >>

    >
    >
    > 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
    >
    >


    Well, the K100D and K10D names were specifically meant to recall fond
    feelings many a photographer has for the K1000.
     
    Pudentame, Mar 9, 2008
    #36
  17. Dudley Hanks

    Pudentame Guest

    Clive Sinclair wrote:
    > Dudley Hanks wrote:
    >> 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?
    >>
    >> Pondering,
    >> Dudley
    >>
    >>
    >>

    > What is in a brand name? I prefer to buy on quality, price and a product
    > that does what I want - rather than follow the 'trendy/in' names.
    >
    > The K10D does that and is one of the best cameras Pentax has ever made.
    >


    I certainly agree with you on that, but everything I've read so far
    indicates they're not resting on their laurels The new K20D is a good
    improvement on the K10D.
     
    Pudentame, Mar 9, 2008
    #37
  18. Dudley Hanks

    nospam Guest

    In article <47d45d80$0$17371$>, Pudentame
    <> wrote:

    > Not soon, but not impossible either. Nikon swore for years they were
    > never going to offer a full frame digital, and look at the D-3.


    actually, nikon never said that they would never offer full frame.
    what they said was that they weren't planning on it until it was cost
    effective to do so.
     
    nospam, Mar 9, 2008
    #38
  19. Pudentame <> wrote:
    > The Dave? wrote:


    >> 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.


    > Yeah, but you still get lousy pictures holding the damn thing out at
    > arms length to frame and focus ... not to mention all the additional
    > camera movement from trying to trip the shutter at the end of that long
    > lever arm.


    If you need to hold it at arm's length you need new spectacles.

    --
    Chris Malcolm DoD #205
    IPAB, Informatics, JCMB, King's Buildings, Edinburgh, EH9 3JZ, UK
    [http://www.dai.ed.ac.uk/homes/cam/]
     
    Chris Malcolm, Mar 9, 2008
    #39
  20. "Pudentame" <> wrote:
    >
    > I don't know if the market is really there for medium format digital,
    > since all the MF digital I know of on the market are actually crop
    > sensors, none of them actually 6x4.5, 6x6, or 6x7.


    (Note that the actuall MF frame sizes are 42x56, 56x56, and 56x70mm.)

    The current "cropped" MF digital sensors are 36x48, which is exactly twice
    the area of "FF", and so does have a theoretical advantage. It also turns
    out that MF lenses are razor sharp on 5D density digital sensors, so 24MP
    and higher images that are painfully sharp corner to corner are a piece of
    cake for MF digital. Anything 24MP and over in FF is going to be a stretch
    for even the best Nikkor or Canon lenses at anything other than f/8 or f/11.

    David J. Littleboy
    Tokyo, Japan
     
    David J. Littleboy, Mar 10, 2008
    #40
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  7. Annika1980

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