How can Pentax do it?

Price increases, economic worries... but not for everyone in the DSLR industry. If you have missed the news from few weeks ago, Pentax reduced their prices (Pentax K20DPentax K200D models) and today they announced plans to revive its long-awaited 645 Digital medium format camera:


Are they nuts or we are all being taken for a ride? Don't they face the same challenges like Nikon? Only time will tell and I am sure you will have an opinion too. FYI at PMA Pentax introduced a new lens (Pentax DA15mm F4 ED AL) and 3 p&s cameras.

Source (and picture credit): Amateurphotographer

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  • Anonymous

    Priced for demand. They could sell them for $300 and I wouldn’t buy one. They need revenue so I’m sure this is cost or less than cost price.

    • Gary

      Gee…..where do the Nikon lens slugs come from?……oh ya…Hoya….which owns Pentax. Buy a Nikon and you’re feeding Pentax…..
      We are taking a pro line like the rest of the medium format series from various manufacturers…..probably starting at $20K, so unless you are looking at bringing in $200 or more a year doing your hobby, you probably won’t be looking at this line of camera.

      • Show me proof that Nikon buys their glass slugs from Hoya.

        • Ever seen the Tokina 14mm and the Nikon 14mm side by side?

  • Fred

    Trying desperately t get market share. Once you go down a SLR road and invest in a few lenses, many are locked in. They need to hook em in somehow.. good time to strike. Must be taking a loss.

    • C++

      I agree, Pentax wants to give the entry level folks a sweet deal, so they get hooked. You buy 2 lenses, then you buy 2 more, and before you notice, you’ve invested so heavily into the system that you don’t want to switch.

      • Anonymous

        Or can’t without losing lots of money – s/h Pentax doesn’t sell well.

        • Steve

          It’s funny how little people know about the industry. Pentax’s professional offering was vastly different than Nikon / Canon. Portrait and Landscape was their bag (and still is) and is/was highly successful. 645II and 67II are still major players as digital (even medium format) is a few years away from catching up. Pentax knew that and sold new until a year ago or so. They were waiting for digital to catch up but we are still waiting for the 60MP but more importantly the matching clarity / saturation / etc. Pentax needs a pro offering to be a contender and they can’t wait any longer. They also need to get back to selling multiple lines of lenses….

          • JH

            Indeed. Pentax long considered 35mm to be an amateur format. Perhaps this marks a return to that tradition…

          • The Pentax 645 and 67 lenses are the best made in this world, for medium format film, for medium format digital, and for my DSLR landscape works. The SMC coating is second to none, their 35mm/f4 is way above the Mamiya/Hasselblad offers, and my Pentax 67 prime and rooms lenses (the zooms are every bit as good or better then the primes) are my best lenses for 5DII and will be for the D3x/D700x.

            A while ago I posted the test results online that irritated a lot of people since they had the stereotype that the MF lenses are less sharp than the 35mm ones even though there is no such thing in Physics. Eventually I had to post 100% pixel test chart images to show that my P67 zooms can consistently do 80 line pairs per mm to outresove my 5DII 5um sensor pitch. Then all went to silent.

            I do test and pick the best samples of the lenses, Pentax, Nikon, Canon, Tamron, and SIgma. But overall the Pentax MF ones are the best — even high resolution across the full frame, great colors, great coating to prevent flares, no distortions, and of course no dark corners. No CAs as well which was really surprising. As the results I know have 6 Pentax to DSLR adapters, 3 for Nikon and 3 for Canon.

            It seems I may eventually have to skip D3x and go to Pentax MF, since I print really big, and not satisfied with even Bayer sensors at 300dpi (360 to 450 is the threthold not to see the de-mosiacing artifacts).

          • Hulk

            Hell Yes, I love my Pentax 67 II and its 55/105/165 lenses!

          • Anonymous

            It’s funny how much people assume other people know about the industry, and decide, based on that assumption, to educate the “obviously ignorant”.

      • Another Pentaxian

        “I agree, Pentax wants to give the entry level folks a sweet deal, so they get hooked.”

        Funny, then, how it’s also a ‘sweet deal’ for ‘old timers’ reluctant to put up with digital. 🙂

  • shivas

    i hope that this drives down Nikon a bit!!

  • MattM

    You cut prices to increase sales, which is not necessarily directly correlated to profit, in the case of pentax, it probably means they have a surplus. This is also probably closely related to the rumored discontinuing of the D40 with no known successor. They’re trying to swipe up newbies.

    • ronin

      Yes, but you raise prices to increase margin, hoping that the resulting reduction in sales will somehow be thus offset.

      Pentax is smart in directly challenging the price-raisers. It is taking a page from Sony who undercut the big guys and quickly became a big player.

      In a shrinking field of players, in a shrinking market, an increase in sales and market share is one key to surviving for the long haul.

      Also, the reduction in price reflects the real world, in which costs are also reduced, including raw materials and labor, as well as benefiting from the yen, which is in its fourth month of shrinking against the dollar.

      Hooray for Pentax for not joining the other price-raisers. Let’s hope that not only Pentax survives and thrives, but that the increased competition will benefit us all in terms of reduced prices and amazing gear.

  • GingerJimmy 😛 says that it’s going on sale in Japan soon and that it won’t be available in the US, because pentax estimate they would sell about 200 cameras there.

    is that an answer to your question? 🙂

    • GingerJimmy

      and pentax doesn’t say if it’s going on sale in Europe

    • GingerJimmy

      didn’t read the source. forget it ;]

      • rule of thirds

        the image you have posted clearly demonstrates why people should practice taking shots rather than reading up about ‘rules of thirds’ et al. please change it – it is, without doubt, the most badly composed shot i have seen in 35 years of photography.

      • rule of thirds

        and that is supposed to be constructive criticism – in a way anyway. point is, you don’t need to follow the rules and, very often, shots have more impact when you don’t. OK, we all know that landscapes etc work best following those rules but still, challenge the rules!! of course nobody suggests you stick the person right in the centre of frame, so go completely different – find a whole new angle – something dynamic and exciting and challenging.

        • Anonymous

          And stop using a crappy compact with tons of distortion too !

        • GingerJimmy

          it’s amazing how you can judge somebodies way of photographing from one 80x80pix avatar 😆

          it wasn’t me who took the shot, in fact the person who did, is the last one to obey any rules in photography.

          don’t look if you don’t like it.

          that crappy P&S is in fact a pentacon six with a 80 2.8 zeiss biometar

          • Anonymous

            Re crappy compact : I was referring to the awful product shot of the Pentax, not your avatar. Who can tell anything about anything from an avatar ?

  • pete

    desperation and publicity. pentax is as good as dead. noone cares. stick a fork in em

    • Boucicaut

      We’ll see. Personally I’d like to see the Pentax brand continue because of the many innovations they have created through the decades…a lot of history. However, it’s more important that the mounts (K, 67 and 645) continue. If that is only possible under a different name then so be it.

      Sometimes I wonder about the behaviour at these photo discussion forums…a lot of agression, ignorance, territory defence, blind brand loyalty. I have nothing against Nikon for example. I seriously considered the D300 after deciding to get a DSLR. The things that turned me to Pentax were 1) availability of weather-sealed lenses, 2) in-body shake reduction and 3) backward compatibility. Despite these shortcomings Nikon has great products that are for some purposes way better than what Pentax can offer.

      Fortunately I know a lot of Nikonians in person and they are not nearly as ignorant loyalists as a few folks here seem to be…


      • Anonymous

        It isn’t inspiring is it ? But then again, maybe it’s just supposed to be fun/interesting/provocative/childish/informative….oh no wait, maybe we’re expecting too much ? I think even good speeling unt gremmer r 2 much 2 hope 4 ?

        • hax

          Wow, just wow.

          • Anonymous

            That’s a great example; thank you.

    • Cole

      Competition spurs innovation. Even if it’s a former heavyweight player like Pentax who has fallen on leaner times, Nikon/Canon need even small players biting at their heels to keep them from becoming indolent. And personally, I wouldn’t mind seeing another company take a stab at digital MF, especially a company with an MF track record such as Pentax.

      • F64

        Over the years I have owned Canon & Nikon 35mm film cameras and Pentax and Hasselblad film cameras for both personal and professional work. In going digital I went the Nikon route and have been more than satisfied with the images. Charts, graphs, and test results have never been a huge consideration.With medium format I actually liked my 6×7 pentax better than teh Hassy but the FP shutter was a problem in outdoor fill flash requirements. Only 2 lenses with leaf shutters were available for Pentax 6×7. My main gripe today is the EXORBANT PRICE for a Hassy system with digital. If anyone needs to be cut down to size Hassy and other digital back makers do!!!! I wish Pentax well with a NEW medium format option. Who knows, I might invest in one

  • Zoetmb

    >>>Pentax wants to give the entry level folks a sweet deal, so they get hooked. You buy 2 lenses, then you buy 2 more, and before you notice, you’ve invested so heavily into the system that you don’t want to switch.

    I agree that they’re trying for market share, but the strategy can’t be to sell a lot of lenses because in spite of what you’d believe from sites like this one, no one actually sells a lot of lenses. According to CIPA shipments, in 2008, 1.62 lenses were sold per body. For the first 3/4 of Nikon’s current fiscal year, CIPA numbers were 1.59 lenses per body, Nikon’s were only 1.39, which basically means that on average for every 10 bodies sold, only 4 users buy a 2nd lens and no one buys a third.

    This is why I laugh when everyone complains that Nikon is failing because they only offer 55 different lenses. Most DSLR purchasers never buy another lens,

    • jettblack

      or maybe 9 users buy 1 lens and the tenth buys 5!…and posts on here everyday too!

    • Niloy

      Dunno, but shouldn’t that make the companies want to make more Cheap Lenses so more people buy them?

      • Anonymous

        I’ve always thought I was above average but I was worried it was because of my waistline. Now I know, it’s my lens “collection”. Woohoo !

    • Gustav

      No, it doesn’t mean that. You didn’t consider the fact that lenses outlast bodies. Someone may buy 6 lenses and 4 bodies in the span of five years. Going forward, you are going to buy more bodies than lenses.

      Pentax’s move is a good one. They’re going to sell more lenses, and more bodies. And there’s better margin on the higher end bodies.

  • canon user

    On the other hand, Nikon and Canon are two major creditors of Circuit City and Ritz. Perhaps that has something to do with it?

  • Anonymous

    In these economic times you raise prices and you sell NOTHING or do you lower prices take a little less/or no profit and sell product. I guess I would rather sell and get a few new customers so when the economy picks up again I can have customers that may buy from me again… That’s why a lot companies just don’t get it anymore, they would rather go down trying to sell their stuff overpriced.

    • Jack

      Raising and no one will buy is an extreme scenario. Usually someone will buy, fewer than before but some will.

      Making no profit is not a very good option and it is hard to tell when things will get more flexible. It is easier to raise prices and then drop them later than to lower them and raise prices.

  • Ken

    Technically, they did raise he price after x-mas…they enforced a MAP which they didn’t do before. Prices were cheaper in December. It just shows how much profit there actually is at the dealer level.
    The 645D has been in the lab forever so it probably won’t cost them that much to make a bunch of them and sell them for $15-20K to pros in the fashion industry…

  • Pentaxian

    Oh you Nikonians so high on your over-priced stuff. Look at our Limited line-up and the new DA15 Ltd and weep.

    • Eli

      Look at our D90, D300, D700, D3, D3X and lens selections. And weep.

      Go home troll.

      • Anonymous

        Hey, in fairness to the “troll”, this is a Pentax vs Nikon thread.

        • Anonymous

          And we all know who wins this one right ? 🙂

          • Anonymous


      • Anonymous

        your lens selection is overpriced

        • Anonymous

          I’d happily pay for an F-mount than a K-mount lens of the same spec because an F-mount can go on a better body and give better results.

          The BIG question here is not “How can Pentax do it?” but “HOW LONG can Pentax do it ?”

          • Stud Lee

            You show me your stabilized sharp as hell 55mm lens at 1.4,
            And I will show you mine!!!!

  • Bob

    Maybe people aren’t buying that second Nikon lens because they’ve been taken to the bank on the body & kit lens? Seriously, who in their right mind buys a DSLR and only has 1 lens? Especially when you have the the entire K-mount catalog of lenses that range from $50 to $1,000?

    Oh, don’t forget that every single lens automatically benefits from SR/IS… 🙂

  • Chris P

    Re the fact that Nikon is only selling 1.4 lenses per camera body and the apparent fact that most purchasers of bodies do not buy another lens. I would agree that this is the case at the consumer end, but not at the ‘serious amateur’ end and crucially does not include the independent lens manufacturers. Yes Nikon does produce 55 different lenses, but look at that lens range in the catalogue I picked up at Focus carefully and you will see the following:-

    12 DX lenses of which only one, 17-55 zoom, is not of plastic construction

    12 FX zoom lenses of which 6 are very expensive pro lenses, 4 are plastic and 2 are screwdriver which are desperately in need of updating.

    8 wide angle/normal lenses, all of which are screwdriver and some of which date from the original autofocus range. This doesn’t include the new 50nn f1.4 AF-S which lost a head to head contest against the new Sigma 1.4 in a magazine here in the UK, and the recommendation was to buy the Sigma.

    I could go on, but to keep it short, in the long tele range the situation is exactly the same as the foregoing. The only ranges to have been thoroughly updated are the two micros and the PC-E lenses, hardly big selling ranges.

    I have bought 3 Nikkor lenses in the past 6 months, 85 f2, 105 f2.5 and 180 f 2.8 all Ais, all secondhand and all vastly superior to the two ‘prosumer’ zooms I bought when I changed to Nikon in 2007.

    To me Nikon appear to be making the mistake of thinking that lens buyers will buy the Nikon lens, even if it is inferior, instead of the independent because it has Nikon’s name on it. While at Focus I compared the Nikkor 80-400 and the Sigma 100-300, sorry Nikon, when I have the funds Sigma will be getting my money. Another big difference, Sigma had people on their stand who knew what they were talking about and actually wanted to find out what my needs were.

    To sum up Nikon should realise that they need to provide the lenses that ‘serious’ amateurs want to buy and they are neither plastic zooms or 500mm f4’s.

    For a start how about doing what Sigma has done and introduce a 100-300 f4 VR zoom based on the existing f4 300 priced at a point about 15% more than the Sigma. That I would buy

    • AZ

      I totally agree with You, I’m using nikon for the last 9 years, and to be honest most of my lenses are the Sigma ones, and mostly it’s not because of price difference – they simply suit me better on DX, i.e. there’s not a lens like sigma 10-20 at nikon, and considering the price difference between nikon 14-24/2.8 and this sigma, and on the other hand comparing both of this lenses in terms of quality (which is not a “visible” difference) I’m not even considering buying Nikon. Same with the long range. Sigma 100-300/4 is one of the best lenses in it’s class, and also there’s no nikon lens to do the same job. 70-200 is great, but too short (it’s comparable when You add 1.4 teleconverter – but then it costs 4 times as much – not worth it, unless You print really big images), and 80-400 is to slow (no AF-S).

      PENTAX on the other hand is producing great camera and lenses, and I really hope that their strategy will give other players something to think about, and hopefully the prices will go down.

  • Anonymous

    So much ignorance here. The Pentax 645 isn’t even K-Mount. Pentax does offer an adapter, but it doesn’t allow autofocus or aperture control. Although my D300 is lightyears ahead in terms of technology, I am still proud of my 645N when NOTHING that Nikon make at the time even came close.

    • Jay

      The 645-K adapter obviously makes 645 lenses available on 35mm K-mount bodies, not the other way around. Registration distance, reflex mirror size, and image circle size are the first challenges that come to mind that Pentax would have to overcome to allow K-mount glass to fit on their MF bodies.

      • Anonymous

        I was responding to the comments about the 645 being an “upgrade” to the current Pentax DSLRs. They are not a true upgrade wince the K-Mount and the 645 mount are different. While you might be able to make an adapter to address the physical incompatibilities and the registration distance issues, you’d still have to deal with the coverage of the K mount lens itself. I do not think that any K mount lens has sufficient coverage for even a 645 crop sensor, but that depends on the actual size of the sensor. Some of the old full frame film lenses might do it, but not Pentax’s equivalents of our DX series lenses.

        645 lenses would be absolutely gigantic for an APS-C sensor… I wonder if there’s an adapter to allow Pentax 645 lenses to fit on my D300?

        • Go to eBay and see the choices from several venders. The ones made in Beijing from Cirrus are the best. Investigate and be surprised how your P645 lens will raise your image quality level one big step — for kinds of work with no needs for AF and use Live Views for accurate focusing and DOF compromising stopped down. I am so thrilled with my results with the P67 lenses (even on a D300) I used P67 lenses almost exclusively in my two recent landscape trips, except to when I needed wide angle where my 14-24/2.8G is super.

  • Nino

    Where was Nikon/Canon when Pentax was making the first japanese reflex, medium format, sexy limited primes?

    • pete

      who cares ? the pentax brotherhood is as rabid as they come. defending products that are irrelevant to the world today. pentax…we dont care, go away inbreds. even sony is more relevant in todays market than you are.

      • Anonymous

        define relevant?

        focusing light and putting it on a recording medium?


  • Pentax User

    Pentax trolls need stay of Nikon forums if they’re going to post negative comments about Nikon stuff and/or brag about their system. You *know* we wouldn’t let that shit go down on Pentax Forums.

    So show some respect — remember, we’re all photographers. We all have good reasons for shooting Pentax, Nikon, Canon, Leica, or Kodak Brownie, for that matter.

    But that goes to Nikon users, too. We don’t sit around bashing your system — prove to us that you’re better than that by showing respect; don’t cling to your guns (err, camera) and start getting enraged.

    We’re all just photographers after all.

    • RThomas

      Most of us are photographers, but I do detect some techno-jealousy on all camera boards these days. Honestly, I love my Nikons, and have since the 1980s. HOWEVER, I’ve used Canon FD and EOS cameras, and Pentax 645, K1000, and Spotmatics too. I would like to see Pentax continue to produce cameras. If I had unlimited funds I would definitely own some products from almost every major manufacturer, but when you have a budget, you have to pick a brand (or two) and stick with it for the most part. Some people feel the need to defend their choice, I guess, but this isn’t politics or religion (at least not to me).

      • Tom

        +1 It’s not about the camera ; it’s about taking pictures and enjoying them.

        • Anonymous

          true but gearheads are too busy testing their cameras instead of taking wonderful pictures that any 9 years olds can take.

  • raio

    Agree. I bought an almost new Pentax 645 System with 4 lenses two years ago for 20 % of the listed price hoping that there will be a digital medium format system one day. If Pentax will do it now and the price tag is a bit more realistic than Nikon´s D3x, I´ll buy it. BTW: many of us complain about Nikon´s prime lens policy; I made my choice: I bought some Leica R-lenses, used they are very, very cheap and re-mounted the bayonet, so I have my primes, haha. And: today Leica stopped selling the whole R-system, camera R9 and all lenses as they`ll bring a digital system.

  • alex

    pentax sells crappy cameras today. it’d rather buy a sony now than a pentax.

    go ahead and buy one, see what i’m talking about

    • AZ

      Alex, I guess that You haven’t seen any test, neither played with one of the cameras. They maybe look shitty and cheap, but the image quality is great – and this what counts.

      • Hulk

        AZ, you’re loosing your time here. Most people here have never touched a MF camera. They prefer dreaming of swivel LCD and MPixels.

        • Anonymous

          Not true. Many people just want a good camera. A 645 is too big to be practical for many working photographers outside the studio.

          We’d all love to have a medium-format quality sensor in a D90-D300 ish body with the best bits of glass from the various manufacturers.

          People pick a system cos it suits them. There are compromises everywhere.

        • AZ

          Yeah, I know, and the more I think about this MPx war the bigger is the smile on my face. A lot of people are buying high MPx cameras as they think this will improve their photography skill. Moreover, some of them are spending couple thousand bucks on high pix bodies and 200-300 on lenses.

          As for Pentax, I was not writing only about the MF, their digital line is really good and the quality to price ratio is one of the best in the market.

          • Tom

            Let’s hope Pentax share their designs with Tokina and every body (sic) can benefit.

      • Anonymous

        Good, but not as good as many others ?

    • Jared

      Um, no. Go handle one, they’re quite sturdy. Most are weather sealed, as well.

      • Anonymous

        I handled one before I setled on Nikon. Just felt wrong. There weren’t any SWM motors then though, so maybe things have got better.

    • I have a K-30………..

  • Buy Film

    Who cares, just buy a full frame film camera and save your money. Also, as a couple of people have highlighted – Pentax is a different beast to Nikon and Canon. Way back in the late 70’s when I started as a pro and right up till today, Pentax has regarded 35mm as a ‘toy’ format for those playing at photography.

    They have produced some decent 35mm cameras over the years but never felt the need to take on the ‘pro’ Nikons and Canons. Think to the late 80’s when Minolta, Canon and Nikon all had their very latest all new pro autofocus cameras such as Nikon’s F4… Pentax produced nothing similar and never felt the need to.

    In terms of the price decrease – well, in tough times in business, you often have to sacrifice profit for revenue. Any money – even if it means every item sold is at a loss – is good when times are hard… they would only have to worry about the longer term if they are making no profit anywhere else, such as medium format, either. Otherwise, its just a matter of battening the hatches and riding out the storm and hoping it doesn’t last too long…… which this one just might. TEN YEARS TO GET OUT OF THIS ONE MY FRIENDS…. MARK MY WORDS…. IT WILL BE A DECADE BEFORE WE START TO CLIMB OUT OF THIS RECESSION – OR AS IT WILL BECOME KNOWN – DEPRESSION. HOLD ON TO YOUR HATS…. PAIN IS ON THE WAY!

  • Nikkorian

    Well, Buy Film, or should I say Nostradamus? Things are being written about a paradigmshift concering a world power USA. I will rather believe something like that. But as long as I keep working and the chinese keep coming – no recession will last very long.

    Concering the price increases – what the hell is Nikon thinking? With all the good and reasonably priced Sigma lenses coming up, having an ultra sonic AF mechanism and therefore competing at eye-level with Nikon.

    • Tom

      There seems to be a lot of fear-mongering going about. This will only make things worse. Be smart, be positive.

  • rhlpetrus

    As I posted on DPR about this, to me it’s like a farewell cry, Pentax and Leica have opted for the wrong route IMO. Hope Nikon stay the course, and don’t worry about a whole new system which won’t be seeling more than a couple thousand units, for a huge investment.

    Leica and Pentax look to me like will drown together, and Leica had the inetresting micro43 option to go, which is proving to be very successful marketwise. Imagine a small fully electronic RF Leica with wonderful compact Leitz glass.

  • Peter

    The digital 645 is old! it was shown on the Kina in 2006. It won’t be in shops soon.
    The price drop is there because the camera’s will be replaced

    • Another Pentaxian

      The reason it hadn’t been released isn’t that it’s ‘old’… to all appearances, they’ve been working on it all this time.

      I’ve got nothing against Nikon, (apart from certain longstanding snobbery: I remember it from days shooting Canon FD and we were among the ‘poor cousins’ to a lot of Nikon types,) …but actually, having just bought into a DSLR system, I went with the Pentax cause far from putting out ‘toys,’ they actually came out with more ‘serious’ cameras for the price points than anyone else is doing. I’ve always respected Pentax glass, and certainly respect them bucking the ‘race’ and feature-bloat trends and taking the time to get this 645 (presumably) right.

      If it matters all that much to you what someone else is using, pick up a K20d sometime. They do impress. If I were a more-moneyed individual, I might have gone with Canon some time before this came out, or Nikon as of the D300’s appearance, to share lenses with something like an FE2.

      On boards like this, people often tend to compare brands as though everyone’s got several grand to plunk down, (often with Nikon types seeming to think that anyone who chooses a different name must have a hole in their heads, …and usually end up comparing this K20d *to* far more expensive models from other brands.

      You use what’s the best tool for what you do that you can actually obtain. There’s a lot of talk about what’s ‘professional.’ ‘Professional’ is knowing that and making a few bucks.

      This isn’t a war of some kind, and I don’t think it serves any photographer’s interest to be sniping at each other. If photographers are more married to names than results, then the names will start telling us what we need, rather than the other way around. That’s no good for anyone.

  • Cream of Wheat

    35mm was never professional as far as Pentax was concerned, and this philosophy has continued into the digital era (although their 35mm form factor DSLRs and lenses make as good a picture as any other cropped sensor camera out there).
    Pentax has always been about image quality over myriad features that more often than not get in the way of photography.
    It looks like they now think sensor technology has come far enough along that digital is good enough to equate with professional in their eyes, the result being that they are finally re-entering the professional camera market.

    • Henrik

      Its funny that pentax toy 35 mm got the best FF lenses to mounth. What if pentax had been serius about it 😉

      And dont say anything about the k20d before you handled it. Its better built than the d300.

  • Full size resolution chart test image example here: Pentax 67 90-180mm/f5.6 zoom lens on the 5um pixel spacing Canon 5DII sensor. I am running the risk here to drive the used MF lenses price and hurt my future acquisitions!

  • Anonymous

    “Pentax” was one of the names the Nippon Optical Corporation cycled through when coming up with the name of their new camera in 1948. They ended up calling it the “Nikon” instead.

  • nostatic

    *yawn* the usual ill-informed hate speak and fandom. Funny how those that offer the most bile-ridden comments are usually those who measurebate and pixe-peep until they are blind. Gawd forbid they’d actually worry about composition or aesthetic. But different strokes…technogeeks need love too.

    I’ve owned and shot Nikon and currently have Pentax. Both have their strengths and weaknesses. Nikon has amazing hi-iso performance and strong AF as well. They also have an incredibly diverse lens profile. My favorite was my old 105mm micro (pre VR). But for me I find the UI on the K20d to be more natural (personal choice) and I totally love the way that the limited primes feel and perform. There just aren’t equivalents in the Nikon lineup to either the FA ltd lenses or the DA ltds.

    It just depends on what/how you shoot and your eye. I don’t shoot weddings or products. I have an aesthetic and continually try to expand and refine that. And I want a tool that works with me as opposed to against me. Right now I find a Pentax is the best fit for that. No doubt I could come close with a D300 or D700 (almost bought those at different times) but in the end for *my* needs the K20d with a small ltd prime is the best “fit.” MF is a whole ‘nother ballgame and it isn’t clear that for what I typically shoot that would be the best tool. But it might lead me to shooting/seeing other things. Just like a D700 might as well. However as someone who primarily does street/abstract/art, I don’t really need FF or MF. And in fact some of my best work has come out of a good P&S (Leica Dlux3/4).

    To me it is all about the shot, and not about the mp or the photozone tests or any other quantifiable nonsense. My goal is to capture a slice of time. Numbers won’t help me do that. A tool will, and there is more to using a tool than just the raw performance. Art/photography is a human endeavor, and it requires a human/machine interface. That interface cannot be underestimated, and is a highly personal thing. So make sweeping pronouncements about “this sucks” or “that rules” is just…misguided. imho, ymmv.

  • A new Nikon fanboy

    All these people claiming that Pentax never took 35mm seriously, have you forgotten the Pentax LX?

    Pentax brought this out in 1980. What a beautiful, compact and rugged camera. I truly coveted one for a long time.

    Anyway, I certainly hope that Pentax remains a viable player. As consumers, we only win when the major players feel heat from competition.

    There is no “perfect” system that matches the needs of the six billion people on this planet. We all make our choices and live with the compromises.

    There’s no need for some weenies in a forum to ridicule someone else’s choice.

    This goes for the Pentax people that instantly assume I bought my Nikon D40 just for the name, or the Nikon people that look down on someone holding any other brand in their hands.

    • LX Guy

      I actually have 3 LX bodies, and yes they are quite nice. Far nicer, in fact, than the Nikon F3 and Canon F1N that were contemporaneous with it. The LX is reputed to be a reward to the camera designers and engineers that made the transition from screw mount to bayonet mount cameras as successful as it was.
      The fact that it had an almost 20 year production run is testament to the quality of the camera. Had it been a bust, it would have been dropped early on in the AF camera era.
      Unfortunately, the LX was a one off camera, there was no real follow up to it. The pro 35mm market is simply one that Pentax showed no interest in because of the generally very poor imaging character of 35mm compared to medium format.
      Witness now, they’ve carried that same philosophy to the 35mm form factor digital camera era with very good quality camera bodies that are still quite reasonably priced, and, if you’d care to check out a K20 some time, you will find it to be solidly built (contrary to what a fanboy for Nikon posted earlier) with an easy to understand and use control layout.
      Image stabilization on any lens that can be mounted is a definite bonus as well. In fact a noted writer, Mike Johnston calls Nikon (and Canon as well) hobbled by their in lens image stabilization approach.

    • Another Pentaxian

      Oh, I wouldn’t ridicule you for toting a D40, those are nice little machines. (And little can be a positive quality if it’s to ride alongside an old Canon and some SSC glass, really. 🙂 ) Considered one, myself, when they started being available very cheap, to supplant the bridge camera I’d been sort of limping along with in that role, waiting for a DSLR I liked to come within budget .

      They make nice images, those, …problem there being a rather big gulf between those and the kind of stuff I’d *really* want to be shooting with. (Nikon seems to be working on this, with an affordable normal that’ll function with those, ) But the numbers didn’t work out, that’s all.

      Contrary to what some seem to imagine, most Pentaxians chose the brand for simple reasons: those being love of the glass and its qualities, alongside very practical evaluations of the system. I used to shoot the 6×7 way back when, …in my hands, a huge, cantankerous thing that made me think “It’s a Spotmatic for Andre the Giant.” But it made me loo *soo* good. So I have a love of the glass. Also, for a lot of practical reasons, Pentax just had the stuff. Showed a lot of design thinking that’s very compatible with the old school. Weather seals, so you can treat the camera like you always treated a camera, instead of like an expensive computer anyway….Not making you pay two grand to have that and a PC socket… Shows some respect for the photographer, that. Not everyone who takes their photography seriously needs the biggest and fastest pricey beastie out there. 🙂

      Sure, a lot of people do shoot Nikon, and now Canon, for the brand name. There certainly are a lot of Nikon types who come off kind of like weenies who figure anything with that name on it outclasses anything with another…. And that this applies to the respective photographers, too, (I think Canon EOS shooters kind of inherited a chip on their shoulder about that, and Nikonian pride was hurt by the brand lagging behind for a lot of years) ….. but actually, most Pentax folk are pretty practical about it all.

      I think most good photographers are, too. Makes no sense to feel somehow diminished if another brand comes out with something nice. That’s a *sure* sign hot air is involved.

      I really think that in coming times, it’s not the Canon community, not the Nikon community, not the Pentax community, but the *photo* community that’s kind of got to stick together *toward* the companies who make the stuff we need. Cause, really, with the money-men in a panic, the companies are liable to do anything. If they think they *can* cut corners and have an item defended blindly by an Internet following, well, as we’ve seen, corporate types will probably in fact do that.

      Probably it’s pretty cheap to set people to posting on the Internet about how this or that company is inexorably doomed if they don’t put half-*ahemed* video in a still camera…But that’s not necessarily what’s real, you know?

      One of my best students ever, in fact, loves a D40. And in a sense, great that it can’t meter with a lot of lenses, he had to learn the handheld type. Use yours well. 🙂

  • robin

    Most people who choose Pentax do so because they pack the most features and the best image quality into the least expensive package. Until Canikon have image stabilisation in every lens, weather sealing on an affordable body and primes like the astounding Limited series then comments like the following from the stunningly ignorant Alex merely paint Nikon lovers as closed minded:

    “pentax sells crappy cameras today. it’d rather buy a sony now than a pentax.”

    I am so glad I get my information from places like the British Journal of Photography, who directly compared Pentax to Sony. No, Sony didn’t win.

    Thankfully in the real world the Nikon shooters I know always looks with great interest at my gear and want to try it out for themselves. (This includes at least one pro). Then we get back to taking pictures. Which is what it should be all about.

  • wow – I never knew we had so many Pentax fans here

    • Another Pentaxian

      We were in the neighborhood. 🙂

  • Rosco

    Like many, my first camera was a Pentax K1000. I now shoot Nikon but certainly want Pentax to continue. Pentax always had a great name in MF.

    I had to chuckle at all the rabid bashers of this camera. If it was called Nikon MX they’d be gooing over it like a dribbling baby and saying “Look what Nikon can do”!!

    • Lance

      Agree TOTALLY! If this was the Nikon MX system this thread would be nothing but praise and anticipation! HAHA.

      I have a D90. I love it, and I’m consistantly pleased by what I’m able to do with it. The most impressive thing to me is how I can shoot at mind-boggling ISOs and still have excellent print quality. Notice I said “PRINT” quality? Too many people get caught up in how their camera’s images look 100% on screen. Who cares? Pictures are for printing, damn it! When was the last time you “feature geeks” tried printing something?

      My D70s looked FANTASTIC printing 8×12, my D90 looks even better and can do so at even higher ISOs thanks to less noise and higher resolution… BUT I HARDLY EVER PRINT THAT BIG! Seriously – how often are you printing 8×12 or larger? If a 6mp D70s can do it, why is everyone so bothered about a Pentax MF system? The pros who NEED it will buy it, the rest of us who never print posters will keep shooting 35mm type cameras. Why are we all arguing? Don’t tell me about the need to crop… if you crop that much you need a longer lens and some composition skills.

      My love for my Nikon stuff hasn’t got me putting down other manufacturers… I think competition improves the breed and I agree with those who clearly point out that Nikon needs to pull up its socks in the lens department. I just may go get some Pentax 645 primes and an adapter for my F-mount Nikon and see what happens!

  • Anonymous

    I’ve tried lots of cameras and systems, in no particular order :

    Pentax me super, mz5n

    Minolta x300, A2 (Sony) A100

    Olympus Om2sp, Om40

    Canon AE1P

    And the last one I tried was Nikon. I doubt very much I’ll ever change again.

    That should say something right ?

    • Luis

      It could say a lot of things:
      1) you’re happy with what you’ve got.
      2) you’re broke from buying so many cameras 🙂
      3) you haven’t tryed anyting better yet (have you seen the new…)
      4) you’re getting old (wiser?) and settling down
      5) … Just as long as one is satisfied with whatever camera one has, that’s OK.

      What that doesn’t mean, for sure, is that Nikon is the absolut best camera because I keep seeing other camera brands being sold.

  • wilfred

    i just bought a pentax k-m 10.2 mp camera, is pentax better than nikon D series? i mean the d40 and d60 nikon, i found the image a bit noisy when i use in auto mode, close portraits come superb in macro setting why is that? overall is pentax k-m a good camera? i thot pentax is better than nikon,,,pls give me a non biased answer

  • grumpyjohn

    Pentax can do it because they, almost, have to. As a few noted, Pentax has rarely taken the 35mm format seriously, but the reality of the market is that digital is eating film and the pro-sumer, or high-end amateur, is going dSLR and you need to be seriously in that market. Nikon and Canon are dominant forces, but Pentax has a solid reputation and can get in if they have a compelling story, which they do since the advent of the K10D and now the K20D. Coupled with backwards support for basically every piece of glass they ever produced, Pentax makes for a very good choice for people.

    As for brand vs brand, I’m not surprised at some of the postings, it’s endemic to the Internet in just about any arena you can imagine (look at Apple vs Microsoft, for example). However, many such posters are, really, children. Nikon, Canon, and Pentax all make good equipment and that’s all any of us need, the rest is up to the eye taking the shot. No camera in the world can make up for a bad photographer and a great photographer can work wonders with the lowliest point and shoot.

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