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Author Topic: Pentax in difficult?  (Read 2051 times)

davidgp

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Pentax in difficult?
« on: June 19, 2017, 05:14:24 PM »

Even if we have a long thread about Nikon going to fall... maybe Pentax it is the first one to go in that direction: https://www.dpreview.com/news/3586946955/ricoh-announced-cost-cuts-in-order-to-survive . Looks like their Photocopy/Printer business it is not doing very well and that it is their main income... That could mean that they start to sell things to get money... (this last phrase it is my personal speculation).

Paul2660

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Re: Pentax in difficult?
« Reply #1 on: June 20, 2017, 08:01:42 AM »

Pentax's K1 is an excellent camera and IMO  more feature function than anything that Nikon or Canon offer for the dollar.   Optics are close with many lenses in the wide, to normal range, but very lacking in telephoto.  Pentax has relied on Tamron to manufacture most of their K1 full frame zooms also. 

Sigma is no longer making any of their Art lenses in the K mount and I believe Tamron has also dropped it.

It's a case of too little too late IMO.  Pixel shift creates excellent image quality, however the support for it in LR is terrible and C1 won't support it.  Silkpix is not a solution for me. So the single greatest advantage in the camera has the worse support go figure.

Pentax also overlook the white dot issue that Nikon was able to control in the D810.  The K1 is plagued with white dots with longer exposures.  Pentax only provided a solution for this for jpg output, worthless for raw. 

No modern Canon or Nikon lens will mount adapter to the K1 mount either. 

Overall IMO the product line was poorly managed at least here in the US. 

Paul Caldwell
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Paulo Bizarro

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Re: Pentax in difficult?
« Reply #2 on: June 20, 2017, 09:27:11 AM »

Indeed Pentax make some of the best cameras at the best prices, both FF and MF. However... even 20 years ago here in Portugal, it was difficult to identify who their representative was; today I don't know any better. Most photo shops don't even carry their gear anymore (same for Ricoh BTW).

No lenses from Sigma, Tokina, Tamron, Zeiss... dire times. I hope they rebound and survive.

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Re: Pentax in difficult?
« Reply #3 on: June 21, 2017, 12:54:36 AM »

Ricoh is in real difficulty. I think Pentax is gone soon or sold.
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razrblck

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Re: Pentax in difficult?
« Reply #4 on: June 21, 2017, 06:28:47 AM »

Well, Ricoh is realizing that the printers market is going to be greatly downsized in the digital age. I mean this trend was quite visible already 15 years ago, but hey better late than never right?

Camera companies seem to all be struggling. Sales are not going up, at best they stay constant but in general people don't buy new bodies every year anymore, especially when there isn't a lot to incite an upgrade.

This isn't surprising in the least, companies need to refocus their effort and carefully choose their market. They might want to switch business model as well for the long run. Companies like Philips are already experimenting (with success) with circular business models. This could help many customers in upgrading more often (as you just pay a fixed monthly or yearly fee), push more services where real money is made, and then upgrade or refurbish older gear for lower cost options. This way they also wouldn't have to make so many cameras, nor make them at the lowest cost possible as products would need to be designed to be upgraded, repaired, refurbished, reused, recycled so their initial cost would be spread across multiple years of use.

Renting gear is already very popular with professionals. Renting cars long term (just an example) is becoming popular with consumers as it lets them use higher end cars at a lower price. Philips and some others are already having success with circular business models, so if it works for light fixtures and LEDs I don't see why this wouldn't be just as successful with cameras and lenses.

Pentax (and Ricoh) really don't have anything more to lose, they could easily switch to this model and be more successful than before. Of course they would have to work with software developers to improve support, but offering a lower cost option for more features would already grab a sizeable chunk of the market. Even more so considering Pentax lens selection is small, so at rental prices it could be a good way to introduce people to it rather than force some to switch completely their lenses too for a huge loss when changing system.
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viewfinder

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Re: Pentax in difficult?
« Reply #5 on: June 21, 2017, 07:31:00 AM »

Pentax has a long history of being both innovative and well priced but they have apparently lost the plot about what photographers atually want and will buy.     The FF 'K1' is quite an interesting camera which I was interested in buying, however, it did not represent a complete product at a good enough price such that I could have faith in the purchase......K1 has some good features such as pixel shift but does not include the essential software to exploit the facility properly.  Also, the lack of comprehensive lens range is a serious 'con' and the basic DSLR design is not what everyone wants now.    At best this is considerable money for a doubtful product profile.      Pentax has had other apparent management failures such as abortive mirrorless model 'designed' by an industrial designer rather than photographers and the 'exciting colours for Jap schoolgirls' fiasco.    All in all a poor commercial showing over the last few years.
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Paul2660

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Re: Pentax in difficult?
« Reply #6 on: June 21, 2017, 08:49:32 AM »

Pentax has a long history of being both innovative and well priced but they have apparently lost the plot about what photographers atually want and will buy.     The FF 'K1' is quite an interesting camera which I was interested in buying, however, it did not represent a complete product at a good enough price such that I could have faith in the purchase......K1 has some good features such as pixel shift but does not include the essential software to exploit the facility properly.  Also, the lack of comprehensive lens range is a serious 'con' and the basic DSLR design is not what everyone wants now.    At best this is considerable money for a doubtful product profile.      Pentax has had other apparent management failures such as abortive mirrorless model 'designed' by an industrial designer rather than photographers and the 'exciting colours for Jap schoolgirls' fiasco.    All in all a poor commercial showing over the last few years.

Hi Viewfinder, great points.  I agree that Pentax could have done a better job for sure. 

They included a version of Sllkypix with the camera that does by far the best job on the pixel shift software, however the software itself was terribly outdated, and featureless.  If Pentax was trying to get the camera into the mainstream, they needed to get Adobe to spend more than the 5 minutes or so they spent on the conversion.  And or they could have worked with Phase One and C1 to get them to produce Pixel shift support.  Even the full version of Silkypix, which also has a great Pixel shift conversion is pretty worthless as far as raw image toolset when compared to LR or C1.  It's similar to what Fuji did with x-trans, but the larger user base I guess got C1 and LR to work on a better conversion over the years.   For sure Pentax-Ricoh could have done a much better job.

Paul Caldwell
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mecrox

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Re: Pentax in difficult?
« Reply #7 on: June 21, 2017, 09:06:18 AM »

Even if we have a long thread about Nikon going to fall... maybe Pentax it is the first one to go in that direction: https://www.dpreview.com/news/3586946955/ricoh-announced-cost-cuts-in-order-to-survive . Looks like their Photocopy/Printer business it is not doing very well and that it is their main income... That could mean that they start to sell things to get money... (this last phrase it is my personal speculation).

I shot Pentax on digital for a decade or so. Their IQ was always tops and their cameras were always well thought out, better than most in fact. But they do seem to have slipped behind the pack in recent years and good third-party support whether from Sigma or say Adobe has fallen away to none or minimal. I don't get the feeling that their parent company Ricoh have ever worked out what to do with them. There's been almost no marketing and without that who'll ever get to hear about you. It seems the general view is that Pentax are now on the slide because their parent company Ricoh is in trouble. No idea of course, but it doesn't look all that good because this is bound to affect the amount Ricoh can invest in anything. At the least I'd imagine Pentax will draw in their horns and concentrate on fewer lines, ones that can turn a profit for them. That said, looking around the camera brands it doesn't look good for several outfits. Highly uncertain times all round, I guess.
« Last Edit: June 21, 2017, 09:11:10 AM by mecrox »
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Doug Peterson

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Re: Pentax in difficult?
« Reply #8 on: June 21, 2017, 09:49:33 AM »

Camera companies seem to all be struggling. Sales are not going up, at best they stay constant but in general people don't buy new bodies every year anymore, especially when there isn't a lot to incite an upgrade.

True for most camera companies, but interestingly not true of Phase One whose 2016 financials were just released; revenue and profit were up year over year. Phase One has turned a profit, and increase sales every year since 2008 except for one year where sales were essentially even.

2016, 510 million DKK
2015, 413 million DKK
2014, 384 million DKK
2013, 388 million DKK
2012, 295 million DKK

1 DKK is around 0.15 USD or 0.13 Euro.

Take whatever lessons you like from that. My own lessons from that are too biased from my job to be useful here, so I'll just stick with the numbers.

Rob C

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Re: Pentax in difficult?
« Reply #9 on: June 21, 2017, 09:55:48 AM »

Maybe it's the penalty that has to be paid for not being sensible and adopting the DNG thingy.

Far too many opportunities in the digital world for companies to grow huge, and hold the rest to ransom if not just grind them to dust underfoot; nice to reduce this plethora of processors to a sensible few applicable across makes.

I can't really understand what any of the camera companies would lose if a common file format (that works) were adopted throughout the trade. It strikes me as pure bloody-mindedness not to go that route, and instead try to hang on to something that isolates companies rather than let their products be useful to all possible users. I've sometimes had the passing thought of getting one of those little Fuji X100 cameras for carrying around like a wallet - though I have to admit to having forgotten even that at times - and then I realise I couldn't simply stick the files into my old PS, just as much a bother as my Nikons which need to be introduced via Capture NX2. So the little camera remains unbought. Who the hell wants even more processing crap and required steps inside the computer?

Rob

Rob C

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Re: Pentax in difficult?
« Reply #10 on: June 21, 2017, 09:59:34 AM »

True for most camera companies, but interestingly not true of Phase One whose 2016 financials were just released; revenue and profit were up year over year. Phase One has turned a profit, and increase sales every year since 2008 except for one year where sales were essentially even.

2016, 510 million DKK
2015, 413 million DKK
2014, 384 million DKK
2013, 388 million DKK
2012, 295 million DKK

Take whatever lessons you like from that. My own lessons from that are too biased from my job to be useful here, so I'll just stick with the numbers.


Well, Albert Watson did a nice bit of promotion for you guys on Skye... perhaps it paid off.

;-)

Rob C

Paul2660

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Re: Pentax in difficult?
« Reply #11 on: June 21, 2017, 10:14:49 AM »

True for most camera companies, but interestingly not true of Phase One whose 2016 financials were just released; revenue and profit were up year over year. Phase One has turned a profit, and increase sales every year since 2008 except for one year where sales were essentially even.

2016, 510 million DKK
2015, 413 million DKK
2014, 384 million DKK
2013, 388 million DKK
2012, 295 million DKK

1 DKK is around 0.15 USD or 0.13 Euro.

Take whatever lessons you like from that. My own lessons from that are too biased from my job to be useful here, so I'll just stick with the numbers.

It will be interesting to see how that run rate continues through the next few years.  No doubt P1 has done a good job and bully for them.  The one area that I feel puts P1 above the rest (can't speak to Hasselblad here) but for sure Nikon, Canon and Sony and Fuji, is the after sales support with dealers.  Again this is all based on US experience.  I have worked with both Digital Transitions and Capture Integration and both are very well versed in both the software and hardware.  My latest issue with Fuji and their "Pro" support on the GFX left me less than anywhere near 100% satisfied or feeling as if Fuji had made any changes to their support mode for the GFX over the other X series cameras.  (note I did not sign up for the $500.00 per year GFX support and for what my problem was I did not need it, period.

P1 is working with a much different client model than Pentax also, and I guess it's fair to say there always will be room at the top, just like there is for Audi, or BMW et all. 

Back to my original post, is that Pentax truly did have something very unique and special with Pixel shift and they totally blew it with the way they handled the software support for it.  At least IMO.  However Pentax also laid a huge egg with the K1 in regards to the white dot issue.  Nikon found it out 1 full year before the K1 was shipped and fixed it on early cameras (mine included).  Pentax using the same sensor just walked right out and did nothing.  AMAZING for a camera with several special features designed for astro photography where odds are longer exposures will be used, again Amazing oversight.

Paul Caldwell
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MattBurt

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Re: Pentax in difficult?
« Reply #12 on: June 21, 2017, 11:32:09 AM »

As a longtime Pentax shooter I have been hearing about their imminent doom for years so I'm a bit jaded on the topic.
It appears the K-1 has been a good seller for them (last I heard anyway) and I certainly like mine. The Hoya days were kind of dark at times but Ricoh has most been good for the brand from my viewpoint.
645Z has aged well and now has some stiff competition so it will be interesting to see how that plays out.
I can shoot PixelShift images and develop them in LR and they look good when there isn't motion in the scene. When there is motion, there are artifacts but that isn't usually what I'm using the feature for so I don't see that issue much. I could use SilkyPix for those images but I avoid it if at all possible.
I like the hardware and the images I can make with it so I'm going to stick around for now. It would be too expensive to switch systems all at once as a crop, full frame, and medium format user but I know I might have to do that at some point. I just hope I don't need to.
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davidgp

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Re: Pentax in difficult?
« Reply #13 on: June 21, 2017, 02:34:00 PM »

True for most camera companies, but interestingly not true of Phase One whose 2016 financials were just released; revenue and profit were up year over year. Phase One has turned a profit, and increase sales every year since 2008 except for one year where sales were essentially even.

2016, 510 million DKK
2015, 413 million DKK
2014, 384 million DKK
2013, 388 million DKK
2012, 295 million DKK

1 DKK is around 0.15 USD or 0.13 Euro.

Take whatever lessons you like from that. My own lessons from that are too biased from my job to be useful here, so I'll just stick with the numbers.

I don't see that as a surprise. Phase One it is probably until now the company that more pushed the digital transformation of the medium format cameras, and also it is not surprise because now the money it is in the profesional market. Camera makers can make same profit selling less units just more expensive.

In my opinion, for all camera manufacturers, entry level market it is just there if someone it is curious to try an interchangable lens system, but they are making the money in the high quality products that they are selling more expensive, instead in selling lots of cheap ones like some years ago. That it is clear to see in some brands, Sigma introducing their ART lenses, Sony pushing for the Pro market in mirrorless, Fuji with the X series for the enthusiast market, even Pentax, moving finally to full frame with the K1... a pity they didn't follow more seriously their 645 digital series, they had an opportunity there... now lost to the new mirrorless medium format players (my opinion here... very questionable... )

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Re: Pentax in difficult? compacts vs ILCs?
« Reply #14 on: June 21, 2017, 03:28:02 PM »

Camera companies seem to all be struggling.
More specifically there is an industry-wide struggle for camera makers whose sales include a large proportion of low-priced fixed-lens cameras (hence the exception that Doug P. notes for Phase One, and maybe Leica and Hasselblad are also immune.)

What is almost always missing from these doom stories is information about sales, revenues, and profits for ILCs and their lenses. Overall there seems also to be a decline for DSLRs, but far more modest and maybe flattening out now, and with mirrorless ILC sales growing, but only weakly.
« Last Edit: June 21, 2017, 04:46:17 PM by BJL »
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MattBurt

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Re: Pentax in difficult?
« Reply #15 on: June 21, 2017, 04:10:02 PM »

There was also this April 12 press release from Ricoh for what it's worth.
Quote
Today there was an article saying that RICOH considers to shrink the camera business and withdraw from consumer products. This article is not based on RICOH's official announcement.
 
RICOH is focusing its resource on the high added value products such as PENTAX and GR that are appreciated by the existing users and photo hobbyists. RICOH is also a market leader of input devices in the VR or AR market with its "RICOH THETA" where we can see rapid growth, and will keep on expanding the business even more in this field. In addition, RICOH will develop and expand the imaging business in the solution business field for corporate, by creating new market utilizing its own camera technology.
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BernardLanguillier

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Re: Pentax in difficult?
« Reply #16 on: June 21, 2017, 05:21:23 PM »

True for most camera companies, but interestingly not true of Phase One whose 2016 financials were just released; revenue and profit were up year over year. Phase One has turned a profit, and increase sales every year since 2008 except for one year where sales were essentially even.

2016, 510 million DKK
2015, 413 million DKK
2014, 384 million DKK
2013, 388 million DKK
2012, 295 million DKK

Great for them. I sincerely hope that the trend goes on.

P1 is currently in the interesting, but scary by most business standards, position of having with the IQ-100 arguably the best camera on the market... and nothing else likely to sell in significant numbers for the general market. There has been a like new IQ350 in the second hand section for weeks, selling several thousands below retail price (after the retail price got discounted 10,000 US$) and it still doesn't sell.

It is de facto a single product lineup and that excellent product is selling at a high price premium vs its closest competitor that is very close in terms of performance if not superior in some aspects (the H6D-100c). The 2017 results will be key since they will be the first to be released after MF went mirrorless. By the time P1 gets in the game, Fuji and Hasselblad will be releasing the second generation of their compact MF cameras that will address existing small issues, and they will have a full lenses line up.

P1 is currently the Canon/Nikon of MF... without the huge installed based.

C1 Pro and their specialized offerings should hopefully help them overcome this tough period.

On Pentax, the only thing I find a bit surprising is the lack of a 645x with the 100mp "real" MF Sony sensor. Other than that they should be on track and it looks like their cameras are overall selling at least as well as they expected.

Cheers,
Bernard
« Last Edit: June 21, 2017, 08:14:27 PM by BernardLanguillier »
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Doug Peterson

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Re: Pentax in difficult?
« Reply #17 on: June 22, 2017, 04:30:24 PM »

P1 is currently in the interesting, but scary by most business standards, position of having with the IQ-100 arguably the best camera on the market... and nothing else likely to sell in significant numbers for the general market.

It is de facto a single product lineup and that excellent product is selling at a high price premium vs its closest competitor that is very close in terms of performance if not superior in some aspects (the H6D-100c).

This is simply not the case. Phase sells a nice mix of 100mp, 80mp, 50mp, and refurbished 60mp, 40mp backs. The IQ3 and IQ1 lines are both meaningfully contributing toward sales. We also round out sales with a nice mix of industrial, aerial, and cultural heritage cameras. It's quite the opposite of a "single product lineup".

But I see the myth of some huge price premium of P1 vs Hasselblad somehow persists.

The closest equivalent to the H6D in P1's lineup is an IQ1. The more expensive IQ3 series comes with a five year warranty with overnight loaner of any component (including lenses, back, body, viewfinder) and is not a good point of pricing comparison. That warranty covers an unlimited number of captures.

The XF 100mp kit comes with an 80mm lens, so valid comparisons would include (any and all corrections from a Hassy expert welcome; I'm using B&H for the below Hassy prices!):

List Prices
$38k = XF, IQ1 100mp, Schneider 80mm LS BR lens
$36k = H6D-100c + HC 80mm lens
----
P1 is more expensive by 5%.


$21k = H6D-50c + HC 80mm lens
$19k = XF, IQ1 50mp, Schneider 80mm LS BR (promo until until end of June)
----
P1 is less expensive by 10%


What about if you don't want the XF or H6 body, and just want to use the digital back on a tech camera?

$33 = H6D-100c to use on a tech/view camera
$33 = IQ1 100mp to use on a tech/view camera
----
Same price*


$21k = H6D-50c to use on a tech/view camera
$15k = IQ1 50mp to use on a tech/view camera
----
P1 is less expensive by 29%


So, where again is this huge premium? If you say "on the IQ3" then you'll have to show me the price for a Hasselblad H6D with a 5-year warranty, a loaner on any component including lenses, and an unlimited number of captures; such a product doesn't exist, and if it did I suspect the price would be just about the same as the IQ3. For comparison the H6 warranty and HC lens warranty cover 100,000 shots. You simply can't compare prices between a product you can buy and one (an H6D with generous warranty) that doesn't exist.

Not to mention that we also have and sell a healthy supply of refurished digital backs (that still come with a full warranty, dealer support, and all new accessories) that can lower the price further.


*I'm not sure what the external rigging Hassy requires for powering the H6 on a tech cam costs. The IQ1, of course, just runs off it's normal (included) battery.


There has been a like new IQ350 in the second hand section for weeks, selling several thousands below retail price (after the retail price got discounted 10,000 US$) and it still doesn't sell.

Okay. What do you mean to imply by pointing at this one back? Maybe it's related to the IQ1 50mp June Promo. Or maybe it's just that most people, in my (heavily biased) experience, really want to buy premium cameras from dealers where there are guarantees of condition, resolving any issue, new accessories, support, training, etc. I'm sure most private sales go very smoothly, but even a small risk of a problem with a $20k+ purchase scares many people off.


C1 Pro and their specialized offerings should hopefully help them overcome this tough period.

We clearly have very different views. When a company has 9 years a row where revenue and profit grow consistently I don't see it as a "tough period".

For what it's worth, and I only have a solid view on the US market that we (DT) sells to, Phase One is doing quite well in the first half of 2017.

BernardLanguillier

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Re: Pentax in difficult?
« Reply #18 on: June 22, 2017, 06:45:16 PM »

Doug,

How about the pricing of the IQ3? ;)

Cheers,
Bernard
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razrblck

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Re: Pentax in difficult?
« Reply #19 on: June 23, 2017, 04:34:08 AM »

True for most camera companies, but interestingly not true of Phase One whose 2016 financials were just released; revenue and profit were up year over year. Phase One has turned a profit, and increase sales every year since 2008 except for one year where sales were essentially even.

2016, 510 million DKK
2015, 413 million DKK
2014, 384 million DKK
2013, 388 million DKK
2012, 295 million DKK

1 DKK is around 0.15 USD or 0.13 Euro.

Take whatever lessons you like from that. My own lessons from that are too biased from my job to be useful here, so I'll just stick with the numbers.

I'm not surprised at all, Doug. P1 has carved themselves a niche of the market and they seem to be dominating it, they definitely contributed to Hasselblad getting their act together.

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