Rumor of Pentax's Demise

Discussion in 'Pentax' started by lewis_hizer, May 23, 2008.

  1. Hi, I'm brand new to posting on this forum though I read it frequently. I'm a wedding
    photographer who uses a Fuji S3, along with a Pentax 6x7 for the large formal
    group shots. (Also a K100D for low-light grab shots, and an LX for occasional
    35mm film use.) Anyway, I noticed that I spend as much on 120/220 film and
    processing each year as the price of a K20D, and since it's image quality seems
    to be so good, I thought I'd buy one. Of course no one in town has one in stock,
    but what disturbed me is that at one store I tried, which always had Pentax
    cameras and lenses such as K10D, 50-135mm f2.8 DA* zoom, etc.,, they
    suddenly have NOTHING and the salesman claims all of the following:
    that "Pentax is dead", Hoya is not going to continue carrying Pentax cameras,
    they've "suspended production", they will probably sell it all to Samsung, maybe
    Samsung will continue the cameras under Samsung brand name but won't honor
    warranties on Pentax-branded equipment, etc. etc.
    It all sounded a bit phony to me, but I've known the guy there since I bought my 67
    from him in 2000. I'm used to B.S. about Pentax from camera-store clerks since I
    started hearing it in 1976, but this store always heavily featured Pentax and its
    sudden disappearance kind of shocked me. Has anyone else heard these
  2. The way you describe it does sound worrisome.
  3. I had a a few dozen Takumars, Super Takumars, SMC Takumars. Several Spotmatics, H3V, and ES2. With few exceptions all were great cameras and lenses. Pentax had significant market share.

    They seemed to fall off the wagon in the 80`s or 90`s producing strange looking cameras and lenses. Maybe the pics were fine, but I never tried one. The old craftsmanship just was not there and I had moved on to a different system. Evidently others felt the same and the brand slipped into third world status.

    I guess they did not have the resources to compete in the digital revolution. Hoya capital may pull it out, but once the market shifts it is very hard to get it back. VERY HARD. Ask General Motors. They let a 57% market share slip thru their fingers.

    Time will tell how Hoya/Pentax does. My vote is they are through even though the current products may be superb and state of the art.
  4. Perhaps it's nothing more than the store choosing to drop Pentax gear and wanting to scare you into buying gear that they do stock.
  5. Leica has died at least a dozen times.
  6. Recently the local camera dealers were hit with $50,000 minimum order requirements to retain their Olympus and Sony product lines. Maybe hoya pentax has decided to improve their product representation with this new marketing feature too?

    Nikon & Canon have not pulled this stunt yet, however you must be a high volume dealer to obtain full frame D3 dslrs from Nikon at wholesale for resale.

  7. Interesting you should mention this. I went to a (the) local independent photo shop today to see about buying the new 300mm f4 from them rather than on the web

    They report serious difficulties in getting good info from pentax since last year's "re-organization" (downsizing.) Bottom line: Baltimore's leading supplier of photographic equipment was willing to have me walk away and buy off the web (which I did) rather than make an effort to order the lens.

    I don't know how much this reflects real Pentax problems or simple arrogance /complacency on the part of the shop. Either way, it's disconcerting.
  8. Before the K10D was released, our local shop told us that Pentax was dead too. Even
    if Hoya dropped/sold the Pentax line, the K-Mount will be supported for a long time.
    I'm not worried about rumors.
  9. Most camera sales people are out to make a sale immediately with whatever they
    have in stock. I used to sell cameras (working my way through grad school) and I
    heard the most unbelievable crap come out of salesmen's mouths on a regular basis.

    As a camera salesman back in 1985 I also heard the "Pentax is dead" line, and it's
    almost always said for the following reasons:

    1. The store doesn't have much Pentax gear in stock, so they can't run up a big sale if
    they try to sell your Pentax gear. The few pieces of Pentax gear they *do* have is
    "window dressing" to give the appearance of a complete line of inventory, but the goal
    is to switch you to something else. They don't want to special order anything,
    because they won't get a good wholesale price from the manufacturer (no volume
    discounts), and don't want to go through the extra work.

    2. Another camera brand (C* or N* perhaps) is offering "spiffs" on every camera sold.
    "Spiffs" are incentives paid directly to the sales person for moving a particular brand of
    camera. It's essentially a bribe by the camera manufacturer to have the salesman
    push that brand.

    3. The salesman doesn't know *how* to sell a Pentax camera as he's probably never
    even played with one. Many salesman learn only a few different camera models and
    are pretty much incapable of answering questions on cameras that they don't know.

    Remember, many salesman exploit FUD (fear, uncertainty,and doubt) in consumers to
    drive them to a particular purchase decision. The photography sales business can be
    quite ugly, and now with internet business severely cutting into local stores' profits,
    you have to take everything you hear with a huge grain of salt.

    I am proud to say that I pushed Pentax cameras when I was doing sales, and I took a
    lot of crap for it at the store where I worked. The manager hated that, but I was a good
    salesman and knew how to move gear. :)
  10. ru�mor (rmr)
    1. A piece of unverified information of uncertain origin usually spread by word of mouth.
    2. Unverified information received from another; hearsay.
    tr.v. ru�mored, ru�mor�ing, ru�mors
  11. Bottom line is Pentax is not going anyware. They are here for the long run. What Pentax is guilty of is ''LOUSY'' marketing....The only Marketing pentax really has is us forum folks who sit here and try and tell the world what a great product it is and defend Pentax against those canikon people and so forth...I live in Los Angeles...The largest market in the states and I see NO pentax marketing what so ever.....Rumors like this are bad and until Pentax gets a clue they will make their rounds.....
  12. I haven't read anything like this recently on the other Pentax Forums I frequent. Not to say this is or isn't correct, but if it is, you just broke the news to the entire Pentax global community.<p>What I believe is going on is Pentax changed its US distribution focus from direct sales by Pentax reps to account sales to large distributors - and they rely on the distributors' sales forces.<p>If you are a regional camera store chain, large enough to buy direct but not a national chain, and you lost your Pentax rep, your distributor rep might not be up on Pentax yet, or the distributor might not have accepted any Pentax promotions yet (Canikon would try to prevent that).<p>All this means is Ned Bunnell needs to get this train moving - Walmart and Target aren't going to cut it in the higher-end DSLR market.<p>Pentax NA will get its act together, but it will take longer than we would like. I'd bet this Christmas season is uncommonly important.
  13. How much did Hoya spend to buy Pentax? Did they spend that much just to shut it down?
  14. Hoya bought Pentax for the medical devision; that is the significant money maker; not the camera side. I do think these are critical times for the imaging group, but they have good products, they are restructuring to streamline the company and increase it's profitability; it's just business. And the DSLR market is certainly a growing business.

    I really think they are going to do fine. But worse, worse case as in Minolta the system has a such a legacy and install base K mount will be around a long, long time. I wrestled with all this before dumping my Canon and jumping whole hog into Pentax last year. About $7 in gear and a year latter it was the right choice for me. And who know in ten years or so what we'll be shooting as a standard cameras. I'll be willing to bet it won't be a DSLR system. These are computers with lenses now and the technology is moving faster than ever. It's hard for anyone to see more than a few years out.
  15. I still say it is very hard to get market share back. Maybe Hoya wants to make it go, but that does not mean it will. N and C have a big head start
  16. Pentax is a valuable company for the same reason Carl Zeiss is a valuable company: Lens development and production for medical equipment. Hoya's purchasing Pentax had almost everything to do with that and almost nothing to do with individual consumers of photographic equipment.

    Still, Zeiss recently came out with a line of high end lenses for K Mount and, correct me if I'm wrong, but Pentax's print ad campaign is all over the photography magazines. Both companys seem to be staying with photography and, more to the point, continue to produce the higher end stuff for "pro-sumers" even though it's not the main focus of the corporation.

    I too had a camera shop salesman tell me it's almost impossible for him to get Pentax lenses in a timly fashion. Another salesman at another store said they don't carry much Pentax equipment because it's mostly cheaper stuff that they occasionally sell to students (he said this while standing in front of a wall literally wallpapered with Nikon posters).

    Yes, theoretically Pentax DSLRS could stop production virtually over night. It is just as likely that a more secure mega-corporation like Sony could decide at the next board meeting that DSLRs are no longer meeting their profit margin and to stop production on them. You take your chances.

    Still, by all reports, Pentax sales/profits are on the rise. I just can't imagine a company cutting a growing facet of its organization loose.
  17. C'mon we've all heard that dribble for years. Then the K10D was launched and now the K20D and K200D. Sounds like a typical sales guy trying to use the S.W.O.T tactic. Sell What's Available Today. As a director of sales and marketing it's a strategy I drill into my team!

    After dropping into my local photography store yesterday to Purchase a Lowepro Flipside and a couple of filters, I found their current sales trend interesting. This is a shop that has primarily sold Nikon first, Canon second and Pentax third. Nikon is up respectably, Pentax seems to be the number 2 choice and Canon is slipping. I used to have to order in Pentax accessories - now he's stocking a good assortment of Pentax lenses, flashes and 3rd party K-mount lenses too. This is a small business owned by an individual who has been supplying photographers for over 30 years. They only invest in product that will provide an excellent return on investment. Interesting that he's buying significantly less in the way of Canon accessories, but I'd hardly say that that translates into Canon dying.

    I'd personally pay no heed to the demise rumors, after all how many times should have the world ended before today.
  18. Jim B: Shedding some light on spiffing and camera store sales people (as opposed to discount store clerks who don't know a camera from a bottle of perfume): I was a Pentax rep back in the 1970s, and we did plenty of spiffing back then too. It is not really "bribing" -- consider it a commission over and above what the store is willing to pay them. Furthermore, it is never done without the full cooperation and support of the store's owner. Sometimes the tight-fisted owner will not allow spiffing directly to his employees, and will demand the manufacturer pay the spiff directly to him, or his brother-in-law, or his secret account in Switzerland -- you get the idea.

    Another point about real camera store sales people vs. know-nothing clerks, is they are mostly photo hobbyists or wannabe pros, and they push the hardware that they are fans of and most familiar with -- just as you did in the 1980s with Pentax. Again, though, this "pushing" of one brand over another is usually directed by the store owner for strictly business reasons. If you insist on pushing Pentax because you are a fan but the owner wants you to push Canon, you won't be there long.

    There are all kinds of behind-the-scene things going on between the owner/buyers and the manufacturers that the store sales people are never aware of. In fact, the manufacturer representative may not even be aware of deals made between a sales manager and a store owner with large buying potential. I was asked to go get the buyer and sales manager a cup of coffee during a meeting once (wink, wink), and when I returned with the coffee, there was an order for $250,000 worth of Pentax products waiting for me on the buyer's desk. I have no idea what was discussed when I "fetched" their coffee.

  19. Wow Roger, $7,000 in pentax kit purchases in one year. You've built a very nice system indeed. Since January I've dropped $5,500 on brand new eos items and I want a second full frame 5D and one grip drive and remote so there goes another $2,200. Then I'm done, well except for lusting after a couple more lenses that I can do without. Canon's instant cash off saved me $700 so far and another $300 on second 5D before July 19th so this instant cash off marketing plan made a big difference to me.

    I've spent the past 15 years buying used equiptment and now with my Eos System move I am getting brand new glass. The 5D really makes me happy. Immediate shutter release with any old adapted lenses, like my 8mm f2.8 Olympus circular fisheye, and 300mm 2.8 nikon ED, is a big plus. Big, normal sized Viewfinder for my aging eyes is a huge benefit to me. I'm quite happy I now own a full frame dslr after wanting one for years.

    Anyways, Pentax K Mount will always survive. Samsung knows how to make K-AF Mount dslrs, Tamron and Tokina knows how to make K Mount lenses. You may loose the "Pentax" logo in the future if/when Hoya decides to cut the dslr division loose. Hoya CEO was explicit in saying a year before the long & endlessly drawn out buy-out pentax corp takeover that he saw no value in dslr division versus THE Coveted pentax medical division. So its no surprise to me if Hoya can first limit the divsion, like

    "terminating all their knowledgable pentax reps"

    and then later parts out the pentax dslr line&35mm imaging to someone like Samsung Corp. Samsung is Huge like Sony is Huge, and I wish samsung had gotten to buy Pentax instead. Oh Well. No regrets here since I'm finially getting what I need elsewhere after playing the wait around and see what we may issue game with pentax the past few years.

    Everything I 've bought brand new this year says:

    Canon Made in Japan.

    Is anything "Pentax" puts their name on this year say

    "Made in Japan?

    I highly doubt it.

  20. Will Daniel:

    Thanks for the extra perspective from being a Pentax sales rep! Of course I should
    have mentioned that Pentax offered spiffs as well; the problem was the store where I
    worked didn't have enough Pentax gear for those spiffs to make any difference.

    Although I aggravated my boss by pushing Pentax SLR gear (when we had it), I
    managed to keep my job by selling large numbers of autofocus P&S cameras, which
    were just becoming really popular at the time. At one point we made the highest
    margins on a particular Konica P&S model (which was pretty decent), and I was
    happy to sell that all day long since I had a hundred of those in stock, and maybe two
    units of the competitive Pentax model.

    Of course, especially on 35mm SLR gear, the goal was always to sell a filter and a
    case as that was where we made our profit. :) We made much higher margins on P&S
    cameras than SLRs because of the price pressure from mail order competition for the
    more expensive gear.

    It was certainly a chicken/egg problem for us at the time for Pentax; we had very little
    Pentax inventory in stock, so if a customer was truly interested in buying a Pentax
    camera with a few lenses, we most likely could offer only the camera.

    The conversation would go like this:

    Customer: I want to buy the Pentax 70-210mm zoom and a 28mm along with Super
    Program camera.

    Me: We don't have those lenses in stock, but I can order them for you.

    Customer: Never mind...I'll just order everything mail order. Thanks for showing me
    the camera.

    Me: (whispering to myself after spending 20 min with the customer) @#%%#^$*$#&!!!
  21. Jim, that conversation between you and your customer was typical, and I'm sure that modern-day camera sales people still hear that from customers, and still utter those expletives after the customer has departed the store.

    One point of clarification on spiffs I forgot to mention earlier: It was not unusual for camera store owners to allow their sales people to accept spiffs from one or more manufacturers, but not one or more others. If he wanted you to push Canon and Nikon, you wouldn't get the Pentax, Minolta or Konica spiffs, for example. Their selective use of spiffs was always driven by business decisions that the personnel on the sales floor were not privy to.

  22. I was at a big chain camera store and I overheard a customer ask what are the drawbacks to buying Pentax.<p/>The clerk responded with that there's a much smaller choice of accessories and lenses and the lenses are harder to get. If you look at the lens offerings at the big mail order houses and just glance at the offerings, it does look like Pentax has less choices. But when I look closely, the lenses not offered are the real esoteric ones that I really don't think I would ever need.<p/>Oh, that customer then went and bought a Cannon.<p/>Personally, right now, I think Pentax is the best value in DSLRs. I don't mean value as in cheap; I mean the biggest bang for your buck. And I think part of the reason is they don't have all that marketing and advertisements the others have. Nikon ads really crack me up! "Nothing scares a Nikon Professional!" Those big page 1&2 glossy ads cost big $$$ and their customers are the ones paying.
  23. Jim & Will: For the record, I'm committed to supporting local independent shops so, having done the research on-line, I went out of my way to try to buy the (4-figure) lens from the local shop. They were simply unwilling to pick up the freakin' phone to contact Pentax USA and get a freakin' price.

    It's not like they could get me to buy a canikon lens instead--they were willing to let me walk away and buy it from Beach (which I did.) Either they're just riding the canikon wave out of laziness or there's a real problem with the Pentax sales infrastructure --or both.
  24. @Lindy: I just happen to have a 1979 Pentax Dealer Catalog (ebaY $0.99).<p>To become or remain a Pentax dealer the minimum annual order total was $2000. The minimum single order was $50.<p>Times do change!
  25. I can't find it listed Paul, is it yours or did you just buy it? I need a 1979 3 ring binder and info. Is "Monocular K" listed in it? My Pentax info is weak from 1979 thru 1982 and this is where I've assumed Monocular K was offered and then met its demise. Monocular K is very cool telescope eyepice assessory for supertelephoto lenses. as its a 10x eyepiece.

  26. Here's a slice of my Pentax' Past Dealer binders which date back to Honeywell thru 2004:

    <P><IMG src="">
  27. jtk


    There was a big, beautiful full page ad in a recent New York Times magazine (special travel issue I think)....for the Samsung K20D.

    It's good that Pentax isn't at the helm anymore...they were getting nutty for a while there, imagining a market for them for MF digital etc. Get a Calumet catalog to see the real MF players: Sinar, Hasselblad, Mamiya...

    Pentax (Hoya, Samsung, whoever) needs all their chips on the table in the amateur and prosumer market...K30D and K40D will make life tough for Canonikon.

    Hard to imagine dealing with a camera store for new equipment. The manufacturers must surely find them a pain in the patoot. Would you hire a camera store clerk if you needed a salesperson ?
  28. jtk

    jtk comment about sales clerks was unkind...they're nice people, but the job's inherently's unrealistic to pay people well to sell commodity items like DSLRs, competing against Adorama, B&H, Amazon (the latter has incredibly good warrenty service), and smart sales clerks figure that out pretty quickly: If they're not retirees, they do need to make living wages. Same story as with minilabs vs the long-ago-common pro-labs.
  29. But I bet Canon-Nikon like those sales clerks.
  30. John Kelly said:
    > comment about sales clerks was unkind...they're nice people, but the job's
    inherently unnecessary<

    I would say that for any complex product such as a DSLR, a car, a television, or
    computer there will always be a segment of the population that prefers to have the
    product explained to them by a salesman...

    ...which is why we have car dealers, Apple computer stores, Best Buy, and camera
    stores. Not everyone is capable or comfortable with doing their own research and
    making a decision without help.

    I haven't sold a camera since 1986... but now at work colleagues still come to me for
    camera advice: "Tell me what to buy!!" I hear it all the time. :)
  31. Thanks to everyone for opening my eyes. Please look out for all my Pentax kit on the market place soon. I will offer spiffs to anyone who buys 2 or more items.

    Does p-net have a Canikon forum...?
  32. @Lindy: Looking carefully through the binder I believe it covers the years 1978 through 1981, all mixed together, with some expected sections missing. The cover is dark blue and has PENTAX POWER printed on the spine.<p>Unfortunately the monocular is not listed with the accessories.<p>I once let one get away on ebay - oh well.

    This binder has been on my For Sale table for over a year as I reallocate my Pentax investment to Limited lenses and things i use.

    Request my email from my workspace - -
  33. Wow, thanks for all of the replies. I still intend to buy a K20D, hopefully it will still say "PENTAX" on it by the time I get it, and not Samsung. (Just kidding.) I already have enough problems at weddings when asked why I don't use a Canon. Usually the average person has at least heard of Pentax. Their eyes just glaze over when I try to explain what medium format is, or that a Fuji S3 or S5 has better "dynamic range" than anyone else . . . I've taken to saying "This is the equivalent of a 42 megapixel camera" in regards to the Pentax 67, which usually shuts them up (invariably men).
    As far as store clerks go, I once had a client (the groom) ask me what kind of DSLR to buy. I asked him what he would use it for, how much did he want to spend, what kind of output, etc. . . . Now, keeping in mind that I also own three Nikon bodies and ten Nikkor lenses, an Olympus (and even once had a Canon T-90 for about two weeks) and have no particular brand prejudices, I recommended the K100D, or, if he was feeling megapixel-inadequacy syndrome and wanted the dust removal and weather-sealing along with the in-body image stabilization, the K10D. It seemed to have the best features for the price at that time, (I believe it was late 2006?) Anyway, of course he proudly came back from the biggest camera store in town with some kind of Canon for significantly higher $$$ and no IS, weather-sealing or dust removal, and still only 10 mp, because the clerk had pointed out to him that Pentax was "New to the game", and an "unproven company, with no prior history on which to judge its ultimate reliability".
    BTW, I did a Google search on "Samsung K20D" and only came up with things like "the Samsung K20D twin, the GX-20", which appears to be a poorly-phrased way of saying "Samsung's twin of the Pentax K20D, the Samsung GX-20".

    Pentax Imaging Systems:

    Q4 year-over-year growth: MINUS 15.5 percent

    Q4 quarter over quarter growth: MINUS 24 percent

    Annual growth rate: 1.7 percent

    Compare to the other 2 divisions under the 'Pentax" brand....

    Not good.
  35. Ah, Bummer Paul. I was hoping the elusive Monocular K was listed in your dealer binder. I assume its not included in the wholesale price sheets either? Monocular K is the only Pentax item issued I have no record of. I pick'd one new in the box off ebay a couple months ago. Right after another fellow unearthed 6 new in the boxes. Paid 1/2 what Mr 6 Pack needed. Still like to know when these were current. Pentax made some neato items over the years, monocular k was one of them. Of Course its useless on current DA lenses as one really needs a aperture ring to shut down the telephoto lens to improve image quality. DA have no aperture rings so thats not an option.

    I look foward to the Pentax ads. I thought they picked the same company that markets soyjoy using a hediously bowlegged lady cartoon. I felt no reason to buy a soyjoy thingy after seeing that ad. Maybe they changed the ad company that was announced on Pentax USA website last month or two? Kinda remined me of the ugly rats that quiznos subs used to sell food. They yanked the critter ads once their sales tanked. I still can;'t buy a quiznos sub due to their rats selling food ads.

    Ashton Krutcher (Mr Demi Moore) for Nikon D40 ads are funny, where he's at the wedding. Canon loves their Teniis Stars. I wonder what iconic choice will be offered up to sell the Pentax logo? Sales are dramatically down accoding to the Hoya Q reports. Good thing they bought pentax for its Medical divsiion huh? Those sales are way up.

  36. "Does a company that is preparing a division for sale or dissolution hire the Honda ad agency "

    Does a company hire a less expensive ad agency to reduce costs? In other words, what makes you think this has any effect whatsoever?
  37. Pentax is not dead, in fact here in the UK they are finally sorting out the marketing and have (indeed are) putting full page ad's in Magazines. Although not
    doing TV ads, they are targeting specific markets and the Magazines are the way to go. In fact, a Canon friend of mine has said that Pentax are everywhere in publications, so the effect seems to be working.

    Pentax dead? I don't think so........
  38. Well, I wouldn't want to contradict someone who has been on these boards since 1999, has over 10,000 posts and seems to have a rich background in photography, especially since I'm so new to the internet and digital side of photography.<p>Hoya/Pentax REPORTED sales from the imaging division are down 24% 4q 2007 vs. same period prior year.<p>IN the US when a company is taken over, especially when the integration process takes a year, reported sales and revenues look terrible for the old company - then they look terrific after the final merger, by comparison.<p>Sales and distribution relationships are changed; contracts are renegotiated; products are discontinued; financial statements are examined and losses intentionally allocated to the transition year; products are assigned to different reporting lines or divisions; all kinds of things happen internally that aren't revealed in the public revenue and earnings reports.<p>But what do I know.<p>I've only been here three months and I'm already tired of the negative threads and hysterical "sky is falling" mentality of many drive-by posters, and even long-time, knowledgeable people who should know better.<p>Show me something deeper than supposition and maybe I'll listen; until I see real announcements from Hoya to the contrary I will continue to believe Pentax is a valuable asset in need of capital, marketing and management expertise that Hoya plans to provide.
  39. I wouldn't want to contradict someone who frequents Pentax discussion groups and "happen to have a 1979 Pentax Dealer Catalog" handy when he posts, but just because a poorly performing subsidiary becomes subsumed into a more viable parent company doesn't necessarily affect the future of the most porly performing parts of the subsidiary. Why? Because Hoya is particularly ambivalent about the camera division, having purchased Pentax primarily for other properties.

    Hoya's management made it clear that they did not want to invest in the hyper-competitive cosumer camera market, which is part of the reason there was a mini-coup in the Pentax boardroom upon the announcement of the proposed merger, which resulted in the company's president stepping down. In December 2006, quoted Hoya's CEO Hiroshi Suzuki answering the question 'Why Pentax' with a reply that focused squarely on the medical equipment business, which Pentax's Fumio Urano admitted was Pentax's "key profit earner":

    "...we found Pentax, who boasts superior technologies related to medical equipment, very attractive. Current combined sales from medical-related business at Hoya and Pentax are roughly 40 billion to 50 billion per year. We aim to double the sales as soon as possible."

    And Hoya's interest in Pentax's camera business?

    "We have no intention to pursue a larger share in the general digital camera market. To make the business precious despite its small size, we consider firmly advancing integration and limitation of the business.... I think Hoya will be able to do for the camera business no more than injecting its knowledge for management. "
  40. Sounds like this is just last year's rumors circulating around and regurgitated by someone who wasn't really paying attention.

    As for the Q4 profits: fourth quarter 2006, the K10D was launched. Fourth quarter 2007: no new launch but rumors of *two* exciting new cameras right around the corner (save your money!), coupled with completely running out of existing stock. So it's not like the numbers are a surprise to anyone.
  41. These are not rumors, Matthew:

    Pentax Q4 year-over-year growth: MINUS 15.5 percent

    Pentax Q4 quarter over quarter growth: MINUS 24 percent
  42. Outta here. SOBS everywhere.
  43. Even with poor Q4 they still posted positive growth for the year. This means q1-q3 were respectable enough to offset this and remain on the plus side. The picture here is also somewhat blurred as a portion of the results are before the consolidation and a portion are after. There could be differences in bookeeping methods of the two companies, charge offs, etc. I'm not worried about it at all. Look at the investment being made in Pentax for R&D to get 14MP etc, etc. You don't do this for the heck of it, there is a profit to be made. So, relax. Go shoot some pictures.
  44. "Even with poor Q4 they still posted positive growth for the year."

    The camera division effectively broke even, after crashing and burning in the most important selling quarter of the year. Not good.
  45. I always laugh when I read this stuff: "Pentax is here to stay." "Pentax is goin' down!"
    It's impossible to predict the fortunes of ANY company in today's economic climate.
    You're all kidding yourselves. If any of you really knew, you'd be out making a killing in
    the market.
  46. "The camera division effectively broke even, after crashing and burning in the most important selling quarter of the year. Not good."

    Please read the financial statement more carefully. "Income statements of PENTAX were consolidated from the 3rd quarter ended Dec 31, 2007."

    You are thinking Q4 is OCT-DEC. This is their Q3. They are on a different fiscal calendar. Q4 is JAN-MAR.

    So, this should make a little more sense as the QTR after the big Christmas rush is not going to be all that hot. Plus people are holding off wating for prices to drop after new products are released, etc. You combine this with the possiblity of differing accounting methods pre and post merger, charge offs, etc, etc. It just goes to show that you can't prognosticate based upon one quarter.

  47. "We have no intention to pursue a larger share in the general digital camera market"

    Again this quoted out of context. General camera market means P&S. DSLR's is not the general camera market but a niche market. This was evident from the original articles. The shift away from P&S was not initiated by Hoya but decided upon years before the Hoya deal.
    The minus numbers quoted here is due to writing off old inventories and reduction of value of theP&S cameras. The DSLR's and lenses are doing fine and is what Hoya will concentrate on.

    It can be found here:


    Regarding SLR cameras, the sales of the interchangeable lens has grown significantly,and the camera (body) business itself has been successful. However, the unit shipment of compact cameras remains at the same level and the unit price is approximately down to 60% (the price is discounted by 40 ヨ 50%) of the previous year.

    We have liquidated the inventory of last yearメs models, because we have been forced to sell them below cost.

    We will not be able to stop compact camera business, but we have been trying hard to shift resources to SLR camera business. While we were shifting the weight to the SLR camera, we could not maintain the other business properly. I regret that we did notaddress this earlier.

    Although we have some profitable business lines such as the interchangeable lens for SLR and the endoscopes, we suffered a deficit in the 4Q due to losses from compact cameras. In order not to repeat the mistake, we will stop in-house production of compact cameras and start ODM. We will try not to increase unit sales nor expand size unnecessarily. Instead, we will allocate these resources to the SLR and the interchangeable lens.
  48. @.[. Z: HAH!!
  49. Thank you for pointing out that document. It really was interesting to read the whole thing and see where the rumors spring from. That's awesome that not only is Pentax SLR division thriving but it looks like they're pooling their resources into makiing it even better. Can't wait to see the results.
  50. Compton, try to restrain your fanboyism for a bit. Hoya put Pentax on a strict budget, reports are that despite bland pronouncements of 'successful' sales Pentax's sales and market share are pretty shaky, and the division's fate (at least as a going concern as presently structured) is uncertain. But if you want to have a group hug session with fellow fanatics, party on.
  51. "That's awesome that not only is Pentax SLR division thriving"

    Is it? What are the numbers? Pewntax does not break out the numbers, only proffers soft terms like 'successful.' Their compact cam sales were terrible, and Hoya convinced them to get out of that market, fine. But that doesn't mean that they'll now have all the funds from those operations to funnel to DSLRs. Hoya still has them on a strict budget, and time will tell whether they will be able to scratch out a niche for themselves in the face of fierce competitors.
  52. Mark your calendars as March 31st 2009 will close out exactly 1 full year of Hoya ownership, and their imposed manangement improvement style concerning Pentax logo'd dslrs.

    I'll likey have gotten the wife a K20D by then. She loves her smaller than Canon sized dslr(s). We testdrove eos 40D today and its just too big for her. And we ruled out 5D already so we're a two brand family still. I'll likely skip K20D for me. But I can see her stick'n with her samsungs and Pentax Made in Japan glass we've been lucky to aquire locally and via ebay.

    It was kinda Cool "Samsung" got mentioned in Hoya financial reports huh?, yet no Sony or Nikon or Canon got their due mention for all being ahead of Pentax Dslrs. Makes perfect sense to me since in Colorado the hot rumour is samsung manufactures the K20D.

    We've got almost 3 years of use out of out first samsung dslr, so they do know how to manufacture quality K mount product, I can verify that fact.

    Its may26th so just ten more months and a couple weeks and we'll all have a better idea whats up with Pentax brand under Hoya's ownership. All in all a short wait compared to the 4 year production/assessmbly lines move from Japan to Vietnam and Philippines, where coincidentally Samsung makes their Samsung logo'd Dslrs too.

  53. "Pentax Imaging Systems:

    Q4 year-over-year growth: MINUS 15.5 percent

    Q4 quarter over quarter growth: MINUS 24 percent"

    These numbers sound worse than they really are. The fourth quarter of 2006 saw
    the introduction of the very successful K10D, whose sales had naturally slowed by
    the fourth quarter of 2007. The successor K20D was not introduced until 2008.

    Everything that I see indicates that Pentax has ambitious plans for its SLR division.
    No one can guarantee that it will not get sold, but I think that the product line will
    continue in some form for a very long time.

  54. The dumping of an entire division, forced upon them by their parents -- not good. Limited budgets and limited r&d -- also not good. Reminds me of that line by Greta Garbo in 'Ninotchka:' "Dere vill be fewer but better Russians."
  55. I just got an email to inform me:

    my area's local proshops will no longer carry Pentax brand products.

    First order of business for Hoya takeover was to terminate the pentax valuable and knowledgeable Reps in April 2008. Now at end of May 2008 Pentax terminates their marketing in local stores.

    Might be a good time to look for deep discounts on pentax demo'd lenses in your area's local camera shops?

  56. This all reminds me of the 1970s when Japanese camera manufacturers wanted to take over their own distribution in the U.S. market. I was directly a part of one (Honeywell to Pentax Corp) and an interested observer of several others. What I can tell you from past experience is don't believe ANYTHING the major company says regarding the rumors or financial performance. You will know what's going to happen the moment it happens, and not a minute before. For months we (Honeywell reps) were told that Asahi was going to buy the entire Honeywell photo division. At the eleventh hour, Asahi execs bolted the meeting and announced they would start their own distribution company minus the other Honeywell product lines. I can't remember the exact timing of events, but within a short time, Honeywell announced a sale of the division, minus Pentax, to Rollei of America.

    Other hostile takeovers of the era:

    Ehrenreich Photo -- Nikon
    Bell & Howell -- Canon
    Ponder & Best -- Vivitar
    Berkey Photo -- Konica
    Can't remember the names of two New York-based distributors, both of which sold both Yashica and Minolta cameras. I think one was Interstate Photo. Also, can't remember which had Olympus -- I'm thinking it might've been Ponder & Best -- can't be sure.

    In every example, the Japanese mfrs. held close secrets until the exact moment the deed was done. If Hoya has something planned for ailing Pentax, the timing of their announcement will likely take folks by surprise.

    Any other old Pentax/Honeywell reps lurking in here?

  57. jtk


    EPOI wasn't a "hostile takeover" (Nikon sought a distributor in the US).

    Joe Ehrenreich (Ehrenreich Photo Optical Inc...EPOI) bid against Adolph Gasser for Nikon and other franchises. It was a personal rivalry.

    Nikon's success had as much to do with Joe as with Japanese design/engineering.Adolph designed the FT...pre FtN...meter prism in the US..he also contributed to the Norden bombsite (Hiroshima) and custom built equip for Ansel.

    The first Asahi, pre Honeywell, were brought into the US by Adolph (and other smugglers) with a metal patch glued over the label.

    Somebody has to do distribution. The Japanese companies were never any good at it. Canon owes much of today's success to a single plastic slr (A-series) gray market mass marketer: 47th Street. That began the decline of camera stores.

    Adorama/B&H/Amazon have similar responsibility today. The camera brands are entirely incapable of distribution.
  58. I thought Bell & Howell was North American distributor for canon from like 1960 thru 1972. Did canon takeover, buy-out, or acquire Bell and Howell or simply cut the Bell and Howell middle man marketing company out of North America?

    hoya bought out pentax corp. Hoya cleared out the pentax ceo and entire pentax board of directors months before the publically discussed long drawn out deal was done.

    To me the Canon and Bell & Howell as their marketing company break up in North America market is different than the outright purchase of pentax corp primarily for its medical division.

  59. "If Hoya has something planned for ailing Pentax, the timing of their announcement will likely take folks by surprise. "

    Like Bronica's surprise? Like Konica's? Don't see any new digital cameras from those folks.

    This 'surprise' stuff makes no sense to anyone who has had any dealings in retail. Hoya's plans are clear for the camera division they showed kittle priority for: squeeze the most profit out of the division while downsizing drastically (including reducing r&d), and seeing what happens next.
  60. jtk


    B&H was merely a Canon distributor during the Vietnam War. After the war they stopped. B&H always did most of its business with government and school contracts.

    GSA (Government Service Administration) contracts required preference for "American" products so B&H was used to present Canon as if it was American (eg for US Navy F1s).

    Kodak sold various German products with "Kodak" labels for the same GSA reason (eg a stainless steel covered Agfa Fotorite machine that sold for $400 more than the same machine without the Kodak cover).

    Kodak rebranded Zeiss cameras as Kodaks for various state contract rules (eg California Highway Patrol)...bought those cameras except for government rules.

    Pentax interest in MF digital was ridiculous, just as it would be if Canon or Nikon or Olympus, for that matter, bothered with it. They can all beat MF for nearly all practical professional purposes without MF sensors.

    IMO Pentax (whoever it is) will keep making K20D and variants for a long time into the future.
  61. Lindy: Canon dumpted B&H as its U.S. distributor. I think it was later than 1972, but not much -- maybe as late as 1974. Memory fades.

    John: Yeah, "hostile takeover" may have been the wrong term. But I wasn't talking about when Nikon sought a U.S. distributor; rather the unceremoneous dumping of Ehrenreich just like all the other Japanese camera makers dumped theirs in the 1970s. It was certainly hostile for all those EPOI reps I knew who couldn't get a job with the new distributor, Nikon USA.

    Z: "This 'surprise' stuff makes no sense to anyone who has had any dealings in retail." Yes, and that's precisely why they do it. If they made a major announcement three months before they close doors or otherwise shake up their market, how many cameras would retailers buy during that three months? None at regular prices. Widespread "dumping" of the product would occur -- been there, done that.

  62. That's Crazy huh Matt?

    All pentax logo'd lenses are made in VietNam now. Well except for the Tamron 18-250mm pentax logo'd clone. It says Japan, and that made me smile. Why? Because Tamron still manufactures camera equiptment in Japan and the Pentax clone version says Japan. Pentax only Japan made lens is one they do not make themselves.

    It doesn't mean all this non japan made glass sucks, but it should mean the pentax lenses should all be more affordable? Right? You know because pentax logo'd lenses are all outsourced,

    Outsourced, just like stuff made in China is far more affordable than stuff made in Japan or USA in our marketplace.

    I've been having fun shooting too, but 99% of my lenses used recently are all Japan made and a couple were made this year too

    Do you think Pentax will ever make products, you know like dslrs and lenses, in Japan again?

  63. Who are you quoting there, Matthew?
  64. I live in Colorado where Pentax is located and we have not heard any rumors of any kind here. I just purchased a new 50-135mm lens at my loal Wolf Camera and he made no mention of Pentax going anywhere. I would think that if they were going out of business we would know it here first.
  65. stemked

    stemked Moderator

    Go away for 10 days and Y'all are at each other throats.

    Ok all. Let's cool this down. Some good discussion in here but its getting a bit too heated. Looks like I'm going to have to go in and do some editing of comments.

  66. Lindy Stone: "Do you think Pentax will ever make products, you know like dslrs and lenses, in Japan again?"
    What difference does this make? Sounds like unnecessary stereotyping. People used to think 'made in Japan' meant 'cheap crap' too.
    I am wondering about the continuing disappearance or de-emphasis of Pentax availability at brick & mortar retail stores. I think Pentax has great products but am curious about their strategy to make them available. My personal observation is that when I walk into a photo store, I'm likely to see SLR offerings from a particular manufacturer in roughly this order, ranking from highly likely to largely unlikely:
    1. Nikon
    2. Canon
    3. Olympus (more likely in photo store)
    4. Sony (less likely in photo store, more likely in big-box store)
    5. Pentax
    6. Samsung (Have I ever seen any of these 'in the wild'?)
    • Does Pentax (and Samsung) expect to succeed (in the U.S., anyway) almost completely via internet sales? On the other hand, given the poor state of Pentax's presence in retail stores is at this point, I suppose they don't have much to lose by shaking up the status quo.
  67. Bummer, I've always believed Made In Japan meant quality. I guess I am young still and negative associations with Japan Made were before my time?

    Maybe 14 months ago I asked the Pentax Rep why wasn't Pentax making dslr and lenses in Japan? He immediately replied

    "No One Does"

    Well at the time I didn't know better. However I now own canon dslr and 2 canon lenses and they boldly say Made In Japan. Unlike the hidden "VietNam" inside the rear mount of DA lenses it seems canon is proud to mention it and are not hidding it.

    But I am with you, I wonder about the Pentax marketing plan. From terminating long term Reps to pulling out of store fronts. I guess they have high expectations using their new advertising agency and selling K20D on WalMart dot com with an inflated price back up to full retail plus the govenor fees?

    Anyways I'll still get a K20D once the price settles out. If the price never settles out then I'll never buy one. But I really see this K20D going to $800 based on pentax past sell high and then drop drop drop the price. And 1/2 launch retail would be $650 so I've inflated my expectations and would be happy to jump in at $800. I'd like to see what I can capture with it and our lenses and far more importantly if it improves the wifes capture too. I am certain now though, It'll be for the wife only as I am satisfied with full frame dslr imaging canon provides me versus shooting with a crop frame viewfinder. Its that simple really I am at a point where using a full frame, which I find it easy to manually focus glass using the big viewfinder is reason enough for me to pass on purchasing anyone elses crop sensor dslr, including canon 1.6x for myself.

    Sony has another venue for sales, their Sony only outlet stores. No one else has that but I imagine Samsung could if it choose to since they have a vast array of electronics. I wonder why Samsung won't launch their GX20? Its two months overdue. I also wonder why Samsung won't sell their K Mount lenses in USA market? I wonder what they are waiting for? They are obviously capable of manufacturing product yet something seems to be stopping them...

  68. Perhaps Pentax just decided to send their next batch of lenses to satisfy demands elsewhere :). Pentax 16-50 lens was announced to be *finally* available again here in Czech Republic (middle Europe) during the next weeks, after many months of its complete unavailability. And 50-135 should be available soon too!

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