Tuesday, September 09, 2008

FAQ: Jump OR Stay?

For quite a long time, there has been a common Frequently Asked Question (FAQ) that is asked repeatedly by different Pentax DSLR users: To Jump Ship or to Stay??

For anyone who just lurks around the Internet at various Pentax places, very quickly we shall see all those user dissatisfactions, frustrations and switching sentiments. The root cause of all those is in fact owing to just one thing: Sub-par system performance and poor reliability, namely, for the AF (Auto Focus) and AE (Auto Exposure) systems. As for the AE inaccuracy issue, it can be further divided into ambient light exposure/metering errors and P-TTL exposure errors, both of which are not small and the results could be very inconsistent. Yet, the reason of the aforesaid sub-par performance may be owing to inadequate or outdated design, low cost design or cheap electronics components chosen/used or (so as to cut corners) and/or even in-born system (design) limitations.

Putting aside of those (part of) user feedbacks and reports that you can search and find here in my Blog, below are just a few more examples of all those *real* "negative" reports made by different Pentax users, recently:-

1. People thinking about to leave:-

User Comment - RiceHigh's Pentax Blog: Photokina is Coming Close

Convince me to stay: Pentax SLR Talk Forum: Digital Photography Review

Thinking of switching??: Pentax SLR Talk Forum: Digital Photography Review

2. Annoying and persistent infamous system issues with Pentax DSLR gear, as reported:-

Exposure Issue and Underexposure - PentaxForums

Focus, Pentax! Focus! - PentaxForums

Pentax Frustrations - Flickr Pentax Discuss

In the last thread above, the OP complaints about the poor P-TTL reliability which gave awful exposure results plus the rate of out-of-focus photos he got were way too high, even he had already mounted the top-of-the-line Pentax flash gun AF-540FGZ, which has a large AF assistance spotbeam on the flashgun.

The guy who first replied to the thread made very sensible statements and his comments are actually very insightful. He was able to explain quite well very precisely for the main problem with the current Pentax as well as the current adverse situation faced by Pentax. Thumb up!

Well, as read along the thread, there is another reply near the end of thread from an ex-Pentax camera dealer who told about the new Hoya's policy for product distribution, which is just horrible and a nightmare to smaller camera shops - but at the end it hurts the sales of Hoya themselves and eventually the potential customers or old users who want to buy Pentax stuff. In fact, Hoya had just already destroyed the old Pentax product sales and distribution network by frying off or forced retirement of all the old Pentax sales reps after their takeover of Pentax! Huh?

Besides, see also this one:-

The last 3 years Pentax en Samsung have been telling us lie's: Pentax SLR Talk Forum: Digital Photography Review

The angry user complaints about the poor availability and slow development of Pentax/Samsung DSLR and gear..

and so on.. Just go read yourself anywhere and elsewhere. I just can't go the numerous user remorse, disappointment, anger and worry or whatever you can think of! But, its the Reality and all these are true!

Well, after all those "bashings" (for what those stupid (frankly) fanboys must say even though there exists so many other Pentax users who have been reporting their true but unhappy experiences), below are my humble opinions, suggestions and advice on what we existing Pentaxians, who are dissatisfied or even desperate, could do:-

1. If money is not an issue, just keep all those good old Pentax film glass that are usually good to excellent, I must mention. And then wait for the Pentax Full Frame body, possibly, hopefully and wishful-thinkingly in some time around 2010 or even later, if Pentax can still be alive by that time and still think that they should make a FF body *by now*!

All in all, just keeping those old film lenses if you really love them. It is because they will be the legacy lenses with excellent quality that you will very possibly never be able to get back again in the future, forever! And, it will be very difficult and it would take a very long time for Pentax to re-build a complete FF lens lineup. So, it is always wise to keep the good old glass just owing to these two reasons. Furthermore, do note that new lenses are in general being not as good in image quality as the old ones, even for the "same" model, see this example.

In short, selling off all those good old discontinued Pentax film glass will not get you many bucks, but instead that will consume you much time to get reasonable paybacks for what they should actually worth (IF Pentax is now a better DSLR system, those lenses should sell much easier and at much higher prices). My humble advice is to WAIT for a Pentax FF DSLR (which is far more realistic to wait for a whole new FF lens lineup anyway). But the obvious risk underneath is if Pentax don't make a FF body forever or they eventually die or just killed completely by Hoya (who knows?) in the future, then all the kept investment will be in vain! ( but you can still use them to shoot film anyway.. :-( )

2. Don't invest too much for the DA lenses and too deep into the current APS-C Pentax digital lens system. Why we need to gamble together with Pentax and take high risk for our investment? Ditto for the Olympus 4/3 E-lenses, honestly speaking;

Indeed, I found that new digital lenses of Pentax often don't have the good old tastes of classic Pentax glass (those actually are not too old, the FA glass in the late 90s / early 2000 are still very nice, their performance on Pentax DSLRs are still by far much better!), but quite some of them taste more like those 3rd party lenses especially as if a Tokina or Tamron lens is mounted for the photo results, which just scared me off really. In fact, the DFA 100/2.8 Macro lens is the last lens I bought from Pentax and it has been my most regretted lens purchase from Pentax so far since two decades ago when I bought my first Pentax lens, the F 35-70/3.5-4.5, which is undoubtedly a good lens.

As an old Pentax user whom has loved the brand and the quality of their glass for decades, it is really very sad to see many of their newer and latest "Pentax" glass now have no unique Pentax character of any at all. Just think about that if the latest Pentaxes are just going to look like Tokinas or Tamrons for the final results obtained, I just wish to ask: WHY PENTAX NOW? WHY NOT simply get those better DSLR bodies from Canon and Nikon or even Sony and then mount those similar spec-ed or even OEM models of Tokinas and Tamrons which are sold way cheaper than those Pentax counterparts.

Previously, I have already reported about those strange unfavourable colour response of many of those newer "Pentax" digital lenses and how I compare various newer Pentax lenses to the old ones, just read them also if you are interested.

3. Next, if there are *still* NO NEW AF and NEW metering system that would *really* perform by Photokina, I would truly suggest any of all those dissatisfied Pentax users please just don't waste your valuable time further, to wait endlessly. Just act decisively and better start off another system! It is unarguable and even generally accepted amongst quite some Pentax users that now all C, N, S and Olympus have better AF and far more accurate and stable exposure systems as well.

HOWEVER, IF Hoya can roll out new debugged (I won't use the word "improved") AF and AE systems by this Photokina, I will still be glad to spend some little money of mine to try it out and report back my findings on the Internet, especially about if the accuracy, performance and reliability of the new systems could be better.

4. Now, it would be wise to sell off those DA lenses as far as possible, especially for those which are for sure cannot even cover the 135 Full Frame, provided that if you don't need them often and that you are thinking about to switch. It should be done before possibly some days later, in a year or so, the APS-C DSLR bodies and lenses are dying and no further development or significant investment is carried out and put by major vendors in the market. By that time, even Pentax/Hoya would insist on the development, very likely this will be just a dead end!

For those who would like to sell off completely all the Pentax gear no matter what they are, film or digital, bodies or lenses or flashes, I think this is not a good option especially for those who have a considerable size lens collection, unless you are totally desperate with Pentax and have no hope of any kind with them. Of course, this can always be done but the lost cannot be estimated, in terms of both money and time. And I still do not wish to depart with my good Pentax glass, which are all innocent! :-( The culprits are only the Pentax DSLRs and the maker who made them.

So, to jump OR to stay, its all up to YOU! That's in short my answer to all those annoyed and dissatisfied Pentax users who are puzzled much now and ask the same question from day to day. But if money is allowed, may I repeat my opinion that to keep the really good old glass which are real keepers, get rid of the evils (e.g., some of those so-so digital lenses), keep waiting and keep urging Hoya to invest to enable Pentax to wake up again (wishful thinking though!).

Nevertheless, to fulfill the current shooting need, do NOT waste more time to think further after the Photokina and simply start off another system that suit your current shooting needs (if the current Pentax offers are just failed to meet your need(s))! Waste no more time to wait endlessly (as it maybe) and don't waste no more money with current incapable or maybe new Pentax offers just with a different look and package. If they don't debug/improve the designs under users' loud complaints which have been accumulated for so many years, why give them more chance and less our photo opportunities gone? Pentax / Hoya, are you LISTEN?? This Photokina should be your LAST CHANCE!

23 Comments:

Anonymous said...

The bottom line: Right now Pentax still has the best price/quality ratio of all the DSLR manufacturers. K20D has the highest (or one of the highest) MP count of aps-c cameras. Don't forget the in body IS which supports all of the lenses, and the weather sealing, which is not matched by any other manufacturer in this price range.
Of course there are places to improve, but that is true with any manufacturer. You will always find the users compaining about any DSLR brand. The grass is always greener on the other side. I currently have both, Sony and Pentax systems, and trust me, for a lot of the Sony users A900 is a major dissapointmet (too many MP, no LV, too much noise and so on..).
Don't tell people not to buy DA lenses, thats the most ridiculous thing that the person that wants Pentax to do well could say! You have said that Hoya has to invest (same here for the pentax users). If nobody buys the Pentax gear, how can a system survive???
Regarding FF body. It sure would be nice to have one in the lineup, but how many pentax users could actually afford to spend $3000.00 on a camera body??? Most of the Pentax users are budget minded and would not buy it anyway. They will not spend $3000.00 on the body to be used with 30 year old lens they have bought on eBay for $25...
You sound like an old man in your blog.. (are you about 70??) Back in the day they used to do thing right, but now they don't know what they are doing... While I agree that there have been some fine lenses made, the new lenses are just as good if not better. Better coating, excellent optical qualities, compact designs. No other camera system has the equivalent of Pentax Limited lenses. Check out millions of excellent pictures on various web sites that people have taken with excellent pentax gear.
You are complaining about the AF but you sugest using old lenses... they don't even have the AF. You complain that the quality is not good and it is not up to the other manufacturers... you are still hinting of shooting film... how antient is that??:) with so much complaining that you do, I think you should jump the ship.

I sugest that you sould indicate that this blog is dedicated to the shortcomings of the Pentax system only, because otherwise you may mislead some people about the Pengtax gear.

Jarda said...

Hi Ricehigh,
I'm your fan for two years now and regularly reading your blog. It is source of great amusement.
What I just don't understand is why so much passion about what basically is just a manufacturer of consumer electronics.
Did they hurt you?
I do some photography too and have some K-mount lenses as you do, but I do not understand why should anybody take it so seriously to spend thousands of working hours by writing articles like this one.
Is this effort worth your investment in lenses? They you are either badly paid or you have some really expensive lenses.
Of course it would be some financial loss for me too if K-mount eventually gets out of camera business. But nothing to write about.

Anonymous said...

"I sugest that you sould indicate that this blog is dedicated to the shortcomings of the Pentax system only, because otherwise you may mislead some people about the Pentax gear."

He won't answer tu you because misleading people about the Pentax gear is his final goal. He pretends to do all this for the good of pentax and bla bla bla... but he ain't fooling no one.
What fascinate people about this blog is not the bullshit he keeps saying about pentax but the sick personnality of the blogger. (see the 2nd comment...).
what are his real motivations ? why so much hatred inside ? What happened ? And how many pentax employees did he already killed ? Johnathan Demme, David Finccher and all the great directors of serial killer movies are fans of this blog. There are so much good ideas to take observing Ricehigh...

IlmarsM. said...

To be fair You must mention that there is people who thinking about jumping from other brands to Pentax.

I have friend who is long time Canon EOS 300D user, but now he is thinking about jumping ship to Pentax (I lend him my K100D). He likes pentax autofocus (it's predictable), image quality - natural colors, body built image stabilization and price/feature ratio of Pentax bodies.

Most of us has limited budged, and we all wana get maximal quantity and quality for our money. Pentax is in this spot where reasonable price comes with great features and quality.

RiceHigh said...

> Anonymous said...

> Right now Pentax still has the best price/quality ratio of all the DSLR manufacturers. K20D has the highest (or one of the highest) MP count of aps-c cameras.

That depends on what the user wants and found most important. To me, fast and accurate AF and AE are the two utmost important things that what a *camera* is for (making the right focus and right exposure at the first place!). As for the pixel count, it pays on the expenditure of more noise, since the sensor size is rather limited, unlike Full Frame ones.

> Don't tell people not to buy DA lenses, thats the most ridiculous thing that the person that wants Pentax to do well could say!

Don't get me wrong. My opinion is not to tell people don't get any of the DA lenses. Get those cheaper and better ones (but not Tokina and Tamron alike, e.g.). Those DA lenses will be good for the time being but the time longevity is just in big question. Also, Pentax need to clarify with the world for which DA lenses are actually designed for FF (if luckily they are so - but, who knows - unless they tell us, since they opted to use the same nomenclature), otherwise I won't recommend anyone to take the risk for the investment, especially considering nowadays those newer DA lenses are being sold much more expensive than those excellent Pentax glass of comparalbe classes in the past.

> You are complaining about the AF but you sugest using old lenses... they don't even have the AF.

Most of my old original Pentax lenses are AF lenses! :-)

> You complain that the quality is not good and it is not up to the other manufacturers... you are still hinting of shooting film... how antient is that??:)

I am not hinting shooting film and in fact I just finished my last roll of slide a few months ago and decided to shoot film no more unless just for fun. (Do you see my smiling icon after the statement?)

> with so much complaining that you do, I think you should jump the ship.

I have not jumped ship yet. I have been doing exactly the same thing as what I have suggested in this article: Start off a Canon 5D system and keep waiting for a proper Pentax body, while keeping of the really good old Pentax glass!

> I sugest that you sould indicate that this blog is dedicated to the shortcomings of the Pentax system only, because otherwise you may mislead some people about the Pengtax gear.

I do that already. Just read the theme as typed in the Blog Header! And also read Why This Blog?

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the reply.

Regarding the blog caption you said:

> I do that already. Just read the theme as typed in the Blog Header! And also read Why This Blog?

The keyword was "only". This blog reflects only potential issues with the pentax system, and most of the posts do not talk about the technical issues of pentax cameras, but speculate about the future of the Pentax/Hoya corporation based on very limited information gathered over the net.

You seem to have some kind of emotional attachment to the old Pentax, which prevents you to move on.
This kind of obsession cannot be good for you. It is not going to hurt the pentax/hoya, in fact it is not going to do anything more than cause more frustration for yourself.
While pentax system may not be the right system for you, it is fortunatelly working out for a number of people all across the world. Everyone have thier own reasons for using Pentax, be it build quality, pancacke lenses, cheap old lenses, and so on. The fast autofocus may not be a strength of Pentax, so if you need that, choose the other system. Exposure problems were not ever a problem for myself, so I have no comment on that. But if the other manufacturer does that better, go with that.
The fact is that Pentax works for me.
I understand that you do have some good old Pentax glass, but to be fair, no matter how much you would complain or beg pentax to make a perfect camera for you it is not going to happen. My guess is that you will never be happy with Pentax again.
The first and only purpose of Pentax/Hoya is to make money. That is the only purpose of any corporation. They do not care about the reputation, about the legacy, or about the name of Pentax. They don't care if the faithfull users are not happy. They want to make products that sell, that's why they are not in a hurry to release the perfect camera body that pleases everyone. They don't care about the people having huge amount of old great lenses, those will not make them money anymore. They are interested in selling new lenses, selling new cameras. It is true for any camera manufacturer and is not limited to Pentax.
As a consumer though you have a right to choose from what is available to you at the moment. People, like yourself get too emotional over this brand loyalty thing. Just use the tools that you need, use what works for you and is available at the moment. Don't get emotionally attached to a corporation... that cannot end well. If Pentax does not have what you are looking for, switch to manufacturer that does. And if you like what Pentax has to offer, go with Pentax. Some people are switching back and forth all the time...

RiceHigh said...

Every person is obsessed with something, and to a different certain extent. Many of us are obsessed with Photography, others are obsessed to "participate" in the Internet forums or just in browsing, other are obsessed with other materials (photogear, cars, AV equipment, clothes, cosmetics..) and so on. So, thats Life but you're right we might waste too much time in such obsessions, but, thats Life! :-)

Anyway, you kind heart(ness) and honest comments are much appreciated!

Anonymous said...

and you, Ricehigh, are obsessed with trying to destroy Pentax. You are pathetic

Anonymous said...

what's pathetic are the people who constantly come on here to bash.

I have spent time as a car devotee, stereo devotee, and computer devotee. Cameras are my latest 'thing' and much of what RH says is true.

As for DA lenses, he isn't suggesting they're crap. He's suggesting that the format, should full-frame cameras become mega-popular, will be obsolete.

Anonymous said...

I do not necessarily share all of ricehigh pov, but I agree with him about investing in DA lens is a waste of money, except when you can aford to buy the equivalent in FF format... I don't say that aps-c will just vanish, but it's clear that FF noise performance is on another level. When the price will drop at decent levels for advanced amateurs, then, the aps-c will be obsolete IQ wise.

Anonymous said...

So what ? Is it a reason to become so hysteric ?

> Pentax / Hoya, are you LISTEN?? This Photokina should be your LAST CHANCE!

"That guy is a complete wacko". That's what they must have thought if they were listening...

Anonymous said...

Why would the majority of Pentax users want FF cameras? I certainly don't want a bigger camera.

Anonymous said...

People bash RH because that's all RH does. He has no concept of objective blogging. He doesn't even use Pentax gear! If he does I'll eat my words but no-one has seen any evidence of him using Pentax gear. He could easily prove me wrong by posting some of his own pictures.

RiceHigh said...

> Why would the majority of Pentax users want FF cameras? I certainly don't want a bigger camera.

The K10D and K20D are certainly not small and light cameras, my 5D is only heavier than them in less than 100g - which is negligible, when the cameras are all heavy.

In fact, the supposed-to-be lighter entry level K200D is not small and that lightweight neither, the counterparts like Nikon D60, Canon 1000D and Sony A300/350 are all smaller and lighter, on the other hand.

Anonymous said...

If the Nikon D60, Canon 1000D and Sony A300/350 had a pentax counterpart, it would be the pentax 2000/3000d or something that is soon to come.

Jump Or Stay ?

Jump my friend. Nobody wants you here. Jump.

Anonymous said...

There is no way around it unless you go for cheaper build materials or much more expensive materials. I don't want a camera that is 110g heavier than the K10D. If anything, I would like something lighter. FF will add weight. I don't want it.

Jump or Stay. I think I will stay. Ricehigh, you should jump and sell me the good glass you say you have.

Anonymous said...

Not that it’s worth my time or attention, but posts like this annoy me too much. So I’ll vent, if you don’t mind. There is nothing wrong with DA lenses and they are worth buying (if the deliver the desired results) even if the FF cameras are trully the future (which is not that clear at the moment). FF camera is way worse investment than any DA lens at the moment. FF cameras these days cost over 3000USD/Euro + you need at least another 3000USD/Euro for the lenses (not to mention that you probably need a new cutting edge computer to work those huge files). For a $3000 you can now buy a brand new K200D (or K20D) and the DA lenses to have a very nice setup. You can use this setup now, it will also work 3 years from now just fine. What will happen to the FF camera body 3 years from now that today costs $3000? The camera will be worth around $500 at best. I would bet that your DA lenses will be worth more than that. If anything, something like the “Micro 4/3” is the real future of the digital cameras with interchangable lenses. Pentax/Samsung will eventually release APS-c equivalent which will allow the use of the DA lenses. On the high quality pro market, I suspect that the sensor size will grow even further beyond the FF (Nikon is already talking about something BIG). APS-C will give you the compact size and portability, while maintaining the excellent photo quality, while for the professional use the MX or medium format will be the one to choose. So it is very possible that FF is here just for a transitional period between the APS-c and MF. Reality is that if you do not print the pictures on the side of the bus, the APS-C is all you need. The more shallow DOF that FF offers is not that relavant for most of the users, and the ISO performance will be improving as we go, so in a couple of years a 17MP APS-C sensors will challenge current 12MP FF sensors in that respect. Just because some people have been using 35mm FF format for the entire life does not make it better or worse than APS-C . Is medium format better than FF? It has even more shallow DOF and it has different angle of view for the same focal lengths as compared to FF too. So what?? I seriously don’t get this assumtion that the one format is better than the other. They each have a place and advantages / flaws.
So shortly, don’t worry about the future of the DA or FA, APS-C or FF, or MF, because it is extremely unclear, but that does not mean that you should not be buying current lenses for the current system and taking pictures now.

Anonymous said...

I totally agree. The most exciting news out there at the moment is micro four thirds and its competitor from Samsung!

Anonymous said...

This man is so twisted,its un-f**king-believable!!!
I bet he does't even take photos at all!!!
RiceHigh,let me ask you this:

Did your ex-wife leave you for another man who shoots with a Pentax???

Anonymous said...

bwahaha!

Anonymous said...

I'm Staying

Martian Connor said...

It's not hard to believe that Rice does like the pentax brand, however he also feels threatened that they might go under. Rice has what we call "the conspiracy" syndrome, where (in this case) any news that has a negative connotation is reevaluated and mentally constructed to fit a certain schema of things. This can be seen throughout his entire blog. Although there are multiple reasons why he bashes the pentax brand yet insists on "loving" it has a lot to do with the notion that "misery loves miserable company". To elaborate, he is afraid of the pentax demise, which many people who participate in the blog are not. However, Rice finds ways, sometimes subtle ways, to show the "certain pentax demise" in order to cause a stir such as this. This quarrel is what gives him comfort-- the actual understanding that others are now aware of the "pentax demise" and feeling unsettled as well.

Regards,
M. Connor, Ph.D

RiceHigh said...

Thanks for your consultation, Doctor!

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