Sunday, November 23, 2008

Price Increases of Pentax Film Lenses

Here is the latest announcement by Pentax for the price increases, at their Japanese homepage:-

http://www.pentax.jp/japan/news/announce/20081121.html

The new price table, of which the new prices will take effect on February 2, 2009, is as below:-

http://www.pentax.jp/japan/news/announce/20081121-01.pdf

But this announcement and the move actually look rather strange to me, for the following reasons:-

1. With the strong trend of Japanese Yen (and US Dollar as well) and the high exchange rates of both currencies, I just don't know why Pentax/Hoya would still need to increase the prices of their lenses;

2. Especially considering that Hoya have previously announced that their lens production had been moved out of the Japanese home and now all lenses are made in Vietnam. It is therefore now the lens price as reverted to Japanese Yen or US Dollar should now be even cheaper. Afterall, the official given reason for the price increases owing to the "increased raw material costs" is indeed rather unconvincing. As opposed to Pentax/Hoya, who now have imposed lens price increases of 20% and more, the market big brother Canon do exactly the different, but actually something sensible, for imposing price cuts for their EOS lenses, in about -10% rate, owing to the recent very poor global economy. All in all, the Pentax/Hoya's move looks even more strange and unexplainable if we compare these two cases;

3. Why the announcement needed to be made months before the actual price increase date? Do they really want to increase the prices or just to do something so as to get rid of the old stocks? (by pushing the potential customers rushing for the old stocks before the "deadline"?);

4. Do Pentax just have so few film lenses now that are not yet discontinued? And why are those undiscontinued zooms are actually so useless on their current cropped 1.5X DSLR bodies (like those FAJ zooms or even the a few manual focus A lenses). Why do they not keep the more useful, unique and excellent film lenses in production instead (like the optical excellent and fairly priced FA*24/2, FA 28/2.8 (equivalent to a 43mm on Pentax DSLRs!), FA 200/4 Macro and so on..)?

Actually, if they actually have just listed all the Pentax Full Frame film glass that are still in production (which is very likely, see below), I do feel much sorry for them, as the available lenses are so limited and good glass left are are only a few. But this would probably the case because if they do need to make a significant price increase, this should be applied for all the current lenses of the same type in production. By considering that now the most popular film primes for Pentax DSLRs are mostly included (like the 3 FA Limited lenses, the FA 50/1.4 and the FA 35/2).

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