Saturday, December 29, 2007

Japanese DSLR Sales Figures for One Year

Here comes the sales figures of DSLRs of different brands in the Japanese home market for the recent one year, starting from December 2006 to November 2007:-

(Report article is in Japanese, use BabelFish if needed)

Well, as we can see from latest November 2007 results, Pentax is currently the brand with the least popularity in the DSLR market, with a share below 5%, putting aside Panasonic which shares virtually no market (but then Pana has never been a real participant in the DSLR field anyway). And, a quick glance at the plotted chart reveals that Pentax has been following a constant down trend since December last year in 2006.

Now that in the Japanese DSLR market, the truth is that there are only two major players, and then Sony and Olympus follow, with market share somehow more than 5% whereas Pentax still comes in the last place (as usual, even for the global market) and now they simply could not secure the 5% market share line.

So, I'm afraid that last time I was totally correct to comment and predicted that the "update" of the K100D "Super" is just useless and helpless, and now that the facts have told that my prediction have come true. Nonetheless, the present outcome was indeed quite obvious and easy to be predicted from the very beginning, anyway.

In fact there are always some "good" (but actually these are all adversed factors) reasons for the low market share and Pentax's loss in the competition, as I have pointed out from time to time here and/or elsewhere, that is, the various weaknesses and issues (new or old ones which have been persistent) of the current different Pentax DSLR gear items and the significant incompleteness of the current Pentax lens system and etc.

So, my humble opinions for what Pentax could do and should do to change the current worse position are as follows, in order of priority:-

1. Launch an entry level 10MP DSLR to compete with Canon 400D and Nikon D40X so as to recruit new beginner user base who will be a huge customer base for their future products within the DSLR *system*. Well, now that they will have the new K200D very soon (but actually they should have done this half year ago and now the situation will not be like that);

2. Replace the K10D as soon as possible with a new model which has most of the widely reported and well-known K10D issues and limitations removed. This body probably is the widely rumoured K20D. I really hope Pentax could get rid of most of the weaknesses of the K10D in their new replacement model but not again making the mistake of marketing a seem-to-be very strong body as published on paper but actually performs below common standards in various ways in the field;

3. Supplement soonest the loopholes in the Pentax current lens lineup, especially at the tele side;

4. Launch a true pro grade, or at least high-end up-market, DSLR body within 2008;

5. Plan for the 135 Full Frame, for both later DSLR bodies and lenses. Otherwise, when Canon, Nikon and Sony all have the Full Frame DSLR system in the foreseeable future but at affordable prices, Pentax (and Olympus as well, but of course) will just seat there and wait to die;

In addition to the above, Pentax should improve their marketing (which are usually non-sense, IMHO) and their inferior customer "service" and "support" (virtually just a little bit better than none, MHO again).

All in all, in order to survive or even do it better, Pentax have a lot to do and it is indeed not easy but actually rather difficult. But I still hope they would do it and eventually can succeed. At least I think the upcoming K200D and K20D maybe a good start. I still imagine that these two new bodies have been vastly improved deep inside. Let's wait and see.

Finally, just bear in mind that Hoya may not have the long patience to see Pentax to do better in the camera field. If they fail after a certain pre-determined period, Hoya would simply quit the camera business to cut loss and to release the burden. For a large Amercian style corporation like the Hoya, this possibility is quite likely, frankly speaking.


Anonymous said...

I agree with you down through point 3.

I am less certain than you that
sensor size matters. cameras have become computers and the trend in computers is that smaller is better. If I can get a perfect high quality photo, I'm not sure I care how big the computer is.

RiceHigh said...

My views are:-

As for point 4: A pro grade body in the body lineup of a system is important. It serves not only as a possible upgrade option and path for the existing system users, but also it has huge marketing value and can be just used as an icon, which let people know that this system attains professional levels/standards and is capable of being used for the most demanding photo applications.

As for point 5: A Full Frame DSLR is crucial, for the current technology limits, FF sensors are undoubtedly having more Dynamic Range, more steps of greys and being less noisy. Furthermore, the physics which can't be changed is that FF DSLR can have the option for more control in the Depth of Field for portraits when we want less for the DoF. This can make photos look more 3-dimensional, too.

Anonymous said...

I totally agree with you here:
Replace the K10D as soon as possible with a new model which has most of the widely reported and well-known K10D issues and limitations removed. This body probably is the widely rumoured K20D. I really hope Pentax could get rid of most of the weaknesses of the K10D in their new replacement model but not again making the mistake of marketing a seem-to-be very strong body as published on paper but actually performs below common standards in various ways in the field;

I just bought a K10D in US and found that I got the tilted viewfinder issue, you can guess how disappointed I am. Pentax should recall all the defective K10D. I saw this issue reported in many camera forums in different places: US, Europe, China...

I am thinking if I should return my camera even I need to pay a 10% processing fee. This simple issue and no any response from Pentax really destroyed my confidence on Pentax.

Anonymous said...

It would be nice if Pentax could run with the big boys, but when you have 5% of the market you can't do all the things that guys with 40% of the market do. Your formula is for Pentax to do what the big boys do, but that isn't realistic. It's unfortunate they have stumbled in the past so badly that they are this far out of market, but to come back (if they can), they have to get there on a different road. They can't win by lining up battleships and blasting away and the big guy will always have more money and more battleships. LIttle guys beat big guys by being smarter or quicker and not by brute force.

Clearly though getting to the market late with an inferior product is not a 'smarter and quicker' path to success.

Tilted viewfinders in all brands said...

Mr. anonomous, if you increase your search on the tilted topic you will see that all brands have this "issue" to some degree or another. Fact of modern production and cost containment issues...
Thom hogan is a case in point:
"One final performance note: the viewfinder mask on my D50 is 0.6 degrees off from what it should be. Line something up with the bottom of the viewfinder frame and you'll be running Rotate Arbitrary in Photoshop a lot. I've yet to see a Nikon viewfinder that's perfect (curiously, they all seem to give you images that run downhill right), but my D50's is the worst of the bunch to date.
CARE to comment mr smarty pants... ;)

Canon Sux said...

I hate Canon, they make boring products that have no unique or standout features and yet all the scrapbooking ladies are keeping them the top selling brand with all those XTi's they buy. I've still never used a Canon product I was happy with (with the possible exception of my pocket calculator in High School)

Anonymous said...

You're not great at reading graphs are you? December 06 was actually a spike for Pentax because of the release of the K10D. It has slipped since then because of there being no new releases except for the K100D Super (which improves figures for a short time). The figures for the other companies have also changed dramatically over the same period. The most interesting thing here is that Sony has taken market share from almost everyone (including Nikon). Pentax's sales will improve when they have a significant new release. They have won a lot of new fans with the K10D and K100D.

Back to center histograms said...

Sorry to dig up old dead errors on your part but you might find this interesting:
I later found out that my original assumption regarding camera meters was incorrect. It turns out that camera meters are not actually calibrated to make whatever they see medium gray. Instead, they are calibrated, according to ANSI standards, to make whatever they see slightly darker than medium gray by about half a stop. Ansel Adams supposedly argued to have this changed but was unsuccessful. To read more about the confusion regarding the calibration of meters, click here.

So, it turns out that if you expect your camera to make whatever it sees medium gray, your images will be darker than you expect. A possible reason that other D-SLRs don't seem to exhibit the same characteristic may be because manufacturers compensate for the half stop discrepancy by calibrating their sensors to be half a stop more sensitive than indicated. Fortunately, Nikon's engineers designed all their D-SLR cameras to be flexible enough to be tailored for individual preferences. For those of us who have a problem with the ANSI standard, we can either use a permanent exposure compensation of +0.33 EV or +0.5 EV or we can use a custom tone curve. As we shall see later, there are several advantages to using custom tone curves over exposure compensation.
SOME DAY you will admit you were wrong..........but I'm not holding my breath ;)

RiceHigh said...

I suggest you to post/move your comment(s) regarding exposure accuracy of Pentax DSLRs to relevant blog articles of mine as it is totally off-topic to write in this entry.

You don't read them there said...

or you still can't comprehend what they say so it really doesn't matter where I post them does it ;)

Anonymous said...

Pentax is third in the japan market ! haha !

RiceHigh said...

They are the third after averaged out for the total sales in the whole yearly period ended November 2006, from the BCN source I've quoted. But, now they are the last. So, this just reinforces my suggestion about the urgency of releasing the K200D and the K20D as soon as possible.

Also, if the K10D could have better reviews (e.g., no the infamous soft jpeg problem etc.) and if there were not so many problems as found and feedbacked by indeed many end-users, I bet there would not be the constant down trend in the sales figures throughout the whole year (since day one the K10D was marketed) - which is just a failure in my eyes. My point simply is: They should have done it *better*! Anyway, I hope Pentax can do it this time.

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