Open Letter Opinion Rumors

Opinion: Pentax lens price increase from 10-90%…

I noticed on PentaxForums about a unilateral price scheme in the USA. This pricing scheme just increased the price of many Pentax lenses, most especially the DA* line. No lenses went down in price.

My opinion would be… What on Earth could Pentax USA/Ricoh be thinking? I wouldn’t normally post about the frequent fluctuating cost of camera equipment, but when a lens like the DA* 60-250mm goes up around $800 in day, there is a big issue.

Even if they plan to eventually set the prices to something more reasonable, why damage your customer relationship by allowing retailers to set their price at full retail that is significantly more than the cost the day earlier?

Most Pentax lenses are designed for the smaller APS-C imaging sensors, yet with these increases, they are not even competitive with full-frame lenses from someone like Canon. A good example of that would be the DA* 16-50mm, now at $1499. The Full-frame Canon 24-70mm is even $1400, so why would someone go with Pentax? The new price tops the equivalent Canon by $300 now (Canon 17-55mm f2.8).

Oddly, the FA Limited lenses didn’t change in price. You would think the production cost of those lenses would be one of the highest in the line.

It comes down to this, if a lens jumps in price hundreds of dollars, chances are the reason is a money grab rather than a production cost increase or absolutely poor communication with retailers. A great way to make potential customers shy away from your system as well as giving your current customers a reason to not buy more lenses.

For professionals who do or could potentially use Pentax DSLRs, why would they choose a system that results in extreme and expensive price fluctuations in important equipment that can’t even match prices of the larger companies? Whether they like that market position or not, Pentax was a good value for semi-professionals and beginners (especially before Hoya… and now Ricoh came on the scene). I started with Pentax because it was a great value (*ist DS era). Now that I’m a semi-professional, I still hold off on purchases that don’t meet a general value criteria. $2000 for a 60-250mm f4 lens, or $1600 for a APS-C only 50-135mm lens isn’t a value in any sense of the word.

Here are some discussions on PentaxForums.