Why use Pentax?

Started Mar 18, 2013 | Questions thread
Gerry Winterbourne Forum Pro • Posts: 14,299
Re: Why use Pentax?

Several reasons.  Some for only one of these, some for a combination.  Personally I came for 1 and stay for 2 - 6.

1 Long-time ownership of Pentax kit, especially lenses.  Fifty years ago photography was much wider-spread in makers - there were dozens of them.  Although Nikon and Canon were relatively big they had nothing like the dominance thety have now.  Pentax used the K-mount lens system that many other makers used too.  Before that they used M42 screw-mount lenses that were also widely used by others.  You can use any K-mount lens on today's Pentax DSLRs in the way they were originally intended (if they weren't AF then they still aren't, but you can use them in their native MF).  M42s need an adapter.

So anyone who owns pre-digital K-mount lenses can just buy a DSLR body and use every lens they own with no hassle.  Changing system would be a big cost for them.

2 Size and weight.   Canon and Nikon do make small, light entry-level bodies but they are limited technically.  Their bodies of equivalent capability to Pentax are bigger and heavier.  The same is true of most lenses too: cheap, small and light entry-level stuff but bigger, heavier good stuff.

3 In-body stabilisation.  Every lens you own is stabilised on Pentax; with the others you either don't get it or pay extra.  There are claims but no reliable evidence that in-lens stabilisation beats in-body, except possibly for quite long FLs.

4 Ergonomics.  This is is always subjective, of course.

5 Low price.  A few years ago Pentax kept its prices very low compared to the others: possibly in an attempt to gain customers, but in fact it almost bankrupted itself.  Having been bought a couple of times the new owners have imposed higher prices but while old Pentax owners complain they are still, overall, a bit cheaper than the rest for comparable kit.  (We keep seeing threads about this using selected items to prove or disprove this but both sides exaggerate).

6 Lens quality.  Pentax has a history of producing lenses that, even if they don't stand out on the measurables of IQ, have very appealing characteristics.  These are by no means all the lenses Pentax makes and some are quite expensive; but many people would use the Limited FA and/or DA lenses from choice on any makes of body (with appropriate adapters).

An obvious question is why, with all these plus points, don't more people use Pentax?  That's mainly because Canon and Nikon achieved market dominance at the end of the film era and moved early to digital.  Once an organisation is big in its field it stays big unless some catastrophe hits it.  Being big allows them to offer better support to professionals so their kit is more visible; and that helps continue their dominance.

Finally, the reason you suggested: 7 the cachet of being in a minority.  I'm not convinced that many come to Pentax for that but quite a lot feel it once they're here.

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First camera 1953, first Pentax 1985, first DSLR 2006

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