Saturday, April 11, 2009

Dear Pentax

photographyLately there have been a rash of "wish list" postings on the various Pentax forums. I'm not sure why this is... maybe because we're so spoiled that we want more, more, more! Or maybe everyone likes to engage in a little gear fetishism every now and then.

Requests include the usual calls for a full-frame body (won't happen), improved auto-focus (would be nice, but don't real photographers focus manually?), or specific lenses (particularly those Pentax once made for film bodies). I thought I'd chime in, since my wish is of a different order entirely. Some might consider it trivial, but I think that if Pentax follows my lead here they will enjoy a bump in sales.

Dear Pentax:

I want lenses that look better. I am a design person and an artist; aesthetics is important to me. That's why I am a photographer.

The FA Limited lenses are objects of beauty, partly because of their manufacturing and partly simply because of their design elements. Their simple black smooth finish with discreet white lettering is understated and functional. There's a proper aperture ring and DOF markings -- items forgotten on "made for digital" lenses. Focus is nice and smooth; all the parts work in harmony. Remember that design must work in tandem with function!

Just take a look at the FA77, and then the most recent lens in the line-up:

Before I saw the photo above, I was interested in maybe buying the DA*55/1.4. But it looks like every other piece-of-junk lens on the market, with its garish textures, horrible green band, twice as horrible gold band and excessive lettering. Why is "Pentax 55" in gold? Why is "SDM" in red? Why does the hood have that horrid finish? There are no reasons for anything here. The total effect is just butt ugly.

And, yes, I know that all the Canon and Nikon lenses are tacky bricks, but that's no excuse. Please take a look at Leica, Zeiss, etc. They know about aesthetics; that is part of their appeal. Make all your lenses look like a Zeiss or, yes indeed, the FA Limiteds. I promise to buy every one of them (well, every one I can afford).

I don't care about full-frame compatibility for a body that does not exist. There are lots of great older lenses in existence for film cameras. So make the lenses digital-only if you like. But make them look good.

P.S. I would like a DA 28/2 Limited of the quality of the DA35/2.8. I think it's mad that you don't have a normal lens for your digital bodies on the market. Remember the brilliant FA43!

P.P.S. Thanks for having the best lenses in the business. All the rest is just gravy, don't 'cha know?


1 comment:

FM said...

I sure understand what you mean! Part of my joy in photography comes from having established an "emotional" relationship with the equipment I use. And that has to do not only with technical performance but also with aesthetic look and ergonomic feel.
I've been using a K10D with "retrofitted" Carl Zeiss lenses. And man, are they beautiful!

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