My rant: 100 years (-1) or why I care for those who remain silent


JaroslawBrzezinski

Link Posted 26/02/2018 - 19:48
This is a translation into English of an entry posted at my Polish blog; https://towarzystwonieustraszonychsoczewek.blogspot.com/2018/02/100-lat-1-czyli-...
As we are approaching the 100th anniversary of Asahi Optical Co., I will be posting more entries on Pentax cameras and tests of some quite rare lenses, particularly of Pentax-A* line. Because I have always thought Asahi has not been receiving the praise it deserves, here is my short rant:


After a 20-year break I decided to write a column. Perhaps because of the reborn love for products with Pentax logo; perhaps because of the irrational and bound-to-fail rebellion against the contemporary world; or perhaps just to check if I am completely alone on this desert Island or maybe someone else is wandering around here.
We are constantly attacked by pieces of news on premieres. Each of them shouts at us that the best camera or lens in history is going to be just launched; thatís OK, everyone has the right to praise even the most trivial and least outstanding product in an attempt to sell it and it is then up to us to separate the wheat from the chaff. The problem is, this is getting more and more difficult because genuine progress is increasingly illusive, while marketing is becoming increasingly aggressive and removed from real virtues of the advertised equipment. The same happens in the fine arts: the more similar all artists get, the more each of them shouts how original they are. So the louder someone shouts, the more I tend to think they have nothing to shout about. Parole, parole, parole.


And on top of that, some companies are fighting for top positions in the rankings so they are forced to constantly outshout each other. The silent ones apparently are never right. Originality, long traditions recede into the background if Pentax K-1 Ė one of the most interesting DSRLs on the market today Ė vegetates somewhere on the margins as a curiosity, and while everyone knew well ahead about celebrations of the hundredth anniversary of Nikon (2017), or Leica (2014) then hardly anyone mentions the fact that 2019 will mark one hundred years since establishment of Asahi Optical Co. Leica is a separate matter altogether: for some people it is not a brand but a cult, M6 is a shrine, and Leica Monochrome is God incarnated himself. When I look at the best cameras and lenses made by Asahi Optical Co. I just say that in terms of quality Pentax is a true Japanese Leica, only not so famous and not that expensive.


Proof? Letís take Pentax LX. A small, lightweight professional SLR, that was clearly superior to the rivals of its times, i.e. Canon New F-1 or Nikon F3, in all respects except popularity and sales volume. The marketing department in Asahi has always seemed inert. Or perhaps this was the philosophy of modesty, typical of some authors of great works: yes, we have created a masterpiece, but it would be tactless to praise it; let it defend itself. I am joking a little, I am exaggerating a bit, but not by much. On many occasions I was under an impression that beautiful things created by Asahi Optical Co. were thrown at the mercy of the marketplace and had to cope on their own. And they proved to be too delicate and not feisty enough to do well. Customers rarely want brilliant solutions invented by engineers. Sometimes such solutions sell poorly in terms of image, particularly if one is unable to demonstrate the benefits to be ripped from them by mass users.


I am not going to beat my head against the wall, tilt at windmills and so on. I will not delude myself that if a hundred other people convinced of the benefits of the products of Asahi Optical Co. join me, we will be able to influence mass tastes. But I can do my own thing, i.e. in the year preceding the 100th anniversary of the establishment of the company, write more about it, test lenses, discuss cameras, and raise the element of its philosophy that matters to me most, and one that has constantly resurfaced throughout the history of Pentax like a leitmotif in a musical piece: to do everything the best one can at a given moment in history, regardless of the costs entailed or the possibility of suffering a market failure. And with time a camera considered to be a niche product, or a lens that was awarded a top score in an industry test but did not make it to the top of sales rankings, comes to such a person as me, who handles them, delights in the uniqueness of their solutions and magic properties of the generated images. And then such a man starts taking about them. Even if only twenty people read this, ten believe in what I am saying and five decide to try Pentax products for themselves, it will be worthwhile the effort.

davidwozhere

Link Posted 27/02/2018 - 00:12
I am looking forward to reading more of your ranting !
Both the *istDS and the K5 are incurably addicted to old glass

My page on Photocrowd - link

Algernon

Link Posted 27/02/2018 - 14:59
Very well written and all perfectly true. I've never understood why people have always been so dismissive of Pentax. They were well liked in the Spotmatic era and the 'K' mount was well accepted as the bayonet standard by people owning other systems . These people actually looked up to Pentax and were very proud if they had say a Pentax 50mm on their Chinon. It was probably for financial reasons that they owned the Chinon in the first place.

--
Half Man... Half Pentax ... Half Cucumber

Pentax K-1 + K-5 and some other stuff

Algi

JaroslawBrzezinski

Link Posted 27/02/2018 - 15:08
davidwozhere wrote:
I am looking forward to reading more of your ranting !

Thanks. I will try to deliver.
Best
Jarek

JaroslawBrzezinski

Link Posted 27/02/2018 - 15:11
Algernon wrote:
Very well written and all perfectly true. I've never understood why people have always been so dismissive of Pentax. They were well liked in the Spotmatic era and the 'K' mount was well accepted as the bayonet standard by people owning other systems . These people actually looked up to Pentax and were very proud if they had say a Pentax 50mm on their Chinon. It was probably for financial reasons that they owned the Chinon in the first place.

--

I've heard opjnions that they were too successful in Spotmatic and early "K" mount era and failed to see the need to fight for the market later on. Anyway I have already asigned a separate "Asahi" section at my blog and this will be the 'Year of Asahi" for me.
Best
Jarek

Aitch53

Link Posted 27/02/2018 - 21:49
Algernon wrote:
Very well written and all perfectly true. I've never understood why people have always been so dismissive of Pentax...

They weren't always...



from 1979
SteveH!

Some people call me 'strange'. I prefer 'unconventional'.
But I'm willing to compromise and accept 'eccentric'.

JaroslawBrzezinski

Link Posted 27/02/2018 - 21:52
Aitch53 wrote:
Algernon wrote:
Very well written and all perfectly true. I've never understood why people have always been so dismissive of Pentax...

They weren't always...



from 1979

True. When I was learning photographic techniques in 1980s from English-language handbooks available in Poland, they mostly featured Pentax or Olympus cameras.
Best
Jarek

pschlute

Link Posted 27/02/2018 - 23:05
Very well said Jarek.
Peter



My Flickr page

JaroslawBrzezinski

Link Posted 27/02/2018 - 23:09
pschlute wrote:
Very well said Jarek.

Thanks, I have already found some spelling errors but am unable to edit the post. Guess, I will have to correct and repost it.
Best
Jarek

Roshni

Link Posted 28/02/2018 - 05:47
Waiting to read more about ranting soon
Auto Add Date Timestamp

Algernon

Link Posted 28/02/2018 - 08:33
JaroslawBrzezinski wrote:
pschlute wrote:
Very well said Jarek.

Thanks, I have already found some spelling errors but am unable to edit the post. Guess, I will have to correct and repost it.
Best
Jarek

If I click quote in Firefox it doesn't show any spelling errors apart from words it hasn't got in the UK English dictionary such as Asahi. 'premieres' is flagged up because it hasn't got that either, but it looks right to me. So NO spelling mistakes as far as I'm concerened

--
Half Man... Half Pentax ... Half Cucumber

Pentax K-1 + K-5 and some other stuff

Algi

JaroslawBrzezinski

Link Posted 28/02/2018 - 12:13
Algernon wrote:
JaroslawBrzezinski wrote:
Quote:
Very well said Jarek.

Thanks, I have already found some spelling errors but am unable to edit the post. Guess, I will have to correct and repost it.
Best
Jarek

If I click quote in Firefox it doesn't show any spelling errors apart from words it hasn't got in the UK English dictionary such as Asahi. 'premieres' is flagged up because it hasn't got that either, but it looks right to me. So NO spelling mistakes as far as I'm concerened

--

For example in this sentence: "And then such a man starts taking about them" the correct word should be "talking" not "taking".
Jarek

Algernon

Link Posted 28/02/2018 - 12:42
But that's not a spelling mistake
Half Man... Half Pentax ... Half Cucumber

Pentax K-1 + K-5 and some other stuff

Algi

McGregNi

Link Posted 28/02/2018 - 13:47
I like the beautiful photos of the beautiful equipment, and it's always good to read more about Pentax historically. The colour balance of your "product shots" is very nice!

I would like to know about how that remote system worked. It looks very similar to some sort of radio flash trigger. Is it a remote control for firing the shutter?
My Guides to the Pentax Digital Camera Flash Lighting System : Download here from the PentaxForums Homepage Article .... link
Pentax K7 with BG-4 Grip / Samyang 14mm f2.8 ED AS IF UMC / DA18-55mm f3.5-5.6 AL WR / SMC A28mm f2.8 / D FA 28-105mm / SMC F35-70 f3.5-4.5 / SMC A50mm f1.7 / Tamron AF70-300mm f4-5.6 Di LD macro / SMC M75-150mm f4.0 / Tamron Adaptall (CT-135) 135mm f2.8 / Asahi Takumar-A 2X tele-converter / Pentax AF-540FGZ (I & II) Flashes / Cactus RF60/X Flashes & V6/V6II Transceiver

Algernon

Link Posted 28/02/2018 - 14:46
McGregNi wrote:

I would like to know about how that remote system worked. It looks very similar to some sort of radio flash trigger. Is it a remote control for firing the shutter?

Be quick one day left
https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Rare-Pentax-Infrared-Remote-Control-System-Transmitte...

INFORMATION LINK

https://www.mir.com.my/rb/photography/hardwares/classics/pentaxlx/remote/index.h...

--
Half Man... Half Pentax ... Half Cucumber

Pentax K-1 + K-5 and some other stuff

Algi
Last Edited by Algernon on 28/02/2018 - 14:51
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