Hello everyone, you may have noticed an absence of Pentax reviews recently. Here's why...
Most publications including Camera Labs, request products from the manufacturers which are loaned for the review period, then returned. There are normally dedicated PR teams to look after such requests and dedicated loan stock for journalists.
When a publication is based in a major city, like London, this works very well, as all the manufacturers are all well-represented, and you can normally get hold of pretty much anything you want. There's a pecking-order with publications, so depending on where you rank, you may need to wait your turn, but you'll normally always get the product you want to test eventually.
Camera Labs relocated from London to a remote part of New Zealand several years ago and the situation is very different out here. There's much less loan stock available, and several manufacturers don't have their own offices here, and instead use local distributors.
Some manufacturers pay their distributors to service publications, but others don't. Of those that do, some take a very local stance and will only loan products to what they consider to be local publications. Others see sales as a priority and will only loan a product to a publication when there's literally no more customers waiting to buy it.
This is the problem with Pentax right now. I'm in touch with Pentax USA, Pentax UK and Pentax Australia, but none will loan products to publications outside of their own countries. There's no Pentax office in NZ, so they use a distributor which has been happy to loan us products to test in the past, but recently has prioritised sales over reviews. So if they have, say 10 orders for a K-7, and only ten cameras are received from Pentax, they will sell them all. Often there are back-orders waiting some time to be fulfilled, and they have priority.
As time goes on, demand for a particular product of course drops-off and some spares may become available, but several months in this business is a lifetime, and there's no commercial point in Camera Labs reviewing a product that's a few months old. Believe it or not, even a few weeks makes a big difference in page impressions and revenue generated.
So that's the problem with Pentax right now. We’re based in a very remote part of the World where stock of anything but the most popular products can be hard to come by - and right now Pentax's representatives down here are prioritising sales over reviews.
I do try my best to source kit, and I hope you'll agree that compared to publications based in London and major parts of the USA we actually manage to get most reviews of major products done in a timely fashion. I could of course relocate to a more populated region, but then I love the scenery here and believe it makes for better-looking and more interesting reviews.
So is this the end for Pentax and Camera Labs? It is unless they change their policy and either provide the local distributor with budget to service publications like ourselves in a timely fashion, or simply send product out from one of their major offices. Other manufacturers have supplied me with kit from overseas, including Asia and London, so it is possible and it does work. It's really just up Pentax now.
An on-going issue is which sales region is actually responsible for Camera Labs? I'm British, but am based in New Zealand publishing reviews which are mostly read in North America. Like most English language websites though, we have readers all over the world, and ideally there should be a division of every company set up to deal with the needs of global publications – but the fact is, most still take a very local view.
That said, this same issues faces all camera manufacturers we work with and every one apart from Pentax has figured out how to accommodate us. The bottom line is I’ve contacted all the offices and they're unwilling to supply us review models – at least not until they’re too old to be relevant to a web-based publication. So it’s stalemate as far as I’m concerned, but as you’ll know from my existing Pentax reviews, I do appreciate their work, and indeed was a passionate Pentax SLR owner myself many years ago.
If you are in contact with a representative of Pentax, perhaps you’d like to suggest they may be interested in finding a way to work with us – after all, we may be based in a remote part of the world, but our ranking is stronger than many in the more populated regions.
So if you'd like to see Pentax reviews return to Camera Labs, please drop them a line to explain why they should work with us again. I've done all I can for now.
Last edited by Gordon Laing on Sun Jan 10, 2010 9:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.