I often hear photographers saying that it's too bad you can't find Pentax cameras and lenses in some of the smaller camera stores and even in some big store as well. Although this may be true to a certain extent, brick & mortar stores are disappearing everyday, and not just camera stores, it is the same with all markets. They are being replaced by the Wal-Mart stores of the world, and internet stores. Ebay plays a big part too, as stores like Cameta Camera in New York sells almost exclusively on Ebay.
Canon and Nikon equipment can be found with less trouble than Pentax. It is not necessary because they are better cameras, it because they have the biggest advertising budgets. They have the biggest budgets because they sell a lot. It is a vicious circle. It is sort of like a private club and difficult to get in. Pentax has been an underdog for a while and it will probably never sell the volume of equipment that Canon and Nikon do. However, being and underdog is not necessarily a bad thing for us...the consumers. Underdogs have to work harder and produce better equipment for the money. That is exactly what Pentax did in this new digital world. Almost everyone knows that, dollar for dollar, Pentax offers better DSLRs. Just look at the success of the K10D, and now the K20D with its CMOS 14.6 megapixels and available modes and customizations.
Most newbies want to use what they heard the Pros were shooting with. The Pros are often sponsored, or have tons of C & N equipment already. Canon and Nikon have dominated the market for a long time and both have Pro-Models in the $5,000.00 range. Pros use the top of the line cameras and newbies and amateurs rarely purchase the $5,000.00 plus cameras. Many tend to buy the cheapest Canon or Nikon, which in my opinion do not hold a candle to Pentax for the same amount of money. People, as a rule, are followers and they perceive that shooting with the cheapest models of the same make the Pros use the most, will make them better photographers. Some boast about their capabilities as photographers, since they are using Nikon or Canon similarly to what most Pros use. One only has to look at the Pentax Gallery to see the quality of the images presented.
It is almost impossible for smaller brick & mortar stores to make it nowadays because they cannot buy in the same volume as the super stores and therefore cannot sell the goods as cheap. If you are honest about it, most of us go to our local camera store to get our hands on cameras and lenses so that we can decide what we want. We also surf the internet to get as much information as we can to help us in our decision-making. Once we know what we want, we buy online because it's cheaper. Many people purchase (Canon & Nikon) from Best Buy or Circuit City, not at a bargain price, but because they offer payment plans.
Soon, the purchasing market will shift toward the Internet based stores. Advertisement will get stronger in the Internet arena and brick & mortar stores (big and small) will slowly disappear or join the internet bandwagon. Once on the internet, any company can look as big as they want. Pentax, in my opinion, is changing its marketing approach toward the internet. I predict that they will be more successful that way. After all, they do make excellent products. It is just a question of budget and marketing. As I learned in my marketing classes, it’s 20% product and 80% marketing.
Thank you for reading,