I was amazed to read Jessops Chairman David Adams’ comments in the latest copy of Amateur Photographer magazine as to why Jessops have stopped stocking Pentax cameras. With the K20D, K200D and K-m, the Pentax line-up has never been stronger or more competitive, giving features and specifications (2 command dials on the K20D – with customizable functions, weather proofing on both the K20D and K200D) that are simply non-existent in competitors’ ranges at these prices. Pentax have consistently offered excellent value for money, and have continued to expand their lens range and accessories. So the reason Jessops have dropped them? David Adams says “…the (Pentax) products were not the most compelling offer in terms of functionality and price.” I’d say he was fundamentally wrong on both counts.
Now, I haven’t shopped in Jessops for some time, as being a Pentax user I’ve always been disappointed in the stock that they’ve held. There are far more knowledgeable and better stocked shops such as SRS Microsystems, Park Cameras, CameraWorld etc that are more than happy to offer the customers true choice and advice. Whilst I don’t wish any company to suffer, I have to say I have never recommended Jessops to anyone wishing to buy a camera, as their opinions have always been biased towards Canon, and while they do make superb cameras, they are not right for everyone, and customers deserve to be offered a choice at what appears to be an independent shop.
I’ve lost count of the times I heard a customer saying “I want to buy an SLR” and the Jessops sales assistant saying “You want one of these” as they handed them a Canon. The correct response would of course be to ask “What interests you photographically? How much are you looking to spend? Here’s a range of cameras that might be suitable, have a play with them, ask any questions, and see which one suits you best”. Unless you genuinely really need a high frame rate, any DSLR from any manufacturer is capable of satisfying the general photographer. But each camera feels and works differently, and it’s this aspect that needs to be addressed when buying a camera, all other things being equal.
As far as I’m concerned, if you’ve got £500 to spend, you can’t get a better built, more highly specified camera than a Pentax K20D. David Adams obviously disagrees.