Imaging Resource 2015 Interview with Pentax/Ricoh


Staff member
Jul 23, 2007

Certainly one of the most enlightening and positive interviews I have ever read with Pentax.

Lots of tidbits on how they are doing, the strength of the various camera segments and direction.

Notables (imo)

"As you pointed out, Ricoh had a group of engineers who specialized in cameras, and Pentax also had engineers. We merged these two groups, and on top of that Ricoh has a big engineering group engaged in technology innovation or fundamental development. Those [R&D] engineers are not part of Ricoh Imaging, but because of the Ricoh Group, now Ricoh Imaging can take advantage of all those technologies to adapt to features in cameras.

At the CP+ show, we have the technology center [in our booth], that I want to show you later on. The Pentax K-S2, which we just announced on the 9th of February, incorporates one innovation, our so-called clarity enhancement technology. That technology was [originated by] the Ricoh Company. So in those ways, the investment, or good marriage of these companies, is really contributing to upgrade our engineering power."

"To be frank, the number of 645Z sales is much more than our expectations, so our output capacity could not meet the demand, even today, on a worldwide basis. So in that sense, I can say Pentax has a clear targeting of our target users, or our body of customers according to our product line-up. So the 645Z is really successful, and with the K-mount APS-C models, we believe we are providing the largest assortment of interchangeable lenses for any APS-C DSLR."

Looks like 645Z is doing very well.
How well ??

Answer here:

"DE: So the 645Z was much more than you projected. How much was it, like, twice as many people wanted it, or...?

KS: Frankly, close to.

DE: Close to twice?

KS: Yeah."

On the GR, which is some amazing info to be (as a non-GR user)

"KS: Yeah, dedicated ones. That's why those people in our target group are really appreciating our strong commitment. That's why in the DSLR area, we still have a slight increase [in sales] instead of a decrease. Then with the Ricoh GR, this is already... We believe we've established a kind of legend.

DE: A legend, yes. A reputation.

KS: Yes, a reputation. So this camera is still continuously attracting a certain number of fans and end users. So for this also, our capacity cannot keep up with our demand."

I can see why.
Its really a sweet point in a very versatile focal length (28mm), fantastic o/p and 16mp being more than enough for most enthusiasts.
Also the camera handling.
Little left wanting in this camera even by today's standards.

"KS: But today's full-frame market is different. Now we can capture the users who want to step up from APS-C. Right? So now our educated end users are starting to upgrade to full-frame because the price of full-frame has somehow matured in comparison with four years ago. Now the 645Z's position, we can meet the demand of professionals and really high-end amateurs who want to play like professionals. And then the FF comes for the end users who are using APS-C DSLRs, or let's say [those owning the] 20 million interchangeable-lenses, to step up."

I think Pentax tries to enter into a 'good price' segment for their cameras.
They also realize that low end cameras (esp compacts) are no longer a market and they need to step up with FF.

As for DA lens use and compatibility :
"KS: Yes. Okay, we have no official announcement because our engineering team is still engaged in checking them one by one for the full-frame image circles. Needless to say, with the crop function, every interchangeable lens we make could be used. But for the full-frame sized image circles, we need to be very careful to test them first, because we never want to mislead our end users.

DE: ...and have very bad quality at the edges, yeah.

KS: Right, or the other way around. If the end user has a certain good interchangeable lens, but if that user is not informed that it's really compatible for full-frames, maybe that user would lose the chance to use their existing lenses. That's why, in both ways, this information should be very accurate. So we intend to announce the compatibility or some advice at the time of the full-frame camera's release. I think this should be our attitude as a manufacturer, to provide the service to our current users."

Crop mode is for sure.
They are also responsible enough to go thru the DA lenses and determine a list of what they feel is proper for a FF image circle.

All positive news imo.
Do give the article a read. :cool:

This is indeed good news and adds much positivity to the overall feel.
One thing that caught my attention in the article is:

" From long ago, Pentax was a developer of the 35mm film SLRs. So we have huge funds [invested by consumers] on Pentax SLRs. We have accumulated about 20 million lenses sold for the K-mount, so this is one of the big groups we wanted to respect. We wanted to provide a good tool to let them to continue to use their systems."

I really hope they come up with some good manual lens focus assist thingy, or at least have original split screen option.


Staff member
Aug 25, 2004
Great interview indeed. But I wonder why they discontinued GR while it was still selling well. So far still no confirmed GR replacement yet. Kinda waste I think. It's one of the niche markets Ricoh should have done much better...

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