This was a surprise ...
This was a surprise ...
Not sure if this is good or bad, but there are a number of acquisitions going on today - Hasselblad was also bought by some investor I heard.
I think they (at least the smaller one's) have to look to join forces in order to be able to stay competitive.
Well I hop it's good for the Ricoh users, and for the Pentax users too. Pentax has been through some poor times although their current K5 seems a good body. I don't know that Ricoh has had too many difficulties in recent years.
Hope for the best for both.
As for Pentax Imaging, the last year for them was profitable bouncing a downward train. But they need more sustained ups for sure.
Hopefully for 645D users Ricoh will be able to pick up the pace of lens development and make that system even more attractive.
"On completion of the Acquisition, Ricoh will begin to use the PENTAX brand name for some of its digital camera products, and HOYA will continue to use the PENTAX brand name for their endoscopes and other products.
Furthermore, with the Acquisition, both companies will cooperate with each other to increase the value of the PENTAX brand. "
Sounds like good news to me.
I still think it's important for Ricoh to officially state what the new directions are for each line- or to state "course unchaged." But the fact they are using the Pentax name for at least some of its digital cameras bodes very well that this isn't just an intellectual property grab & burial.
I think this is the best thing that could have happened to PENTAX. Ricoh and Pentax both make camera for photographers and from where I see their product philosophies go very well together. I feel like PENTAX is in a safe hands
Interesting thing I am imagining is, down the line Ricoh may relase K-Mount for GXR taking all those sweet Pentax primes. If it happens, that could be best mirrorless compact produced till date. On the other note, this also will underline versatility of GXR concept in the long run.
Sounds like a WIN/WIN for Ricoh and Pentax. This makes the Q-mount camera even more insignificant in my eyes as the GXR seems to be a "better" and more versatile product for about the same price.
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When I watched the video with a Pentax rep on Luminous Landscape when the camera was just becoming available in Canada/US. There were other mentions at the time that lenses were being redeveloped to handle the demands of high resolution digital sensors.
I remember that video, as I recall it was more about CA appearing with digital that was unseen using film rather than resolution or any other aspect.
NB: In any event, this announcement makes me a bit concerned about the future of the 645D. I was already concerned with Hoya's indifference to DSLRs, so maybe I should be relieved?
I read the news around 5am this morning and had no idea such a thing was in the works. I'm not really bothered by it and will, like the rest of you, have to take a wait and see attitude.
No point in jumping ship. Some of the other forums are all jacked up about it and saying the end is near, the sky is falling, Etc.. but that is to be expected. There will always be those who hate change and see the glass half empty as opposed to half full.
I feel the mainstream SLR domain is coming to a close and the mirrorless digital camera on the rise. In the mirrorless domain, Ricoh has been very innovative with the GXR system. The "Camera Module A12" with Leica M mount is just about ready to ship for the GXR system: it would be extremely easy to provide adaptation for M42 and K-mount lenses (it already exists through third party adapters!) and not too much more daunting to build a dedicated K-mount version, with more features dedicated to the Pentax K mount lens specifics.
More interesting would be creating dedicated A12 camera modules with integrated lenses like an "A12 31 Limited", "A12 60 Limited", "A12 105 Limited" camera modules based on the DA21, DA40, DA70 (all great, compact optics designed for an APS-C sensor, amongst others) would be another way to expand Ricoh's GXR system more swiftly than for Ricoh to develop the optics from scratch.
I had read some rumors shortly after it was announced that the Pentax Q system was actually being manufactured by Ricoh. I have no idea of the truth of that and can't remember where I read it, but if true it would now make sense.
It will be very interesting to see where this goes. I do hope it's a positive for everyone.
There are elements of truth to both your statement (above) with regards of using film era Pentax 645 lenses with the 645D depending which division of Pentax one speaks with and to whom inside the company. The offical Pentax USA view was that there was too much variability in given samples of the same model of lens. It wasn't so much CA (although thats true too and would apply really to many film era lenses by anyone when used on a digital body)...but the varing degree of tolerance and optical adjustment of samples of any given model lens. A lenses adjustment was initially fine for film use, but often there was too great of variable optical performance that would be seen with many samples, when they are used on the 645D. With some model lenses the differences due to tight tolerances would be very small if any (such as with the FA 120mm f4 645 macro on the 645D)...other times the differences between samples were tremendous. As I often have posted, in my testing of multiple samples of almost all film era 645 lenses on the 645D...I would concur with Pentax USA assessments. Pentax Japan also acknowledged these issues but their public statements regarding this were less pronounced than those expressed by Pentax USA and other worldwide Pentax divisions.
If after finding/purchasing a particular sample of a given FA 645 lens, one is willing to test it against other samples of the same lens, often times, they will find marked differences in the range from wide open to two stops down from max. aperture. With some lens the differences can be substantial.
As for production continuing on all film era 645 lenses, it's my understanding that most of it came to a halt prior to the 645D release and the initial months after that camera was on the market and that any new samples we saw coming out of Asia and elsewhere was new old stock from either retail stores or within Pentax Japan's warehouses. Recently with the success of the 645D, it appears production of some/most of these film era lenses may begin again but I think with what's been happening, I'm not sure how far along this idea is from happening.
It's similar to when Pentax was sold to Hoya (or just prior to it) with regards to the film era 35mm SLR lenses. There was a lot of old stock which kept the retail market pipeline busy for quite a while and then Pentax released (dumped) it all onto the worldwide open market to 2-3 large retailers (at firesale prices) which then sold many of them (including many top of the line, high end ones) to the public. I recall that time vividly. I think Pentax Japan also cleared out stocks of these 645 film era lenses, but there were far less of them and since basically production of film 645 cameras had halted a number of years ago...relaease of most of the remaining ones, was performeed on a gradual basis. I would think (although this is just an assumption at this point) some of the most needed and popular focal length ones will be resurrected, to fill in gaps in focal lengths where new WR lenses are still way off from being released.
Regarding the 35mm K mount, lets not forget there is a Ricoh connetion. In the 35mm film era days, some of Ricoh's 35mm film era SLR's had their version of the K mount which was similar to Pentax's...abeit with slight differences. Often times certain Ricoh's K mount lenses would catch if mounted onto a Pentax SLR and had difficulty coming off. Other times it would mount and release just fine. I almost feel with Ricoh's innovatve approach to some of their photographic products over many years, that there is the potential to keep Pentax's nitch approach going with regards to some of the recent Pentax announcements. How though this will fit in with the 645D I'm not sure and that to me is more of a "?" than the 35mm DSLR division moving forward.
Last edited by D&A; 1st July 2011 at 06:12.
Godfrey said---"I had read some rumors shortly after it was announced that the Pentax Q system was actually being manufactured by Ricoh. I have no idea of the truth of that and can't remember where I read it, but if true it would now make sense."<<<
Yes, completely agree! If Ricoh had developed this system, it would fit in perfectly with Ricoh's philosophy now and as far back as I can remember. Even more so than Pentax, Ricoh view for product development and for a different approach to products was always unique....although some were successful in the marketplace, others not so much. They also seemed to lack R&D money, so many of these unique Ricoh products fell by the wayside. I actually think in some ways, the takeover of Pentax by Ricoh may end up being good for 35mm/APS/P&S products but how things move forward with the 645D is another question.
I'm hoping this eventually means an all new Pentax APS-C mirrorless camera line in the future with a new line of lenses. I've been surprised that Pentax hasn't jumped on this, yet.
That's why I think the creation of "A12 XXX" camera modules might make some good sense. They could integrate current Pentax lens designs with their now current the focal plane shutter camera module. It becomes more a matter of a collapsible mount for compactness when carrying the camera and hooking up a system to drive the auto-iris mechanism properly, rather than having to reformulate all the optical designs.
Re-formulating new optical designs takes a lot more time and money than coming up with a tricky new lens mount ...
There are a lot of possibilities. Ricoh seems a solid, innovative company with a good photographer-sensible design aesthetic, and the Pentax lens technology and brand name are good in the marketplace. This should be a big win for everyone in the combined photographic community.
I have a good deal of nostalgia abiut this. My first good camera was a Honeywell Pentax H1, my first SLR. Consolidation is probably a good thing as Pentax was stumbling, getting some things right (645 and K5) but others not quite (4/3), and even when they got it right didn't market well and didn't sell enough to sustain itself. Ricoh may be in a position to breatge some life into Pentax, or at least preserve the good stuff.
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I really like this deal. Ricoh is a large solid industrial; what's more, I like the company and their support of photography, all through my lifetime, they've been unafraid to innovate, I remember lusting after their 35mm kit as a kid. They're a superb, high quality manufacturer. They can leverage their own expertise to take the 645D and K series to new levels without onboarding significant investment risks as they now have everything in house.
Pentax remains the only player in both small and medium format, a most uniquely positioned camera company. The newly combined company will cover everything from consumer compacts, high end compacts, 4:3rds, small and medium format. Serious competition for Nikon, Canon and Sony.
But I neither 'depart from' or 'return to' a company. I either use the equipment they make, or I don't. I was happy to use Pentax equipment for some years, but stopped using it when I found other equipment that I preferred. Equipment is, to me, the most transitory part of Photography. Brand promotion is something I only do when I'm paid to ... which was a relationship I had with Pentax USA for a bit. The Pentax equipment I had did me very well and I was happy to support their advertising.
From the Ricoh's horses mouth:
Some of this has been said and I will put the disclaimer that in the end, anything can happen. We will know by Nov/Dec this year. What Ricoh needs to do is step up now and make their intentions/directions clear to the Pentax customers, or the uncertainty will cost them some business.
"On completion of the Acquisition, Ricoh will begin to use the PENTAX brand name for some of its digital camera products, and HOYA will continue to use the PENTAX brand name for their endoscopes and other products."
So this means, the Pentax brand name will carry on.
And now the key points:
"3. Strategic objectives for Ricoh
The goal of the Acquisition is to establish a firmer presence in the consumer business, which has been a considerable challenge for Ricoh.
Ricoh believes that the borderline between office and home will fade and this will be reflected in a major change in products and services. Ricoh aims to provide more consumer–oriented offerings not only in the field of digital cameras but also video conferencing systems, network appliances, and others, to their customers around the world. The Acquisition is the first step in this direction.
Ricoh intends to maximize the synergy from the merger between Ricoh’s digital camera business and PENTAX Imaging System Business in various ways.
1) Strengthening the digital camera business
␣ Enhanced interchangeable-lens cameras to meet expected future growth
␣ Expansion of product lineup and interchangeable lens portfolio 2) Creation of new business delivering added value to consumers
␣ Creation and development of value-added businesses such as making it easy to view, save and retouch photos.
3) Other benefits
␣ Possible entry into the image archiving business using medium format digital cameras
␣ Expansion of security related products"
From what I read here the K-5 line and all the other K-mount cameras are pretty safe. The Pentax Q may be safe- or not. Not sure yet. Ricoh says there's little overlap between their cameras and Pentax but I would think the Q is a bit of a competitor there. But maybe they are looking at the Q as an alternative to their other camera in the high end compact territory.
The 645D looks like it will surive, but also aimed and marketed at doing some enterprise business tasks (archiving, etc.). If that happens, I could see how they can keep the 645D line around at the consumer level as the "halo" product Thom mentions - as a "tour de force, we can dot his if you want it/trust us" kind of thing
What I was saying is that in acquiring Pentax, Ricoh has access to several excellent existing compact lens designs, that are known to do an excellent job on an APS-C sensor, which with a bit of mount adaptation work could immediately bring benefit to the GXR system.
A GXR camera, even with a mount adapter in place, is *significantly* smaller than the smallest DSLR camera from Pentax. It's also quieter and has better viewfinder options than the K-x and K-r pentamirror viewfinder.
Nothing against the K-x and K-r bodies, although I'd never buy one. I don't like their viewfinders at all.
Have the mount in a way that it can extend with bellows. That way you can put in "store away mode" and put it potentially in your pocket and in "shooting mode." You get at least more portability.
Sorry I completely missed that! :-) Well are on the same page.
There you go. A goal and all. Looks like the K's are safe. Don't know where the Q and the 645D will be. Ironically I wouldn't be surprised if the Q makes it after all. And the 645D probably good to have at least as a marketing statement.Ricoh hopes to grow its camera operations by integrating the sales channels that Pentax has built up over the years primarily in the U.S. and Europe with its own, and by taking the offensive in China and other emerging markets. With a focus on leveraging Pentax's SLR technologies, Ricoh targets 100 billion yen in annual sales from digital cameras in three years, almost double their combined sales at present. It hopes to turn digital cameras into a key business behind its office products.
With respect to the Q - I would think it's absolutely safe. I think the negative attitude to it around here is because none of us want it (me included). But from a business perspective I think it'll sell like hot cakes - it's a unique product (for now) and most buyers couldn't care less what size the sensor is in a camera, as long as the results are good on screen/facebook/flickr, then they're going to be happy . . . . and I'm sure the Q will deliver for those purposes, added to which it's cute and original - I don't see how it can fail, and would think it was the big attraction for Ricoh.
Jumping on to the 4/3 - APS/c mirrorless bandwagon sounds like a much more dubious proposition (from a business sense). I'd guess the market is no bigger, but the competition is much more serious.
Personally, I just hope that Ricoh manage to improve Pentax's lens qa! (then I can go buy a 16-50 again.
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While overall I think there's a bit of technology in Pentax that Ricoh can take advantage of, Ricoh's been no slouch on camera technology either.
I suspect that Ricoh's acquisition of Pentax is most significantly the development of Ricoh's camera business in the USA. Ricoh pulled out of the US market in the late 1990s for lack of an adequate distribution and service infrastructure here. They've returned to the market in the past year or so with the big vendors (B&H, Adorama and Amazon) carrying them, as well as a number of specialist vendors (Popflash, The Photo Village), so it seems to me they are most interested in obtaining the network and warehousing assets of Pentax USA.
My experience with Ricoh products has been limited, but back in the day I bought several of their SLR bodies and lenses for the photo staff at my high school: they proved tough and reliable in the hands of high school photographers and the lenses performed well. Their compact GR1 film camera was the choice of 35mm compacts in the 1990s; I enjoyed it very much and the friend I sold it to still has and uses it. And they've built a very interesting and high quality range of digital compacts today, along with the GXR system that I'm finding to be an amazingly competent small camera.
So I think they have the credentials to do Pentax users well. Just what they intend to do and where it goes ... Time will show us all. :-)