First-hand commentary from the interviewer
Hello there! I'm a Tokyo-based journalist who also covers all things photo in Japan for Pentax Forums. I conducted the interviews with Pentax/Ricoh at CP+ for the past three years (2012, 2013, and 2014). As such, I feel there is a bit of a misunderstanding on the last one. I'd like to take this opportunity to make an informal post to give my reactions to your reactions. I'll also reply to some the questions posted in comments about the interview. So let's get started!
Remember, these are my personal views and understandings based on speaking with the Pentax reps. The following is not official information in any way. Some of the interview questions have also been paraphrased to simplify things.
PentaxForums exclusive: a look at new products and future plans
Today, we're pleased to be bringing you this year's exclusive CP+ interview with Pentax (Ricoh Imaging) representatives. Because the show was cancelled on our original interview date, we had to reschedule and ended up condicting the interview last week at the Pentax headquarters in Tokyo.
In this interview, we discussed current Pentax equipment and future plans with Takashi Arai (Product Planning Group) and Hiraku Kawauchi (Public Relations Manager) of Ricoh Imaging. Most of the questions were based on forum user suggestions.
Without further ado, let's get to the questions:
Question 1: Do you have any updates on the status of the Flucard development for the Pentax K-3?
The launch date for the Japanese market is February 27th with other markets following soon after.
A dedicated Flucard enables wireless tethering on the Pentax K-3. Details here.
Question 2: None of your cameras currently have built-in Wi-Fi connectivity. Is this something you might consider in upcoming models, especially now that many competing compacts and DSLRs do support Wi-Fi?
It's true that none of our DSLRs have Wi-Fi. Not all users really required this feature so far, however the potential demand is increasing and we will study the possibility to have built-in Wi-Fi in the future.
Question 3: The Ricoh GR is a very popular and successful camera, and many of our users are enjoying it and the Pentax MX-1. Do you see “enthusiast compacts” as a key market segment and will we see more such cameras in the future?
Demand for enthusiast compacts, which we call premium compacts, is relatively stable, but the overall compact digital camera market is facing a declining trend. I imagine this is due to the emergence of smartphones, however the super zoom, waterproof and premium compact categories are still strong within the compact market. We will continue to develop and release compacts mainly in those categories.
Warming up with Jack Daniel's
The Pentax K-3 stand was one of the key attractions of the Pentax/Ricoh booth at this year's CP+ show. Even though the stand looked more like a bar than anything else, it did showcase the K-3 quite well: several demo cameras were lined up along the countertop, allowing visitors to try out the camera and point it at a test setup consisting of a trainset and small bottles.
Midday on Friday, the booth also staged a short performance:
An upcoming film digitization accessory
A film duplicator accessory was among the prototypes on display by Pentax at this year's CP+ show. This bellows-like setup makes it easy to digitize film photos and slides using a DSLR without having to use any other external hardware or software.
It's no doubt surprising to see a film-related accessory being launched this far into the digital era. This product does make a lot of sense, however. Traditional flatbed scanners or even film scanners are slow and require you to use your PC to process and catalog the digitized files. With this accessory, you can use your existing DSLR and macro lens to quickly digitize not only traditional 35mm film, but also medium format (120/220) film. Before starting to copy a roll of film, you can adjust your camera and focus the lens so that the crop is perfect and you don't have to make any edits later on. This gives you ultimate control without having to learn how to use a computer program.
The accessory itself employs a rather simple design. At one end, there is an adjustable sliding mount for your camera and lens. At the other end, you attach a flashgun to illuminate the film. The film itself sits in dedicated holder which does not require you to cut the strip. The lens disappears into the bellows, which blocks out stray light.
Due to extreme weather in Tokyo
Due to an exceptionally-severe snowstorm, all exhibitions at the CP+ show were cancelled today. Although we were able to tour the Pentax booth in more detail on Friday, our interview with Pentax representatives will unfortunately need to be rescheduled.
Please stay tuned for updates about the interview as well as news from Friday. Until then, here is a quick video tour of the show from Thursday: