On September 19th, 2012, we had the opportunity to interview three Pentax representatives at the Photokina trade show in Cologne, Germany. The gentlemen we spoke to were Mr. André Dierickx, Managing Director of Pentax Ricoh Imaging Europe, Mr. Shigeru Wakashiro, leader of the Pentax Product / Camera System Planning Team of Pentax Ricoh Imaging Japan, and Mr. Genichiro Takaoka, also a part of the Product / Camera System Planning Team. The full video of the interview is available later in this post.
Questions were asked in English by Adam Oest, administrator of PentaxForums.com, and repeated in Spanish by Mika Cruz, administrator of the Spanish community Pentaxeros.com. Mika's help was integral to the coordination and preparation of the interview, and we'd like to extend a special thank-you to him as well as his Spanish Pentax community! Mr. Dierickx replied to our marketing-related questions in English, while Mr. Wakashiro replied to our technical questions in Japanese, which were then translated into English by Mr. Takaoka. In the interview, we allude to a letter that we sent to Pentax about the prospect of making a Pentax full-frame DSLR. You can learn more about the letter here.
In total, we asked Pentax 19 questions, including the "full-frame question", of course. The video interview lasts 33 minutes, and subtitles are available. Read on to watch the video interview and to learn more about how the actual interview went! Here is a quick summary of the questions:
- Which of the 9 new products announced at Photokina is the most important to Pentax Ricoh?
- What's new in the K-5 II and Q10?
- In what areas is the SAFOX X autofocus system going to be better?
- Why does the K-5 II lack the PRIME M processor?
- How will the image quality of the K-5 II and K-5 IIs differ?
- How does HD coating differ from SMC, and will it be replacing SMC?
- What cameras / users are appropriate for the 560mm lens?
- Are there plans to more significant DSLR upgrades for current Pentax users?
- What happened to that mysterious lens with a protrusion that we saw at CP+?
- Is any of the technology found in the Ricoh GXR going to be used in Pentax cameras?
- How about a Pentax K-mount module for the GXR?
- Will the Pentax K-mount ever be "de-crippled" (i.e. will the aperture ring coupler be restored?)
- How has the Q system evolved since last year?
- Will the Q's 1/2000s flash sync make its way into other cameras as well?
- How well as the K-01 been received by customers?
- When is the Pentax full-frame finally going to be announced?
- Do you have anything else to say to our users?
We were very happy with how thorough Pentax's replies to our questions were, and after the interview, we started to appreciate Ricoh's contribution to Pentax Ricoh Imaging even more, even if they are still in their infancy.
The interview took place near the Pentax booth at the event.
To start things off, we gave the Pentax representatives the results of a lens survey conducted by forum member Ron Hendricks, and we spent several minutes discussing a prioritized list of products/areas that our members wanted to see Pentax Ricoh improve upon in the future. We also discussed our site statistics and member base in considerable detail. The representatives seemed to be very interested in all that we had to say, and they collected hardcopies of all the materials that we had shown them.
During our initial chat, we brought several user-submitted issues to light, such as the lack of a Pentax distributor in India. Pentax told us that this is well-known to be a tough market, but that there are plans on changing the situation in the near future.
We then proceeded to the main portion of the interview. Subtitles will soon be made available for the video in both English and Spanish. In order to get the video to you as soon as possible, we decided to use the superior audio from our sound recorder rather than focusing on releasing subtitles. We will also be posting the full interview transcript and commentary next week. We hope you enjoy the video!
Photokina 2012 Video Interview with Pentax Ricoh Imaging
After the interview, we presented our interviewees with two posts containing member-drawn Pentax cartoons from Pentaxeros.com. The cartoon pictured below, which depicts the current (full-frame) gap in the Pentax digital camera lineup, was met with a great deal of enthusiasm and smiles from the Japanese representatives. Left-to-right, we have the point-and-shoots, K-30, K-5, nonexistent full-frame, and 645D.
We also gave all three representative a PentaxForums.com shirt and mouse pad as a token of our appreciation...
...and ended by taking a group photo with both posters:
We believe that the interview itself ended on an extremely positive note: knowing that Ricoh has made Pentax (now Pentax Ricoh Imaging) so much more open to individual user feedback is a sign of Ricoh's desire to make the loyal Pentax user base happy, as well as their intention to truly strengthen the Pentax camera systems.
Thank you Pentax Ricoh!
Further commentary on the interview will be posted together with the transcript next week.