CP+ 2017 Pentax Interview: Part 2

11 more questions answered by Ricoh Imaging

By PF Staff in CP+ 2017 on Feb 27, 2017

Below is the second and final part of our 2017 CP+ Pentax interview.

In case you missed it, be sure to check out part 1 of the interview.

12. Do you plan to continue the GR line as a fixed lens offering, or are you open to considering premium compacts with zoom?

One of the GR series' consistent product concepts is the coexistence of high image quality and portability.  In order to realize this, we think a fixed single focal length design is best at the moment.

13. Are there plans to continue the Q line, and if so, do you know the general design direction you will take?

There is no new product information on the Q line at the moment.  We will continue to manufacture and sell Q-S1 and Q-mount lenses.  We are currently focusing our resources on K-mount lenses.

(paraphrased) Although the macro for the Q has been removed from the map, it is not a terminated project.  It's still pending, but no date anymore.  All resources are being focused on K-mount lenses.  The Q series is still an active line and the Q-S1 and lenses are still being made and marketed for Asian markets.  The US market is not actively marketing the Q line as it's concentrating on pushing the K-1 and other K-mount products; essentially the Q line is "frozen" in the US market.

14. What makes the PLM motor so quick and how does it differ from DC? 

The PLM design can quickly activate and allow for faster focusing, but the lens element must be low weight due to limited power (torque).

The DC motor can generate high power (torque) with deceleration mechanisms, which is better for lenses with larger focusing elements.  A DC motor can be driven at high speed, but there is an issue that a little sound is generated.

Generally, we use the what we feel is the best focusing mechanism for each specific lens design.

15. Are there plans to integrate PLM technology into premium lenses? Would it be possible on a technical level?

Normally, the larger the lens diameter is, the heavier the focusing element inside can be.  We think at the present moment PLM is not powerful enough to be incorporated in large diameter high performance lenses.  Adoption of a different fast and silent actuator is required for such lenses.

16. What are your next steps for improving focusing/autofocus, looking at technology both in camera bodies and lenses?

Various research and development is under way to improve focusing performance in areas such as algorithms and new actuator technology.

17. Pentax has historically focused on compactness, and the D FA 28-105mm delivers this within the full frame format.  Do you feel that there is a demand for more such compact full frame lenses?

There is a substantial demand for compact lenses.  We will both study the possibility to produce compact and light weight lenses as well as fast lenses that bring out the best imaging performance for the full-frame format.

Editorial note: a presumably-compact telephoto zoom has been added to the full-frame roadmap.

18. Now that Pentax/Ricoh cameras have so many advanced features (pixel shift, astrotracer, etc.), do you have any plans to create online/print tutorials, workshops, etc. to better inform users?

We agree that in order to fully utilize the performance of PENTAX/RICOH cameras, providing useful tips for advanced features is important.  We will look at ways to share that information in the future.

19. Is automatic lens focus calibration (using live view) something that you have considered developing?

We have been recently receiving user requests for this and are currently studying how to realize this feature.

20. Have you considered adding a 645 mount Tilt/Shift lens?

We recognize that there is a demand for a Tilt/Shift lens.  For the 645 system, we continue to expand the product lineup by carefully monitoring user demand and market trends.

21. Are you looking at ways for cameras to have both on-board GPS and a built-in flash?

Possibilities to build a  DSLR that is compact while implementing various devices are constantly studied by the development team.  In the meantime, we will decide what device to incorporate based on each model's product concept.

22. When do you expect to launch the new D FA* 50mm and 85mm lenses?  Can you tell us more about the design philosophy?

(paraphrased) The D FA* 50 1.4 will be released during the fiscal year 2017.  There is no set date for the 85mm.  These lenses are designed with a similar philosophy to the DA* 55, meaning that the focus is on the best possible rendering with the highest possible resolution on full-frame.

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