A close look at the state and future of Pentax
We are happy to post our exclusive Pentax interview from CP+ 2019! We spoke with Iwasaki-san, manager within Ricoh Imaging's digital camera product planning department. We'd like to thank the community for providing a number of excellent question suggestions, many of which ultimately made it into the interview.
The video below is in Japanese only (community captions may be contributed):
The full text transcript follows. We have not modified or paraphrased the original translation as approved by Ricoh Imaging:
It seems that for other major manufacturers, the current main focus is mirrorless. Beyond maintaining the products in the current lineup, what’s the main focus of Pentax and Ricoh? Where does Pentax see opportunities to differentiate itself?
PENTAX has been focusing primarily on the SLR lineup, however we understand and are paying considerable attention to the mirrorless category.
On the other hand, we also know that the SLR cameras have tremendous value in terms of enjoying (the act of) photography.
I think it would be good if in the future PENTAX would be the brand through which we could communicate the sheer joy of taking pictures by enhancing services as well as the impression given to more discerning customers with the idea that photography is a great pleasure.
Interactive booth coverage through 360 video
Welcome to our tour of the Pentax / Ricoh booth at CP+ 2019! What better way is there to recreate the full experience than an interactive 360-degree video in 4K? Use click and drag anywhere on the video below to pan and take a look around the booth:
The clip above was shot with the Theta V.
Not your typical limited edition Pentax
Pentax fans are quite eager for a new APS-C model, and clearly this does not deliver on that point. However, it turns out that the KP Custom idea was done without management knowledge as a side project. It was then shown off to management, who liked the idea and are supporting it as a special anniversary model to see where it goes. Other unrelated APS-C models are certainly to be expected in the future— we will learn more about this in our exclusive Pentax interview, scheduled to take place on Saturday evening.
The KP Custom design was done by the man who designed the K-30. These special KP cameras also have a custom U5 setting based on the preferred settings of Japanese photographer Kazutoshi Yoshimura.
There is a selection of new body colors, grips and top covers (the hard line top is actually just a removable cover, not body change) for the KPs on display. None of them are official or to be released at the moment. Ricoh is showing them off at the booth to gauge user feedback. Depending on the response, Ricoh may release one of them as an official special edition. Representatives are taking notes of people's preferences and reactions.
Selling a variety of custom design grips for current KP owners is under consideration. The grips are genuine wood and of a similar quality to the wood you see used in higher-end luxury cars. In addition to the red grip pictured at the top of this article, there are three other variants:
Which grip is your favorite? Vote in the poll below and we'll let Ricoh know!
These special KP cameras also have a "diamond-like carbon" coating on the mount bayonet. This is just for research and consideration for future models. There is no firm decision on them yet.
To wrap up, this is not your typical special edition Pentax camera. We will report on more details if and when it ends up being offered to Pentax fans. In addition, stay tuned for our CP+ 2019 interview as well as full booth coverage in the coming days.