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Ricoh signs deal with Kenko Tokina Co., Ltd.
By cjfeola in Pentax Announcements on Oct 13, 2023
Ricoh Imaging is now an official US distributor for Kenko lens filters and photo accessories, according to a Ricoh press release. “KENKO is a top Japanese brand of lens filters and photo accessories and we’re excited for the opportunity to collaborate with them to bring their exceptional offerings to the U.S.” the press release said. The move took effect Oct. 1.
The move is interesting for several reasons. First, Ricoh has made it a point in recent earnings reports to single out photography as a profitable performance vertical. This move expands Ricoh’s photography portfolio.
Second, the Kenko corporation merged with Tokina in 2011. The merged Kenko Tokina Co., Ltd owns Cokin filters and Slik tripods, and is also, ironically for Pentaxians, the worldwide distributor for Hoya filters, as well as its namesake Kenko filters and Tokina lenses. The natural question this deal raises is whether it is the harbinger for further cooperation between the companies, such as new Tokina K Mount lenses.
Mori replaces Noboru Akahane, who launched The Pentax Film Project and the K-3III Monochrome
By cjfeola in Pentax Announcements on Oct 8, 2023
Yasutomo Mori took over Oct. 1 as the new president of Ricoh Imaging Co. Ltd., according to Ricoh, replacing Noboru Akahane.
Mori will relinquish his position as the Business Unit Corporate Planning Headquarters Operating Officer, but will continue his previous positions as the President of the Ricoh Industrial Solutions Business Unit and President of the Ricoh Elemex Co., Ltd.
Akahane took over Ricoh Imaging in 2012, took a break, then resumed the position in 2021. Since then the division has flourished to the point where the Ricoh Group’s annual report said that its 97 percent profit growth was in part driven by the “ongoing profitability of camera business.”
In the July 2022 announcement of the Pentax Film Project Akahane explained the Ricoh Imaging strategy:
And this year Pentax launched the K-3 III Monochrome to a press frenzy and repeated sellouts. Six months after launch it is still constantly on backorder, despite selling for $500 more than the K-3 III.
The $2,199 Pentax K-3 III Monochrome is the only monochrome sensor DSLR. The $6,195 Leica is a fixed-lens compact; the $9,195 Leica M11 Monochrom is a range-finder interchangeable lens camera.
And as Akahane’s tenure ended Pentax launched a special edition of that special edition with the K-3 III Monochrome Matte Black Edition.
Ricoh Imaging is a division of The Ricoh Group, which provides digital services, printing and image solutions in approximately 200 countries and regions around the world. Group consolidated sales for the fiscal year ending March 2023: 2,134.1 billion yen. The Ricoh Group says its mission is “Bringing Joy to Work.”
The ultimate in black-and-white photography
By cjfeola in Pentax Announcements on Oct 4, 2023
When Pentax released the K-3 III Jet Black edition last year, company officials said that the ultra black special edition had generated the greatest response from participants at the J-Limited special event. That led to the Jet Black being the first special edition release.
That was followed this spring of the K-3 III Monochrome, a black-and-white only version that company officials said was also highly popular at J-Limited. And the Monochrome has been a hit for Pentax, selling out repeatedly and still frequently on back-order six months after its release.
So naturally the next logical step is a blacked out version of the already fairly monochrome Monochrome. Pentax is now shipping the K-3 III Monochrome Matte Black Edition.
The Matte Black is $2,299, which is a $100 premium over the standard K-3 III Mononchrome.
"The PENTAX K-3 Mark III Monochrome Matte Black Edition is a special edition model with a matte black finish and PENTAX logo in matte gray. With all the features and specs of the standard K-3 Mark III Monochrome, it delivers the ultimate in black-and-white photography. The concept of monochrome photography is evident throughout the camera body, from the white backlight illumination on the LCD data panel positioned on its upper panel, to the Monochrome lettering printed on the upper-left shoulder of the back panel. The camera’s User Interface menu features a black-and-white color scheme as default," according to Pentax.
The Matte Black is identical in operation to the standard K-3 III Monochrome, according to Pentax; you can read our review of the Monochrome here. And you can learn how to get the most out of all models of the K-3 III with our e-book, which has been updated to cover the Monochrome models.
New Gold Custom image for color cameras; More custom buttons for both K3IIIs
By cjfeola in Firmware Updates on Sep 25, 2023
Version 2.10 for the K-3 III adds the Gold custom image setting, plus the ability to assign a function to the Fx button when it is pressed.
According to Pentax, the Gold custom image setting creates “gold-tinted images by applying yellow-toned finishes to brighter areas while expressing darker, shadow areas with bluish tones. Yellow tones become more intense in highlighted areas.”
The update also changes how the Fx button works, allowing one of 10 functions to be activated when the button is pressed. The options are:
- User AF (While Pressed)
- AE Lock (While Pressed)
- Preset Sv (While Pressed)
- Preset Tv (While Pressed)
- Preset Av (While Pressed)
- AE Metering (While Pressed)
- Flash Mode (While Pressed)
- HDR Capture (While Pressed)
- AA Filter Simulator (While Pressed)
- One touch RAW+
- Shake Reduction
- Key Lock
- Shooting Info Display (While Pressed)
The K-3 III update, which also brings improved stability, can be downloaded here.
Pentax also released the similar firmware version 2.10 for the Pentax K-3 Mark III Monochrome. The big difference, obviously, is that there is no Gold custom image mode. It adds the same Fx button enhancements as the original K-3 III, so the same 10 functions can be assigned, and also improves stability. Download it here.
The Pentax KF, meanwhile, gets a firmware update to version 1.30. The main feature here is the addition of the same Gold custom image setting as the K-3 III. The update, which also improves stability and updates fonts, can be downloaded here.