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07-28-2011, 05:52 AM   #211
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QuoteOriginally posted by Anton Magus Quote
Ricoh is the #1 copier manufacturer and seller in Europe and the Far East, and arguably in the USA as well, just depending on how you measure. They got there by a process of innovation and development of products which met both current and future market needs.

Along the way Ricoh has bought and merged with several other companies, not always direct competitors. However in every case, Ricoh has bought companies which were complementary and where they were able to derive synergy from the deal. Also, with almost all these mergers and purchases they were pretty ruthless with their own staff, often keeping the best from the company they swallowed and dumping their own people to get what they thought was the best mix going forward. Company loyalty seems to come a distant second to strategic requirements at Ricoh. They are pretty ruthless in determining their goals and going for them.

Ricoh, in the copier market, has shown that it is not afraid of aggressive pricing either. They seem to have worked out that market share equates to quantity of products produced, which in turn equates to economies of scale and ultimately yields better profit margins.

Its also important to note that Ricoh is strategically very patient. They took years to get to #1 in the copier market, just content with making slow and steady gains every year, inexorably moving towards that target.

Now, everyone is wondering how Ricoh will handle Pentax. Well, just look at their strategy with copiers and their success in that field, and then ask yourself why they would even consider changing a winning strategy...

You can bet your life that Ricoh has a plan all mapped out of exactly what they want from Pentax and how they are going to get it. Where Pentax is weak, Ricoh will strengthen it and where Pentax is strong, Ricoh will exploit it. It may however not be a rapid process, but more a gradual, continuous advance.

I would be very surprised if Ricoh does not drastically improve the marketing and distribution of Pentax cameras and engage in a far more aggressive advertising campaign. I would also expect a thorough rationalization of the product range in the compact camera market and maybe a small expansion in the mid-range "bridge" camera market and with EVIL's. I would anticipate an EVIL with a larger sensor - not quite APS-C but certainly larger than 1/2.3 - which is what the Pentax Q should have had from the beginning.

At the DSLR end of the business, Pentax has a very small range of offerings compared to Canikon, specially with entry level priced DSLRs. Pentax tends to be more expensive than the virtual equivalents from Canon or Nikon.

I would expect to see some real innovative ideas in this level of the business, with a wider range of cameras between entry level and semi-pro models and a broadening of the lens range while keeping with the existing mount systems. Ricoh will want you to upgrade your camera to a newer model Pentax and keep your existing lenses - and maybe add new ones to your inventory. Remember that Ricoh are also heavily invested in optics and electronics as well as firmware/programming so there are bound to be innovations and advances in all these areas.

My guess is that the price range will widen dramatically from very price-competitive entry level DSLRs to a superb semi-pro model which will be correspondingly expensive but highly sought after by serious amateurs. Ricoh will want every buyer of their first DSLR to choose Pentax, so they will be good performers at competitive prices. Once you are locked into Pentax, they will have you as a satisfied customer for life.

Ricoh must also be aware of the need to attract business from the top Professional Photographers. If the world's best pro's use Canon or Nikon, then wannabees also buy Canon or Nikon. Its the way life works. So we should also expect the launch of one or maybe even two really high performance FF offerings from Pentax. Ricoh changed it copier marketing tactic by ceasing to sell "copiers" and moving towards selling "document handling solutions". So now we should anticipate that they will move to selling "photographic solutions". Whatever you want to do with your camera, Pentax will have a product to meet your needs and future expectations. And the lenses and accessories you need to go with it...

Every camera in the new Pentax range will have one or more unique selling points, be it HDR range, High ISO performance, High MP sensors or whatever, and these will be pushed hard in the advertising.

Ricoh has offices and distribution in virtually every place in the world and I would expect Pentax to be distributed and serviced via that existing network, so improved Marketing, Distribution and Technical backup should be available. Ricoh and Pentax fit really well with great advantages from the merger. Clearly Ricoh will have far more money to invest in future development than Hoya and Pentax people have camera design and manufacturing skills not previously available to Ricoh. Ultimately all this must spin down to the market-place where it begins to benefit us - the end users.

We would be naive to think that Ricoh will not be going all out to increase Pentax's market share and, if their copier business is any indication, they will succeed. I would be very surprised if Pentax does not slowly but steadily advance to a major market share of the camera business globally. Besides, they really seem to want to take a knock at Canon.

Excellent overview, I've been saying many of these things myself since the announcement. Ricoh is not afraid to compete - their history shows this, And Canon does not make them shake in their boots.

And yes, they have patience and seem to have no aversion to risk or long-term planning, with emergent markets and revenue streams that require investment to grow in mind.


.

07-28-2011, 06:02 AM   #212
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Yes, thank you Anton for this interesting input.
Let's hope the facts will confirm your vision, and wait until the selling agreement is completed, probably not before october the first, 2011, to see Ricoh in action.

Last edited by Zygonyx; 07-28-2011 at 06:48 AM.
07-28-2011, 06:44 AM   #213
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Well increasing Pentax market share by just expanding markets is one way to go. At the time there a lot of countries (India, South America, Africa and a lot more) where you can't buy Pentax, but they have a Ricoh office, so that brings oppertunity's.

I wonder wich markets are off interest for Ricoh. And if there will be more support on different ways, like giving cloudspace to Pentax camera users. Or offering printsolution's to new consumers. I do expect lower entrylevel, hi-level APS-C, Full Frame and hi end 645D (current 645D is just entrylevel). I don't expect to fast an entry into sports and these aeria's on a professional level.

@Falk Thanks for sharing. Is there a way of turning, where the optimum is. Let's say I want noisefree images up to iso 3200, so I need bigger pixels, or is that also just a matter of development and more expensive sensortechnics?
07-28-2011, 07:07 AM   #214
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QuoteOriginally posted by falconeye Quote
One of the current problems with FF is that FF models are either crippled (D700 pixel pitch, 5DmkII ergonomics) or insanely expensive (incl. Sony when it comes to lens options). Canikon must do that to protect their higher-up pro business. Not so Pentax (the 645D would remain competitive anyway). IMHO, that's their chance they're currently missing. Maybe their last chance to regain lost market share.
Yes, that sounds very plausible.

Add to this that current FF cameras are largish (to give the customer a lot of size/weight per dollar & allowing "pro" ownership pride to develop) and Pentax has excelled in producing small cameras then there seems to be a window of opportunity for Pentax to be first with an economically priced and very compact FF camera that mounts lenses that do not cost an arm and a leg.

If Pentax misses this window of opportunity then they can only offer a "me to" product some time later that will have a much harder time to stand out against the established brands.

However, I believe that the success of a Pentax FF camera depends on SONY playing along with Pentax grabbing this window of opportunity. If Pentax cannot get an excellent sensor from SONY the camera won't have the "must have" appeal that it needs to create a new market share. I believe the camera would need the support of an excellent DxOMark ranking and enthusiastic tests. Without these, it won't attract new customers into the Pentax system and living on a subset of existing Pentaxians only goes that far.

P.S.: These are just my amateur thoughts. Not backed up by extensive research / experience / guarantees.

07-28-2011, 07:31 AM   #215
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Let me add to that, that Ricoh's prime interest is more in Business-to-Business then Business-to-Consumer. In their 17th midterm plan they announced that they will keep that course. Honestly, I do think more pro-grade equipment is comming up in the future. And I doubt Ricoh will let oppertunity mentioned by Class_A go by.
07-28-2011, 07:47 AM   #216
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QuoteOriginally posted by jsherman999 Quote
Given the choice between in-body SR and a relatively small form-factor - if I indeed had to choose - I'd choose smaller also.

On my D90, I occasionally miss in-body SR. On my D700, I never really do.
I think in body SR is one of the biggest things that Pentax brings to the table -- particularly since they don't have any lenses with SR/VR/IS. I use SR a lot on the K5 (and I shoot at iso 6400 frequently). I think you end up using whatever you can for stability, whether it be SR or increasing iso.
07-28-2011, 08:13 AM   #217
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QuoteOriginally posted by Anton Magus Quote

I would be very surprised if Ricoh does not drastically improve the marketing and distribution of Pentax cameras and engage in a far more aggressive advertising campaign.
So why you are not surprised that they did not do this w/ their own Ricoh P&S and Lensors so far ? I do not see any drastic marketing/distribution for those
07-28-2011, 08:21 AM   #218
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QuoteOriginally posted by deejjjaaaa Quote
So why you are not surprised that they did not do this w/ their own Ricoh P&S and Lensors so far ? I do not see any drastic marketing/distribution for those
You certainly have a point there. They just recently got into BH with the GXR. I am not sure how long they have been with Adorama.

07-28-2011, 08:21 AM   #219
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QuoteOriginally posted by Anton Magus Quote

We would be naive to think that Ricoh will not be going all out to increase Pentax's market share and, if their copier business is any indication, they will succeed. I would be very surprised if Pentax does not slowly but steadily advance to a major market share of the camera business globally. Besides, they really seem to want to take a knock at Canon.
it 'd be naive to think that M$ will not be going all out to increase M$'s market share in cell phones market (search engines, etc) and if their MS Office business is any indication, they will succeed... or will they ?
07-28-2011, 08:35 AM   #220
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QuoteOriginally posted by deejjjaaaa Quote
it 'd be naive to think that M$ will not be going all out to increase M$'s market share in cell phones market (search engines, etc) and if their MS Office business is any indication, they will succeed... or will they ?
Different business, different competitors, and they have made some missteps early-on. (Also, what M$ eventually does there is still an unwritten book.)

But... I doubt many would expect M$ to not try to compete in these very lucrative markets. It would be very odd if M$ issued a press release saying, "We can't win in those markets. We're big enough, have the capital, have the cash... we just don't feel like it, because it's hard."


07-28-2011, 09:32 AM   #221
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QuoteOriginally posted by Class A Quote
However, I believe that the success of a Pentax FF camera depends on SONY playing along with Pentax grabbing this window of opportunity. If Pentax cannot get an excellent sensor from SONY the camera won't have the "must have" appeal that it needs to create a new market share. I believe the camera would need the support of an excellent DxOMark ranking and enthusiastic tests. Without these, it won't attract new customers into the Pentax system and living on a subset of existing Pentaxians only goes that far.
It appears that Sony has already made their deal with Nikon, which largely came at the expense of Sony's FF efforts, leaving probably no room for another party like Pentax.

I suspect that the deal between Nikon (design) and Sony (manufacture) excludes FF sensors going to another company. With Canon all in-house, there is no other FF supplier available save the Kodak CCD seen in the Leica M9.

Since a competitive FF DSLR cannot be made "compact" due to SR, AF, videos, and related circuitry, the likeliest vector for Pentax FF is mirrorless at the expense of K-mount and the OVF. Even with Ricoh I do not see that happening for years as the FF demand is teeny tiny small, measured in a few thousand units/year.
07-28-2011, 09:42 AM   #222
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QuoteOriginally posted by Aristophanes Quote
...Since a competitive FF DSLR cannot be made "compact" due to SR, AF, videos, and related circuitry, the likeliest vector for Pentax FF is mirrorless at the expense of K-mount and the OVF. Even with Ricoh I do not see that happening for years as the FF demand is teeny tiny small, measured in a few thousand units/year.
Or maybe not at the expense of the K mount
07-28-2011, 09:44 AM   #223
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QuoteOriginally posted by Aristophanes Quote
It appears that Sony has already made their deal with Nikon, which largely came at the expense of Sony's FF efforts, leaving probably no room for another party like Pentax.
How does it necessarily follow that a 'deal' with Nikon excludes all other suitors for their product? Especially a product as generic as a CMOS sensor?

QuoteQuote:
I suspect that the deal between Nikon (design) and Sony (manufacture) excludes FF sensors going to another company. With Canon all in-house, there is no other FF supplier available save the Kodak CCD seen in the Leica M9.
Aptina has been mentioned. But I reject the assumption that any 'deal' with Nikon limits Sony's other potential customers.


QuoteQuote:
Since a competitive FF DSLR cannot be made "compact" due to SR, AF, videos, and related circuitry,

Speculation. Also depends on how you define 'compact'.

QuoteQuote:
the likeliest vector for Pentax FF is mirrorless at the expense of K-mount and the OVF.
A mirrorless FF offering would be interesting, but if it came at the expense of K-mount, it would devalue the main asset they purchased.

QuoteQuote:
Even with Ricoh I do not see that happening for years as the FF demand is teeny tiny small, measured in a few thousand units/year.
A view which doesn't take emerging markets into account, or allow for expansion of existing markets with the right offering.
07-28-2011, 11:14 AM   #224
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QuoteOriginally posted by Pål Jensen Quote
... The 645D sells more than all MF digital put together; three months of 645D production is the whole global annual sales of MF digital before the 645D was released. It is also in a market segment that is willing to pay. ...
Wow, i hadn't read that before or i'm snoozing too much. Great news. an example of making an existing market niche much bigger. Obviously, there was an untapped demand for a much lower cost MF camera. Who could have guessed - i remember all the doom and gloom on this forum before the 645D got to market.

Go Ricoh/Pentax!!!
07-28-2011, 11:57 AM   #225
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While you have thought this through and I agree with most of what you said, I have a problem with this statement...

QuoteOriginally posted by Anton Magus Quote
Pentax tends to be more expensive than the virtual equivalents from Canon or Nikon.
/rant
Many people actually shy away from Pentax because the lower price for features. They feel there must be a problem with Pentax cameras to be sold at the prices they are.

Pentax's entry level dSLR (K-r), is more expensive than the entry level dSLRs from Canon (XS) and Nikon (D3000). But in features, the Pentax K-r compares closer to their mid-range models, Canon 550D/600D and Nikon D5100, and still costs much less.

While I think Pentax prematurely discontinued the K-x and could use a greater range of models, the offerings for both Canon and Nikon borders on the ridiculous. They have so many models that even their own users are confused as to what camera model is right for them. Canon offers 13 dSLR models at this time, ranging from $550 to $7000. Nikon now sells 10 models ranging from $500 to $8000.

Using B&H for pricing the Pentax K-r kit sells for $625. Between the Canon 1100D/T3 and the Nikon D3100 kit at $599, and the Canon 500D/T1i kit at $649. Another forum (Reddit) I spend time on, anytime those Canon cameras are questioned the Canon users say to stay away from those 2 dSLRs and suggest spending more on an upper range.

For the price of a camera with nearly the same features as the K-r, say the Canon 600D/T3i kit ($899) or Nikon D5100 kit ($800), someone could buy the Pentax K-r with 18-55mm F3.5-5.6 DA-L and 55-300mm DA-L kit for $786 and have money left over for the memory card.
/end rant

I would like to see an expanded lineup for Pentax. Maybe a model like the K-5 without weatherproofing to fill the gap between the K-5 and K-r. And then a full frame model, a full frame with weatherproofing, and a medium format without weatherproofing to fill the huge gap between the K-5 and 645D.

I really think the sale to Ricoh is a good thing and have hope for a more aggressive sales plan and a faster R&D to store shelf roadmap.
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