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12-20-2013, 06:25 PM - 5 Likes   #1
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Interview with Chief Sales & Marketing Officer / Ricoh Imaging Japan

Hello, I just read an interesting interview article from Digital Camera Magazine (in Japanese) and tried to translate to repay my gratitude to my current Q7 project in market place.

It is a bit disappointing for me as I was expecting to see a FF model to be launched sometime next year and it doesn’t seem to be actualized upon reading this…


<Disclaimer>
This translations are only an approximation of the article's original content and should not be considered exact and only used as a rough guide. leonsroar never warrant the accuracy, reliability or timeliness of any information translated and will not accept liability for loss incurred as a result. Some sentences cannot be translated. You accept the above statement by reading through the following.


Interviewer: Kimio Tanaka (hereafter "T") (Camera Columnist)
Ricoh Imaging: Hajime Murano, Chief Sales & Marketing Officer (hereafter "M")

T:
How about FF? When is it going to be launched?

M:
You are too rushing and even our teas haven’t been served yet lol.
We are going to boldly challenge the FF market. Meantime, however, we have launched 645D, K (note: as DA), and Q . We still have persistence to those mounts and have to keep on following up. As a small-sized manufacturer, it is challenging to maintain multiple mounts. We are envisioning how we should be able to appeal the way PENTAX are when we go with FF, it is the point.

T:
For Pentax, I think, there are two courses to go with FF. One is SLR, and another is mirror-less. I assume you haven’t decided to go with SLR style, or…?

M:
You are good in questioning lol. We have challenged mirror-less segment with K-01 and feel we still have multiple options. When we heard consumers’ request sincerely, however, we felt many of them would like us to go with SLR style. I think it is better to pitch a straight ball to dead center first rather than pitch a breaking ball, even though we are not sure whether the result is homer or swing-strikeout.

T:
Oh, is that ok to mention that!?

M:
I just mentioned we would like to pitch a straight ball to dead center lol.

T:
In my personal view, I had expected FF from Pentax until a few years ago. However, I recently came to think that Pentax may not need to launch FF especially after trying K-3 that is fantastic camera. As Pentax can make such a nice APS-C camera, you may not need to challenge with FF taking high risk. It is just one of my thought out of friendship.

M:
I think it kind of makes sense. We concentrated our techs into K-3 and believe in that it never falls behind FF even after there have been a lot of comparisons between APS-C & FF. Said that, we should never betrayed loyal customers who has been investing to (note: DA) lenses. If we neglect them to launch a FF model or two to challenge the area where we are not strong, it’s going to make no sense at all.

T:
So, you guys haven’t decided to dive into FF are yet…?

M:
Well, we have been proceeding development including brief time frame but we have not decided exact specification (=course) to go with, yet.

T:
There should be conditions when you go with FF, I think. One is that you can’t spoil development of the other existing mounts. Another is that the new FF camera must appear the way Pentax is, right?

M:
Well, if discussing about whether we go with FF or not, yes we will. However, it is our understanding that it doesn’t make sense if we spoil development of other mounts’ cameras and lenses. It is our current challenge.

T:
I heard regarding FF that there are much stronger demands in foreign countries than Japan.

M:
There are customers who believe in that the size of image sensor ultimately equal to camera’s quality and other factors are not so important. In Australia, recently, I was told by one of customers that the size of image sensor represents whole quality of the camera, FF is the best.

T:
It sounds similar to faith in engine size and horse power among auto industry as well as faith in number of pixels on image sensor among camera industry.

M:
I agree. (as a case study), in audio industry, there were discussions centering power output rather than sound quality and it led to simply sound power race. Sound quality should be discussed in terms of sound quality and/or depth but the power race actually happened. After the race ended not meaningfully, manufacturers who focused on power started facing hard time and the small others who kept focusing on quality survived. Having experienced that (note: Murano used to work for Sony), I feel it (note: FF vs APS-C) is not a long-lasting discussion.

T:
Sounds interesting. It can be applied for digital camera industry.

M:
So, we have to be careful about rough discussion of FF vs APS-C even though number of pixel is of course important matter. We’d like to keep on focusing color depth and tenderness of image quality.

<Hereinafter, only summary>

[645D]
M:
We will be able to show something relatively soon (next year)
I can’t mention exact timeline though.

[GR]
T:
Future vision about successor?
M:
We won’t launch cheaper version to maintain GR branding while we may consider zoom version as well as different focal length.

[Merger of Pentax & Ricoh]
M:
I feel we started figuring out which point we should respect the other character in respective areas such as sales / marketing / service.
We also were able to import good things from GR into K-3.

[Forecast as whole industry]
M:
We will have to try on collaborating with others for the sake of customer and environment.

12-20-2013, 06:37 PM   #2
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I think M: is a crafty speaker, the right guy for interviews. He says yes, no and not yet - very concisely!
So 'yes but not soon' is the best I can pull out of this; that's fine by me but others will crack under the strain.
12-20-2013, 06:46 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by jimr-pdx Quote
So 'yes but not soon' is the best I can pull out of this; that's fine by me but others will crack under the strain.
That's been a pretty consistent line for at least a year. I once heard someone from Pentax describe the same response at Sony as, "Sure, Only Not Yet."
12-20-2013, 06:49 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by leonsroar Quote
M:
Well, if discussing about whether we go with FF or not, yes we will. However, it is our understanding that it doesn’t make sense if we spoil development of other mounts’ cameras and lenses. It is our current challenge.

His words make sense. The APS-C optimized DA lenses seem to be a burden for Pentax.






12-20-2013, 07:01 PM   #5
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What is the published date of this article? Maybe I missed it............
12-20-2013, 07:10 PM   #6
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Original Poster
QuoteOriginally posted by jatrax Quote
what is the published date of this article? Maybe i missed it............
12/20/2013...
12-20-2013, 07:41 PM   #7
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QuoteQuote:
[645D]
M:
We will be able to show something relatively soon (next year)
I can’t mention exact timeline though.
If I can pick up a 40 Mp 645D at a bargain price when a new one comes out, my FF wishes will be so absolutely dead in the water. There is a lot of good news in there.

QuoteQuote:
M:
Well, if discussing about whether we go with FF or not, yes we will. However, it is our understanding that it doesn’t make sense if we spoil development of other mounts’ cameras and lenses. It is our current challenge.
Amazing how many people who post vociferously about FF on this forum, don't care at all about APS-c. GOod to see the Pentax guys are on the side of APS-c users. They know who's paying their bills.

QuoteQuote:
M:
Well, if discussing about whether we go with FF or not, yes we will. However, it is our understanding that it doesn’t make sense if we spoil development of other mounts’ cameras and lenses. It is our current challenge.
Exactly, Nikon and Canon both suck at APS-c development, all caught up in their FF challenges. High end APS-c has the potential to be a better market for Pentax than FF, where they will come in behind everyone else.

All I can say after that is, everyone go buy their A7's. It looks like a nice camera.

QuoteQuote:
I think it kind of makes sense. We concentrated our techs into K-3 and believe in that it never falls behind FF even after there have been a lot of comparisons between APS-C & FF.
Woa, watch it dude, that will get you burned at the stake on this forum.

QuoteQuote:
M:
I just mentioned we would like to pitch a straight ball to dead center lol.
Let the debate begin. In the mind of Pentax execs… what specs would a fast ball right down the middle have?
12-20-2013, 07:57 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by starjedi Quote
His words make sense. The APS-C optimized DA lenses seem to be a burden for Pentax.
Yeah banking all that APS-C money must be a real strain

But seriously - Ricoh have done a very good job in the APS-C scene with the launch of the K3.
The "burden" for Ricoh is how they fit in a FF without hurting APS-C development and sales.
They seem to be very clever chappies - I'm sure they will make a success of it

12-20-2013, 08:32 PM   #9
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Isn't Pentax full frame inevitable because the K-mount is a full frame mount? Isn't Pentax APS-C merely a historical compromise based on the fact that full frame sensors were not up to scratch when Pentax designed their first generation of digital cameras?

Personally I don't like the size and cost of the 645 system.

But I would snap up a K-3 sized and spec'd Pentax full frame dSLR with the KAF2 & KAF3 mount priced under $2,000 - that would be their "straight ball to dead center". (A new FF mount or mirrorless would be a "breaking ball" in the context I think).

I'm prepared to wait a year or two because I so enjoy photographing with my K-5II.

Thanks for the translation, leonsroar.

Last edited by Gray; 12-20-2013 at 08:52 PM.
12-20-2013, 08:45 PM   #10
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Thank you much for the effort in translation, we don't get enough news directly from Japan. Sounds encouraging that they are balancing making money and keeping the Pentax brand intact with its mix of value and practical usability (at least that is the feel I get from this guy's answers). IMHO, growing the APS-C marketshare first, grow a better physical presence and better reputation, and then FF will be better suited for rollout (what is Canon's latest mantra - Service and Support matter, with ads from a pro saying the service network saved his high-end photo shoot?).
12-21-2013, 12:16 AM - 1 Like   #11
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Many thanks for the translation. Alas, however, this is yet another interview in which "FF? Yes No Maybe" blocks the road like a landslide and prevents the Ricoh representative from talking up the real strengths of the brand. I don't own one, but from all accounts the K3 is built like a tank and is the best APS-C camera on the market bar none but it all gets lost here. And what about the bread-and-butter but highly-specced K50? It should be a real seller but from this interview it might just as well have vanished. The next stage is folks asking themselves how come they could have thought that 2014 would be the year of Pentax FF, etc, etc. A more interesting interview for me would be hearing Ricoh's take on the future of sensor development, particularly in the light of whether 24mp on APS-C is a step too far in relation to control of noise and movement-induced problems. It looks, today, as if it may be but that could change significantly, perhaps, especially if Sony move on from the Bayer model. On that question turns what Ricoh might do in 2014 with new APS-C cameras based on the tech inside the K3 but using other sensors and feature sets - far more interesting that "FF? Yes No Maybe" for the umpteenth time.

I'm beginning to think the best way to end the madness is simply to move on. It's like watching a beast being poked with a stick. FF is absolutely not for everyone but it has undeniable strengths for certain kinds of photography and there is no point pretending otherwise. And, where I live, the darn high price of Pentax lenses doesn't make a decision to go any harder especially when they are APS-C-only ones.

Last edited by mecrox; 12-21-2013 at 04:49 AM.
12-21-2013, 02:10 AM   #12
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I'm happy i have sold my K-5 IIs and ordered the Sony A7 ,, i will keep all pentax lens gear until they think for FF ..
12-21-2013, 02:20 AM   #13
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Thank you very much for the translation!

Strange interview.
On the one hand he says: "We are going to boldly challenge the FF market."
On the other hand everything else is extremely vague.
Sounds not very encouraging.
From this I don't expect a FF camera next year.

Btw. I find the Sony A7 very tempting.
12-21-2013, 02:27 AM   #14
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For me FF isn't a dealbreaker. If you cannot take great photos with the K-3, it isn't the camera that is the problem.
I rather see a retrostyled dslr looking like the old mx, with the best from the GR and k-5II. Optimised for the best low light capacity and iso noise. Coupled with the nice small limited lenses this would be all street photographers dream. Although I believe pentax also should focus on developing some fast 1.4 prime lenses as well. Now there is only the superb da*55. Sigmas is way to huge.
12-21-2013, 02:37 AM   #15
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I will still keeping my Pentax but no longer wait for Pentax FF, I'm going for Sony A7r. No need to wait... if FF Pentax is out might be too expensive since it take that long to develop, I'm sorry if you were offended....
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