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05-09-2014, 10:05 PM   #1
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Ricoh/Pentax rep coming to Gordon's Photo Service in Carson City, NV May 10

I was told by Gordon's Photo Service that a Ricoh/Pentax rep will be visiting the Carson City, Nevada store on May 10 from 10am to about 3pm, assuming that the store goes dead by 3pm. This visit is all part of the store's 25th anniversary.

(For those who unfamiliar with the store Gordon's Photo Service has two locations - one in Carson City, NV and one in Reno, NV. The Carson City store is a small cozy shop and the Reno store is quite a bit bigger.)

I plan to go there after lunch and see what there is to see. Personally, I plan to ask about the future of the Q line and premium compacts. It seems the company has been pretty quiet in those areas lately.

Assuming I make it in time and that the rep does show up, is there anything you would like me to ask?

05-09-2014, 10:49 PM - 1 Like   #2
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Yeah, the 70-200mm zoom that's on the roadmap. Let's see if they're willing to share any news about that.
05-09-2014, 11:13 PM   #3
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It's crazy that Pentax has camera store presence in Carson City but not Vegas.
05-10-2014, 05:39 PM - 2 Likes   #4
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I met the Ricoh rep today. He was a very nice gentleman by the name of Don Flaten. I talked to him about a lot of subjects from Ricoh buying Pentax, to the future of the Q, to FF, to product cycles, etc etc etc. On some topics he was very open and others he was a little closed, which is to be expected as I'm sure there is plenty Ricoh wants to keep close to their chest. Here are my interpretations and thoughts on our conversation. In no particular order ...
  • The MX-1 and X-5 are still active products in the line up. Both cameras have sales targets. There may or may not be any additional production runs planned but production runs don't necessarily equate to active/inactive product status.
  • The K-500 was a camera designed to compete at a specific price point until the K-50 came down. Once the K-50 came down in price then the K-500 was done. There was only one production and there are no more production runs planned to create more inventory.
  • The Q line has two models planned for the next three years. No mention of lenses when I asked about something like a macro.
  • When I asked about the K-mount roadmap I was told that one more lens is being released soon but Mr. Flaten was not at liberty to divulge more details.
  • Going to FF requires new designs, new lenses, new production tooling, etc. If you're going to go big then you go really big ... like the 645Z! Despite the general bulk of the 645Z there are expectations that this camera will end up being used by sports journalists, explorers in field work, etc. FF was a fad.
  • The company is committed to their FA lenses because they are lower priced and very popular.
  • Also, strong commitment is given to the Ricoh GR. It has been very successful with journalists. Nothing was divulged about the future of the GR line.
  • HD lenses have the same optical formula as their predecessors except the coating is different.
I got a chance to handle the K-3, the X-5, the Q7, the MX-1, the DA 10-17mm, the WG-4, and the GR. My personal thoughts ....
  • The DA 10-17mm could be fun to use!
  • The GR is a lot smaller and lighter than I thought and it is a fast focuser! Wow!
  • The MX-1 is bulkier than I imagined. It really, really needs an EVF and a hot shoe.
  • The X-5 was fun to use and the EVF with the histogram was nice. I think I kind of want one!
  • The WG-4 felt comfortable to hold. I wish I would have had more time to play with it.
  • The Q7 felt solid. Why are people upset about the plastic body?
  • The K-3 was orgasmic!
I picked up an older Hoya based lens brochure and a business card. There were other people circling about so I couldn't take all the time to myself. Plus, I had my kids with me too and they were starting to get a little restless.

Otherwise I picked up a roll of Ilford Delta and FP4.

And that's all folks!

05-10-2014, 06:03 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by 6BQ5 Quote
Going to FF requires new designs, new lenses, new production tooling, etc. If you're going to go big then you go really big ... like the 645Z! Despite the general bulk of the 645Z there are expectations that this camera will end up being used by sports journalists, explorers in field work, etc. FF was a fad.
This is interesting. I suspect Mr. Flaten either doen not know when or if full frame is coming or has been instructed to turn all FF inquires toward the 645z. The gap between the $1,200 K3 and the $8,500 645z is just too big. Oh wait, they allegedly plan to keep the 645d around. That should lessen the gap a little.

The k500 story is interesting as well.
05-10-2014, 06:11 PM - 1 Like   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by rangercarp Quote
This is interesting. I suspect Mr. Flaten either doen not know when or if full frame is coming or has been instructed to turn all FF inquires toward the 645z. The gap between the $1,200 K3 and the $8,500 645z is just too big. Oh wait, they allegedly plan to keep the 645d around. That should lessen the gap a little.

The k500 story is interesting as well.

Oh, you reminded me of more on the 645D and the 645Z!

No more productions of the 645D design. It will stick around as long as supply lasts. Prices will come to make sure stock goes down to zero eventually.

Ricoh is also very serious about the 645Z. Releasing the 645 lenses was a big deal to them. They believe that the 645Z will be a big winner considering it's price.

Additional notes from my notes :
  • Ricoh added 94 additional store fronts for their products in the US. That has translated into a major boost for their presence.
  • They are totally cool with places like Newegg blowing out Q10 systems at $159. The site may only make $9 per sale but Ricoh is happy to have the installed base.
  • Target, a US retailer, is one of their biggest sellers of product. Supposedly they can move 30,000 Ricoh products a year! Ricoh even makes production runs specifically for Target.
  • Ricoh is hesitant add electronics retailers to their retailer list. Those stores go in 10-12 year boom/bust cycles. They'd rather have more stable establishments like Target. People go to Target to get items for daily life like clothes, soap, etc all the time. It's easy to get customers in the door. Electronics stores are a bit more specialized. People don't go there as readily.

Last edited by 6BQ5; 05-10-2014 at 06:24 PM.
05-10-2014, 06:39 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by 6BQ5 Quote
The DA 10-17mm could be fun to use!
IT IS!

QuoteOriginally posted by 6BQ5 Quote
The K-500 was a camera designed to compete at a specific price point until the K-50 came down. Once the K-50 came down in price then the K-500 was done. There was only one production and there are no more production runs planned to create more inventory.
Sounds like the K-500 is Pentax's true Limited camera.

I'm hoping they do come out with FF and I hope it's sooner rather than later. Aside from the fact that I'll want one, I've got some FA lenses I want to sell and the sellers' market currently sucks. I'm sure FF will spur demand.
05-11-2014, 02:20 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by 6BQ5 Quote
[*]Ricoh added 94 additional store fronts for their products in the US. That has translated into a major boost for their presence.
Now that's interesting, as they are often accused of not doing anything...

Thank you for the "report".

05-11-2014, 02:52 AM   #9
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no good news for FA Limited lovers who want to shoot the three lenses at their original length, 31mm, 43mm and 77mm again.
05-11-2014, 04:03 AM   #10
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Great report with lots of info. Glad you asked all the questions. Did many people attend? Pentax is picking up steam.
thanks
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05-11-2014, 04:57 AM   #11
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Thanks for taking the time to do this, Boris!

QuoteOriginally posted by 6BQ5 Quote
The Q line has two models planned for the next three years. No mention of lenses when I asked about something like a macro.
That's interesting. Will they develop the Q into a two-model system - e.g. high- and low-end?

The macro lens is for sure coming! It's on the lens roadmap to be released this year (or later) and they showed a prototype of it at CP+ 2014.

Corinne
05-11-2014, 05:49 AM   #12
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Thanks for your insightful posting. You seem well informed of the Pentax line. And yes the 10-17 is a great lens especially as a city walk-around,
05-11-2014, 06:22 AM - 1 Like   #13
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FF was a fad? If your interpretation to the Rep's statements is correct, then there will be a few unhappy campers come Photokina time.. hehe

Even at half price the 645Z would be too costly for many people. It will be interesting to see what comes of the 645Z!

---------- Post added 05-11-14 at 08:23 AM ----------

Oh, and you know well it is dangerous to sample all of those cameras.. esp the K-3.. once you get a taste, it is easy to want more of it. :cP
05-11-2014, 06:55 AM   #14
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Thanks for the report.

QuoteOriginally posted by 6BQ5 Quote
  • The company is committed to their FA lenses because they are lower priced and very popular.
Can you clarify this statement?

Does it refer to FA lenses for the 645 format (as opposed to the pricey D FA lenses),
or does it mean lenses like the FA 35/2 (as opposed to the FA Limiteds)?
05-11-2014, 07:10 AM   #15
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Thanks for all the responses! I am looking over my notes as read this thread and I am remembering more from my conversation with Mr. Flaten. I'll sprinkle that in to this reply.

@barondla : I arrived at the store at 12:30pm, sort of in the middle of the lunch hour. That time is always kind of dead. When I left at 1pm people were starting to come in and they were hovering around the display case. I knew I had taken quite a bit of time already and I would have felt bad to keep going. Everyone should have a fair turn. By the time I left the store with my film there was an older lady asking the rep if the MX-1 saves in raw.

Additional note : Mr. Flaten shoots in PEF and uses the Adobe color space. The files are smaller and he finds the rendering of purples to be more gentle.

@Corinne : Mr. Flaten did not say if a new model would replace the old or if two models would exist side by side. He was more interested in promoting the Q7.

Additional note : Whatever Ricoh does with the Q line and the lenses, it will always be around the 1/1.7 sensor. Selling the Q line with a 1/2.3 sensor was tough. No retailer wanted to promote it because the 1/2.3 sensor has a reputation of being too dinky. The 1/1.7 sensor has traction. He also says that the initial price for the Q was a mistake. Way too high. There was always a plan to go to 1/1.7 sensors from the beginning.

@mee : Yep, he definitely said that FF was a fad for a while but he didn't say that Ricoh wouldn't be doing something in that space! Again, I'm sure he didn't want to spread rumors and he no doubt wanted to present Ricoh's commitment to APS. My own thought is that Pentax/Ricoh has had plenty of opportunity to dump the K-mount and mirror box and make an APS specific design that could be smaller. They didn't. Are they just waiting for what they think is the absolute most perfect moment to go FF? Maybe.
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