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09-25-2014, 06:41 AM   #16
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QuoteOriginally posted by Clavius Quote
Well in that case, they sure are practicing what they're preaching... ...So a tiny FF MILC but with tiny lenses to go with it would be a suitable niche for them too? The other manufacturers all tend to go with the bazooka-on-a-deck-of-cards approach.
Rather a bulky (K-mount) MILC with tiny lenses to differentiate from "the bazooka-on-a-deck-of-cards approach" .

09-25-2014, 06:47 AM   #17
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QuoteOriginally posted by JPT Quote
In the first part, he compares the company culture of Ricoh Imaging with western companies he has worked with before. Western companies start with a business model and then work with partners to bring products to market. He was surpassed at the culture of Ricoh Imaging when he joined, because they have a very serious product focus and tend to think about the business model later. He sees his job as being to change this culture.

It's seriously difficult biz-talk, by the way, and I'm not sure I can understand more than the gist.
Harvard Business School jargon for 'Doesn't matter what we make and sell - so long as our precious capital is correctly and optimally employed.' However, in this case the Pentax patents and design ethic are a significant capital asset that won't likely be easily cast aside. The Goodwill in the Pentax name has questionable market value - I would not be surprised to see the brand name disappear quite soon.

Last edited by monochrome; 09-25-2014 at 06:54 AM.
09-25-2014, 07:52 AM - 1 Like   #18
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QuoteOriginally posted by monochrome Quote
Harvard Business School jargon for 'Doesn't matter what we make and sell - so long as our precious capital is correctly and optimally employed.' However, in this case the Pentax patents and design ethic are a significant capital asset that won't likely be easily cast aside. The Goodwill in the Pentax name has questionable market value - I would not be surprised to see the brand name disappear quite soon.
Even so there are some nice ideas in this interview, so far as it's possible to tell from the mangled translation. There is a stress on three platforms linked by a common theme, on personalization, on making Ricoh/Pentax the brand which takes the images you would like to leave to posterity - in other words, on image quality and satisfaction from photography over the instant selfie thang. He uses the example of the 645z to make the point that sharpness is not the end-all. Rather, rendering is: you need a camera which can capture the quality of light passing through the air, something akin to capturing the wind is the comparison he makes. A nice image and a very telling point against the current mania for sharpness above all else. If the result is lifeless, you've failed and equipment which doesn't major on image quality and rendering has only helped you to fail. I think that's what he is getting at. Very Japanese but I like that and in any case very different from the standard-issue blatherings the rest come out with. Of course one can say that this is all smooth talk from a master salesman, and I imagine he'd be ruthless in chopping the whole shebang if it got into serious trouble, but even so it is a distinct and different take. And that the CEO is prepared to give an interview devoted to a subject commanding only a tiny proportion of the group's business suggests they take it all pretty seriously.

Last edited by mecrox; 09-25-2014 at 02:15 PM.
09-25-2014, 07:58 AM   #19
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QuoteOriginally posted by mecrox Quote
Even so there are some nice ideas in this interview, so far as it's possible to tell from the mangled translation. There is a stress on three platforms linked by a common theme, on personalization, on making Ricoh/Pentax the brand which takes the images you would like to leave to posterity - in other words, on image quality and satisfaction from photography over the instant selfie thang. He uses the example of the 645z to make the point that sharpness is not the end-all. Rather, rendering is: you need a camera which can capture the quality of light passing through the air, something akin to capturing the wind is the comparison he makes. A nice image and a very telling point against the current mania for sharpness above all else. If the result is lifeless, you've failed and the equipment has only helped you to fail. I think that's what he is getting at. Very Japanese but I like that and in case very different from the standard-issue blatherings the rest come out with. Of course one can say that this is all smooth talk from a master salesman, and I imagine he'd be ruthless in chopping the whole shebang if it got into serious trouble, but even so it is a distinct and different take. And that the CEO is prepared to give an interview devoted to a subject commanding only a tiny proportion of the group's business suggests they take it all pretty seriously.
Guy was said to be Chairman of Ricoh Imaging, not CEO of Ricoh Corporation. I did get all that (reading between the poorly translated lines). If that's where he wants to take RIC and he can build and execute an integrated business model, corporate culture, brand identity and marketing package to support them that works - and then feed products into that process that actually deliver the promise - we have absolutely nothing to worry about.

And my signature tag line wiil someday be seen to have been prophetic.



*I noted but didn't post that a 'fourth' platform is not mentioned.


Last edited by monochrome; 09-25-2014 at 08:06 AM.
09-25-2014, 08:03 AM   #20
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QuoteOriginally posted by mecrox Quote
(...) And that the CEO is prepared to give an interview devoted to a subject commanding only a tiny proportion of the group's business suggests they take it all pretty seriously.
Nonoru Akabane is not the CEO of Ricoh, but the President of Ricoh Imaging (since September 2011; it was then Pentax Ricoh Imaging).
09-25-2014, 08:13 AM   #21
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QuoteOriginally posted by monochrome Quote
Guy was said to be Chairman of Ricoh Imaging, not CEO of Ricoh Corporation. I did get all that (reading between the poorly translated lines). If that's where he wants to take RIC and he can build and execute an integrated business model, corporate culture, brand identity and marketing package to support them that works - and then feed products into that process that actually deliver the promise - we have absolutely nothing to worry about.
Oh, my bad In which case I guess there is a chance that an English-language interview will pop up somewhere if he's talking to the press.

Last edited by mecrox; 09-25-2014 at 02:13 PM.
09-25-2014, 01:51 PM   #22
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Well one thing I took away was that he did say he will improve and evolve K3, so they are going full blast with that little sensor of theirs. So you guys can expect more of that from them. May be K-2 with a very tall pentaprism . . .
09-25-2014, 03:10 PM - 5 Likes   #23
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Chiming in with my Translation...

After living in Japan and working in a Japanese firm as a GaiJin, I interpolate the following:

RP is and will be on a sound financial footing...

The Q is a product line designed to get users comfortable with the excitement and gains of changing lenses, but in a small camera. a Primer for MILC or DSLR so to speak.

The 645z is a "statement" about the firm's philosophy, providing cameras that are so good, you can take pictures that you leave behind for others to enjoy. In Japanese euphemisms, they are going "uptown" as they say in NY. They would rather be a Japanese "Leica: than chase the pack.

The K3 was an iteration of a system and concept that was the logical next step... There will NOT be an incremental innovation, only big ones in K Mount. He sees K-3 as a "big step" (which it was in redefining APSc), and I expect improvements in K-3 will be less frequent but "wow"s in the future. He alluded in the end to many prototypes left in product design NOT to be dwelled on (I suspect FF DSLR designs are among them), but that what comes will be a "big step" I suspect a FF camera that leapsfrogs others OR a FF DSLR that sets a new design standard...

Translating Japanese Idioms into English is perilous at best. My gut and experience in Japan Board rooms tells me that K-3next will be a Big deal, and FF won't be like CaNikon, or even close...

I vote with my money. I'm sticking with Pentax (annoying lens gaps aside), and something new... I'm buying Ricoh stock tomorrow... 大丈夫 だいじょうぶ (Diajobu... means no problem)


Last edited by GlassJunkie; 09-26-2014 at 05:45 AM.
09-25-2014, 03:11 PM   #24
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This summary of the same interview is a little bit less painful to read in translation.

Interview Ricoh imaging president posts - digital camera info
09-25-2014, 05:42 PM - 1 Like   #25
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Well, that clears things up...

Ok, joking. I really liked it - at least the Google Translate'd version. But I might have been reading too much between the lines... still kinda neat to hear a CEO sound passionate about image making, and not just dollars and return.

Interesting (to me) notes:

He mentioned video twice, once in a reference (that may be translation error) and a second time in reference to GoPro as an interesting solution to a problem nobody knew they had. Both could be tangential to actually doing good video as a technical achievement.

He doesn't really like current market trends; he thinks there is too much me-too going on, and at the same time is frustrated or challenged that marketing has become the domain of the consumer, rather than something where the manufacturers can dictate / divide the market into segments easily. To that end it seemed like whatever we wrote in the 'how could FF be different' isn't going far enough.

Similar to 'do things differently' I can see why they went to external designers for the K-01 and the KS-01 for fresh ideas. I'm surprised they didn't turn out even more different than they did.

It didn't appear that he was in any rush to do upgrades to any system just for the sake of it, but wanted meaningful jumps. It seems (and this is odd) that he wanted to offer cameras that could produce images to be proud of.

On 'different' there seems to be some thinking that there are too many crappy smartphone images shared on multi platforms, rather than singular images over time that are more meaningful, and there might be a way to enable that. LTE / Android enabled 'real' cameras that don't need a PC? I'm guessing here, because it sounds like they don't know either. Maybe that's why the current gen of firmware has so many filters and in camera development options.

It also sounds like they offer color choices because they don't know how else to make cameras more personalized - but they want to. I think this is an area where they might go simple; Leica style choices of grip materials and finishes, or all out, with technical options in personalization. I won't belabour the idea of Android, because after a few days in anyones hands a smartphone becomes a very personal device.

He seemed really pleased with the 645 system and I bet they continue down that road with more 'different' ideas.

Some items, like the GR, seem to have several ideas in development but no strategy that aligns them all to the overall vision, which is surprising because I'd love a GR/MX-1 if it were just a bit different/better.

I bet you could say the same thing about FF - it seems to be the elephant in the room for a lot of these interviews... but it strikes me that they were talking in terms of mounts, and not sensor sizes; maybe there was no need to talk in terms of FF as it's just assumed to be an eventuality once they settle on how to apply the overall mission statement to a FF device that isn't either a Fuji/Leica or CaNikon.
09-25-2014, 06:18 PM - 2 Likes   #26
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QuoteOriginally posted by noser Quote
I bet you could say the same thing about FF - it seems to be the elephant in the room for a lot of these interviews... but it strikes me that they were talking in terms of mounts, and not sensor sizes; maybe there was no need to talk in terms of FF as it's just assumed to be an eventuality once they settle on how to apply the overall mission statement to a FF device that isn't either a Fuji/Leica or CaNikon.
If you read the Canon or Nikon interviews they are getting asked about mirrorless and medium format.
Fuji is getting questions about full frame.
Sony is getting asked about the future of A-mount now that E/FE mount has taken off and is outselling A-mount.
Olympus is constantly be asked if they have plans for a larger sensor
Pentax is always going to get asked about a FF K-mount.... and once a FF K-mount is released people will hammer them for FF mirrorless.

Ever since Samsung made the prototype medium format mirrorless with the 36mm x 36mm sensor people have been asking about it.

Its just part of the business.
09-25-2014, 06:45 PM   #27
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QuoteOriginally posted by Winder Quote
If you read the Canon or Nikon interviews they are getting asked about mirrorless and medium format.
Fuji is getting questions about full frame.
Sony is getting asked about the future of A-mount now that E/FE mount has taken off and is outselling A-mount.
Olympus is constantly be asked if they have plans for a larger sensor
Pentax is always going to get asked about a FF K-mount.... and once a FF K-mount is released people will hammer them for FF mirrorless.

Ever since Samsung made the prototype medium format mirrorless with the 36mm x 36mm sensor people have been asking about it.

Its just part of the business.
So you're saying that it would be beating the proverbial dead horse to ask the CEO directly about FF? I'm down with that.
09-25-2014, 07:33 PM   #28
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QuoteOriginally posted by noser Quote
I bet you could say the same thing about FF - it seems to be the elephant in the room for a lot of these interviews... but it strikes me that they were talking in terms of mounts, and not sensor sizes; maybe there was no need to talk in terms of FF as it's just assumed to be an eventuality once they settle on how to apply the overall mission statement to a FF device that isn't either a Fuji/Leica or CaNikon.
I have thought Hoya liquidated at 'low cost' the inventory of FF lenses, then Ricoh instituted MAP to restore pricing control, reposition the brand upscale and better 'manage' the drawdown of inventory. I have thought one element of the 645 + APSc - FF calculus might be a decent existing inventory of 645 and APSc lenses to sell and comparatively few FF lenses left.

I noted he seems to have said there are only 5 FF lenses right now (D-FA and FA) - that would be the 2 D-FA macros and the FA Limiteds. While we speculate on the usability of DA lenses with FF coverage, he doesn't seem to think so.

Insisting on the Zen of the image seems very Japanese - a hard concept for a Westerner to embrace and a hard sell for Pentax here. Personally, I like that, I would buy Pentax JUST FOR THAT DISTINCTION if it was actually true and if that was the understood Pentax reputation. It certainly adds to the ergonomics and menus argument for Pentax - the user experience argument. The question, of course, is how to make the product actually deliver a quantifiably better image consistently.

I conclude that a FF won't happen until it will not just meet, but add to that corporate ethic; until there is a broader lens catalog IN PLACE; and until a FF can be profitably made that is a leapfrog device like the K-3 was.

SO, aside from using the dual processor and dual bus idea from the 645Z (a FAST FF) - my bet is, the FF will be the first Pentax camera with an EVF (or an OVF with some kind of overlay on the focusing screen for focus peaking and/or histogram type information) and it could be the first with a truly functional OLED viewfinder. It could have a different form factor than a traditional dSLR (645Z form? - 645Z-mini? - Hassy form?). It could have a different base ISO and ISO emulation protocol than anything before it; it could have fewer megapixels than the consumer cameras - in short, a different picture-taking experience and truly superior image output.
09-25-2014, 09:22 PM - 1 Like   #29
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QuoteOriginally posted by noser Quote
So you're saying that it would be beating the proverbial dead horse to ask the CEO directly about FF? I'm down with that.
Beat the dead horse.....Then beat it some more. The K-mount was designed for the 36x24mm format.

---------- Post added 09-25-14 at 11:28 PM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by monochrome Quote
I noted he seems to have said there are only 5 FF lenses right now (D-FA and FA) - that would be the 2 D-FA macros and the FA Limiteds. While we speculate on the usability of DA lenses with FF coverage, he doesn't seem to think so.
I was looking at A7 tests and found where some one had tested a couple of Pentax lenses on the A7. The 31mm was very good. The DA* 55mm has a big enoung image circle, but showed a lot of distortion. Obviously the A7 doesn't do any lens correction, so I don't know how much of it would be correctable, but I don't think it would be of much use on a FF unless you just wanted a lot of "character". The other lens was the 300mm F/4 and I don't remember how it looked.
09-25-2014, 10:12 PM   #30
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QuoteOriginally posted by monochrome Quote
Insisting on the Zen of the image seems very Japanese - a hard concept for a Westerner to embrace and a hard sell for Pentax here. Personally, I like that, I would buy Pentax JUST FOR THAT DISTINCTION if it was actually true and if that was the understood Pentax reputation. It certainly adds to the ergonomics and menus argument for Pentax - the user experience argument. The question, of course, is how to make the product actually deliver a quantifiably better image consistently.
I couldn't agree more. I used to read old articles about the lens designers and how they laboured to not produce a perfect image, but a beautiful image. That's one of the things that brought me to the brand.
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