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01-02-2019, 10:06 PM - 29 Likes   #1
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Nippon Camera Ricoh/Pentax 2019 Interview

Firstly, happy new year to everyone.

The January edition of Nippon Camera magazine came out on December 20 and it has an interview with Ricoh Pentax about their plans for 2019. I’ve been a bit busy over Christmas and New Year, so I haven’t had the time to write a summary until now. I hope it is useful.

Please remember when reading this that my Japanese reading is fairly good these days but not perfect. It’s especially difficult to interpret how definite things are and when technical matters are discussed. Having said that, I’m pretty sure I’ve understood most of this.

Anything in brackets is my added comment.

————

About their direction for 2019
They’re not the kind of company that can come out with large numbers of cameras. They plan to continue prioritizing cameras and the photographic process with customers in mind. The first topic for 2019 will be the all new GR III.

Quite a lot of the interview was about the GR III, and I’ll just refer you to the thread in the GR III, where I already posted about this. Post #499 of the following thread.
Ricoh GR III - Page 34 - PentaxForums.com

Pentax centenary
- It’s actually the centenary of the optical company that was the precursor to Pentax that celebrates it’s centenary this year.
- The actual date is in November
- They are considering how to celebrate the event, but cannot share details yet.
- They don’t think that merely putting a 100-year logo on products is what their customers are hoping for. (The implication is they will do something more)

About Q and 645
- Q has been highly valued for it’s compact size by core users. They are looking at the situation with the Q, and it is not accurate to say development in discontinued. (I think this should be taken with a pinch of salt, because in Japan, Q bodies are only available from Ricoh direct, some shops list the lenses as “production ended”, and that macro disappeared from the roadmap)
- Regarding 645, the next model is currently being considered. 645 is a very important product to the company and they are not stopping the line. (Resolute answer)

Lenses
- The interviewer mentioned that 645 users are worried about the lack of new lenses. They have not stopped development. However, for now their priority is for FF K-mount lenses.
- They have a lot of demands from full frame users, especially for lightweight tele zooms.
- They 85mm on the roadmap has been put back, but it is still coming (the strong implication is that prioritizing the tele zooms pushed back the 85mm).
- The DA* 11-18 is in the final stages of development. They expect to make an announcement before CP+.
- They are also planning a “surprise” for next year. (I take this to mean a lens not on the roadmap, because of the context of the comment)

About FF/MF mirrorless
- They expressed respect for the competing FF mirrorless systems, saying that they have many good points.
- However, they are more interested in serving their customers than following trends. They will listen to user requirements, not be swayed. (This was difficult to understand, but I think this means they are going to stick to their judgement, rather than caving in to peer pressure)
- They seem positive about Fuji’s entry into the MF market, because they think it will draw more attention to the MF market.

The K-1 upgrade
- They are proud of their achievement in clearing the logistical hurdles to making this possible.
- The reaction has been positive.
- (I can’t understand what they say about noise reduction, but it seems that they are aware that opinion is divided on the approach to noise reduction in the K-1 mark II)

The SDK
- They haven’t seen much development yet, but the reaction was greater than expected. They are currently gathering information. and looking forward to what users do with it.

———————

Any discussion of future K-mount cameras was notably absent. The interview script did not have any question about it, neither were there any comments in answers to other questions. I think this topic must be understood to be off limits for the interview, so I would not read anything into it.


Last edited by JPT; 01-03-2019 at 12:02 AM.
01-02-2019, 10:13 PM   #2
mee
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No talk of crop at all beyond the UWA.


Mostly talk of FF... those FF telezooms are wonderful if they are coming sooner than later though! But it is sad they seem to have to prioritize one lens over another.
01-02-2019, 10:36 PM - 1 Like   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by JPT Quote
it is not accurate to say development in discontinued. (I think this should be taken with a pinch of salt
Thanks for your summary, I think the Ricoh Pentax officials being interviewed are being even more vague than normal to hide a certain amount of inertia. There is more than one comment requiring some seasoning, for a business that depends on new products to drive sales (how many cameras and lenses wear out?) there is a large gap from gathering information and acknowledging user requests to delivering products that indicates to me that the main reason so little is being announced now is because so little of what is possible has been approved.
01-02-2019, 10:39 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by JPT Quote
Firstly, happy new year to everyone.

The January edition of Nippon Camera magazine came out on December 20 and it has an interview with Ricoh Pentax about their plans for 2019. I’ve been a bit busy over Christmas and New Year, so I haven’t had the time to write a summary until now. I hope it is useful.

Please remember when reading this that my Japanese reading is fairly good these days but not perfect. It’s especially difficult to interpret how definite things are and when technical matters are discussed. Having said that, I’m pretty sure I’ve understood most of this.

Anything in brackets is my added comment.

————

About their direction for 2019
They’re not the kind of company that came out with large numbers of cameras. They plan to continue prioritizing our cameras and the photographic process with customers in mind. The first topic for 2019 will be the all new GR III.

Quite a lot of the interview was about the GR III, and I’l just refer you to the thread in the GR III, where I already posted about this.. Post #499 of the following thread.
Ricoh GR III - Page 34 - PentaxForums.com

Pentax centenary
- It’s actually the centenary of the optical company that was the precursor to Pentax that celebrates it’s centenary this year.
- The actual date is in November
- They are considering how to celebrate the event, but cannot share details yet.
- They don’t think that merely putting a 100-year logo on products is what their customers are hoping for. (The implication is they will do something more)

About Q and 645
- Q has been highly valued for it’s compact size by core users. They are looking at the situation with the Q, and it is not accurate to say development in discontinued. (I think this should be taken with a pinch of salt, because in Japan, Q bodies are only available from Ricoh direct, some shops list the lenses as “production ended”, and that macro disappeared from the roadmap)
- Regarding 645, the next model is currently being considered. 645 is a very important product to the company and they are not stopping the line. (Resolute answer)

Lenses
- The interviewer mentioned that 645 users are worried about the lack of new lenses. They have not stopped development. However, for now their priority is for FF K-mount lenses.
- They have a lot of demands from users for full frame users, especially for lightweight tele zooms.
- They 85mm on the roadmap has been put back, but it is still coming the strong implication is that prioritizing the tele zooms pushed back the 85mm).
- They DA* 11-18 is in the final stages of development. They expect to make an announcement before CP+.
- They are also planning a “surprise” for next year. (I take this to mean a lens not on the roadmap, because of the context of the comment)

About FF/MF mirrorless
- They expressed respect for the competing FF mirrorless systems, saying that they have many good points.
- However, they are more interested in serving their customers than following trends. They will listen to user requirements, not be swayed. (This was difficult to understand, but I think this means they are going to stick to their judgement, rather than caving in to peer pressure)
- They seem positive about Fuji’s entry into the MF market, because they think it will draw more attention to the MF market.

The K-1 upgrade
- They are proud of their achievement in clearing the logistical hurdles to making this possible.
- The reaction has been positive.
- (I can’t understand what they say about noise reduction, but it seems that they are aware that opinion is divided on the approach to noise reduction in the K-1 mark II)

The SDK
- They haven’t seen much development yet, but the reaction was greater than expected. They are currently gathering information. and looking forward to what users do with it.

———————

Any discussion of future K-mount cameras was notably absent. The interview script did not have any question about it, neither were there any comments in answers to other questions. I think this topic must be understood to be off limits for the interview, so I would not read anything into it.
"Happy New Year" to you also.

Thank you for some actual news.

I had been hoping that centennial celebration products would be "front loaded" {beginning of year, towards CP+}. From this, it appears that more activity will be "back loaded" {end of year, towards actual anniversary}

01-02-2019, 10:43 PM - 3 Likes   #5
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We had a brand jumper here who couldn't accept that his new system of choice, the much hyped darling of DPR etc, the Samsung NX, was dead.

No company with inventory of a discontinued product to bring down monthly is stupid enough to say to the public it's dead unless some accountant reckons a writeoff will make more money. Sadly, it looks like the Q was a great product, generating lots of revenue in the Pentax heartland of Japan and lots of love from selected members here, too, but its time is up.

01-02-2019, 10:52 PM   #6
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Thanks, JPT, the interview is in line with the others Ricoh representatives have given at Photokina and since.

The GR III is their big effort in the camera division for 2019. It may be that after the merger it's the Pentax team rather than the old Ricoh employees who are working on it, and it can't hurt having them do this quality mirrorless APS-C product, it may influence their future designs.

01-02-2019, 10:57 PM - 1 Like   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by mee Quote
No talk of crop at all beyond the UWA.


Mostly talk of FF... those FF telezooms are wonderful if they are coming sooner than later though! But it is sad they seem to have to prioritize one lens over another.
There wasn’t any more specific talk of crop, but I suspect that non-roadmapped lens might be APS-C, because it was mentioned immediately after the DA* 11-18 in the discussion. Also, most APS-C lenses would be a replacement for something in the current lineup, which would explain why Ricoh had not put them on the roadmap in the first place.

I should say that Japanese has no marker for plurals, so “telezooms” could be “telezoom”, but there are two relezooms already on the roadmap, so I chose to write it that way. These zooms would probably be attractive to APS-C users as well.

I forgot to mention, the people interviewed were Hiraku Kawauchi and Iwasaki-san (can’t read his given name).
01-02-2019, 11:05 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by JPT Quote
There wasn’t any more specific talk of crop, but I suspect that non-roadmapped lens might be APS-C, because it was mentioned immediately after the DA* 11-18 in the discussion. Also, most APS-C lenses would be a replacement for something in the current lineup, which would explain why Ricoh had not put them on the roadmap in the first place.



I should say that Japanese has no marker for plurals, so “telezooms” could be “telezoom”, but there are two relezooms already on the roadmap, so I chose to write it that way. These zooms would probably be attractive to APS-C users as well.



I forgot to mention, the people interviewed were Hiraku Kawauchi and Iwasaki-san (can’t read his given name).
IIRC, this forum has video interviewed Kawauchi before ... he's very senior, not some lackey.



01-02-2019, 11:10 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by reh321 Quote
"Happy New Year" to you also.

Thank you for some actual news.

I had been hoping that centennial celebration products would be "front loaded" {beginning of year, towards CP+}. From this, it appears that more activity will be "back loaded" {end of year, towards actual anniversary}
Well, it remains to be seen what approach they take to the centenary. They may do something at CP+ or may not.

Regardless of that, we should be getting product announcements for three products at least by CP+.
- GR III
- 21mm converter lens for GR III
- DA* 11-18/2.8

Also, if the positioning on the roadmap is accurate, the DFA 70-200/4 could be released at the same time. It would align with the “lightweight telezoom” comment.

It’s also normal for Ricoh to show a few “reference” products under glass and update the roadmap, which might give us a clue to upcoming cameras or lenses.

That would make 2019 a better year for releases than 2018 already. My point is that even if there are no centenary products at CP+, it probably just means they’ll do something later in the year.

Last edited by JPT; 01-03-2019 at 01:56 AM.
01-02-2019, 11:29 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by JPT Quote
Firstly, happy new year to everyone.
Happy New Year to you too

QuoteOriginally posted by JPT Quote
The January edition of Nippon Camera magazine came out on December 20 and it has an interview with Ricoh Pentax about their plans for 2019. I’ve been a bit busy over Christmas and New Year, so I haven’t had the time to write a summary until now. I hope it is useful.
Thank you so much for taking the time to do this translation and post it here for everyone. It is really appreciated.

The information provided helps calibrate my expectations and planning for 2019.

Thanks again.

Ross
01-03-2019, 12:44 AM - 2 Likes   #11
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Nothing new. That's running in circle. With minimum engineering in mind, they can upgrade the K1 with a BSI 45Mp sensor in it, improve shutter mechanism, and round the firmware corners again. There would be a number of imaging capability improvement possible via firmware only, although I'm afraid that Ricoh guys are far far out of reach, they seem to have be lost somewhere in space and cannot reconnect with customers. I don't believe that Ricoh Imaging truly care about customer, they think they care but they don't because they never stick their nose outside of Tokyo. I was in Tokyo, and I understood what it much be like to be a camera designer in Tokyo... you basically have no clue about the whole kind of camera use cases that customer may have around the world because looking at what a camera should be from a Tokyo standpoint is like looking at the whole world with the eye behind a pin hole. Tokyo is a huge city , the view is endless raw of building, when you work there all the time, you can't imagine how some people are using camera in the middle of nature in the mountains, national parks and so on. I guess they will make the GR III right for street because streets if what Tokyo is made of. BTW, same problem with other Japanese camera makers... we seen a number of users around the world having issues with users interfaces that are designed by camera designers for camera designers.

Last edited by biz-engineer; 01-03-2019 at 12:49 AM.
01-03-2019, 12:45 AM - 3 Likes   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by JPT Quote
There wasn’t any more specific talk of crop, but I suspect that non-roadmapped lens might be APS-C, because it was mentioned immediately after the DA* 11-18 in the discussion
God I hope its a DA 23mm f1.8
01-03-2019, 12:52 AM - 2 Likes   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by Trickortreat Quote
God I hope its a DA 23mm f1.8
The problem I see here, is , do we see a lot of camera brands developing their full frame system and still investing in apsc?
The only camera company that has kept investing in apsc is Fuji, and they do so because they don't have any full frame line.
So, I'm afraid that for customers, the right thing to do now is to buy full frame systems and forget about apsc (except if you are a fuji user).
01-03-2019, 12:58 AM - 2 Likes   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by biz-engineer Quote
The problem I see here, is , do we see a lot of camera brands developing their full frame system and still investing in apsc?The only camera company that has kept investing in apsc is Fuji, and they do so because they don't have any full frame line.So, I'm afraid that for customers, the right thing to do now is to buy full frame systems and forget about apsc (except if you are a fuji user).
Pentax has for a long time stated they are dedicated to APS-C users. It would make a lot of their customers mad if they ceased the R&D for crop cameras. There are a lot of us who dont want K1, nor any FF stuff... wouldnt use one even if they payed me to do it :/
Besides, they will introduce that 11-18 da, why wouldnt be there another crop lens?
01-03-2019, 01:12 AM - 3 Likes   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by biz-engineer Quote
Nothing new. That's running in circle. With minimum engineering in mind, they can upgrade the K1 with a BSI 45Mp sensor in it, improve shutter mechanism, and round the firmware corners again. There would be a number of imaging capability improvement possible via firmware only, although I'm afraid that Ricoh guys are far far out of reach, they seem to have be lost somewhere in space and cannot reconnect with customers. I don't believe that Ricoh Imaging truly care about customer, they think they care but they don't because they never stick their nose outside of Tokyo. I was in Tokyo, and I understood what it much be like to be a camera designer in Tokyo... you basically have no clue about the whole kind of camera use cases that customer may have around the world because looking at what a camera should be from a Tokyo standpoint is like looking at the whole world with the eye behind a pin hole. Tokyo is a huge city , the view is endless raw of building, when you work there all the time, you can't imagine how some people are using camera in the middle of nature in the mountains, national parks and so on. I guess they will make the GR III right for street because streets if what Tokyo is made of. BTW, same problem with other Japanese camera makers... we seen a number of users around the world having issues with users interfaces that are designed by camera designers for camera designers.
This is a truly bizarre comment. If Ricoh engineers are so Tokyo-centric, how come most of their cameras are marketed as “field cameras”, and how come Pentax cameras have such a following among landscape photographers?

Also, I mentioned that K-mount cameras were not part of the discussion, so there is no change in the likelihood of the camera you desire being made as a result. But I would say that such a camera would not be a direct successor to the K-1 if the prices of the the Nikon 45mp cameras are a guide.

By the way, Nikon are based in Tokyo, too.
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