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11-26-2019, 01:37 PM - 29 Likes   #1
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A Hundred Years of Pentax, in England.

I made it to SRS Microsystems in Watford town centre at 10:45, just in time to hand my old K20D in for the sensor clean I’d booked up. It was one of the freebies on offer for the Pentax 100 Years celebration. The shop was packed, and most of the people in there were Pentaxians.

Ten minutes later, I’d found a front row seat in the lecture room in the cellar, and Pentax ambassador Matt Emmett started his seminar on Rediscovering Our Forgotten Heritage. There were other seminars and lighting workshops throughout the day, and like this one all free. Matt is a photographer of abandoned buildings, and takes photos with a strong graphic element; just my sort of thing. I managed to have a very brief chat with him later. Nice bloke.

Back upstairs, I had a look at some lenses. I have pretty much all the lenses I need, but I still tried a couple on my K3. The 21mm f/3.2 was a nice lens, but for me fell between two stools, being a little too wide, or not quite wide enough. Maybe the 15mm would suit me. The 20-40mm I tried would make a nice simple outfit with the 77mm. I gave both lenses back and tried the new 35 f/2 on their demo KP. Very nice it was too.

Soon it was nearly 1pm, when the President of Ricoh Imaging Mr Shinobu Takahashi was due to speak. I hurried across the way to the appropriately named but very badly spelled Pryzm nightclub, and grabbed a cup of tea. I found a table to sit at, and got into conversation with a couple who had come from Fleet in Hampshire. Other people I talked to that day had come from Birmingham, Banbury, and Yorkshire. One man had come from Sweden. I seemed to be the only one there without a goody bag, so I asked where they had come from and had to nip back SRS for one. Back at the table I had a quick look in the goody bag, and the first thing I found was a nice Pentax mug. The covers were taken off the free buffet, and we dived in.

About a quarter of an hour later we had the call to go upstairs for the president’s speech. There was one empty seat on the front row and I took it. Mr Takahashi began his speech, which was quite informal. He was pleased at the day’s excellent turnout and told us he would be in England for just seven hours. The president of the company had come all the way fromJapan just to speak to us in Watford.
Mr Takahashi told us that Pentax intends to keep on with the K mount and will continue to make DSLRs. He talked about further automation in cameras but also said Pentax realises that many of us like to use our technical skills when using a camera. This describes me.

He talked to us about the UK photo competition Pentax jointly held with SRS earlier this year, part of the birthday celebrations. He asked who in the room had entered it and I was one of several who put their hand up. It was such a good turnout, he said, that there will be another competition next year, and the prize will be a limited edition KP camera.

Wine glasses were handed out, and we raised a glass to another hundred years for Pentax. The prototype camera was unveiled. We looked at it, from our seats.
Mr Takahashi cut the cake, with a small katana like sword. He told us smiling that this was the first time he had handled such a blade. But before we could eat cake and inspect the prototype we all stood up to play rock, paper, scissors against Mr Takahashi. The winner would receive a special momento of the day.

The first round saw quite a few of us beaten by Mr Takahashi and they sat back down. Now, I’m not sure if there were one or two more rounds, but to my surprise and delight, I was the last Pentaxian standing; I had won.
Mr Takahashi presented the momento to me, and I shook his hand. It was, most appropriately, a Pentax pentaprism, engraved with “PENTAX 100 YEARS OF HISTORY” on the side that faces the focusing screen. I doubt there’s more than a couple of dozen of these in the world. It was in a finely constructed hand made box, with ‘PENTAX’ lightly engraved into the top face. I was very pleased.

Several people asked to see it, and two or three asked me if I was going to Ebay it. No. Never. It is now displayed on a shelf in my living room.
At last we had a chance to look at, but not touch, the new APS-C design. I have little to add that hasn’t already been said on this forum, except that compared to my K3, although it’s about the same width, the prototype’s lens mount looks a little bigger in proportion to the whole camera.

I saw a man with a K1 trying to get a shot of the bottom of the mirror box, saying something about trying to photograph the AF sensors.
One of the SRS bods asked us to have our portraits taken to record the day, and said we would get a Pentax cap for doing so. I soon joined the queue.

Things were quietening down. There was another workshop upstairs but like everything else, it was fully booked. It was time to go, but it had been a fine day. Pentax and SRS had been very good to us.

(If you can tell me how to place each caption with its photo, that would be very helpful)
1) The shop was crowded when I got there.
2) This man had come all the way from Sweden.
3) Sensor cleaning continues while the next seminar begins.
4) A shot with the 21mm f/3.2
5) This man let us try some lenses.
6) One of the historical cabinets at the back of the shop.
7) A Pentax man from Fleet in Hampshire.
8) Yes, the cake.
9) The audience for the president’s speech.
10) Mr Takahashi shows us the special edition KP camera.
11) Behind me were…
12) To the next 100 years.
13) Mr Takahashi cuts the cake.
14) The engraved pentaprism.

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Last edited by Robot camera; 12-14-2019 at 04:02 AM.
11-26-2019, 01:49 PM   #2
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Thank you for this detailed report and congratulations for you talent at playing rock, paper, scissors.
11-26-2019, 01:56 PM - 1 Like   #3

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I'm jealous of you folks - here there is no such event. A very small market, a very small dealer with a very small marketing budget.
So I had to organize one myself Actually we'll just go out in a pub and celebrate 100 years of Pentax (Asahi).
11-26-2019, 02:06 PM   #4

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Sounds like a very neat experience. Congrats on being a rock, paper, scissors master!

11-26-2019, 02:07 PM   #5
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Nice report and pictures. Thank you
11-26-2019, 02:09 PM   #6
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Nice write-up. I could not attend unfortunately. Top marks to Pentax and SRS for organising the event.

That is a very special memento.
11-26-2019, 02:25 PM   #7
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Many thanks for the review and photos... I'd have liked to attend myself, but it was just a bit too far to travel (the chap from Sweden deserves a round of applause! ). And sincere congratulations on a well-deserved win for that beautiful engraved prism - what a lovely thing to own and treasure, and so nice to see a forum member win it

Last edited by BigMackCam; 11-26-2019 at 03:08 PM.
11-26-2019, 02:33 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Robot camera Quote
I made it to SRS Microsystems in Watford town centre ...
10) Mr Takahashi shows us the special edition KP camera.
Thanks for reporting.

This KP J Limited presentation outside Japan is a "first".
And it tends to confirm Ricoh Imaging will soon open its sales worldwide, as i hinted recently.
Btw, the menu langages are ready.

---------- Post added 26-11-19 at 14:38 ----------

Unboxing (and customising) my KP J Limited -
11-26-2019, 03:07 PM   #9
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Nice report, thanks for sharing. Sounds like you did the brand proud with your enthusiasm. I have my fingers crossed for
some USA events.
11-26-2019, 03:35 PM   #10
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What a super report and well done on winning that prize. I would have loved to have been there on that day, unfortunately Watford is just a bit too far away for a non-driver
11-26-2019, 03:56 PM - 2 Likes   #11

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Oups, caught me in the act on picture 4 I am the guy at the back testing Ricoh GIII. I was also the one trying to capture the mirror box from the bottom, posted the pictures in other threads here, but not much to be seen there.
I can confirm it was a great event and here is a pic of the Ricoh Imaging president to prove I was there
11-26-2019, 05:38 PM   #12
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Nice report - quite a good showing of people.

Congrats on winning the prism!
11-26-2019, 06:50 PM   #13
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Congrats on that Prism win, that was special!! Thanks for the photos and the report! looks like everyone had a great time. I'm totally impressed that Mr Takahashi jetted over especially for the event!
11-26-2019, 09:57 PM   #14
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Thanks for the report and congratulations again on being a Rock, Paper, Scissors grandmaster! That engraved pentaprism is a unique memento of the day.

QuoteOriginally posted by Robot camera Quote
2) This man had come all the way from Sweden.
Yes, Iím embarrassed to say Iím not great at remembering names, but thatís a top travel-effort by our Swedish friend only surpassed by Mr Takahashi himself. In picture 2 Iím the chap with long hair talking to him on the right.

As per separate thread, big thanks again to SRS, the Brand Ambassadors and Ricoh Pentax for putting on such a memorable event.
11-26-2019, 11:33 PM   #15

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Next year (2020) won't be any anniversary of Pentax. What are they going to do without new product releases such as 645 update, and new lenses for the K1?
In 2020, what other kind of untertainment that replaces new Pentax product developments are we going to get?

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