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02-07-2020, 05:12 AM - 2 Likes   #1
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Ricoh's financial results for Q3: improved Smart Vision's earnings

Ricoh published their financial results for FY2019 Q3 this morning:

https://www.ricoh.com/-/Media/Ricoh/Sites/com/IR/financial_data/financial_re.../q1_report.pdf

https://www.ricoh.com/-/Media/Ricoh/Sites/com/IR/data/pre/pdf/r01q3_1.pdf

https://www.ricoh.com/-/Media/Ricoh/Sites/com/IR/data/pre/pdf/r01q3_2.pdf

Details on the photographic business are scarce but positive:
  • Q3 overview: 'Smart Vision business: Steadily expanded new products and enhanced earnings'
  • Nine months overview: 'Improved Smart Vision business earnings'



Implicitly (see also which cameras are put forward with picture) we obtain confirmation of what we already knew from former interviews and bilateral contacts:
  • Smart Vision is making money thanks to the success of the Ricoh GR III and the Ricoh Theta ecosystem
  • The rugged, waterproof compact cameras might not be immensely successful but they don't impact the books much since they are ODM products (including the BtoB line since the G900 / G900SE)
  • The Pentax business is supported by the money-making products, GR III and Theta


02-07-2020, 05:28 AM - 1 Like   #2
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Thanks for posting. I hope to see more 'Smart' features in future dslr/milc Pentax(Ricoh) cameras.
02-07-2020, 12:37 PM   #3
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Appreciated, Mistral75. The industry as a whole is struggling, and it's good to see that Ricoh's "Other" section seems to be weathering the storm reasonably well under the given circumstances. Which could mean that Pentax will be around a little longer than the habitual doom-mongers are trying to make us believe. Adds a little to one's peace of mind when you have spent years on building a nice kit, love shooting with it, and are looking to invest further into it.
02-07-2020, 03:00 PM - 4 Likes   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by Madaboutpix Quote
it's good to see that Ricoh's "Other" section seems to be weathering the storm reasonably well under the given circumstances
Riding out the storm is a pretty good metaphor, I think. Ricoh Company, along with its competitors in the office paper handling business (printers, photocopiers) has seen its golden goose lose feathers over the past 5 years or so and every division now has to justify its existence. The Other division is roughly a tenth of Ricoh Company, and Smartvision is roughly a tenth of Other, so there is no compelling reason for Ricoh to continue operating the Smartvision business if it wasn't profitable.

I downloaded the full year presentation for FY2018 (which came out in May 2019) and on the equivalent page to what Mistral75 posted in this thread, Vehicular stereo camera was pictured first, followed by Theta Z1 and GRIII, with no mention of Smartvision in the verbiage, so this 3rd quarter report is definitely progress. "Steadily expanded new products and enhanced earning" may appear to be insignificant and non-committal, but you have to consider the intended audience (outside financial analysts) and remember that "steadily expanded new products" is counter to what would be expected given Ricoh's downsizing initiatives and Smartvision's significance to the overall business. Add "enhanced earnings" to the first phrase and it can be read as Ricoh pointing out how Smartvision is not going down the same dismal paths as its competitors. I don't think this means that Smartvision can open their windows wide open yet, but at least they can start rolling up the shutters.

02-08-2020, 03:39 AM - 1 Like   #5
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More of the same, I guess.

It is hard to say much about the K mount when the last camera released was the K-1 II in April of 2018 (unless I missed something -- not counting the KP-J). Clearly sales are going to be really flat until there is something new and at the same time, the mandate seems to be to control spending to what revenue comes in from camera related activities. At least they are including the GR and Theta sales in that pot...
02-08-2020, 04:27 AM   #6
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^ The revenue from Pentax-branded equipment isn't flat, it's declining, at least in Europe: -15% to -20% year on year.

That's still better than the DSLR market, as measured by CIPA shipments: -16.7% in 2018 and -41.3% in 2019.
02-08-2020, 10:24 AM - 1 Like   #7
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There is a bottom to the photographic equipment market, the question is how far down bottom is. I say photographic equipment because if nobody buys new cameras, the market for new lenses, strobes, tripods, lessons, etc. will also collapse. It doesn't matter if the customer is a professional fashion photographer or an aging tire salesman, we buy new equipment to get something we don't get from the equipment we already have.


Developing new products that provide something new is the most difficult and expensive part of being a camera manufacturer, so the pace of new product introductions slows down. With fewer new products to stimulate business, there is less incentive to switch brands, and greater incentive to make incremental upgrades to the equipment we already have. This applies mainly to manufacturers of interchangeable lens cameras, changing lens mounts is a big deal, switching to another brand of fixed lens camera is like changing the brand of coffee maker. Some manufacturers can sustain a product line under these conditions, but some won't, for a variety of reasons.


The relatively huge customer base for Canon and Nikon brands has been built up over more than half a century, their survival is certain and I would rate the odds of Pentax surviving as third best in the industry. There is a well-established (albeit somewhat smaller) base of K-mount users, the current owners of the Pentax brand have it organized to be sustainable with small sales volumes and there are still several opportunities to introduce new products that provide incremental upgrades (see there is a silver lining to the slow release of new bodies and lenses!).
02-08-2020, 12:08 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Mistral75 Quote
^ The revenue from Pentax-branded equipment isn't flat, it's declining, at least in Europe: -15% to -20% year on year.

That's still better than the DSLR market, as measured by CIPA shipments: -16.7% in 2018 and -41.3% in 2019.
Sure. But I guess my question is can K mount gear still sell and I don't think we know the answer since there has been so little of it that has come out lately.

02-10-2020, 09:37 AM - 2 Likes   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by Mistral75 Quote
^ The revenue from Pentax-branded equipment isn't flat, it's declining, at least in Europe: -15% to -20% year on year.

That's still better than the DSLR market, as measured by CIPA shipments: -16.7% in 2018 and -41.3% in 2019.
Which means, technically, Pentax is gaining market share.
02-10-2020, 10:26 AM - 1 Like   #10
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New equipments become more and more expensive, I don't see how the market can stop declining. I would have preferred that Pentax start developing FF lineup with less perfect and more affordable f4 zooms and f1.8 primes. That are the manufacturers themselves that are killing the market.
02-10-2020, 10:48 AM   #11
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Big plus for not perfect 1.8 primes. Ricoh just tweak those Tamrons!
02-10-2020, 10:54 AM - 1 Like   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by superdave Quote
New equipments become more and more expensive, I don't see how the market can stop declining. I would have preferred that Pentax start developing FF lineup with less perfect and more affordable f4 zooms and f1.8 primes. That are the manufacturers themselves that are killing the market.
IMO it's the other way around. The market collapses -> less economies of scale -> margins must rise but you can't do this indefenitely with the same old products.
Which means you go "high end" (whatever the means you chose to do so).
02-10-2020, 11:28 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by thibs Quote
IMO it's the other way around. The market collapses -> less economies of scale -> margins must rise but you can't do this indefenitely with the same old products.
Which means you go "high end" (whatever the means you chose to do so).
I agree about the old products but you can go high end with new lenses less difficult to design and so releasing more than one new lens per year... Nikon f/4 and f1.8 Z lenses are high end to me, but they are also affordable for more photographers.
02-10-2020, 11:40 AM - 1 Like   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by superdave Quote
That are the manufacturers themselves that are killing the market.
Manufacturers aren't killing the market, they're milking the market based in the new paradigm of the internet era: 99% of camera users never print, instead they display images over 4K or less, but might have fun recording HD or UHD footage or recording short slow motions videos viewed on a small display. The mainstream market (web based and 4K based) represent the bulk of the camera market, which is why cameras/lenses specialized for high quality still photography need to be overprice to hope make a profit.
02-10-2020, 01:20 PM - 2 Likes   #15
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There was once a rumour that they are thinking about joining L mount. For me it would be interesting. On one side video oriented Panasonic and for stills Ricoh/Pentax with smart K-L adapter at the begining. It is the next letter in the alphabet
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