We speak to Jonathan Martin, General Manager, Pentax UK, about Pentax and the Ricoh merger and the state of the digital camera market.
How is the new Ricoh / Pentax ownership going?
Very well, Ricoh are a well established and profitable company with cash reserves which means they are able to invest in Pentax and make it a more competitive company with an apealling array of products. When Ricoh set out to buy Pentax, they said they wanted to grow the DSLR market, and fill in the gaps where there are any.
How has the Pentax Q been recieved?
It is doing well, it is a very important product for Pentax, and is an excellent product, capable of taking great photos. When it first came out everyone picked up on the small(er) sensor size, and the price, but if you look at what the camera is capable of you will be impressed.
What do you think of the current CSC market?
It's a very exciting market, and competition is healthy as new products in the industry get people talking about imaging and that brings people into a store to see what new cameras are available, and gets them interested in getting better photos from a real camera.
How has the Ricoh GXR Leica M Mount been received?
This is not my division, but I've heard that it is selling very well, and people who go into a Leica store and want an M9, but can't afford it will walk out with a Ricoh GXR with Leica M Mount, and produce excellent results with it.
So on the subject of Ricoh / Pentax, will there be closer integration of products?
The company logo is "Pentax, a Ricoh Company" so it is inevitable that there will be Ricoh technology in Pentax cameras and vice versa, however the two seperate camera lines will continue. We have a strong following for Ricoh GR cameras for example, and an extremely loyal Pentax fanbase that we are interested in re-connecting with. In fact, I got a phone call from a K-5 owner in Scotland the other day, and we get letters from people telling us how much they love their new K-5.
Has the K-r recently been discontinued?
The K-r has finished it's final production run, which means that no more are being made, however stock is still shipping to dealers until the end of Feb/Mar, and dealers will still have stock available for people to buy after this.
Is there a K-r replacement on it's way?
While I do not know timelines, it is inevitable that a camera company would introduce a replacement for a product that is profitable and selling well.
There are rumors of a Full Frame Pentax?
I've not seen that one.
Did you know there's also a Facebook page asking Pentax for a Full Frame camera?
I didn't know that, but we do hear that.
How are the waterproof Pentax Optio cameras doing?
The waterproof Pentax Optio cameras are doing extremely well, and it's a growing market, with these cameras not just being for events like skiing or snowboarding, but they're great everyday cameras, as they will survive being dropped, can be used in the rain for a walk in the Lake Districts, or out in the countryside etc.
Are there any plans to release a camera with Wi-Fi?
Not that I'm aware of.
What are the future plans for Pentax, is a new mirrorless camera on it's way?
2012 is going to be a very exciting year, and that news is already out there, [referring to the mirrorless camera], although we can't go into details. Also we will be looking to grow strongly in the Digital SLR market.
Can you elaborate on that at all?
To be competitive in the Digital SLR market you need a full range of cameras, for example Canon and Nikon have a range of 4 cameras from entry level to professional. I can't give any more details however as the timeframe for future products is unknown.
Thanks for your time.
Read our CES 2012 Coverage here.