Ricoh, parent of the more-than-a-century-old Pentax brand, will cease mass producing cameras. Pentax was the last stand of the DSLR, defiantly insisting that it wasn’t for the massive investment costs that it was opting to zig versus the zag of all other brands into the mirrorless era. The firm’s CEO Noboru Akehane indicated that Pentax would still hand-make cameras in a bespoke fashion out of a smaller workshop using parts it orders in.
Many industry observers had been on a sort of Pentax deathwatch for the past three years, with the firm experiencing obvious problems in securing investment from its parent to continue offering the critical mass of bodies and lenses that would comprise a “system.”
Sales will be done direct to consumer, allowing for a small number of employees to run a repair shop, perhaps an effective method to keep the brand technically operating while it either shops the intellectual property to another firm or tries to salvage the concern by morphing it into a leica-like, small scale luxury brand. Shopping the IP is more likely.
Pentaxians – never ones to worry about catching up with the digital Jones’s – will eventually be able to order a more customized version of future bodies. Traits the firm wishes to pursue in future cameras are easy operability and small size. It is true that the Pentax market tends to be populated with ardent supporters. Pentax hasn’t priced its bodies in the past to test whether that enthusiasm translates as much into paying high prices versus simply spending time on online forums defending Pentax.