The Future Today: Ricoh and Pentax to End Mass Production

Discussion in 'News' started by c_watson|1, Jan 21, 2022.

  1. invisibleflash likes this.
  2. I thought the prognostication was unfavorable when, after the merger with Pentax, they at first suggested the combined name of something on the order of "PRIC" as I recall.
    I think it was explained to them that this was not a felicitous name.

    There were times when I was unsure whether some things were April Fools or not:
    I loved my first "real" camera which was a Heiland Pentax H2. It also, more ominously, led me into a fascination with M42 in general and Praktica in particular/
    invisibleflash and Ricochetrider like this.
  3. Say hello to the "Nikon Store" and the "Canon Store" next to the Apple Store.
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2022
  4. Sandy Vongries

    Sandy Vongries Administrator Staff Member

    Try ordering Tractor / Ag Equipment Parts - at least one major company production only on demand - no parts inventory. Welcome to the future!
    za33photo likes this.
  5. Maybe a good thing, to call things whatever they are?
    While I probably hadn't been much of a real Pentax customer, things felt odd for a long time, like their German homepage listing lenses with lots of them "currently not available", even the 35mm stuff, not only MF. Rather few shops (while there still were some) bothered to carry Pentax and their inventory was never great either.

    Ricoh being transparent about their plans / our options might feel better? An automated website could tell how many orders it takes to trigger a production run and for how long the assembly line is still occupied with something else.
    If they are somewhat smart, they 'll give customers a chance to buy multiple options on a "whatever you 'll produce next" base and ask what they could sell next, when shipping something. Example: You have money for a 70-200/2.8. You 'd also like 85/1.4 & 35/2. If Ricoh make and ship the 35mm first, they should ask when you 'll recover to be ready for the expensive zoom. (Some amateurs' wallets are that imature)

    Heavily customizable cameras would be super nice. A BW K1 II or K3 might trigger me once again. (But I am feeling mostly done with Pentax, just trying to consume what I already have.)
  6. Would that be a bad idea? Especially when imagined with service tech(s), in a back room.
  7. Major camera companies are running on empty--zero marketing innovation and clueless about who buys their product or why. In Canada, Fujifilm runs rings around Nikon and Canon in terms of CRM and consumer outreach. Suspect the business of selling camera systems is poised for some big changes. The Ricoh announcement is just the curtain-raiser.
  8. Humm... Digital 'Spotmatic', k-mount, mechanically armed, but electronically timed shutter, ISO selector in place of the rewind knob, manual focus only.

    No screen or buttons, just RAW files to SD card.

    Might sell enough to support 'artisanal' production?
    Jochen likes this.
  9. I have no idea of how severely the smartphone camera paradigm shift has damaged the business model of the camera producers - but it has obviously left it deeply wounded.

    The whole profitable P&S + entry level SLR consumer base of the film era was mirrored into digicam+entrylevel DSLR of the digital age - only to disappear completely in a few years due to advancement in smartphone cameras. "If you want better pictures, buy a more advanced smartphone".

    Only the entusiast and pro level remains - and even the pro segment has shrunk significantly with news outlets using smartphone footage pulled from social media streams, the bottom feeding mundane product photography for small businesses' online catalogues and ads can be acceptably produced by anyone in-house with a smartphone and some cheap Chinese led lights - etc. etc.

    Companies that would sell cameras as a commodity (10 million Olympus Trip 35 sold) need now to reposition and reinvent themselves as producers of lifestyle products - that is a huge change in company culture - currently only achieved on a larger scale by Fujifilm and Leica.
    Of the 4 camera shops still existing in the centre of the city where I live, 2 are Leica boutiques!
    WJT and Ricochetrider like this.
  10. The article has been updated:
  11. It's clear that Ricoh's first moves would be Japan-based; changes to its N. American operation will likely follow that model. I did read the statement from their American operation that "the company has significant plans and goals for the North America market this year." Doubtful that those "plans and goals" would differ from those in Japan as reported in Petapixel. The timing might different but not the direction of Ricoh's course changes. I read the update as a "comfort letter." Soothing but just signalling a delay in Ricoh's future plans as stated.
  12. Meanwhile back at the proverbial ranch, the whole "new" film movement subsists on "retro" cameras, with people madly consuming the (?) millions (?) of cameras produced in previous decades- all the way back to LF models and lenses from the 1800s & early 20th century. No stone is left unturned, with even the most basic P&S film cameras drawing lots of attention and even adulation.

    Maybe it's these folks who are driving the changes- then again, maybe not... but in the end who needs a super-camera with 5000 functions?

    I know it's a lot to ask, but I'd still prefer an over-simplified super-camera with an SD slot, manual ISO, shutter, & aperture settings and OK lets toss in up-to-date auto focus with the option of manually focusing too. Oh and can it please not cost 7,000.00 dollars/pounds/euros?
  13. "Meanwhile back at the proverbial ranch, the whole "new" film movement subsists on "retro" cameras, with people madly consuming the (?) millions (?) of cameras produced in previous decades- all the way back to LF models and lenses from the 1800s & early 20th century. No stone is left unturned, with even the most basic P&S film cameras drawing lots of attention and even adulation."

    Don't start. That's really a bit of mirage, magical thinking, whatever. I shoot film but it's never delivered a religious experience. The whole "cult" thing is over-baked. Plenty of junk cameras on offer; the good stuff rarely surfaces. When it does, especially medium format, it's crazy pricey. Kodak went broke 20 years ago this month for a reason. Besides, where are all those born-again labs handling that tsunami of film?

    "I know it's a lot to ask, but I'd still prefer an over-simplified super-camera with an SD slot, manual ISO, shutter, & aperture settings and OK lets toss in up-to-date auto focus with the option of manually focusing too. Oh and can it please not cost 7,000.00 dollars/pounds/euros?"

    Buy a used Fuji X-100 series or X-E series camera. The 16mp versions are affordable--and very good.
    Jochen likes this.
  14. Correction: "Kodak went broke 20 years ago this month," should read 10 years ago.
  15. What I would like in a modern camera:-.
    All metal superior construction and build quality ("Brass and Glass").
    A "stills" camera only , NO video.
    Manual over ride capability for all functions.
    NO plastic except where absolutely necessary (electronics).
    No pre-progammed "scenes".
    SD card.
    Use a Standard easily available battery (world wide).
    Be readily repairable.
    A reasonable price.
    But I don't think that this will ever happen :D:D.
    luis triguez likes this.
  16. Well you can get all that, but not in a "new" camera. Buy a "like-new" camera from a few years ago and be satisfied as a clam at high tide. :D
    za33photo likes this.

  17. I'm just going off of personal observations mainly from being on social media sites where groups abound. F@c3b00k has photo groups too numerous to ever know: one for every type of camera imaginable, a handful of generic "vintage camera" and "vintage lens" groups, as well as groups covering specific brands of vintage lenses. Any and all kinds, types, & brands of film has its own group or multiple groups. There are color film groups, B&W film groups, and "film chat" groups. Every format has at least one group, and a couple groups cover multiple formats. There are tintype groups, pinhole groups, experimental process groups, home-made camera groups, groups of this who are shooting directly onto positive film photo paper. Darkroom & lab groups... Instant & Polaroid groups... regional & local groups.
    I mean it sure seems to be kinda endless- and of course there is definitely some cross-over of members from group to group- but there are still uncountable groups worldwide with many many members and seemingly adding more each day. Copycat & new groups pop up constantly, too- adding to the fray.

    There are film processing labs all over the place. I personally have used several (4? 5?) from east to west (CA, NYC) & north to south (NH, TN, Portland OR). Within a 70 mile radius there are 2 "Retro Photo" shops with labs in both Reading & York and another film lab/shop in Allentown PA- not to mention my local film/camera store right here in my town. New film labs keep opening up- I am just now getting adverts for a new one I think on the east coast, in my Instagram feed.

    In terms of just the people I know, my friends shoot all kinds of stuff- 1890s tintype cameras with lenses from the early 1900s, early 20th Century 4x5 & 8X10 cameras my buddy rebuilds, all manner of 35mm stuff, 6x9 Linhofs, 1930s and 40s MF folders, one guy I know didi a series of portraits in the Amazon using Daguerrotype methods (went to France to learn and get licensed or certified) on like 3x4 inch glass plates. One or two of these folks are getting great international attention and all are doing impressive work.

    I know Kodak is going broke and barely hanging on, Fuji is cutting out film production, etc etc... but maybe the so-called "boom" in film and old cameras isn't
    as much a mirage as you might think. Too little, too late? Maybe but there's a sh*t load of people right now having a ton of fun shooting film in cameras old & new(er/ish).

    Yet companies like Ricoh- who are compartmentalized into their small-ish digital niche- are being killed off by the smart phone. No doubt the top tier manufacturers like Canon & Nikon are fine and are gong to continue to be fine.

    Downplay it or pooh-pooh it all you like- some of us will shoot our old cameras using film, until there simply isn't any more. "Religious experience"? LOL not so much but I get a lot of satisfaction out of shooting my cameras. And have a LOAD of fun when I get into a situation where a handful of my friends & I are gathered at an event all shooting together or all shooting the event. There's a definite family vibe amongst my film-camera fiends and I- and that's as much fun or more than actually shooting.
  18. Pass the bong...Film is a residual market. It's pricey and not always easy to find. Social media chatter isn't a reliable index of demand for film. You know it, I know it. Pro shooters kept the labs open for the rest of us; when they went digital, the clock started running down and finally stopped, ending available, affordable C-41 processing. Pro labs and reliable c-41/b&w labs seem to survive only in larger cities. No more Noritsu or Frontier mini-labs everywhere(anywhere?).

    Sorry but your exceptions don't prove the rule. Have fun but magical thinking won't bring it back. Your tone reminds me of posts from 2012 when Kodak sank that couldn't quite grasp what brought it down.

    BTW, when did your local Costcos close their processing lines?
  19. Film sales (and production) are definitely on the rise. No myth, or wishfull thinking. They bottomed in the 1990s, but have been going up since then, and the rise is picking up pace. Kodak, for instance, reported a doubling of the amount they make and sell in the second half of the 2010s.
    Yes, numbers are nowhere near what they were before the switch to digital. But thinking that this means that there is no viable, healthy market for film is a mistake. Prices are high. Finding a place to develop the film for you is more difficult. Yes. That reflects the change since the 1990s. But not only have sales figures been on the rise, the number of available film types/brands has increased as well. And while there are countless millions of usable old film cameras, you can still get freshly produced ones.

    In short: film is as healthy and future proof as candles and lamp oil have proved to be. Don't let a comparison of absolure sales figures 'way back when' and now fool you.

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