Monday, September 29, 2008

Pentax's Toshiyuki Kitazawa, Business Manager, Hints at a Bright Future

At the end of last week, in conjunction with Photokina, the Japanese website DC Watch Impress published an interview (link) with Pentax's Deputy Division Manager of Business Development and Director Mr. Toshiyuki Kitazawa. The interview was chock full of strategic information about how Pentax is placing itself in competition for the next year, however it was nearly impossible to read in Google translation (link to translation) and the forums at DP Review (thread link) and Pentax Forums (thread link) did their best to figure out what was being said for those of us who can't read Google or Kanji. Seriously, the Google translation is like listening to Bob Dylan singing at his most indecipherable.

What did the news boil down to?

Well, the Medium format 645D project is apparently still alive despite the temporary halt on development, and Pentax would rather make that their Pro game than attempt to do Full Frame SLRs, which Mr. Kitazawa says only appeal to a slim market slice compared to the big piece of the pie that represents amateur and intermediate SLR buyers. In other words, if you're going to go big, go really big.

Pentax says that their anticipated next generation of amateur and intermediate cameras should arrive for summer 2009, and they strive to make the best cameras they can for the market, even if they will all be APS-C (1.5x crop). The number of women buying SLRs is increasing steadily and so are the number of 20 to 30 year old users, and the APS-C sensor is what they like because it allows for smaller cameras. Pentax spent a lot of time figuring out how to miniaturize the K2000/K-m to appeal to the demographic that likes to shoot holding a camera with one hand, and it took some ingenuity to make everything smaller and lighter to let that happen (Ed. how soon we forget the *ist DS). Also, the new Help menus built into the K-m firmware is nothing to sneeze at; it's very robust.

Video is also in development for Pentax SLRs, to work in conjunction with the anti-shake mechanism, too, but smooth AF and good audio quality are apparently something Pentax wants to work a bit more on before it gets integrated.

Links: (Japanese) DC Watch Impress, (translation to English) "K20D" and "K200D" the machine's successor before the 2009 introduction of the summer, DP Review Forum Thread, Pentax Forums Thread

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