Pentax launches film camera project
New analog cameras from Japan?
PENTAX brand launches a film camera project
focused on developing new film-based products along with camera fans
TOKYO, December 20, 2022 — RICOH IMAGING COMPANY, LTD. is pleased to announce a new project involving the research and development of new PENTAX-brand film camera products. There has been a rebirth in interest in film cameras recently; we want to use the film camera skills and technologies developed over the years by Ricoh Imaging/PENTAX (the PENTAX Division of RICOH IMAGING COMPANY, LTD.) and provide camera enthusiasts around the world with new film camera products. We will be developing and launching new products and providing aftercare services so that experienced film camera users and younger photographers who want to try these cameras for the first time can fully enjoy the experience of film photography.
Activities of the film camera project
1. Development of new film camera products
Ricoh Imaging/PENTAX will begin research into developing new PENTAX-brand film camera products. We will bring together both veteran and younger engineers to take advantage of the film camera expertise and technologies created and retained by Ricoh Imaging/PENTAX while also incorporating the latest technologies and concepts.
2. Working together with camera enthusiasts
With digital cameras now the mainstream of photography, it can be challenging to procure the parts needed for film cameras, so this project`s success will involve other manufacturers. More importantly, Ricoh Imaging/PENTAX is counting on the support of film camera aficionados, photographers, and creators, so we plan to promote the project through various online and offline events and social media while listening to comments and suggestions from film camera users about product development. We are also planning a way to communicate effectively about the project’s development to users worldwide and to work closely with them.
Project background: Why develop film cameras now?
1. The growing popularity of film cameras
Film photography has been growing in popularity, especially among younger generations. Search for “film camera” on the Internet, and there are countless images of creators and celebrities using film cameras. Many young photographers also enjoy taking photos with film cameras, developing the film, and then uploading images in digitalized form to social media sites without making final prints.
In an online questionnaire that Ricoh Imaging/PENTAX conducted with some 3,000 users in Japan, approximately 20 percent of camera users owned film cameras, not including disposable or instant cameras.
At the same time, few manufacturers today build and sell new film cameras. Some of film camera users expressed concerns about the aftercare service for used film cameras. Ricoh Imaging is prioritizing supporting film camera fans so they can enjoy film photography without worries, from film camera development, production, and sales to aftercare.
2. The pleasure of an intricate, time-consuming process
There has been tremendous advancement in modern cameras in recent years. Smartphones dramatically changed photographic culture: anyone can now capture beautiful pictures easily, anywhere, at any time. Camera users feel, however, that in today’s overly convenient society, some enjoyable activities demand time and effort because Ricoh Imaging/PENTAX believes that time and effort signify individuality, creativity, and personal preference. Because activities involving time and effort are indeed a human experience, our goal is to provide PENTAX camera products that involve intricate, time-consuming, satisfying actions.
Message from Noboru Akahane, President and CEO of RICOH IMAGING COMPANY, LTD.
In January 2022, we declared the rebirth of Ricoh Imaging. We affirmed that, starting with Japan, we would more carefully listen to the voices of our users through stronger digital online communications with users by submitting our products to crowdfunding websites and founding a PENTAX clubhouse. All of this was done with the goal of developing and marketing new products that can fully satisfy user needs. We have taken on exciting new challenges, some of which push beyond the boundaries of conventional wisdom. We also are selling new products which were only made possible by our unique technologies and craftsmanship, such as the worldwide marketing of special-edition, limited-quantity models.
One of the new challenges we have taken on is the development of PENTAX-brand film cameras. We feel this will provide camera fans with a joy of photography totally different from what they experience in the digital format. I want to stress that this announcement does not mean we will release new film cameras. Instead, it’s an ongoing project based on the assumption that, as long as photographers remain obsessed with the ambiance of light and environment, there will also be some who will want to use film cameras as their tool of choice in capturing unique images. But we also know how difficult it will be to restart the production of film cameras long after production was terminated. In fact, we’re only at the starting line right now.
We will make even greater efforts to be able to hear the genuine voices of film camera fans through various events and digital communications while also providing as many updates on the project’s development as we can. We welcome your support and critical thoughts as part of this co-creation project. It’s a great pleasure to have you join us and work together with us on the challenges of this new film camera project.