Monday, March 09, 2009

Interview with Hoya Senior Official on Pentax's Latest Directions

Japanese DC Watch have done it again at the PMA! (Bravo!)

(Report fully in Japanese. The author writes in the beginning that "many people have worried much about the future of Pentax after the PMA".. Well, me too!)

The interviewee was the Head of the Product Planning Team of Hoya's Business Division, Mr. 川内拓. (not the official English name for his post and division, but just my translation from my best understanding and translation. Ditto for all of my reports below.) Well, now let's go on my highlights on the key important points (IMO) of the interview (Well, I may write some short comments of mine in Italics within brackets):-

- As responding to what was told in the Photokina last year for two new Pentax DSLRs to come, he (the HOYA official I mean, and will be referred to be as "he" thereafter) responded that the K200D replacement would still come at the end of this year whilst "a DSLR in the same price range of the K20D" would come this summer holidays.

- They (Hoya as a company, referred collectively thereafter) are reviewing the marketing position of the K20D in a very serious way (including and particularly for the oversizing issue of the K20D), and together with the Pentax lens system as a whole. It was therefore the lens roadmap needed to be adjusted and this explains why some (previously promised) lenses have (been) disappeared from the latest lens roadmap. In order to get most of out of the new body, they were seriously reviewing the specifications of their new lenses and modification on the standard DA specifications would be made.

- There would be no "K20D Replacement/Successor" (as the author emphasized that there would be only "a new DSLR in the price range of K20D). He also said that "K20D is a good name for a body". Then he was asked if there will be a new name (lineup) to come, he didn't answer that.

- They would put more concerns on "detailed characteristics" (style?) and "mobility" of their new DSLRs so as to increase the competitiveness, but not solely on specifications alone (he once again hinted on the shortcomings of the K20D, quite obviously).

- He talked something about the design of the DA 15 to illustrate how Pentax had been putting much "heart" (designed thoughfully) in making good camera gear. (The details are facts on design which I guess we know most of them already and thus I shall not elaborate.)

- The previously "frozen" 645D project had been de-frozen (which has also been reported just earlier here, from another source). There would be announcement on the actual product plan as soon as in late March at the Japanese PIE 2009.

- He said that you might treat the development of Samsung NX (a mirrorless interchangeable lens hybrid camera) was nothing related (to us) and there was no co-development as opposite to what some reports had told overseas, i.e., Hoya/Pentax had no involvement in the NX project. But at this moment the design of the NX and the mount that would be used had not yet been finalised, it was also told.

- Hoya also had no involvement for the optics to be used for the NX and there was no further information given but just hearsays were discussed (and, even Sigma was mentioned).

- The development of the 645D system had also led to some "motivation" and new "driving force" in the development of "new(?) 35mm full frame system". It should not be seen as we had aborted the K-mount (full frame) lens system, as it wasn't. (Well, what is the 645D to do with K-mount 135 full frame DSLR system?? I really scratch my head very hard this time!)

- At the end of the interview, he put some remarks about the current poor global economy and environment, "Pentax need some "unique" products, which people will still be willing to spend their money and will love their purchases." He further said that they would not cut corners in their products, of which they had been feeling proud of. (Here I do agree to a certain extent, I think the Pentax K-m has some really good qualities inside, although there are still some shortcomings which I don't like about it, e.g., the ridiculous longish shutter lag and could be slower AF when NiMH batteries are used.)


Anonymous said...

There was old rumor about hybrid mount to fit 645 and K lenses.

Anonymous said...

sorry for the ot..
just an information as this a pentax blog..
Pentax italy is dead...
In the nation where there's the historical club, where Pentax a time have a really strong market, poor distribution, and the questionable policy about forcing, the pentax medical distributor to take care about the camera division, (those are not able and never interested).
Pentax Japan, try first to build a new offical camera division, always using the medical division personell... who fail the first time.
Then the decision...
the link is in italian...

Pentax in italy loos market due to, poor distribution, poor marketing, poor assistance.
one could find cameras (overpriced) not lenses on the shelves.
New distributor listening the rumors will be Fowa, a part of Nital (nikon italy) ironic...

Anonymous said...

Re: "They (Hoya as a company, referred collectively thereafter) are reviewing the marketing position of the K20D in a very serious way (including and particularly for the oversizing issue of the K20D), and together with the Pentax lens system as a whole."

Can you please elucidate what is meant by "the oversizing issue" of the K20D? I do not understand this.

RiceHigh said...

The interviewee said that they thought that the K20D was too big in size and were "seriously and repeatedly reviewing the issue".

PeterZheng said...

I think that K20D/K10d's size as well as its weight were seemly, that it did not too big in size.

I do not know that the now's Hoya of official would understand the DSLR to more than the original Pentax?

RiceHigh said...

A better "full" (almost, I think) translation can be found here. Go read the details if interested.

PeterZheng said...



PENTAX has revised to the plans of standard DA lenses, because it will need to adapt with a new DSLR system that like a K20D's price level. (Mr. Honda did an annotation: so this way wrote, which everybody would understand? Anyway, it does not look like a direct successor from K20D).

It is said that: "In order to play better of the advantages as the new DSLR, that the DA lenses plan must to be changed ".
Mr. Kawauchi said: " Once that new camera appear, which you would instantly know the whole reason. Please waits. "

Ok, then a 1.3x will be soon advent? I will gladly see it.

PeterZheng said...

Other problems

Pentax's a new Sales & Marketing Director Toshiaki Iue said: "Pentax and Samsung Partnership Not Perfect" in Sep 2008:

Mr. Toshiaki Iue, has stated that “Pentax’s relationship with Samsung is not perfect – there are some issues”, but went on to say that the two companies would continue their technology partnership for at least the near future.

Previously employed by Sanyo for 15 years, Mr Iue joined Pentax on July 22nd with aggressive plans to get Pentax “back into the mainstream”.

PMA 2009, Hoya official Mr. Kawauchi said: Samsung NX was unrelated with Pentax. Also, this PMA Samsung no longer publicizes GX-20. This both of them relationship were broken subtly?

There were 3 questions:

1. If Pentax and Samsung partnership is broken or to the end, then who is a new DSLR sensor’s provider? What is a future?
2. Looks like that Hoya has purged of the Pentax Imaging's primary of original management layer.
3. After Mar 2008 of one year, Hoya has some aggressive plans to that get Pentax “back into the mainstream”? Hoya got to back into mainstream or the shrinkage of the creek to dry up?

PeterZheng said...

PS. In 2008, Sanyo was sold to Panasonic, a long time that Sanyo's business has been sluggish.

Previously employed by Sanyo for 15 years, Mr Iue joined Pentax on July 22nd 2008.

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