Ricoh revealed that they will release two Pentax compact film cameras in Spring 2024. This is the first time two camera models or a timeline have been mentioned.
The announcement came during a French-speaking photo and video podcast on Fautpaspousserlesiso.com (“Faut pas pousser les ISO” translates to “Don’t push the ISO”). They interviewed Yazid Belmadi, a promotions manager at Ricoh Imaging France. A Pentaxian transcribed and translated his comments on the Pentax Forum. Some of this was translated elsewhere as well, including Google Translate. The podcast was recorded ahead of the Le Salon De La Photo show held in Paris, France from 5 to 8 October 2023.
What else about the cameras?
Belmadi described the cameras as “two compact cameras, high-end in terms of technical specifications but not in terms of price. They will be relatively affordable.” He also mentioned that these would be followed by SLRs, which he described as “the cornerstone of this type of camera.” Pentax had previously announced that the first camera in their Film Camera Project would have a fixed, non-interchangeable lens.
This is the first time that Ricoh/Pentax has given a timeline for the release of their film cameras since announcing the Film Camera Project in December 2022.
“Produits très très très nichés”
In what may be masterful understatement, Belmadi said, “Our strategy for quite a few years now has been to work with very, very, very niche products”. He added that they were doing quite well, stating that their management team relies on “surveys carried out among Japanese consumers, consumers of the brand, of course, but also beyond.”
According to a poll by Pentax, 20% of people in Japan still use traditional film cameras. This does not include disposable or instant cameras.
Previously, Pentax stated that their goal is to develop a camera that younger photographers will enjoy, making taking photos a joy. Pentax designer Takeo Suzuki verified that Pentax is indeed making a manual-winding film camera. He also stated that this is an action that is “totally unique to film cameras” which creates “joy and satisfaction of actually manipulating a film camera.”
Film cameras responding to consumer demand
Belmadi followed this up by stating: “Just like the GR series, the project to release film cameras is the result of very in-depth consultation with a number of photo players, and in particular Japanese consumers since, from experience, we know that it works quite well when we make products responding to demand from consumers.”
Nightaxians discussing the Film Camera Project
Do you feel that Pentax will be successful with their Film Camera Project? Will people want to buy new film cameras? What’s your opinion? Leave it in the comments below, thanks.