Ricoh Imaging withdrawing from the mirrorless market?

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Ricoh Imaging withdrawing from the mirrorless market?
4 months ago

– Tokyo, 24th April 2014

Leica’s T Type system camera and lenses announcement has prompted Ricoh to respond, and publicly announce they are withdrawing from the hi-end mirrorless camera market.

Namely, it seems Ricoh was working on almost exactly the same concept as the Type T from Leica, a very modern, lightweight and future-oriented platform for image making based around APS-C sensor, GR technologies and interchangeable lenses.

Pictur: Leica’s new T-Type hi-end mirrorless system loaded with future technology

However Sony, Olympus, Canon, Nikon, Fujifilm, and now even Leica — the smallest and what was generally believed the most inert of all camera manufacturers — have beat them to it.

What exactly happened? At this very moment the Ricoh HQ is in total confusion, people running up and down, left an right between labs and offices, large amounts of coffee are consumed and endless mathematical simulations on supercomputers are executed over, and over again.

The core conclusion of all practical and simulated results seems to point to Ricoh’s belief in an old story of Achilles and Tortoise, also known as Zeno’s paradox. Which goes like this:

In a race, the quickest runner can never overtake the slowest, since the pursuer must first reach the point whence the pursued started, so that the slower must always hold a lead.

Ricoh believed that the GR camera alone gave them enough head start some 20 years ago when they have designed, what was then believed, the best pocket mirrorless camera ever. Although they always wanted to do more with it, say turn it into a system / modular camera, they were slow in executing. Ricoh believed Zeno's paradox will confuse all other participants in the mirrorless race, all of which started later and at a quicker pace. Ricoh held they will hardly come even close to them, and will never overtake them.

Picture: Ricoh, apparently, based its long term strategy on Zeno’s paradox

How Ricoh’s strategy worked in theory?

Suppose Leica wants to catch a stationary (in strict mathematical terms, ‘very slow paced’) Ricoh. Before Leica can get there where Ricoh is, Leica must get halfway there first. Before Leica can get halfway there, Leica must get a quarter of the way there. Before traveling a quarter, Leica must travel one-eighth; before an eighth, one-sixteenth; and so on.

This description of tasks requires Leica (or any other racer) to complete an infinite number of tasks before reaching Ricoh, which Zeno’s paradox maintains is an impossibility. In other words, other racers do not have a chance competing against Ricoh in the long run of the race.

Ricoh believed others have no chance to catch up with them

Unfortunately, the paradox was seemingly ignored by other race participants. Hans Reichenbach, one of leading philosopher of science, proposed once that the paradox may arise and may indeed work when considering space and time as separate entities. However, in a theory like general relativity, which presumes a single space-time continuum, the paradox may be blocked.

Thus it seems the paradox may be blocked by simply ignoring it and living a life within general relativity, which many racers in the mirrorless race did. And that is why it did not stop them from taking a lead.

Ricoh’s fans, and their brethren Pentax fans, are in state of denial. They were first accusing each other, one group claiming Ricoh has lost pace because of too much attention to Pentax products, the other claiming that Ricoh did not have enough of a head start with their poor market presence even before the acquisition of Pentax.

After a fierce fight they have calmed, exhaling in exhaustion that Ricoh’s true race is one hidden from the eyes of public. According to their beliefs, Ricoh will all of a sudden appear at the finish line with a full range of magical products that beat all others and win the race. That is called “Deux Ex Machina” paradox, but more about it later. 

// In case you wondered, the contents of this message are purely fictional scenarios. //

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