According to an article published in Nikkei Electronics, Pentax are planning to introduce a new digital SLR aimed at 'general consumers' that will cost around 100,000 YEN (approx. $900). One discrepancy in the news article is that "the company intends to ship about 100,000 units by March 31, 2004", we assume they mean "March 31, 2005". This would probably mean we should expect to see this new camera at Photokina in September. This comes as yet more good news in the 'affordable' segment of the digital SLR market. Pentax's current digital SLR, the *ist D is currently in stores for between $1,200 and $1,600.
UPDATE 9/June/2004: Confirmed by Pentax USA:
PENTAX PLANS DIGITAL SLR FAMILY EXPANSION
June 8, 2004 (GOLDEN, CO) PENTAX Imaging Company, a division of PENTAX of America, Inc. has announced it is developing cameras for the entry level digital SLR category. The first introduction is slated for Fall of 2004.
PENTAX entered the digital SLR market in the Fall of 2003 with the popular *ist D digital SLR that offers 6.1 megapixels, interchangeable lens compatibility, and one of the worlds smallest, lightest camera bodies in the digital SLR category.
PENTAX introduced two DA series designed lenses to match the *ist D CCD size since the 2003 arrival. The PENTAX-DA Zoom 16mm-45mm F4 ED AL shipped earlier this year and the smc PENTAX-DA 14mm F2.8 ED [IF] interchangeable wide-angle lens will ship in June 2004.
This latest announcement further demonstrates the PENTAX commitment to the digital SLR camera market including entry level photographers.
PENTAX Imaging Company is an innovative leader in the production of digital and film cameras, binoculars, spotting scopes, eyepieces, lenses, mobile printers, scanners and internet cameras. For more than 80 years, PENTAX technology has developed durable, reliable products that meet the needs of consumers and businesses. PENTAX Imaging Company is a division of PENTAX of America, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of PENTAX Corporation of Japan.
Original news article (The Nihon Keizai Shimbun):
Pentax to Offer SLR Digital Camera for Mass Market
June 3, 2004 (TOKYO) -- Pentax Corp plans to introduce this fall a SLR (single-lens reflex) digital camera aimed at general consumers that will retail for a little more than 100,000 yen.
Monthly production will be set at about 20,000 units, and the company intends to ship about 100,000 units by March 31, 2004.
Pentax began selling higher-end SLR digital cameras last September that retailed for around 190,000 yen, and it is now looking to expand demand by reaching out to ordinary consumers. The firm aims to raise the consolidated sales from its digital camera business by about 40% to 70 billion yen in fiscal 2004.
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