What if Ricoh bought all Samsung's mirrorless technology?

Started Sep 19, 2015 | Discussions thread
Tom Caldwell Forum Pro • Posts: 34,192
Re: What if Ricoh bought all Samsung's mirrorless technology?

Andrewteee wrote:

Interesting!

I bet after one merger Ricoh has no interest in another, even if it is just buying IP.

I think that Ricoh made the classic mistake.  Threw a truckload of cash at the same guys who had just run the original Pentax Co into a financial crises, then did the same thing to Hoya. Only to go for the trifecta with Ricoh.  Ricoh seemed to manage their little camera irritating-pimple business reasonably well (externally seeming at least).  They must have thought (or believed when told) that the Pentax management "understood" the camera market better and over-estimated the pull of the Pentax brand name.  Give them a slab of cash and the Ricoh camera assets and allow the scions of that great camera company Pentax have a free hand?

Apparently after cashiering some of the Ricoh truly innovative products such as the GXR and CX line the "good idea" Q has seemingly lost its way as despite being a nice little camera it has gone nowhere really except to have reverted to its initial shape whilst picking up a slightly larger sensor along the way. PRIC of course is no more and Ricoh is back in charge with Pentax now just a brand name.

What is Pentax offering - continuation of the dslr lines?  The K-01 was innovative but only serviced the lenses that were available for the longer flange focal distance of dslr bodies.  The sort of brilliant mirrorless you get when they strip out the mirror box and try half way house.  By all accounts it was innovative but much the same thing could have been achieved with a PK module for the GXR and been more future proof.  Pentax hubris run riot?  At least a few unused examples will grace museums and institutes of design.

Then there was the multi-million Kodak royalties debacle - maybe Ricoh didn't realise that this was hanging over their head when they bought the Pentax assets?  Words might have been said ...

Then there is the long gestation of the FF dslr body - what?  Spend so much money joining the FF dslr club when Canon and Nikon are probably wishing that they could find a way to exit gracefully.

Hopefully it is really a mirrorless with big fat evf lookng just like an ovf.  That the mount is one of those retractable PK mounts that were rumoured about some time ago.  ie: click it out for existing PK lenses and leave it retracted for a new series of shorter flange focal lenses ....?  In this manner it could take the action right up to the A7RII and be truly exciting - as just another FF dslr it is interesting to think about but ultimately a non starter for anyone other than rusted in Pentax dslr users with an existing closet full of lenses.

And in the end the only short flange focal distance lenses available are for the Q - which struggles with its small sensor heritage in the long run - have any new lenses appeared for the Q in recent times?  The lenses other than the aptly named "toy" ones work well but are hugely expensive considering their plasticky construction.

So the Pentax acquisition was a purchase rather than a merger and it has taken Ricoh a long time to digest and regurgitate.  Anything with Samsung would overwhelm the Ricoh management team (my guess) and if Samsung is making losses then turning it around in the current camera market might be a daunting prospect.  They can hardly leave Samsung in charge, nor are they likely to give it to the Pentax execs to play with.  What might make sense is Samsung making product branded "Pentax".  But Samsung is just as proud of their name as Pentax and Ricoh are of theirs.  I doubt if that can happen.  Even Samsung's early little foray into dslr bodies was via re-branded Pentax bodies.

One wild card is that if the FF "dslr" is in fact a Sony A7RII killer mirrorless (however unlikely that might seem) then maybe Ricoh might wish to lean on Samsung production capabilites and there might even be Penatax and Samsung versions but where exactly this leaves the NX and PK mount systems would be "interesting".  In any event there is no real obvious answer.

All that might be deduced from the rumour is that "maybe" something is happening.  But for Samsung to "abandon" making cameras seems way out left field.

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Tom Caldwell

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