What if Ricoh bought all Samsung's mirrorless technology?

Started Sep 19, 2015 | Discussions
anthony mazzeri Senior Member • Posts: 2,057
What if Ricoh bought all Samsung's mirrorless technology?

Now that Samsung's withdrawing from the camera business, they have loads of ready-made mirrorless technology and patents including a mount and lenses which Ricoh can buy outright just like they did all Pentax's DSLR stuff - no R&D required!

I assume Samsung will stay in the actual sensor-making business for smartphone cameras etc so that could also provide Ricoh with an option for the latest sensors like in the NX1 instead of being forced to wait every time for Sony ones.

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Tom Caldwell Forum Pro • Posts: 35,459
Re: What if Ricoh bought all Samsung's mirrorless technology?

anthony mazzeri wrote:

Now that Samsung's withdrawing from the camera business, they have loads of ready-made mirrorless technology and patents including a mount and lenses which Ricoh can buy outright just like they did all Pentax's DSLR stuff - no R&D required!

I assume Samsung will stay in the actual sensor-making business for smartphone cameras etc so that could also provide Ricoh with an option for the latest sensors like in the NX1 instead of being forced to wait every time for Sony ones.

So where did that wild and woolly one come from Anthony?

Pentax and Samsung did collaborate quite a while back.

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Tom Caldwell

OP anthony mazzeri Senior Member • Posts: 2,057
Re: What if Ricoh bought all Samsung's mirrorless technology?

Tom Caldwell wrote:

So where did that wild and woolly one come from Anthony?

Pentax and Samsung did collaborate quite a while back.

photorumors.com

Samsung has only released one camera this year way back on Feb 5, seven months ago.

Also reports of Samsung cameras being withdrawn and no longer stocked by retailers, especially in the UK.

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Tugela Contributing Member • Posts: 755
Re: What if Ricoh bought all Samsung's mirrorless technology?

anthony mazzeri wrote:

Tom Caldwell wrote:

So where did that wild and woolly one come from Anthony?

Pentax and Samsung did collaborate quite a while back.

photorumors.com

Samsung has only released one camera this year way back on Feb 5, seven months ago.

Also reports of Samsung cameras being withdrawn and no longer stocked by retailers, especially in the UK.

Why do we need a dozen threads all quoting the same obscure rumor blog?

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Tom Caldwell Forum Pro • Posts: 35,459
Re: What if Ricoh bought all Samsung's mirrorless technology?

anthony mazzeri wrote:

Tom Caldwell wrote:

So where did that wild and woolly one come from Anthony?

Pentax and Samsung did collaborate quite a while back.

photorumors.com

Samsung has only released one camera this year way back on Feb 5, seven months ago.

Also reports of Samsung cameras being withdrawn and no longer stocked by retailers, especially in the UK.

I did find the rumour after a search.  If they were quitting a business then why not try and clear stocks.  Retailers like a deal just as much as consumers do.

On the oher hand if Samsung had already be reducing stockholdings quietly then some models might have been sold out.  Simply to quit the business when they have made so massive an investment and they are making some great cameras seems a long bow.

Perhaps a restructuring to a more limited target range of models?

Samsung, like Ricoh must treat their camera division like a hobby business - they are a major conglomeration.  Making losses must be tempered with the long term view of building market share.  Companies are very conscious of seeking to acquire market share and jealous of losing it.

To throw more meat into the grinder: I think Samsung suffers an "image" problem after spending a good few years churning out budget point'n'shoots.  Much of the general public might associate the name with lower grade cameras.  Samsung itself has a history of making serious product but to get the fickle consumer to think of their camera gear as serious maybe they are cutting back market presence to return under a different name?  More like they might buy Pentax off Ricoh than the other way around.

Even Ricoh might not have the cash to buy out Samsung's camera assets.  It is a bit different from the old company on its uppers and Hoya desperate to get shot of it.

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Tom Caldwell

Tom Caldwell Forum Pro • Posts: 35,459
Re: What if Ricoh bought all Samsung's mirrorless technology?

Tugela wrote:

anthony mazzeri wrote:

Tom Caldwell wrote:

So where did that wild and woolly one come from Anthony?

Pentax and Samsung did collaborate quite a while back.

photorumors.com

Samsung has only released one camera this year way back on Feb 5, seven months ago.

Also reports of Samsung cameras being withdrawn and no longer stocked by retailers, especially in the UK.

Why do we need a dozen threads all quoting the same obscure rumor blog?

I cannot see such a thread on this forum?

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Tom Caldwell

Andrewteee Senior Member • Posts: 2,935
Re: What if Ricoh bought all Samsung's mirrorless technology?

Interesting!

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

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Tom Caldwell Forum Pro • Posts: 35,459
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

OP anthony mazzeri Senior Member • Posts: 2,057
Re: What if Ricoh bought all Samsung's mirrorless technology?

Tom Caldwell wrote:

I did find the rumour after a search. If they were quitting a business then why not try and clear stocks. Retailers like a deal just as much as consumers do.

On the oher hand if Samsung had already be reducing stockholdings quietly then some models might have been sold out. Simply to quit the business when they have made so massive an investment and they are making some great cameras seems a long bow.

Perhaps a restructuring to a more limited target range of models?

This is probably more likely, similar to Nikon's model releases have slowed down too as they re-assess their whole business - still no sign of the now overdue Coolpix A II or even the much anticipated P8000 yet!

Samsung, like Ricoh must treat their camera division like a hobby business - they are a major conglomeration. Making losses must be tempered with the long term view of building market share. Companies are very conscious of seeking to acquire market share and jealous of losing it.

Isn't Pentax actually profitable for Ricoh now, even if they aren't dominating the market? Maybe actually because they aren't wasting money making a mirrorless system.

Whereas Samsung is even losing money on their well-selling smartphones and tablets, not just their cameras which haven't been selling so well. I understand the long haul strategy, but this sudden quietness on new models specifically after launching their biggest and best camera ever almost a year ago now seems to indicate they may have been pinning their hopes on this flagship model but it hasn't sold as well as expected, so now it's time for that serious rethink.

To throw more meat into the grinder: I think Samsung suffers an "image" problem after spending a good few years churning out budget point'n'shoots. Much of the general public might associate the name with lower grade cameras. Samsung itself has a history of making serious product but to get the fickle consumer to think of their camera gear as serious maybe they are cutting back market presence to return under a different name? More like they might buy Pentax off Ricoh than the other way around.

The one thing Samsung's never been shy about is slapping their name on the front of their cameras, often larger than necessary, so I doubt they'd ever feel the need to adopt a different one!

Even Ricoh might not have the cash to buy out Samsung's camera assets. It is a bit different from the old company on its uppers and Hoya desperate to get shot of it.

Consider the Hoya sale was concluded well before the news was released and any of us knew about it, so for all we know the Samsung deal may already be done and dusted even as we speak. The Ricoh NX...

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OP anthony mazzeri Senior Member • Posts: 2,057
Re: What if Ricoh bought all Samsung's mirrorless technology?

Tugela wrote:

Why do we need a dozen threads all quoting the same obscure rumor blog?

This thread is just hypothetical speculation based on Ricoh's lack of developing a large-sensor mirrorless system of their own to succeed the GXR.

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OP anthony mazzeri Senior Member • Posts: 2,057
Re: What if Ricoh bought all Samsung's mirrorless technology?

Tom Caldwell wrote:

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.

Don't get your hopes up Tom - it's a standard K-mount DSLR. The prism housing is actually very similar to the one on the Nikon Dƒ.

Like the K-3 it'll likely be smaller than Nikon or Canon models with the same capabilities, so it will at least have that going for it.

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)

I think the difference is instead of a full acquisition of another company including people and offices etc, they would just need to buy the ready-made NX system intellectual property and technology to incorporate into what they already have.

So not sure how much of it they would actually even need to buy anyway to get a new Ricoh mirrorless up and running. The GXR team already had a lot of what they require anyway like the M mount and the leaf shutter etc so it's really only just an EVF and AF system and lenses and stuff like that.

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OP anthony mazzeri Senior Member • Posts: 2,057
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.

Ah, but Ricoh has a long history of growth through continual acquisition, so there's no reason they would stop at just the one!

I'm just speculating about the Samsung mirrorless system because like the Pentax DSLR company suddenly coming up for sale, it would present Ricoh with an opportunity to fill a gap in their lineup.

The irony is that the Pentax acquisition actually created that mirrorless gap as Ricoh abandoned the GXR and its possible successor. So now another acquisition would fix that!

I'm just wanting a mirrorless GXR. Been waiting and waiting...

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Tom Caldwell Forum Pro • Posts: 35,459
Re: What if Ricoh bought all Samsung's mirrorless technology?

anthony mazzeri wrote:

Tom Caldwell wrote:

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.

Don't get your hopes up Tom - it's a standard K-mount DSLR. The prism housing is actually very similar to the one on the Nikon Dƒ.

No hopes, perhaps just wishful thinking.  As a dslr it has no interest for me, I had a FF dslr nine years ago and still use it - the Canon 5D - stilll works well.  No need to upgrade.

Like the K-3 it'll likely be smaller than Nikon or Canon models with the same capabilities, so it will at least have that going for it.

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)

I think the difference is instead of a full acquisition of another company including people and offices etc, they would just need to buy the ready-made NX system intellectual property and technology to incorporate into what they already have.

Hmm. I have no idea (of course) of the extent of the Samsung product inventories. A closure would mean a fire sale and that might be a bit hard to digest.  Throwing a sizable bunch of employees out of work would not go down well politically - the Koreans tend to get a bit emotional about these things.

What is interesting might be the fact that whilst Ricoh has a few mount systems to play with it does not really have a FF short flange focus length mount - the NX mount does flash to mind.

But good product is not always to be had by trying to weld together a bunch of systems that come from different evolved backgrounds.

So not sure how much of it they would actually even need to buy anyway to get a new Ricoh mirrorless up and running. The GXR team already had a lot of what they require anyway like the M mount and the leaf shutter etc so it's really only just an EVF and AF system and lenses and stuff like that.

A mount system that provides short flange focal length for sensors up to FF size.  Samsung also has a good few high quality lenses speifically built for the NX mount.

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Tom Caldwell

Tom Caldwell Forum Pro • Posts: 35,459
Re: What if Ricoh bought all Samsung's mirrorless technology?

anthony mazzeri wrote:

Tom Caldwell wrote:

I did find the rumour after a search. If they were quitting a business then why not try and clear stocks. Retailers like a deal just as much as consumers do.

On the oher hand if Samsung had already be reducing stockholdings quietly then some models might have been sold out. Simply to quit the business when they have made so massive an investment and they are making some great cameras seems a long bow.

Perhaps a restructuring to a more limited target range of models?

This is probably more likely, similar to Nikon's model releases have slowed down too as they re-assess their whole business - still no sign of the now overdue Coolpix A II or even the much anticipated P8000 yet!

Samsung, like Ricoh must treat their camera division like a hobby business - they are a major conglomeration. Making losses must be tempered with the long term view of building market share. Companies are very conscious of seeking to acquire market share and jealous of losing it.

Isn't Pentax actually profitable for Ricoh now, even if they aren't dominating the market? Maybe actually because they aren't wasting money making a mirrorless system.

Whereas Samsung is even losing money on their well-selling smartphones and tablets, not just their cameras which haven't been selling so well. I understand the long haul strategy, but this sudden quietness on new models specifically after launching their biggest and best camera ever almost a year ago now seems to indicate they may have been pinning their hopes on this flagship model but it hasn't sold as well as expected, so now it's time for that serious rethink.

To throw more meat into the grinder: I think Samsung suffers an "image" problem after spending a good few years churning out budget point'n'shoots. Much of the general public might associate the name with lower grade cameras. Samsung itself has a history of making serious product but to get the fickle consumer to think of their camera gear as serious maybe they are cutting back market presence to return under a different name? More like they might buy Pentax off Ricoh than the other way around.

The one thing Samsung's never been shy about is slapping their name on the front of their cameras, often larger than necessary, so I doubt they'd ever feel the need to adopt a different one!

Even Ricoh might not have the cash to buy out Samsung's camera assets. It is a bit different from the old company on its uppers and Hoya desperate to get shot of it.

Consider the Hoya sale was concluded well before the news was released and any of us knew about it, so for all we know the Samsung deal may already be done and dusted even as we speak. The Ricoh NX...

All I can say is "time will tell".

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Tom Caldwell

Tom Caldwell Forum Pro • Posts: 35,459
Re: What if Ricoh bought all Samsung's mirrorless technology?

anthony mazzeri wrote:

Andrewteee wrote:

Interesting!

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

Ah, but Ricoh has a long history of growth through continual acquisition, so there's no reason they would stop at just the one!

I'm just speculating about the Samsung mirrorless system because like the Pentax DSLR company suddenly coming up for sale, it would present Ricoh with an opportunity to fill a gap in their lineup.

The irony is that the Pentax acquisition actually created that mirrorless gap as Ricoh abandoned the GXR and its possible successor. So now another acquisition would fix that!

I'm just wanting a mirrorless GXR. Been waiting and waiting...

Some girls just cannot resist a good deal ....

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Tom Caldwell

telemach Regular Member • Posts: 479
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Earthrise
Earthrise Contributing Member • Posts: 744
Re: What if Ricoh bought all Samsung's mirrorless technology?

I wonder if something could work. If Leica and Panasonic can work together, why not Ricoh and Samsung. The same kind of setup, so Ricoh providing the heritage, brands, and photographer understanding, and Samsung the tech and fabrication.

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Alex Sarbu Veteran Member • Posts: 9,343
Re: What if Ricoh bought all Samsung's mirrorless technology?
1

Tom Caldwell wrote:

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.

And who are those people? <rolling eyes>

Everything you wrote above is nonsense.

1. Pentax Co was not into a financial crisis when they were took over by Hoya. Yes, many mistakes were made; but they were profitable, and preparing to make a significant step forward - launching the K10D and lots of new lenses.

Their real weakness was the shareholder structure, i.e. that a certain SPARX was a major shareholder - and they wanted to sell, even if that destroyed the company.

2. Pentax run Hoya into a financial crisis? Oh, boy...

First, Pentax had no such decision power within Hoya. In a hostile takeover, it's the company who takes over who keeps the control.

Second, it's the opposite: Hoya managed to run Pentax Imaging Systems into the ground; they clearly stated that Imaging Systems was unwanted, and they were only interested in the medical division. So it was all cost cutting and downsizing.

3. What remains of Pentax does not have such control over Ricoh Imaging, much less so over the Ricoh Group. Just an example - the CEO of Ricoh Imaging is Mr. Noboru Akahane, which came from Ricoh - not from Pentax.

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?

Ricoh's own camera division was going nowhere - and M&A is the usual solution for that. Pentax was available.

And obviously, "Pentax" - which ceased to exist as a company back in 2007 - did not had 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 ...

You are ignoring precisely what Pentax is offering, while insisting on details. A recognizable brand, expertise and tradition, R&D and production capacity, established systems with their legacy and users...

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.

Canon and Nikon are "probably" wishing they would give up on their dominant position? That's something new...

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.

Oh, I see - it's about mirrorless, how they're the only solution which makes sense blah blah blah.

We know as a fact it will be a Pentax K-mount FF DSLR. There's no doubt about it. None whatsoever. So if you want a FF MILC, look elsewhere. But we want this Pentax, so don't even dare to say what else it should have been.

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Tom Caldwell

Alex

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OP anthony mazzeri Senior Member • Posts: 2,057
Re: What if Ricoh bought all Samsung's mirrorless technology?

Alex Sarbu wrote:

Ricoh's own camera division was going nowhere - and M&A is the usual solution for that. Pentax was available.

I disagree with this sentiment.

The GXR Mount-A12 especially was very well received, as has always the GRD line as well now culminating in the GR. So who knows what fantastic mirrorless sytem would have developed with or after the GXR had they not acquired Pentax DSLRs and the Q, which is now a question for the ages.

Pentax just seemed like an opportunity which suddenly presented itself out of the blue rather than any sort of strategic or planned quest for a solution. The fact it took them so long to merge the two and changed the structure twice and even now still have confusion over the actual camera branding (which are Ricoh-brand or Pentax-brand?) tells me they were winging it and hadn't given it too much pre-consideration.

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Richard Frederick
Richard Frederick Contributing Member • Posts: 754
Re: What if Ricoh bought all Samsung's mirrorless technology?

anthony mazzeri wrote:

I'm just wanting a mirrorless GXR. Been waiting and waiting...

I have a GXR and I just checked...it doesn't have a mirror.  Want a "mirrorless" GXR?  Try the used market.

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Dick Frederick

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