A Glimpse of the Future? Ricoh to Limit GR and Pentax Production

smoke665

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@cgw just finished the article. For the last several years Penrax has been the annoying stepnchild of one company or another, to good to throw away, not a bright enough star to find its own way. The truth of the matter is that there are so few dealers that carry Pentax products in this country, that you have to order by internet anyhow, so I don't see much difference in a direct to consumer approach. What worries me is the "Workshop" vs "mass production" manufacturing method. Will the elimination of the middle man offset the higher manufacturing costs? Or, will it become another Leica pricing model sans the name? I've stayed with the brand through thick and thin for well over 50 yrs, I'm to old to switch now.

As to others, the demise of the local camera store has changed buying habits. There are a few of the discount big box stores that still have a limited "camera section", with the more popular low end consumer models, but anyone wanting more, is still required to order off the internet from a handful of superstores, so the direct sales model could be in their future as well.
 
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cgw

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I'd put your point another way: that changing buying habits caused the demise of indy camera stores. Lots of forces at work that prompted the Ricoh rethink but limited prospects for expansion in a shrinking market seems obvious. Certainly nothing flukey about the Pentax system. The little GR series camera is dismissed as an over-priced p&s but its build quality, features and IQ are unique. Agree that "low-end" will prove to be a "dead end" for most camera makers--if it isn't already. Still believe we could see most of them experimenting soon with their versions of the "Apple Store" model or other atelier-like shops. Who knows?
 

smoke665

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Agree that "low-end" will prove to be a "dead end" for most camera makers--if it isn't already

I would agree, the current crop of cell phones rivals the best of the low end models in a compact "do it all" package.

Having a store front would be an improvement over the current sales method, but I doubt that it's financially feasible except in the largest cities which is where they are now with the dealer method.
 
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cgw

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False? Hardly. The Petapixel story talks about limited production and new marketing initiatives. The DP "story" is prime clickbait.
 

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Pentax has been one foot in niche and one foot in mass market for a long time. The original article talks about restructuring in their home market and not globally. Guess we'll see what happens. I spoke with my local camera shop owner and while they don't stock Pentax cameras (they do Pentax optics ironically), they can order Pentax. She's going to check with their rep and see if he can add anything. If this does pan out, I see limited product options and you can probably mark off a 645z follow up that's long overdue.
 

smoke665

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If this does pan out, I see limited product options and you can probably mark off a 645z follow up that's long overdue.

Really??????? I see the opposite if it takes place. Financially it doesn't make sense to market the low end, when they have such iconic cameras as the 645. I'd think they would up the game on higher priced/higher margin equipment.
 

joelbolden

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False? Hardly. The Petapixel story talks about limited production and new marketing initiatives. The DP "story" is prime clickbait.
You apparently missed the word Japan in the actual text in the Ricoh announcement. The Petapixel headline reads," Ricoh to stop mass producing cameras. Sell direct to consumer only". Wrong. The changes will only affect Japan as far as sales and production. Cameras will still be available at the normal outlets,i.e. B&H, Adorama plus the other European, North American and Australian outlets. Announcement from Ricoh.USA confirms this:
Let's see if this has any effect. From Ricoh Imaging US:
The announcement made by Ricoh Imaging Co., Ltd. on January 20, 2022 regarding a revamped approach to Ricoh’s digital camera manufacturing and distribution was specific to the local market in Japan only. “Ricoh/Pentax will not change its distribution structure in North America, and the company has significant plans and goals for the North America market this year that will utilize mass production of its products,” said Kazumichi Eguchi, President, Ricoh Imaging Americas Corporation. “Customers in North America can continue to purchase Ricoh and Pentax cameras through our authorized dealers and directly via our website: https://us.ricoh-imaging.com/.”
 
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cgw

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You apparently missed the word Japan in the actual text in the Ricoh announcement. The Petapixel headline reads," Ricoh to stop mass producing cameras. Sell direct to consumer only". Wrong. The changes will only affect Japan as far as sales and production. Cameras will still be available at the normal outlets,i.e. B&H, Adorama plus the other European, North American and Australian outlets. Announcement from Ricoh.USA confirms this:
Let's see if this has any effect. From Ricoh Imaging US:
The announcement made by Ricoh Imaging Co., Ltd. on January 20, 2022 regarding a revamped approach to Ricoh’s digital camera manufacturing and distribution was specific to the local market in Japan only. “Ricoh/Pentax will not change its distribution structure in North America, and the company has significant plans and goals for the North America market this year that will utilize mass production of its products,” said Kazumichi Eguchi, President, Ricoh Imaging Americas Corporation. “Customers in North America can continue to purchase Ricoh and Pentax cameras through our authorized dealers and directly via our website: https://us.ricoh-imaging.com/.”
Guess you forgot what happened to Olympus. Besides, anyone can surmise that Ricoh's first moves in its rethink would be Japan-based; changes to its N. American operation would plausibly follow that model. I, too, read the statement from their American operation that "the company has significant plans and goals for the North America market this year." Hard to imagine that those "plans and goals" would differ from those in Japan as reported in Petapixel. There may be a difference in timing but not in the direction of Ricoh's marketing rethink.
 

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