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Surprise! Ricoh buys Pentax!!!


This is not a Micro Four Thirds related news but damn…that’s a huge news we absolutely have to talk about! Ricoh just announced the acquisition of Pentax for $124.2 million! I really didn’t expect a relative “small” company like Ricoh to buy Pentax. There were rumors about Samsung or even Canon interested in buying Pentax. It will be also interesting to see how Ricoh-Pentax will now evolve their mirrorless system. And now we can be sure that Pentax will not join the Micro Four Thirds system!

P.S.: I am wondering if Ricoh will soon get rid of that über-expensive “Pentax Q” system (See that ugly camera at Amazon, B&H, Adorama, Olympus US store, FocusCamera, eBay).

You can read the full press release at (Click here).


  • GreyOwl

    Cnaon? Never heard of them!

    • admin

      LOL :)

    • jjjj

      PENTAX is so dead.

      only i*iots would buy into that system now.

      • Vlad


  • Jim

    So Sigma is our only hope!…. would be nice if they joined :)

    • Gianluca

      …maybe Fuji…????…Admin …pls, tell me I’m right…;)

      • admin

        Working on it…don’t worry ;)

  • Mike

    Wow. But 124 Million seems not very expensive to me. Seems like business wasn’t running good…

    • SteveD

      They only bought the camera division. A lot of Pentax’s worth was in their medical division (endoscopes) which is what Hpya really wanted anyway.

    • In the last full reported year, Pentax sales were reported to be US$1.3 billion, though I’m not sure how much of that is solely cameras. At its height, Pentax had about US$2 billion in sales. Hoya originally wanted Pentax’s medical sales, and those have grown Hoya’s medical business significantly.

      Some may remember I predicted Pentax’s demise long ago, which was followed by its fire sale to Hoya. Then I predicted that Hoya would sell it. Now we’ve got confirmation of that.

      Essentially, we’re starting to see some consolidation in the industry. I expect we’ll see more. There’s not enough room for 5 big players, let alone 10.

      • Jim

        Canon buy out Nikon v the rest of the world!

  • Raist3d

    Wow.Holy Canelonies. Wow. Me wonders what’s the plan.

    • Jacob

      Heh Ricoh 3D, better get out and use your Ricoh K5 instead of spending all these years slagging off Olympus!

      • Raist

        “wah wah wah wah wah. Wah.” Got anything smarter to say? That most be why most of my photography equipment is still 4/3rds eh? I am not attached to any brand for my photography.

    • One would guess: substitute Ricoh’s compacts for most of Pentax’s, keeping only the unique Pentax models (weatherproof). Probably drop the 645D (unless Ricoh is willing to keep pet projects). Array the Q, GXR, and K models in some meaningful “small to big” way.

      The one good piece of news in this is that both Ricoh and Pentax have strong enthusiast bases, and both companies are well known for solid designs that are photographer-centric. They can build something from that, I think.

      The bad news is that Pentax had about 18 months of chaos the last time they were acquired, which didn’t help them gain traction in a tightening market. I don’t see how they can’t avoid that again, and this is a very bad time to be slower at responding to the market.

      • Raist

        I get a hunch from what I am reading the 645D stays. But we’ll see.

        • Not if profits are what they seek.

          • If Ricoh were only interested in profits the camera division would not exist for a while.

            • True in a sense. But at some point even the long-minded Japanese have to rationalize their ROI. The Ricoh camera division is miniscule compared to the rest of the company. They had three choices: close it and have a very minor blip on some quarterly statement, keep it as is and continue to have minor blips on every quarterly statement, or expand it and try to make it actually work as something other than a blip. They chose the latter, and they threw in another US$124 million to do so. At 5%+ of the company, it’s no longer a blip, it’s potentially a money sink with no growth. So I take their comments their public comments about profitability of the combined Ricoh/Pentax Imaging groups at face value.

              The problem with the 645D is that, even if it is profitable, it isn’t a good investment. MF sales worldwide are in the range of 10-20k units a year and dropping. We’re slowly seeing the MF companies winnow down because they simply can’t afford the extra investment that digital requires for the market size. Back in the film days when it was just metal and mechanical work, things were different.

              Best possible case I can conceive of is that the 645D brings in US$4m a year profit. I’ll bet that implied R&D and plant costs are more than that.

          • Erik

            I red an interview a little less than a year ago where a pentax representative claimed that their three big cameras (k-x, k5/k7, 645d)gave the same amount of total profit. That is fewer cameras with bigger margain earn as much as more cameras with smaller margain. Add that most of the technology in 645d is reused from the k7/k5 line and is very cheap to adapt. I would be very suprised if the 645d line dissapeared. especially since the announcement about the sale specifically mentioned that Ricoh want to take medium format to new markets.

  • AndyOz

    Interesting news indeed. I wonder if the compact cameras will be named Ricoh and the more upmarket will be Pentax or whether they will all be Ricohs or Pentaxs.

    Off topic admin – but have you got any nice Pen Pro / GF Pro rumors that you can start to keep us interested :) Sure yesterday was good but we hope even better products are coming in the not too distant future.

    • admin

      Working on it. WIll post a general info in a couple of hours.

      • leendert

        couple of hours….4 hours ago ;)

    • Ross

      Common, get creative. ;) How about Pentcoh but maybe not Ricotax. :D

  • AndyOz

    Oh and I think that its unlikely that Pentax has been developing an APSC-mirroless system as well as the Q system that just was announced. If the company are only worth that much there must be some financial problems and how they could have come up with the investment dollars to develop the Q system, their APSC dSLR system and a new mirrorless APSC system seems unlikely. I could be wrong.

  • Loko

    i am the only one who thinks that´s going down the drain?

    i was NEVER impressed by ricoh cameras.

    pentax made good cameras but has a too small market share.

    i had hoped for canon to buy pentax.
    would be nice for a future canon medium format series.

    i see ricoh producing consumer cameras and abandone the medium format sector sooner or later.

    • OlyFan

      Canon is way too arrogant to consider these acquisitions.

    • Parci

      Maybe you should try the GXR or one of the GRDs, even CXs. They are actually good. In fact, the only problem with the GXR system is price, not quality…

  • OOOO

    Ricoh will produce medium format cameras for archiving and forget the photographers.

    Casio and Rhicoh never made cameras i was interested in.
    they are the “least” of the camera manufacturers.

    now im happy i did not buy into pentax.

  • Bu

    Only $124m? Seems rather cheap for a camera manufacturer. I wonder what about the assets and how they have been valued…

  • IMHO these news bode well for the Pentax brand. I expect thoughtful and innovative products within a couple of years.

    • rerererere

      and you base your expectations on what?

      ricohs big influence on the camera market? lol

      ricoh is big in office products.
      i expect strange solutions from them as their overpriced modular camera system.

      • Pentax’s prowess in lens design and solid engineering combined with Ricoh’s crazy ideas is bound to result in some serious, well-implemented innovation. It seems to me that Ricoh has been seeking a route into the consumer market and needs Pentax for its production capacity and distribution channels.

        • Vlad


        • 12434

          can i sell you the brooklyn bridge? ;)

          pentax has 1.5 percent of the camera market.
          pentax sales declined 13% the last year.

          ricoh cuts off 10% of it´s jobs.

          they can have their “crazy inovations”.. but they won´t sell them.

          looks to me like some CEOs playing games.

          • Vlad

            The guy is talking about innovation, solid engineering and ideas and you come up with market share numbers?

        • cL

          Only if they could make it happen. Some of these companies are the way they are because their lousy decisions….

          If they’re rational…, Ricoh probably was buying Pentax for their lens collection.

    • mihai

      The wait is over :)
      The new camera is here

      (old, fake photoshop)

  • rerererere

    patents must be worth something too.
    i really don´t know why canon or nikon did not buy pentax then.. it´s a bargain.

  • LOamos

    there is less and less room for camera manufacturers.

    most people i know do not buy a camera anymore.
    they buy MOBILE PHONES with cameras.

    if you ask them they will tell you the mobile phone cameras are good enough for their photos. and they are getting better and better.

    at one point nobody will buy cheap casio or fuji compact cameras.
    there will be a merger of phones and cameras of this kind.

    leaves the rest of the hobby photographers.

    i don´t see ricoh/pentax compete well with the other manufacturers.

    after a periode of mediocre consumer products ricoh will focus on it´s office branch. because that´s where the money is for them.

  • Jan

    who is buying pentax anyway?

    im from germany and the last time i saw someone with a pentax camera was summer 2009 in london.

    a nice girl was photographing the london eye with a pentax.

    it´s natural to me to look at the brand when i see someone with a DSLR.
    and that i see pentax models so seldome makes me wonder.

    maybe it´s just germany… but 124 million lets me think that business must be very bad for pentax.

    ps: you create some social media crap and your stock is worth billions in an instant. on the other side a company like pentax is sold for peanuts…. strange times…..

    • MikeH

      There you go Jan, nice girls buy Pentax cams. :)

  • In the context, it would be interesting to know whether the GXR was ever profitable.

  • Bob B.

    I don’t know anything about big business…but I do know about cameras. Everything I read about the K5 was EXTREMELY positive. They made a camera that competed head to head with a 7D…made it smaller AND offered a series of high quality pancake lenses (very innovative), making the camera even smaller than the competition AND keeping the visual quality high. I just recommended that camera to a friend as an alternative Canon or Nikon. It is impressive.
    As soon as I read the above headline I sent him an skip the Pentax…too much uncertainty there to spend that kind of money on a system that may be going…where?

  • Miroslav

    Wow! Big news. They kinda complement each other, it’ll be a good match. I hope they’ll leave camera lines as they are – and axe the Q immediately :).

    • Bob B.

      NO WAY…Ricoh’s new acquisition will produce a twice-as-expensive QXR modular system camera..with tiny-little-sensor/lens modules… :-)
      There will be no rumor site…because no one will care.

      • beomagi

        Now that’s an idea!
        A cheap q module and lenses to push the ricoh camera base. Sounds like a decent scheme to help with market penetration.
        Hook buyers with cheap q stuff and present upgrade modules.

  • maitani

    ricoh GR / GXR Body ergonomics coupled with Pentax primes what’s not to like?

    the momentum pentax had/has going with the K5 and 645 MF is impressive, i think ricoh is smart enough to use it for it’s own benefit, and hoya was smart enough to sell on a innovation peak time.

    only the Q-System might be ‘sudden death’ now… but also this has to be seen

    • Darth Klomo

      how many of the 645MF pentax will sell and how much R&D costs?

      these days it´s about economics not invention.. it´s sad but true.

      i think pentax/ricoh has no chance to survive in the DSLR business.
      R&D will be more and more expensive and they will not sell enough cameras.
      that´s already the case and will be even more true for the future.

      the K5 is a nice camera no question.
      but that doenst matter if you don´t sell them.
      and compared to nikon & canon cameras they don´t sell well.
      still R&D costs are much the same….

      canon & nikon sell much more cameras so R&D costs are not such a big concern to them.

      • Darth Klomo

        i mean.. you are more willing to invest millions and millions into R&D these days when you know you have the customer base who will buy your product.

        ricohs modular system was a nice idea…. but a shelf warmer.

  • LAKE Placid

    ricoh is the number 1 solutions provider in document management.

    they will use pentax knowledge to make document archiving solutions.

    cameras are not their priority and never will be.

    i don´t say there will be no more pentax cameras in the next years.
    but in 10 years….. i don´t think ricoh or pentax will play any role in the camera market.

    maybe ricoh will sell pentax camera brand to a mobile phone company in a few years and focusing on it´s main branches of business.

  • 12434

    ricoh just cut off 10000 jobs until 2014…..

  • 12434

    “Battling falling prices for its compact cameras, Ricoh hopes to establish a presence in the profitable upmarket single-lens reflex camera segment, the Nikkei business daily said. ”

    and that´s why they buy a company that is struggling even more.

    “Pentax is the world’s tenth largest digital camera brand by shipments, with just 1.5 percent of the market, according to research firm IDC. Sales of Pentax cameras dropped just over 13 percent in the year ended March 2011, amid fierce price competition in the compact camera market. ”

    if they don´t see synergy effects in a 5 year periode they will sell pentax again…

    • Vlad

      The compacts’ market is saturated and now with the introduction of mirrorless it is all a big mess. But Pentax’s DSLR sales aren’t that bad. And they have yet to introduce a mirrorless solution. Also both brands have some serious following, so I am confident they’ll pull it off.

      • jjjj

        pentax dslr sales ARE bad… check your numbers.

  • Wow, such a surprise…

  • Low Budget Dave

    When Pentax announced the crappy Q camera, everyone predicted they would be gone in six months. Well, that took less time than we thougt.

    • Miroslav



    i predicted it in 2009. Think I mentioned it on dpr aswell.

    Ricoh have had close ties with Pentax in the past, have made k-mount cameras and lenses too. Makes sence.

    Only hope now is that Ricoh can bring back the lost apprciation of k-mount with a you-know-what size sensor…

    • Bob B.

      Ricoh and Pentax CLEARLY have no interest in MFT?

      • No, pentax is an optical giant (quality and resource wise) they do not need to enter MFT which is full of lens’s already

        • Klatu

          yeah 1.5% market share is gigantic… no question.

          pentax has huge resources too.. yeah lol.. if your a liliputaner maybe it looks so.

          124 million worth.. well that´s gigantic too…

          you realy have no clue are you?

          • klatu, the resources i was talking about are knowledge and experience in optical lens desgn, not about market share or bank account,
            that was in the context of why not entering the MFT market,
            lol, rofl.

            • Jurasic Cameras

              well…. if only they were a giant in quality control too.

              ps: their last lenses sucked.

  • Votze

    and only 2 new lenses the past 3 years… who cares about the pentax system?

    every pro i know who has a pentax has a nikon or canon system beside.
    1.5% market share.. speaks for itself.

    they will never make it economicaly work out.

    it will be a money grave for ricoh and soon enough they will abandone it.

  • Klatu

    both camera branches are unprofitable.
    this seems to be the last try to make it work.

  • Alexander

    Pentax is the perfect example what can happen when marketing people starts to say what technicians have to do!.. Apple is the opposit example! They just do products they also like & would buy.

    • WT21

      You know the inner workings and corporate dynamics of Pentax? Do tell!

      • Alexander

        I had some pentax & i could observe what bad marketing can do – its always the same. Marketing people think they know what users want to have… they just should look that they make good advertsing, thats far enough, once more see Apple.

        • The Other Chris

          Apple was in the slump until they acquired NeXT and got Steve Jobs back as their CEO.

          Their comeback can be attributed to three things: slimming down their product line, innovating in terms of user interface and not clinging onto legacy hardware, and a focus on industrial design to streamline their products and make them appealing.

          When the iPod first came out, people laughed and thought it was a failure from the get-go (Google cmdrtaco’s comment on the iPod on Slashdot for instance). People thought Apple was crazy for ditching parallel ports, serial ports, and the floppy drive in the first iMac. Computer-savvy users thought they were out of their minds, but they were ahead of the curve.

          As cameras are concerned, I’m not sure if the same emphasis on innovation and outside-of-the-box thinking can lead to the market penetration that Apple has. I can definitively say that their advertising isn’t a major driving factor for Apple’s renewed growth, either.

  • CRB

    Its funny to see some making fun of Ricoh. I wonder if they ever used a GRD or GXR or any camera of Ricoh. It’s a photographers tool. Nothing in the market comes close to it. The UI is the best among all brands. Take a look at Tom Hogan evaluation about the GXR….

    • Klatu

      yeah and 150 copys are sold of this fantastic cameras…. lol

      • CRB

        hummm, type GRD on flickr and lets see the results…150000 rsults…so 10000 per user…LOL

        • CRB

          BTW, iphone as the name says is a PHONE. How dumb is your comment? We are comparing digital cameras.

          • jjjj

            yeah and more people using a iphone then your blessed ricoh crap for PHOTOGRAPHING.

            the numbers on flickr tell you nothing about the market penetration of ricoh cameras…

            they are still sold in the 0.1% range.

            • CRB

              You have a hard time trying to have a normal conversation han? Of course people use more iphones, you dont feel embarassed for your comments? Which camera do you use? do you think i only have a ricoh? learn how to be civil. I have Nikon, sigma and ricoh cameras. tell me , which brand do you use? do you even take photos?

      • @Klatu

        Maybe it shows that there are only 150 smart people in the world and the rest are idiots ;)

    • Vlad


  • George

    pentax has a good reputation from old good days. that is all
    they have around %5 market share of DSLRs
    that is all

  • Lodae

    i don´t know what you guys smoke but image quality of the GXR is not that good. the handling of the GXR is also not so special.

    it´s a nice camera but sure not as good as some would make us belive here.

    “The final word

    Despite of its tank-like build quality and abundance of external controls, with its 1/1.7 10 MP sensor the Ricoh GXR with the S10 24-72mm module is still a digital compact camera at heart and produces compact camera image quality. It is difficult to justify the GXR’s, compared to similarly specified cameras, exorbitant price point of $990 with the build quality and user interface alone. Ultimately you pay this premium for the ability to swap the S10 module for the A12 50mm (or other lens modules that are to come in the future) which will set you back another $830.

    The GXR/S10 24-72mm combination as a camera in its own right is simply too expensive for what it does. The purchase of an S10 24-72mm module probably makes most sense for existing A12 50mm users who would like to combine the S10’s more compact dimensions with a user interface that is already well known to them.

    We thought long and hard about whether to score the GXR S10 24-72mm VC as a compact or an ‘interchangeable lens camera’ and eventually opted for the latter, mainly due to its price and the fact that it’s a system camera. If we would have scored it as a digital compact camera it would have done a little better in some areas.

    • Parci

      It is really telling that people with opinions are the one who never even handled the system. The UI is a lot better than what the m43 boys are doing and image quality is very good… with the APS modules of course.

      • 111

        blah blah…. i am with DPR-.

        they suck and are overpriced.

        • Parci

          Nicely deducted from a review somebody else made with the (compact sensor based) S10 module, Sherlock. :)

      • Esa Tuunanen

        I agree that (especially after good 4/3 body range) current m4/3 line up is one narrow minded festival of unergonomy between pocket Pens and Panasonic’s low end consumer stuff but neither is Ricoh doing its job too well.
        Here on countryside (where farm animals are) we have a saying that if something looks like shit and stinks like shit you don’t stick your hands into it just to try it because it very probably is the real stuff itself.
        And while there might be two control dials need to bend fingers this hard tells ergonomy is just as lacking as that of m4/3 bodies:

    • DandelionEmpire

      Read the review for the APS-C unit and you might see what we’re smoking. Both of the APS-C units are excellent.

    • Vlad

      Are you kidding me? “the handling of the GXR is also not so special.” and the you cite a review?
      I could make the same review for the 7D as an example – overpriced camera! You can get the same IQ with a 550D, so you are just paying for buttons.

  • cocute

    RIP Pentax, RIP K-5 and its successors

  • wife

    P.S.: I am wondering if Ricoh will soon get rid of that über-expensive “Pentax Q” system (See that ugly camera at Amazon, Adorama, B&H, J&R, eBay).

    WOW!!!!! It’s so ugly. But please click on the link and buy one so I can get my commission. The irony…

  • Clagg


  • Jurasic Cameras

    pentax sold twice in what 4 years?

    and you guys thinks that makes for a bright future.


  • mn856

    Wow…this merge can workout

  • Stepper

    Wow. This is yet another serious blow to the Q. Who in their right mind would buy into the Q line if they new what was going on with the company. Unless Ricoh/Pentax does a press release assuring the public of a future for the Q, I don’t see how they will be able to recoup any money spent on the development and production of this model line.

    The Q needs to become vaporware in order to save Ricoh/Pentax.
    We all need Ricoh/Pentax in the mix.
    The more manufacturers there are the better off we all are.
    The Q must die!!!

    • Rachnaroch

      Copypasting the same comment everywhere, aren’t you? Give it a rest. Don’t take it so personal. Unless you are a shareholder of one of those companies, though.

      And BTW, it is not that Ricoh didn’t know about the Q. In fact, I’m sure they gave the green light to the project. You just don’t buy parts of a company and rights to a brand in a matter of days and without knowing about imminent moves.

      • Stepper

        Yes Rachnaroch, I copy pasted my reply to Do you have a problem with that?

  • KL32

    Good luck Pentax and Ricoh. Make some great, innovative cameras that make sense. Not small sensor intechangeable!

    • jjjj

      that will not happen.

      both companys produce overpriced cameras.

      that has not worked out in the past so they will try to sell cheap small sensor cameras.

      look at the Q system and you will see what the future holds.

      in the worst case small sensor overpriced cameras. :)

      • Vlad

        Pentax overpriced?! Hahaha!


    Whats wrong with Ricoh Cameras ? I like them.

  • er

    so what will they do next?

  • 43pr0n

    Loads of firmware updates coming for Pentax cams …

    A company sporting 2 useless systems – GXR and Q …

    Let’s wait and see if Q gets the axe soon. ;-)

  • jjjj

    @vlad… im sure you are not very intelligent.
    innovations are useless for a company when you make no profit.

    show me the great ricoh or pentax inovations!

    i see nothing that let me hold my breath…..

    • Vlad

      Well then, maybe we should stop this discussion here, so you can go talk with your intelligent friends?

      • CRB

        This guy is offending everyone…he made a comment that was erased. He’s acting nervous just because of this deal. myabe he works for pentax and is affraid of loosing his job.

  • jojo

    let’s be honest. Where Pentax have succeeded before was in the realm of 3rd option slr offerings. Pentax also had a strong student artist following of their medium format cameras and their slrs because of the millions of k mount and m42 lenses made. Richo is a well known company over in Asia, but here Richo in terms of photo gear is seen as no more than a maker of cheapo point n shoot cams and their long dead slr line, which also used k mount lenses.

    Pentax lenses are good, especially their pancake and primes, but cheap they are not…extraordinarily better they are not over other makers like Canon and Nikon. Now Pentax has been bought out by Hoya and now Richo, it’s not a good sign for any company. The Q was an expensive joke, their only chance now is to make medium format digital cameras, cheaper alternative dslr’s or gimmicky cameras. they don;t have much choice. Even Minolta was bought out by Sony and it was touch and go for a still is in a way. NEX cameras aren’t as popular in n America as they are in Asia. Even Leica had to go digital.there is not enough room in the market for so many camera makers these days. If Pentax was smarter, they should have made a k mount mirrorless long ago instead of wasting money on the Q. Cameras like the Q sell in markets like Tokyo where ppl have money to spend on gimmicky cute toys, but are D.O.A in parts elsewhere around the world.

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