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February 08, 2012

Pentax and Ricoh cameras will move under Pentax control

April 1st is the start of a new quarter, and for some companies the start of a new fiscal year, but it is also April Fool's Day, so perhaps it is a date to be avoided for any official business :)

But that hasn't stopped Pentax-Ricoh from announcing that on April 1st, 2012 the Ricoh digital camera business will move under Pentax control. This appears to be a move that makes sense! Press release and details at dpreview and Imaging Resource and Rice High.

So as of April 1st, 2012, the new Pentax will have a record-breaking number of active interchangeable lens camera systems - in the digital era [see comments]):
+ Pentax 645 medium format
+ K-mount DSLRs and K-mirrorless
+ GXR system
+ Pentax Q system

If they had gone with a separate mount for the Pentax APS-C mirrorless system, the number would have been five!

And now to the Debbie Downer segment: Can they all survive? Consider that the rest of the major camera manufacturers have either one (Canon, Fuji, Panasonic, Samsung, Sigma) or two (Nikon, Sony, Leica, Olympus) active interchangeable lens camera systems at the moment. Pentax+Ricoh has four!

The cheery daily affirmations segment: the four systems could potentially be sustainable in the long run. The Q system is essentially a niche system for rich grandparents in Japan, Hong Kong and Taiwan. A GXR K-mount unit could bridge the gap between the GXR bodies and the K-lenses, and perhaps be used as a backdoor to get the GXR-M-mount-using-Leicaphiles to start buying Pentax Limited primes to use on their GXR bodies?

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