Ricoh has had a fairly quiet 2016 with the exception of the launch of its first full-frame DSLR, the K-1. But things have been less quiet on the management front with Kaz Eguchi taking over as president of Ricoh Imaging Americas earlier this year. We caught up with Eguchi at PhotoPlus Expo to discuss his vision for the company and what we can expect in the new year.
What follows is an edited transcript.
On developing 360-degree photography through products like the Theta.
“We see this as one of the futures of photography, a new way to enjoy photography,” Eguchi says. “We’re still in the early stage but this is one of the futures of our businesses.”
Another is Eye-Fi. Ricoh bought Eye-Fi’s cloud business earlier this year, and while Eguchi didn’t spell out precisely what Ricoh’s plan was for the cloud service, he says it will touch on both the 360-degree camera business and the company’s traditional DSLR lineup. The cloud “is another way people are enjoying their photos,” which is why Ricoh scooped up Eyefi, Eguchi says.
The company plans to spell out its cloud plans in more detail in the coming months, he adds.
On whether the company will make a renewed push at mirrorless photography
“It’s hard to say if there will be a new [mirrorless] model, but we’re quite flexible.”
On the performance of the full frame K-1 and the future of the company’s medium format lineup
The K-1 has been “unbelievably good” for the company, Eguchi says. What’s more encouraging for Ricoh is that half of the customers buying the camera aren’t Pentax loyalists but new customers, Eguchi notes.
As for medium format, the company has no immediate plans to introduce a new model but remains committed to the category, Eguchi says. “We’re thinking of new ways to make it more compact, but this will take time to materialize. Right now, releasing new lenses is the priority” in the medium format segment.
On why Ricoh has lagged some competitors in video performance
“Video is not our number one priority. In most cases our customers are not primarily shooting video” with their cameras, Eguchi says.