Pentax President on Medium Format, Full Frame Future

March 5, 2015

By Greg Scoblete

Pentax turned heads in 2014 when they introduced a 50-megapixel medium format camera, the 645Z, for the (relatively) inexpensive price of $8,500. At the WPPI show, we had a chance to speak briefly with the President of Pentax, Jim Malcom, for a look at where the company’s headed and how it sees the market for pro cameras in 2015. 

Here are the highlights.

On the future of Pentax under Ricoh:

“We’ve worked hard to reassure loyal ‘Pentaxians’ that Ricoh is committed to investing in the product line,” Malcom says. “Ricoh focused on decreasing the product cycle and rolling out innovative features faster. Now, Pentax will be the brand for all interchangeable lens and optics products and the Ricoh brand will be focused on compacts and innovative products like our Theta 360.”

On the company’s aggressive medium format camera pricing:

“Before we introduced the 645Z, we looked at a pro who owned two full frame DSLRs and asked, ‘What tool would give their photography a different look that would help them stand out?’ We decided a medium format camera with a reasonable step-up in price could be that tool.”

On the future of medium format photography in the face of competition from high-resolution DSLRs:

“I’m not worried about the future so much as worried about misinformation that the only benefit to medium format photography is the resolution. The real benefit is the optical properties. It’s the dynamic range. It’s the glass up front. Having a 50-megapixel DSLR is not the same as having a 50-megapixel medium format camera.”

On the company’s plans to introduce a full frame DSLR:

“We have worked hard to recapture the top end and re-establish our credibility with the professional. I can’t reveal much about future products but I will say that our full frame camera will incorporate what we’ve learned from our medium format experience and our APS-C experience. Some features will trickle up and others will trickle down.”