Two weeks ago, Pentax announced it was to be sold to Ricoh in a $77million deal. Ricoh, who is most widely known for its photocopier and business technology products, does already produce a small range of digital cameras, including the GXR, the world's first interchangeable unit camera.
All of Pentax's camera business, including DSLR manufacture and sales will be transferred from the current owner, Hoya, to Ricoh. Hoya will continue to develop digital camera modules, along with other parts of the Pentax business that it already owns. We are currently seeking clarification as to exactly what the manufacture of 'digital camera modules' refers to.
In an exclusive interview with Pentax, TechRadar spoke to Marilyn Dixon, marketing manager for the brand about what possible changes we can expect to see in the upcoming months.
According to Marilyn, the benefits for Pentax are diverse. "They [Ricoh] definitely intend to grow the business globally," she said. "They intend to invest in our interchangeable lens camera production, which is fantastic news to hear on the back of the launch of the Pentax Q a few weeks ago."
"They expect to grow the business in Europe, they have said they want to create a billion Euro business within the next three years. From their point of view it was key to have the Pentax brand within their portfolio to allow them to achieve this."
When asked about potential worry current Pentax users may have about the merger, Marilyn assured that the merger was positive and would lead to more collaboration and cameras from both Ricoh and Pentax that would enhance and complement, not conflict with, each other's ranges.
At the moment, it's still unclear what will happen with lens construction, or whether Pentax's relationship with lens manufacturer Tokina will continue after the transition to Ricoh, but we will be pressing to find out more in the coming weeks.
According to Marilyn, the Pentax brand and name will continue under the new structure, "that's absolutely certain," she told us.
The transition to the company comes into effect from the 1st of October. Marilyn says that Ricoh is keen to "hit the ground running" when it comes to developing the existing line-up of Pentax products. "We can only speak for the UK, but certainly we've got established channels for distribution that they would want to see developed in the next couple of years," she revealed.
Keep following TechRadar for more on this story as it develops.