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Ricoh-Pentax will consider increasing production of the new Pentax 17 film camera

Pentax 17 film camera at BHphoto, Adorama, FotoErhardt.

ITmedia had a chat with the product manager of the Pnetax 17 camera. Here are his answers:

  • (How did the film camera project begin?)
    It started when I brought the project to an internal presentation around 2020. We were discussing the next digital camera strategy, and the expressions of the executives listening were frozen. I persistently persuaded them. The top executive began to give in, saying, “It’s not impossible, but…” so I pressed on, saying, “I’ll find a reason why it’s possible.” From there, planning and development were finally able to discuss together.
  • (Why film cameras?)
    The number of film camera users, especially among young people, was beginning to increase, but the only option was to buy second-hand cameras. Some young people were using cameras that didn’t work well and were in an environment where they couldn’t easily be repaired. So, as a manufacturer, we wanted to release a new film camera, provide a warranty, and create an environment where people could enjoy it with peace of mind.
  • (Product concept)
    What we focused on in making a film camera was to create a new film camera that is perfect for current users, rather than simply reproducing old models. In particular, we combined functions that allow the younger generation, who are experiencing a film camera for the first time, to feel the “fun of manual operation.”
  • (Features we focused on)
    The younger generation is used to vertical screens, so when they look through the viewfinder, they compose the picture vertically. Also, instead of automatic mechanical winding, we wind it manually using a crank. We think that the fun of manual winding is condensed in “hand winding”.
  • (Why did we adopt the half-size format?)
    The main reason is the soaring price of film due to the recent rise in prices. Considering that beginners to film cameras often make mistakes, this format, which allows twice the number of shots, has the advantage of keeping running costs low.
  • (Half-size format also has the drawback of reduced image quality.)
    To overcome this drawback, a new lens was developed. Based on the lens technology that had been well-established in the past, the latest lens coating technology was combined. The image quality was so clear and sharp that even the development team was surprised.
  • (The number of preorders exceeded expectations, so they stopped accepting them immediately.)
    They stuck to the price of $500, as it was the lowest price that even young people overseas could afford. The product is produced in Vietnam, and in Japan, due to the weak yen, it is more expensive than other places, but they still received more orders than expected. Orders are currently temporarily suspended and it is unclear when they will resume, but they are considering increasing production to accommodate the situation.

This is the google translated summary from Digicameinfo

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