Ricoh could get out of the photography / camera business


After Samsung, Nikon and Panasonic, it seems that Ricoh is the next big company that is having some serious troubles with their camera division:

Update: Ricoh issued a statement denying the report, saying that they are focusing on expanding "high-value-added models" (Google translated from Japanese).

Ricoh is shrinking its money-losing camera business to concentrate resources on commercial applications as smartphones continue to crowd out long-established names in photography.

The Japanese company will radically review a production and manufacturing strategy centered on cameras for the retail market, including such brands as Pentax and GR. Options include withdrawing from this segment altogether.

In America, Ricoh is laying off 1,000 workers as it restructures its sales network to reduce overlap with companies it has acquired. In Japan, the company plans to offer early retirement, including to employees who have stayed on past the usual retirement age. (Nikkei)

Via PentaxRumors

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  • Oh noes, not before a GR III without dust creep issues!
    I’d like a streetshooter pocketcam like that!

    • Konrad Dubach

      My words and now Ricoh knows it!!

  • etudiant

    Not shocking, given the combination of stagnant or falling shipments plus incoming Chinese competition. Olympus might be next, they have not fully digested their past financial issues.
    There are not enough sales to support all the design teams currently in existence.

    • Zos Xavius

      I doubt that. From wikipedia:

      “Olympus manufactures endoscopic, ultrasound, electrocautery, endotherapy, and cleaning and disinfection equipment. The first flexible Endoscope in the world was co-developed and manufactured by Olympus in Tokyo.[20] Through its comprehensive product range and its reactivity to market innovations, Olympus enjoys a virtual stranglehold of the world market in gastro-intestinal endoscopes. It has roughly 70% share of the global market whose estimated valued at US$2.5 billion.[21] On 28 September 2012, Olympus and Sony announced that the two companies will establish a joint venture to develop new surgical endoscopes with 4K resolution (or higher) and 3D capability.”

      Curious footnote I learned today: the first Olympus microscope was called the Asahi.

      Also don’t forget that Hoya’s Pentax medical imaging division was the only part of Pentax they ever shown any interest in and ultimately kept and that is much smaller than Olympus. Hoya and Olympus both seem to be doing just fine with endoscopes alone despite the current lawsuits and problems they have all faced.

      Ricoh itself is a large multibillion dollar conglomerate with healthy financials. They will trim off the fat and easily survive. I don’t think Ricoh really cares if Pentax makes a profit as it is such a small part of their business.

      • Sakaphoto Graphics

        朝日(Asahi-morning sun) is not all that rare.

  • Zos Xavius

    This seems to be pure speculation. I don’t know if I would put any stock in this report. The fact is that the copier division is Ricoh’s bread and butter and it is not performing well as it is getting eaten alive by much cheaper competition currently. They beat Canon on copier sales to become #1 so they can be competitive. I would hardly count them out. It seems that they were content just letting Pentax be a hobby brand for them. Their sales aren’t far from Leica’s really if the information I read recently was correct. I think they could survive. Ricoh was a camera company first and I feel like I doubt they would give up that heritage easily. It seems like it is a matter of pride to them. The GR and Theta have both been very well received. The K-3 and K-3 II sold a lot of cameras for Pentax and so did the K-1. I feel like they have a future. Their recent CP+ presentation seemed rather upbeat.

    They are currently massively restructuring North America. They let go a lot of the Pentax team there. Time will tell where they are truly headed but the sad reality is that many Japanese businesses are in deep trouble currently. Did you see the reports on Toshiba today?

    • It could be, but this was the case with Samsung as well – they denied it for years. I basically do not believe companies, of course they will deny those reports. I think there is some truth to it. Note that they are considering dropping the camera division, they have not made a decision yet.

      • Michael Penn

        Funny, Almost a year ago I was told that this was going to happen. I believe it’s only a matter of time.

        • If it happens, they are not going to kill the Pentax brands, they will probably sell them to a Chinese company (together with the Ricoh GR).

          • I think Ricoh division will go, but Pentax is still popular in Japanese markets and do not see Pentax going away anytime soon

    • Mistral75

      Ricoh press release (in English):

      http://www.ricoh.com/release/2017/0411_1.html

  • Ozzz

    If only they would stop hurting their perceived value by tagging Tamron when it comes to lens production – it’s just give people an impression that Pentax glass is only going to be as good as OEM for the Canikon. Not saying Tamron doesn’t produce beautiful glass. But I seriously doubt the user’s motivation about switching from Canikon to Pentax and use OEM glass (plus paying a curiously more expensive price!)

  • BP2012

    Interesting, Canon marketing department definitely has a new strategy “everybody will give up except us”. Reality is that Ricoh camera division is profitable and Canon is in heavy losses.

    • duott

      Canon, Nikon and Ricoh produce DSLRs – film-era technology cameras that are being phased out by mirrorless. Unless they get on board, the camera market will be divided between Sony, Fuji and Olympus.

      • Martin L

        In reality, the market share of camera made by Sony, Fuji and Olympus is really quite small.

      • Panasonic is also in trouble:

        https://photorumors.com/category/panasonic/

      • Cynog

        I don’t see mirrorless phasing out DSLRs anytime soon.

        • JetLi

          it´s just more troll talk from imbeciles.

      • BP2012

        “are being phased out by mirrorless”
        Sorry but that’s not happening, you could blame shrinking market but mirrrorless part is shrinking even faster then DSLRs.

        • duott

          There’s no reason to put a mirror inside a camera anymore. So DSLRs may die out later or sooner, but the writing is on the wall.

          • Kunzite

            You can’t have a parallax free optical viewfinder otherwise – I’d call that a very good reason!

          • duott

            Getting rid of the optical viewfinder in favor of the EVF is one of the points.

          • Max

            Why would you want to replace an ovf with an evf are you mad?

          • duott

            Lol are you?
            EVF is WYSIWYG. It gives you the image that the sensor sees, not the lens, and that’s where you capture your image.
            Also focus peaking, B&W image in VF and numerous other options.

          • Kunzite

            EVF is WYSIMOLWYG… if you’re lucky 😉
            They might work for you, but they don’t work for everyone. EVF fans should stop their “my choice is the ONLY valid one” nonsense.

        • Mistral75

          > mirrrorless part is shrinking even faster then DSLRs.

          That’s untrue, see the CIPA figures.

          Jan.-Feb. 2017 / Jan.-Feb. 2017
          – DSLRs: -2.7 in # of units and +18.5% in sales
          – mirrorless: +47.3% in # of units and +37.8% in sales
          – DSLRs/mirrorless ratio: 1.73:1

          Source: http://www.cipa.jp/stats/documents/e/d-201702_e.pdf

          2016/2015
          – DSLRs: -13% in # of units and -13.7% in sales
          – mirrorless: -5.6% in # of units and +0,1% in sales
          – DSLRs/mirrorless ratio: 2.67:1

          Source: http://www.cipa.jp/stats/documents/e/d-2016_e.pdf

          2015/2014
          – DSLRs: -8% in # of units and -7.4% in sales
          – mirrorless: +1.7% in # of units and +8.9% in sales
          – DSLRs/mirrorless ratio: 2.90:1

          Source:http://www.cipa.jp/stats/documents/e/d-2015_e.pdf

    • JetLi

      bulshit talk.. are you a trump voter?

      where are you facts moron?

      • BP2012

        Oh, based on your style you are probably another so called “social liberal marxist…” which supports Hitlery Clinton. Sorry I must disappoint you but I’m not a US citizen.
        About the figures, annual reports could be easily fixed and on my opinion and if there are some critical indicators their analysis must have higher priority than reading report in global. As example Canon’s Net Income has been halved for just two years. There is no company of that size that could adapt costs fast enough to avoid losses. So they probably adopted figures in their report by reallocation of some of them to next period. I have no exact proof for that but some trends in their annual reports in last few years supports that statement. Most of all if that trend continues in next 2 years Canon could easily takeover current Nikon’s slogan “We are history”.

        • Mistral75

          on my opinion” (…) “they probably adopted figures” (…) “I have no exact proof for that” (…) “some trends supports that statement

          Brilliant analysis indeed!

  • Mox Factor

    does this include their Thetas which are selling like hotcakes? or is that part of another division?

    the Theta S is still #4 on Amazon’s best seller list.

    • Mistral75

      Yes, Ricoh Imaging includes the Theta cameras.

  • 1741

    I think all the camera makers need to do an advertising campaign showing the benefits of larger sensors as a group and individually, they all need to make a simple program only cheap small camera as a cheap step into photography, maybe they should give a few cameras to high profile stars

  • Mistral75

    > Update: Ricoh issued a statement denying the report (…

    The corresponding press release (in Japanese):

    http://jp.ricoh.com/info/2017/0412_1.html?_ga=1.134765816.827460808.1395189648

    Translation:

    Today, there was a report on Ricoh shrinking their camera business and considering withdrawing from the consumer market but this article was not published by Ricoh.

    Ricoh’s Consumer Camera Business focuses resources on high value-added products such as PENTAX and GR that are enjoyed by many people enjoying photography as a hobby. In addition, the 360° camera “RICOH THETA” is the market leader of image acquisition devices in the new and rapidly growing VR and AR markets, and we plan to expand this business further. Furthermore, we intend to expand and develop the imaging business by creating a new market that would utilize our camera technology in the BtoB domain of business solutions.

    It’s mainly damage control with nothing specific. Note that they do not explicitly deny what has been published earlier by Nikkei, they simply underline it was not published by them.

  • TinusVerdino

    Could would should? But is not going to. Any business explores all options but Ricoh is big and the camera business is relatively small. They can afford it and it as a show piece division of what Ricoh is capable of. It also would be bad form to axe Japans first big camera brand before Nikon and Canon took over. They don’t want to be know as the company that killed Pentax.

    • Mistral75

      I’m not sure the new boss of Ricoh who was appointed on April 1st gives a damn to Pentax surviving or being axed.

      A new generation is in the driving seat at Ricoh’s.

      • TinusVerdino

        FUD

        • Mistral75

          If that can make you feel better…

      • Spy Black

        Yes, but Japanese culture is different. There’s pride in the heritage of a company and its accomplishments. I imagine the camera lines will be whittled down significantly, but not axed.

  • XenoGloss

    The GXR thing was a bit ill-advised..not technically but in marketing terms.

  • aaa

    Pentax, you are not going anywhere, at least not until I buy the 645Z Mark ii with the 100MP backlit sensor scheduled to release in 2018. I already started saving for a big 2018 purchase, and yes Ricoh, you will have my money

  • Mistral75

    Another article which quotes Ricoh CEO Yamashita’s comments today on the future of Ricoh, including the camera business.

    http://www.nikkei.com/article/DGXLASDZ12H8L_S7A410C1000000/

    Summary of the considerations pertaining to the camera business, made by Daikokuya on Pentax Forums:

    https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/16-pentax-news-rumors/344060-ricoh-get-out-camera-business-13.html#post3972381

    1. Regarding to money-losing camera business, Ricoh is going to cultivate corporate demand for its 360-degree-camera series Theta.

    2. CEO Yamashita denied the immediate withdrawal from consumer camera business like Pentax.

    3. He said Ricoh is going to narrow down camera models. Ricoh has
    started to consider whether Ricoh should truly do business for some
    non-core-business including camera. Ricoh is going to restructure in the next three years.

    4. He recognizes the reorganization and restructuring of camera business as a subject to consider.

  • Michal Nicak

    Q series = fail
    Expensive lenses like DA560 = fail
    K-1 without lens support = fail
    Still missing proper K3 replacement = fail
    3rd party companies abandoning K mount due to low sales = fail
    Overpriced tamron lenses with pentax logo = fail

    They seriously need to shake heads and work with stuff they can do properly.

    • Maybe in the western market(s), but all “fails” you mention are have been well in Japan, and Japan always puts its home first.

  • JetLi

    samsung denied too for a long time. don´t trust what managers tell you.

    • That is also true. A company will never confirm a negative news unless it is obvious or they are right about to do something official.

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