Pentax Unveils Plans to Build a New Range of Film Cameras

Pentax Unveils Plans to Build a New Range of Film Cameras

1888 1007 James Tocchio

Pentax just became every film shooter’s favorite camera company. The brand from Japan just announced in a video published on Ricoh Imaging’s YouTube channel that they plan to release a full range of brand new film cameras.

In the video, Ricoh Imaging Product Planner Takeo Suzuki outlines the reality that we film lovers have been living for nearly a decade now. Film is popular again, especially with young people. However, old film cameras are becoming harder to repair as parts become scarce and the people who repair them retire, taking their knowledge with them. Consequently, film camera prices have increased, as has the cost of film itself.

To address these concerns, and no doubt to capitalize on what Ricoh sees as a business opportunity, Pentax has now launched an initiative to create, not just one, but an entire range of new film cameras. In fact, Takeo Suzuki provides a roadmap for the future of Pentax film cameras.

They will start with a compact camera with the intention that it will be “affordable for young people.” Then, Takeo Suzuki says, Pentax will examine a range of technologies with the aim of producing a high end compact. Next will be an SLR camera, followed by a “fully mechanical SLR.”

The full video elaborates on this information, and takes great care to stress that the process will be difficult. Takeo Suzuki even goes so far as to admit that they may totally fail to meet their goals. Time will tell.

My Thoughts on the Announcement

For me, this is totally unexpected news, and welcome. Over the last few years we’ve seen the discontinuation of the last lines of amazing film cameras. Nikon ceased production of their pro-spec SLR, the Nikon F6 some time ago, and Canon left the market even earlier. Leica remains the only major camera company producing a truly high quality film camera in the modern era, with their Leica M-A and MP. And they recently resumed production of their “legendary” Leica M6 (though I’ve written elsewhere about why this actually isn’t a very big deal, in the grand scheme of keeping film photography alive and well in the modern age).

Pentax‘s announcement, however, is exactly what we need. We don’t need a film camera that costs $4,000. We need a film camera that costs a couple of hundred, maybe another that costs five hundred, maybe a pro model at $1,000. This is what we need to bring new, young people into this hobby and to make film viable as a long term medium. And it sounds like (at least some of the people at) Pentax know this.

The idea that a company like Ricoh/Pentax would launch into making new film cameras with such enthusiasm is a really big deal. I’m very excited about the possibility of a new Pentax camera, and there’s no doubt that Pentax has almost instantly become a special brand in my heart and mind.

Let me know what you think in the comments here. Do you want a new Pentax film camera? What’s your dream model?

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James Tocchio

James Tocchio is a writer and photographer, and the founder of Casual Photophile. He’s spent years researching, collecting, and shooting classic and collectible cameras. In addition to his work here, he’s also the founder of the online camera shop

All stories by:James Tocchio
  • I think the ideal for me would be to see a new film GR, but honestly, as long as it’s not just another company making a reusable disposable, I’m going to be very excited!

    • That was EXACTLY my first thought as well…new film GR! This is very exciting, I’m going to have to put Pentax on my prayer list.

  • Luckily, I already have my dream Pentax camera. It’s the humble classic SV, the last and the best just before the Spotmatic era. All thanks go to Casual Photophile for introducing the SV to me 🙂

    Sure, I could occasionally use a faster top shutter speed, and a bayonet mount would be more convenient than M42 screw mount, but basically, the SV has everything I need and nothing I don’t. Well OK, I seldom use the self timer, but no worries, on SV it’s brilliantly hidden concentric with the rewind crank to provide an uncluttered front panel 🙂

  • I think this is a fantastic idea, and I hope that it’s a harbinger of more to come! What the hell, I’d be thrilled even if they just used the post-war Barnack Leica plans to make a new LTM rangefinder.

  • I would like a totally manual camera like the K1000 that can use all mu old K-mount lenses.

  • This at least gives me hope and seems to indicate that the analog trend in film and vintage cameras is resonating in places (the film and camera industry) that may be able to relieve the soaring prices and supply issues in film and cameras. But I think I would have been happier to hear that Kodak and Fujifilm are expanding their film lines and production of film. We can make new cameras all day long but if it costs $45 for three rolls of Superia 400, how many people can sustain shooting at those prices. But, there are not many companies that could make an announcement like this that would get me as excited to hear it coming from Pentax. I love shooting every camera of theirs that I have, from my original Spotmatic to the P30t. Definitely would be interested in a new enthusiasts manual SLR.

  • I hope “affordable for young people” is not just codeword for cheap reusable plastic cameras like the ones Kodak has been making.

  • My Pentax 67 is my baby and I’m glad that of all the companies out there that Pentax is looking into this. To be honest, even though it would be cool to see a rehash of classic cameras, I’d really love it if they come up with something that hasn’t been done before.There hasn’t been any innovation in film cameras for 20+ years and I think they can do something really imaginative. Like what would a film camera look like now if digital cameras never took hold? I’d love to see what they come up with as an answer.

  • I would love a modern k1000 and 645 maybe bring back the mz-s (my go-to).

  • This is a great information. I am not a Pentax guy but this is fabulous brand.

  • Certainly would love to see a resurgence of several film cameras. From Pentax, a pro model upgrade of the LX. With different upgraded viewfinder options, powerful motor drive, mirror lock up, etc. Other manufacturers as well like Nikon…OH yes. Glad to see someone coming through on this.

  • I’m excited that Pentax is taking advantage of a brand new growing market….is what I would say if this was 2004.

  • I started shooting when I was 10 with my first K2 and bought the ME Super SE a couple of yrs later. I would love to go back to film since I had to buy digital when my equipment was stolen 10 yrs ago. I can’t wait to see what they offer.

  • For the love of all that is holy, make a 6×7 interchangeable lens rangefinder, a la Mamiya 7. That format desperately needs some competition…

  • Other than the ISO setting dial around the lens mount, I absolutely adore my Pentax K2. So maybe an aperture-priority SLR that takes K-mount lenses…or M42 lenses with an adapter. The LX is a wonderful camera but probably way to expensive to manufacture today.

  • I’m not surprised.The mind numbing cascade of digitized point a press image making has all but gutted the truly lost craft fine film photography. I love all my treasured small Pentax film cameras for the pure joy they still provide me creatively after decades of use. While I made my living for year through digital capture , film is something unique and special. Looking forward to Pentax’s new offerings!

  • I have a tiny Ricoh 500 RF rangefinder (along with my spotty and MX & several other beauties) and it is tremendous. Something like that would be nice. I suspect the first will be a point and shoot. Everyone says Pentax is dead, nope, Pentax is niche! They are the only ones developing DSLRs and now we have the prospect of film. Pentax pentaprisms are the best! Potentially they could make the best SLR ever. I am not getting carried away just yet but the announcement alone puts a spotlight on film and that has to be a good thing

  • Joe from The Resurrected Camera December 22, 2022 at 6:44 am

    I agree a new GR would be nice! But as far as Pentax SLRs go, I wouldn’t turn one down if it’s capable enough. I assume that it will be K-mount but man I’d love to have them bring back M-42…

  • People are all about vinyl records these days, but the industry that presses those albums are relying on aging machinery that isn’t being built anymore. At some point this is going to pose a problem that won’t easily be solved. I’ll be glad to see Pentax ensure this won’t be a problem we analog photographers see in our future.

  • A Pentax MX style camera with Aperture Priority, like the Nikon FM3A would be cool.

  • Just saw this article while sitting in the Philippines. A P&S camera would definitely be at the bottom of my list but I am nowhere near a new photographer. Have many superb manual cameras to use in my lifetime. In fact the only place I have used a P&S is here, right now, to avoid being a target. On the top of my list would be film that is reasonable in price as that could be the biggest impediment moving forward for a new generation on a daily basis.

  • Elwood M. Porter II December 27, 2022 at 11:21 am

    Yayyyy! I’d like to see Pentax bring out an updated LX—5 axis, mirror lock up, terrific lenses. I have an MZ-S and like it!

  • It’s enough for me to support them because they are consulting with their retired engineers so that their knowledge is not lost. That is massive. A new film GR would be spectacular. A Sportmatic absolutely. Nevertheless, I hope that they re make the 645 NII or make a camera they have never done before but is desperately needed, another Xpan. Fujifilm seems reluctant to remake one. Pentax though has the medium format expertise to make an Xpan. It’s it actually very smart for another reason. It will encourage the sales of their digital cameras as well so you only need one modern lens system for both. Imagine buying a 645DIII medium format digital and a 645N film camera to back it up.

  • Although a manual film slr would be a great idea, it would also be good to make provision to set the aperture for newer lenses which lack aperture rings. I still have 35 and 50 FA lenses with aperture rings, but it would be great to be able to hook up the 100mm and 150-450 zooms as well.

  • I like that Takeo Suzuki is dressed in full hipster mode for this announcement.

    What the world needs now, is love, sweet love. And a new P&S of decent quality at not too high a price. Like a revised Pentax Espio Mini.

  • Absolutely,
    I’ve still got my Canon EOS10s
    w a number of lenses, as well as
    an even older Canon EX Auto QL
    brand new, not used yet heirloom
    w a few lenses & 2 Olympus camera
    an XA & an XA2, that still take
    lovely photos still.!♥️

    It’s not just nostalgia, as with tactile hands on analogue Tube Amps TT
    & Vinyl Records, film is not just more fun
    but actually the experience
    & end results are much more tactile & enjoyable as past tech is still a viable, functioning satisfying way to create art.!😍

  • Now if Sony would just adopt the old Minolta name, since it bought their technology, and do like Pentax is doing. I’d be in.

  • If Pentax start making film cameras again (I hope they do) then the cameras I think they should produce, should include a compact (Olympus Pen type) camera, with both manual and auto settings. This could be a decent quality, but inexpensive option for people getting into film photography.
    A fully manual SLR, like the Pentax K1000 would be a great choice too. My first camera was the Minolta equivalent of the K1000 (the SRT100X). Having a fully manual camera, with no auto settings, forced me to learn how to do things properly, rather than relying on the camera picking the right exposure. I learnt so much from that, camera, and still think a fully manual camera is the key to learning about exposure. It would also appeal to the ‘purists’ who are looking to use film, rather than digital.
    A third in the range could be a programmed SLR, offering Shutter Speed Priority, Aperture Priority, fully programmed and (important, but often left out of auto cameras) full manual control.

    Start with those before extending the range to include some professional level cameras.

  • love an updated version of the pentax ME super

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James Tocchio

James Tocchio is a writer and photographer, and the founder of Casual Photophile. He’s spent years researching, collecting, and shooting classic and collectible cameras. In addition to his work here, he’s also the founder of the online camera shop

All stories by:James Tocchio