Ricoh has confirmed that it is working on a new Pentax compact film camera, with more models on the horizon as part of the Film Camera Project, which announced last year.
Ambitious plans to launch new Pentax film cameras caused a stir in the film community, but the move made sense: Like vinyl, film photography has recently enjoyed more time in the sun, if the rising prices of analog and analog cameras is something to go by.
Film and Pentax are the perfect combination given its rich film camera heritage with legendary cameras like the K1000, and it makes sense for Pentax to focus on film rather than the dormant DSLR market it clings to – I really see that Pentax is the leader of the film revival.
At the time of the original announcement, the details of the movie camera design were sparse, and we couldn’t even count on the new movie cameras becoming a reality – it was the news of setting up an R&D team, not a product pipeline. Half a year later, we finally have some encouraging details and here’s what to expect.
A compact prime lens that outperforms the Kodak Ektar H35
In the video below, Pentax design team member Takeo Suzuki says that the first camera to be launched under the Film Camera Project banner will be a newly designed compact prime lens with some parts coming from existing cameras.
There aren’t too many technical details yet – we don’t know what the lens will be like, we can’t be entirely sure if the camera will use full-size 35mm film, nor are there any images showing what the new camera will look like. The concept, however, is clear: it’s a Generation Z compact camera “that makes taking pictures fun and that you can carry around with you every day,” says Takeo.
Where does joy come from? Takeo goes on to say, “It’s the whole shooting process that makes shooting so exciting and so much fun,” and the touch experience of the new camera, which includes a film rewind mechanism “that doesn’t exist in digital cameras,” will give you all the feelings .
More specifically, expect a new hand-wound SLR-style ratchet wheel audible feedback lever mechanism reimagined in a modern compact camera. The new camera sounds like a supercharged Kodak Ektar H35.
Most of the video announcement details the lengthy design process – which delightfully included input from previous-generation engineers – and the rationale for choosing a hand-wound movement. At the end of the video, Takeo hints at what the Film Camera Project’s future camera will be like:
“First there will be a compact camera with a hand-wound SLR mechanism. This gives us the opportunity to install the same mechanism in the body of an SLR camera when we decide to produce film format SLR cameras in the future… and leads us to the future development of other products.”
In a candid conclusion, Takeo adds, “The goal of the project is not only to produce a new camera, but also to create a solid environment where those who witness this project and those who love film photography will be able to express their ideas, opinions and hopes more freely.
I, for one, am a fan of the project and its collaborators and can’t wait to learn more.