Ricoh Executives Think Mirrorless Users Will Return to DSLRs in One or Two Years

Ricoh Executives Think Mirrorless Users Will Return to DSLRs in One or Two Years

As the market continues to swing towards mirrorless cameras, most people see it as a sign that DSLRs are on their way out. However, one camera company seems to believe that the mirrorless hype will be short-lived, with users flocking back to DSLRs in the near-future.

In a recent interview with Imaging Resource, Ricoh's Hiroki Sugahara (General Manager of the Marketing Communication Department, Global Sales and Marketing Center, Smart Vision Business Unit) discussed how mirrorless has affected DSLR sales and what he thinks of the future:

Currently, mirrorless is a newcomer, so of course, many users are very interested in the new systems; they want to use [them]. But after one or two years, some users who changed their system from DSLR to mirrorless [will] come back to the DSLR again.

Expanding on that, Sugahara said:

Because as I said before, each system has its own benefits or appealing points. The mirrorless camera is very convenient to shoot, because users can [see the] image before shooting. But, I believe the DSLR has its own appealing point, because users can create their own image from the optical viewfinder. People can see the beautiful image through the optical viewfinder, and then think how they can create their pictures — for example, exposure level setting, or white balance, or ISO — and then imagine how they can get [the photo they want]... So, the DSLR market is currently decreasing a little bit, but one year or two years or three years later, it will [start] getting higher.

Personally, I'm a bit flummoxed by this. While there is certainly a portion of photographers who are DSLR holdouts and don't see the need to switch to mirrorless, I have a hard time believing that any substantial fraction of those who are shooting mirrorless will choose to return to DSLRs. Furthermore, I find Sugahara's reasoning less than convincing. EVFs are getting better and better, and saying that people would prefer to guess at their exposures rather than see if they're correct in real-time seems a bit illogical. It's a shame, as I think Ricoh makes some great cameras; I loved the K-1 when I reviewed it and would have welcomed seeing those innovations in a mirrorless camera, but it doesn't sound like we will. 

What are your thoughts?

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137 Comments

Marcus Joyce's picture

Mirrorless is awesome and it's going to be unstoppable.

Marcus Joyce's picture

Downvoted by a Ricoh lover! Bwahahahhaahahahaa

I saw no reason to downvote your original post….

…Until I saw this one. 😂🤣😃😁

I remember back in 1994 when Ricoh said that autofocus was just a gimmick that wouldn't catch on.

Spy Black's picture

I suspect Ricoh may be trying to wiggle out of the camera business.

Jonathon Rusnak's picture

Really? I have shot digital dslr and I currently shoot mirrorless. Just because I can see the finished image in real time dose not mean I don't take my settings into consideration. Being able to see the changes I make as I make them is a huge advantage.

I would go back to dslr if I needed a rugged body again. Other than that I personally see no other advantage.

Piotr Maksymowicz's picture

I use both d850 and a7r3 and I don't see any advantages of d850 in battery life

Thomas H's picture

Optical Viewfinder?

Michael Jin's picture

Battery life on modern MILC's is so long that this is essentially a non-issue at this point.

Jerome Brill's picture

Mirrorless is here to stay but nothing is preventing companies from creating a hybrid system where they could use a transparent high res LCD for the EVF that will basically overlay your field of view. It could be full time EVF or partly where it may only overlay certain pixels for peeking information or highlights. Map a button to toggle on/off for manual focusing in certain situations. This would use older mounts because you still need the mirror. Live view modes won't be quite as good but it's a middle ground for those not willing to move forward or just don't need to. I'm actually really surprised this hasn't been tried yet. Probably cheaper to go straight mirrorless though.

Thomas H's picture

We go everywhere to a solution with less moving parts. Once the processors and other components will be made in scale, and will perform, we will have clear advantage in cost. For now though the dim EVF's in the sun are horrible, and they flare out too much in the dark. Its a zoo (Sony 7 III, Canon R, they are both not satisfactory to my eyes, but the progress is obvious.) And what is stunning, the mechanical operations in a DSLR are seemingly more responsive than these all-electronic solutions. For now. Smart man say "only fools rush in." I am sticking with my trusty gear and keep looking.

Michael Jin's picture

I find my Z7 plenty responsive. YMMV

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Wasim Ahmad's picture

I've often thought about returning to horse-and-buggy travel after trying out a vehicle powered by an internal combustion engine.

I have given up photography. I chisel what I see into a rock. All these innovations baffle me.

It's not just Ricoh, I lived in Japan for a bit. Covering your eyes and believing no one can see you is not uncommon there.

Rob Davis's picture

I’m sure there are people out there who switched to mirrorless who realized they preferred optical viewfinders. Probably not many. I’ve tried them and just simply don’t care for them. The resolution is very good, but staring at a screen an inch away from my eyes for long periods of time, as detailed as it is, wears my eyes out and gives me a headache. I guess VR gaming is out for me too.

At the end of the day it’s just a framing tool, step one in a two step process (unless you only do straight out-of-camera jpegs, but even the small size prevents you from truly seeing what you’re getting).

Timothy Gasper's picture

People will choose what they want via their likes and dislikes and their needs. Whatever it is - it is.

David Kawchak's picture

Jerome I agree with you. I had thought of the same thing. I personally don't like the digital viewfinder. I love my K1 Mk11. I think a hybrid system would be the next logical step for Pentax. You never know they may be working on that and not saying anything just to throw everybody off. What is their options? I believe they will keep advancing in that direction making rugged quality cameras that people love.

Michael Jin's picture

At this point, given their inability to even maintain a decent pace in their DSLR system development, I think Pentax might be approaching the end of their rope as a brand.

Hoping that people come back to DSLR (and choose Pentax when they do) in significant numbers is a bit far fetched. Their best option might be to throw their hat in the ring with the L-Mount Alliance to make up for their lack of resources or to go the MFT route for the same reason. I don't see them being able to hack it in the MILC arena on their own with a proprietary mount nor do I see DSLR sales carrying the brand in the longterm.

«…their inability to even maintain a decent pace in their DSLR system development….»
Why I keep hearing things like this is beyond me. When I speak of all the Pentax/Ricoh innovations, they get dismissed as “gimmicks,” …until someone else implements them.

IBIS was so inferior to in-lens stabilization, until Sony started using it. Then everyone else wanted to know when Canon and Nikon were going to get onboard.

In-camera compositing was so pointless. “Why do it camera with only four frames (in one file, in a two-second process), wasting precious computing resources, when we can easily do it in half an hour in Photoshop with twenty frames (in as many files)?”

Same with PixelShift, until Olympus and Hasselblad offered similar technology. …“Except Pentax did it wrong. Their 24Mpx sensor only gives a 24Mpx image. It ought to be 96Mpx, since four images are combined!” Nope. Pentax did it right. No antialiasing, since every pixel has full colour and full intensity information, and their is no OLPF to murky things up.

Pentaxians know that their still photography cameras are well developed for still photography. They do not care that they don't have the ability to make motion pictures in UHD, 60p, slow-mo, 192-bit AAC surround, Dolby Atmos, with auto-gimbal, self-levitating, wireless tripod built-in.

«…their lack of resources….»
If you are referring to their lack of a lens fabrication plant, since Hoya kept it in the sale of Pentax to Ricoh, it is somewhat of a valid point. However,Pentax has already partnered with Tamron, (which had bought Bronica, to acquire their lens fabrication facilities). They need no further partnership. The only thing which can aid them now, is building their own lens fabrication plant, or acquiring a company which already has one.

( ASIDE: Sony lenses are also made by the company where it holds a 20+ % stock shares).

If you are referring to the allegation of lack of lenses, then that is laughable. Having only one 70-200 f/2.8 lens, versus three of them (Nikon) or four of them, (Canon), does not make it a less desirable lens lineup. Some argue that the availability of less expensive third-party lenses makes the competition look better, but Pentax lenses are priced closer to the third-party options, than the ridiculously priced CaNikOny OEM choices.

So either case, not a hurdle worth worrying about.

«…MILC arena… with a proprietary mount….»
Let's see…. Sony, with the A-mount, & E-mount, Nikon & Canon with their two new mounts, and Olympus (still pictures) went MFT with Panasonic (motion pictures). All other motion picture cameras have proprietary mounts. No real still picture company but for Leica (niche) has gone with the L-mount.

Seems to be another non-issue. Besides, Pentax already went mirrorless with the K-mount not so long ago, (although they went with a designer camera, and not a photographer camera, and did it wrong).

The Pentax brand is defined as a great still photographer's tool, with innovations for the still photographer; as rugged as they are, and geared towards the craft, by photographers. …Except for that one designer piece of garbage. Never let a fashion designer make a camera. …Or any sophisticated piece of advanced technological tool, for that matter.

You have to be kidding about lens selection. How long did it take to get the 50 1.4 out and how long have they been talking about the 85 1.4?

Pentax lacks 800/5.6, 600/4, 500/4, 400/2.8. No tilt shift lenses no 1.2 lenses, two old macro lenses they don't offer a 15-30 24-70 or 70-200 in F4 models like Canon and Nikon do for the people who don't need 2.8 versions.

I shot Pentax for years and they make good bodies they just don't have lenses for them and don't have the ability to put out lenses to compete with Canon and Nikon selection. Just looking at B&H Pentax has 16 FF lenses and Canon has 69 available in EF mount.

«…You have to be kidding about lens selection.…»
Nope.

«…How long did it take to get the 50 1.4 out….»
You mean the SMC Pentax-FA 50mm F1.4 since 1991-to present?
Unless you mean the SMC Pentax-F 50mm F1.4 manufactured from 1987-1991.
Of course you might mean the SMC Pentax-A 50mm F1.4 produced from 1984-1989.
I doubt that you meant the SMC Pentax-M 50mm F1.4 from 1977-1984, despite how wonderful it was….
…But you could not possibly mean the SMC Pentax-A 50mm F1.2 from 1984-2004, because it is not an f/1.4 lens.
Ah! I got it. You think that the HD Pentax-D FA* 50mm F1.4 SDM AW which they released in 2018 is their first 50mm f/1.4. Yeah, NO!

«…talking about the 85 1.4?…»
You mean the SMC Pentax-FA* 85mm F1.4 [IF], manufactured from 1992-2004?
Or did you mean the SMC Pentax-A* 85mm F1.4 from 1984-1989?
Ah! You mean the HD Pentax-D FA* 85mm f/1.4, due out this year. Funny, but another poster was just (pointlessly) arguing that Pentax does NOT update their lenses.

But all of that is absolutely irrelevant. We will get back to why.

«…Pentax lacks…. No tilt shift lenses no 1.2 lenses.…»
Do you really want to do this?

Canon lacks:
70mm, 77mm, 105mm, 560mm
Nikon lacks:
70mm, 77mm, 90mm, 100mm, 560mm.

For sports and wildlife, Pentax has, for their 8.3fps cameras, a
450mm equivalent f/4, 840mm equivalent f/5.6, 300mm equivalent f/2.8, and a 225-675mm equivalent f/4.5-5,6, and therefore does not need the 800/5.6, 600/4, 500/4, nor the 400/2.8.

Additionally, although most were designed for the D-type cameras in mind, they all were engineered to produce an F-type image circle, and can be used un-cropped on the K-1 as 300mm f/4, 560mm f/5.6, 200mm f/2.8, and a 150-450 f/4.5-5.6 (actually designed for F-type).

As for f/1.2 lenses, I do not hear Pentaxians crying over a fraction of a stop. As for the niche tilt-shift lenses, Pentax has those available for their niche medium format bodies. Which lenses does Canon and Nikon have for their medium format.… Opps! My bad.
[*MIC DROP*]

«…a 15-30 24-70 or 70-200 in F4 models like Canon and Nikon do for the people who don't need 2.8 versions.…»
For people who can’t afford the Canon/Nikon Zoom trinity (f/2.8), Pentax has the f/2.8 zoom trinity at an affordable price.

Canon f/4 series US$5,200
Nikon f/4 series US$4,900 [*No f/4 24-70]
Pentax zoom trinity US$4,400

Oh! Look at that!!! …And that is why Pentax does not have an f/4 option!
[*MIC DROP*]

«…Canon has 69 available in EF mount.»
Er,… that was my point.

Let me elaborate and elucidate the point.
Autofocus → Now we are down to 61.
IS → Now we are down to 28.
“L” series → now we are down to 21. (That may not be fair, so let us put that back)
We still have two 300mm, 400mm, & 600mm. Now we are down to 18 (25).
We still have four 70-200mm. Now we are down to 15 (22).
Putting the STM line back in,…
We have three 400mm, (plus two 300mm & 600mm) so we drop to 24.
We have two 24-105. Now we have 23.
We still have four 70-200. Now we have 20.
Three 70-300. Now we have 18.
…And only one macro.

In all fairness, Pentax has four duplicates, (five, IF you include the Macro optimized 50mm, which I do not count as a duplicate).
So 15 Canon lenses (one macro), vs 12 Pentax lenses (two macro), all with AF and IBIS.
On the other hand, Canon has a 24mm, 28mm, and 35mm prime, (which may possibly be seen as a close grouping), and several 24-70mm, 28-105mm, 28-300mm, 70-200mm, 70-300mm, (and 100-400mm), with several overlaps. Pentax has only one superzoom overlap of 28-105mm. (and 150-450mm).

All in all, there is NO LENS which Canon has, that Pentaxians are “missing” or needing. We do not need 69 options of just 15 lenses.

Scott Hussey's picture

Um, yeah. Nobody's ever gonna read all that.

TL;DR →

Canon really has only 15 lenses, and the Pentax lineup fills in all the gaps.

Michael Jin's picture

Your apology for Pentax is so ridiculous that I can't even take you seriously. I'm not going to say that Pentax makes bad cameras because they don't. Their development pace, however, is far below any of the major industry players. Other companies having multiple versions of the same focal length is actually important because it's a sign that those companies are refreshing their optics and improving them. It's actually pretty bad for Pentax to NOT to have the resources to go back and update their optics.

As it stands, a Pentax probably wouldn't even crack the top 15 DSLR's out there despite all of the innovation you speak of. Innovation can be great, but it's pretty useless if it's not translating to increased market share. It's even worse if other companies are doing a better job marketing your own technology than you. That's pretty much where Pentax is at.

They might have once been a behemoth decades ago, but they're a shell of their former self now and they're barely able to keep up, much less give the rest of the field any real competition. I'm sorry that you still think that Pentax is actually a notable force in the modern camera market. They're just not. There's a reason you see articles written about Canon, Nikon, Sony, Fuji, Panasonic, Olympus, and pretty much everyone else while you barely see anything about Pentax. Those other companies are actually developing and releasing new products in the market. Pentax, for the most part, is just sitting there and trying to ride a once great name.

«…apology for Pentax…»
If that is what you thought that was, you missed the point.

«…it's a sign that those companies are refreshing their optics and improving them.»
Except when one considers the quality of the Pentax kit lenses vs the Canon/Nikon kit lenses, or consider the quality of the Pentax non-kit lenses vs the competition non-kit lenses, then it becomes a non-argument.

Canon has 6 currently selling 24-70mm lenses:
Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L USM (US$1,350)
Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM (US$2,100)
Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS III USM (US$2,100)
Canon EF 70-200mm f/4L USM (US$650)
Canon EF 70-200mm f/4L IS USM (US$1,200)
Canon EF 70-200mm f/4L IS II USM (US$1,300)
Canon Flagship camera’s (6D II) kit lens is a 24-105mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM

This does not reflect, “refreshing their optics.” If it did, at the very least, the first, second, and fifth options would NOT be there. I would argue against the sixth option, and the fourth would only be entry level.

Nikon has 2 currently selling 24-70mm lenses:
Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 70-200mm f/4G ED VR (US$1,400)
Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 70-200mm f/2.8E FL ED VR (US$2,800)
Nikon Flagship camera’s (D850) kit lens is a 24-120mm f/4G ED VR
Not bad at all. …But the entry level is a bit pricey.

Pentax has one:
Pentax HD PENTAX D FA* 70-200mm f/2.8 ED DC AW (US$1,800)
Pentax Flagship camera’s (K-1 II) kit lens is a 28-105mm f/3.5-5.6 ED DC WR

So there is no clear advantage to the six options which Canon gives, versus the two of Nikon, or the one of Pentax.

«…that you still think that Pentax is …a notable force in the modern camera market.»
Never said that. Sorry that that frightens you. (I know,… you never said that).

«…and pretty much everyone else…»
Who?!? Oh! You must mean the one rangefinder and the other medium format besides Pentax. Yeah. I hear more about the Pentax K-mount DSLRs than those two.

But I am done with you. You don’t seem to like facts, preferring hype. I have to respond to someone else, then get to work.

Michael Jin's picture

"Quality of optics"? Show me the MTF charts. Hell, show me COMPARISONS between Canikon's latest lenses and their dated Pentax equivalents. Let's see how great those optics and coatings are. Also, who the hell cares about "kit lenses"? How about we compare the lenses that actually matter (the professional ones)?

One other medium format? Hasselblad, Phase One, and Fuji all produce medium format cameras and you hear about all of them more than Pentax because unlike Pentax, they're actually relevant in the industry.

Are you seriously comparing the Pentax K-1 II to the Nikon D850? You're delusional if you think they're anywhere near the same level.

Good for you to be done with me because you're a clown. GTFOOH and go do your work because you fail at comment threads. If there's someone who drank the kool-aid hard here, it's definitely not me.

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