Ricoh, owner of Pentax, had its usual colourful stand, with Q-S1 compact system cameras and K-S1 DSLRs in every imaginable colour scheme scattered around with wild abandon. But for those not a fan of these colour schemes, the company’s entire imaging range is on display, ranging from action cams and rugged compacts to the 645Z medium-format SLR. This makes the Ricoh stand particularly interesting for photographers.
However, our attention was piqued by the four products Ricoh announced as ‘under development’ on the eve of CES, presumably for formal release at the CP+ trade show in Japan next month. These are being shown behind glass, and include a mid-range SLR, presumably a replacement for the current K-50. This will come with a small collapsing 18-50mm f/4-5.6 kit zoom, as DSLR makers pick up on some of the miniaturisation tricks compact system cameras have been using for a while. In a separate case are two large telephoto zooms, whose size and design makes them look very much like a 70-200mm f/2.8 and a lens in the 100-400mm class.
Alongside the developmental products, the mighty Pentax 645Z and the wealth of multicoloured cameras, the Ricoh Theta camera was on display. This is a camera that allows users to take a 360° image at the click of a button. However, that’s not the really interesting part. Ricoh Pentax has opened the API up to allow third-party developers to use it. They have been working with makers of virtual-reality headsets to allow users to experience the photograph in virtual space. By simply turning your head, the wearer can view the whole scene that was previously captured by the Ricoh Theta. Currently, the headset is only a 720p resolution, so it’s not as detailed as a computer monitor, but it is certainly an amazing leap forward in the way we view photographs.