Pentax doubles down on DSLRs: "there is simply no substitute"

Pentax doubles down on DSLRs: "there is simply no substitute"
(Image credit: Pentax)

On social media, Pentax has been teasing a statement about its future. Now the manufacturer has revealed its statement, and it is simple: “Pentax believes in the future of SLR photography”.

Update: Since this report, Pentax has released its new flagship APS-C DSLR. Fid out what we think of the new Pentax K-3 Mark III.

It is the latest in a long line of messages from the company, eschewing a mirrorless future in favor of DSLRs. A strategy that seems increasingly questionable, in a world where every other major manufacturer has put its eggs in the mirrorless basket.

• Best Pentax cameras

The company launched a microsite dedicated to extolling the virtues of SLR cameras and, specifically, the optical viewfinder – which Pentax is positioning as the key USP of its entire product line. 

“Pentax is committed to the future of SLR photography through the continued development of camera technology,” states the strange new site. And the pro-SLR, anti-mirrorless sentiment is echoed in an accompanying new promotional video. 

“It’s such a joy to use an SLR, that there is simply no substitute for this style of shooting.” 

Pentax also released a peculiar video presentation and interview with president Shinobu Takahashi, who waxed lyrical about how SLRs “allow the photographer to sense and capture the light coming through the SLR-exclusive pentaprism.” 

Takahashi made clear that the company does not choose to make DSLRs or mirrorless cameras based on the technology, but based on the picture-taking process offered by the pentaprism and optical viewfinder.  

When asked directly by professional photographer Keita Sasaki, “Does Pentax have any plan to launch a full-frame mirrorless model equipped with a new lens mount?” the president made clear where the company’s vision lies.

“As I mentioned earlier, we aren’t prioritizing either SLRs or mirrorless models. The thing that matters most to Pentax is developing SLR cameras that will provide our users with the ultimate pleasure of photography throughout the process of picture-taking.”

In short, Pentax is intent on clinging to DSLR technology until the bitter end. Hopefully it’s a strategy that pays off for the company… but the choice to be a Blockbuster in a Netflix world is certainly a curious one. 

Read more: 

The best Pentax cameras: from APS-C to full frame and medium format
The best Pentax lenses: our top lens suggestions for your Pentax DSLR
Pentax updates lens roadmap with three new lenses… and there's more to come

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James Artaius

The editor of Digital Camera World, James has 21 years experience as a journalist and started working in the photographic industry in 2014 (as an assistant to Damian McGillicuddy, who succeeded David Bailey as Principal Photographer for Olympus). In this time he shot for clients like Aston Martin Racing, Elinchrom and L'Oréal, in addition to shooting campaigns and product testing for Olympus, and providing training for professionals. This has led him to being a go-to expert for camera and lens reviews, photo and lighting tutorials, as well as industry news, rumors and analysis for publications like Digital Camera MagazinePhotoPlus: The Canon MagazineN-Photo: The Nikon MagazineDigital Photographer and Professional Imagemaker, as well as hosting workshops and talks at The Photography Show. He also serves as a judge for the Red Bull Illume Photo Contest. An Olympus and Canon shooter, he has a wealth of knowledge on cameras of all makes – and a fondness for vintage lenses and instant cameras.