Japan's One of the Most Famous Camera Maker: Pentax and Its History

Japan's One of the Most Famous Camera Maker: Pentax

  1. Pentax SLR Cameras
  1. Pentax single-lens reflex cameras have been one of the most popular cameras among camera lovers. Since producing the nation’s first SLR camera the Asahiflex I in 1952, Pentax has been contributing to the evolution of SLR cameras putting its heart and soul in developing products that are compact, multifunctional, easy to use and affordable. So let’s take a look at the history of Pentax that has been keeping up this challenge from the viewpoint of the user.
  1. That’s a colorful camera.
  1. It’s the Pentax K-x.

Pentax is the pioneer of compact SLR cameras.

It’s pretty!

  1. Asahi Kogaku


Tokyo Itabashi

Kumao Kajiwara established lens manufacturer Asahi Kogaku Kogyo.

  1. At the beginning of the Showa era (1926), nephew Saburo Matsumoto took over the business. During the war, the plant operated as a munitions factory. The factory was destroyed in an air raid.

The factory has been lost, but the technology remains.

  1. The factory was reopened immediately after the war. When the factory began making lenses, the lenses were highly evaluated by the camera manufacturers. The company was rebuilt.

The lenses of Asahi Kogaku are superior.

  1. Let’s have our company also manufacture cameras.

From now on, 35-millimeter film will become main stream.  Single-lens reflex cameras where lenses can be interchanged will be the norm.

  1. However, we are short of high-quality technicians.
  1. All right. I’ll consult with Mr. Suzuki of K Company.
  1. I’m interested. Let’s do it.
  1. However, I’m a lens maker. Let’s have Mr. Yoshida handle the mechanism.
  1. Ryohei Suzuki had retired from a camera manufacturer and was starting his own business. Nobuyuki Yoshida had been a junior at the same manufacturer. Now independent, he was running a camera repair business.

Ryohei Suzuki

Nobuyuki Yoshida

The three of us can do it!

  1. 1952

The first domestically produced SLR camera the Asahiflex I was completed.

  1. A flex camera uses a mirror to reverse the left and right side of the image. The camera has a defect where the field of vision is blocked when the mirror moves up.



  1. 1954

A quick-return mirror mechanism was developed where the image in the viewfinder is captured when the shutter is activated.  The Asahiflex II B was born.

  1. Pentax

Let’s not monopolize this technology.  Let’s make all information freely available and expand the SLR camera market.

In this way, SLR cameras spread resulting in a camera boom.

  1. SLR cameras are still beyond the reach of the ordinary person. Pentax will mass produce them and offer them to users at a reasonable price.
  1. Then, let’s develop an original camera that anybody can easily use.

Let’s use a prism and place the viewfinder behind it.

  1. 1957

The Asahi Pentax (AP) was put on sale.


  1. 1964

When the Asahi Pentax SP that had a built-in TTL light meter was put on sale, it gained popularity and became a long seller.

  1. The Pentax is easy to use.
  1. After that, cameras that featured automatic exposure and automatic focus functions for the first time in the world were put on sale one after another. The bayonet type and K-mount models were also developed.

The bayonet type mount prevents misalignment of the electrical contacts.

  1. SLR cameras that were much easier to use made their appearance, including one that incorporated a strobe for the first time in the world.

The cameras of other companies are cumbersome and expensive.  Pentax cameras are compact and easy to use.

  1. 1995

From around this time, digital compact cameras made their appearance.  In 1999, digital SLR cameras also made their appearance.

Digital Cameras

  1. Because digital SLR cameras are a collection of various electronic components, it is difficult to give them originality.

However, Pentax’s principle is to make compact, low-priced easy-to-use cameras that other companies cannot imitate.

Company President Urano

  1. 2003

Though having lagged behind other vendors, Pentax put on sale the world’s smallest (at that time) digital SLR camera the *ist D.

  1. Let’s make a compact, multifunctional easy-to-use camera that is more like Pentax.
  1. 2006

The K100D that had a built-in image stabilizer in its compact body was put on sale.  The high-performance K10D also went on sale.

  1. This camera is just like Pentax.

The K10D shone with three crowns including the Camera Grand Prix.

  1. 2008

Although Pentax merged with HOYA, new cameras continued to come out under the Pentax brand.  This year, the K-7 that can be said to represent the starting point of the Pentax style went on sale.

Pentax will continue to make cameras that anyone can easily use.

  1. 2009

The K-x an epoch-making digital SLR camera that enabled 100 colors to be selected, which goes beyond the bounds of common sense, went on sale.  It became a big hit.

  1. Packing high-spec functions in a compact body, this camera has a playful spirit.
  1. Pentax cameras are fun.

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