View Full Version : An Interview with Ned Bunnell, President of Pentax USA

20-11-2010, 3:31pm

An Interview with Ned Bunnell, President of Pentax USA

Introduction: A couple of weeks ago I found myself composing an email to Ned Bunnell, President of Pentax Imaging USA, to ask him to clarify a rumor. I ended up including so many questions that I decided to scrap the email and just ask him if he had time for an interview. Fortunately, I caught him between trips, so we were able to get some exchanges in before Ned returned to Japan, where he is now. What follows is edited from our correspondence.

Mike Johnston: Ned, welcome again to TOP.

Ned Bunnell: Thanks Mike.

MJ: There are a lot of things I'd like to ask you about, but we might as well jump in at the deep end. The first thing is probably the most pressing thing for longtime Pentaxians. There was a rumor on the boards recently that Pentax's much-beloved Limited lenses, including what my friend Oren sometimes jokingly refers to as the "Pentax Numerology" Limiteds—the 31mm, the 77mm, and the 43mm—are being discontinued. I think that rumor has quieted a bit now, but can you shed some light on it just for the record?

NB: I'm glad you’re asking for clarification on this. The rumor appears to have started during Photokina. I can tell you we have no plans to cancel production of the FA Limited (31mm, 43mm and 77mm) lenses. In fact, we view the FA Limiteds and our newer DA Limiteds as being unique in the industry. I can share with you that we saw an increase of non-Pentax shooters adding a K-7 to their camera bag precisely because these Limited lenses were the perfect match for this camera’s compact, rugged and nicely balanced body design. I’m hopeful that this trend will continue with our recently announced K-5, which carries on the same design concept as the K-7.

MJ: That's a relief. Those particular lenses are probably more famous than any lenses without the L-word on them. And to mention another former rumor that's been put to bed, you and I have talked several times about the status of the 645D; and, since we talked last, the big dog has launched in America. That was great news...

23-11-2010, 5:15pm
It's refreshing to hear/read a senior executive discussing his products in detail and with a fair degree of clarity (i.e. with a minimum of management-speak). Sounds like he actually takes pictures. I wonder if the equivalent leaders of Canikon would come across so convincingly?

To me its also pleasing to hear a coherent strategy on a product line, in which each product clearly has its place. One of the reasons I chose Pentax is that it was simply easier to work out which camera was for me. The ranges of the big boys are full of overlap and confusion from where I stand – though perhaps I should have made more effort.

24-11-2010, 9:36am
You beat me to it Kym... I was just about to post the link but thought I'd check if it had been posted already. :)

It is is good read and is good to know that the brand is growing and not declining. :D

JM Tran
24-11-2010, 9:42am
I just wish people would own or use the 31, 43 and 77 FA Limiteds more, some of the most amazing primes I have ever owned/used. Particularly the 31mm Limited, regarded by Luminous Landscapes as one of the top 3 primes ever made for SLR.

24-11-2010, 9:46am
31mm limited is at least $1,200 - tempting - maybe next year. :cool:

JM Tran
24-11-2010, 10:00am
31mm limited is at least $1,200 - tempting - maybe next year. :cool:

I reckon thats still a bargain price Kym, when you compare it to say, a Zeiss prime and you get the same IQ and excellent metal build at 1/2 or 1/3 the price:)

certainly beats out the Canon primes at similar focal lengths, and the 31 Limited has seen a high number of Canon users customized the old 5D to fit the 31 on for manual use in the US.

26-11-2010, 9:29pm
And long live Pentax, I can run around with a sensational set of light primes that would weigh as much if not less than a single zoom with an L on the end.

30-11-2010, 6:33am
31mm limited is at least $1,200 - tempting - maybe next year. :cool:

$1030 with shipping from B&H today. Wonder what duty you'd get hit with on that. Its still on my shopping list for next year. I want all the FA *and* DA limiteds. LBA has got me bad...