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...