About the fascination of film photography

The development of digital photography brought about a complete change in photography. At the beginning of this millennium, when digital technology rapidly replaced analogue photography, Pentax photographers in particular were sceptical and stuck to film photography.
New products with ever-improving quality were introduced at ever-faster intervals and, last but not least, smartphones contributed to analogue photography playing only a very small and insignificant supporting role in photography. Digital photography has now reached maximum perfection. And even the most convinced film photographers switched to cameras with a sensor.

But in this perfection, it is mainly young people who enjoy indulging in the shortcomings of analogue photography. It is the uniqueness of that one image and the memories that are inevitably associated with it when you get the pictures back after the exciting waiting time from development.
In times when artificial intelligence is capable of calculating almost any image, it is the film negatives that serve as proof that the experiences were real and not a virtual file of zeros and ones that is not necessarily authentic. It is the fascination of being able to achieve special image effects with the choice of different films, without having to try out an image editing programme in order to deliver an image in your own style.


We at Pentax were instrumental in developing the camera technology that is still the basis for many cameras today. With our current "Film Project", we are returning to the long-forgotten techniques that make photography a haptic experience again, which appeals to many of our senses, some of which have been forgotten. We invite you to come along on the journey and rediscover photography.


©Wolfgang Baus / Dev & Scan by @khrome_hamburg

©Wolfgang Baus / Dev & Scan by @khrome_hamburg

©Wolfgang Baus / Dev & Scan by @khrome_hamburg

©Wolfgang Baus / Dev & Scan by @khrome_hamburg

©Wolfgang Baus / Dev & Scan by @khrome_hamburg

©Wolfgang Baus / Dev & Scan by @khrome_hamburg

©Wolfgang Baus / Dev & Scan by @khrome_hamburgx

©Wolfgang Baus / Dev & Scan by @khrome_hamburg

©Wolfgang Baus / Dev & Scan by @khrome_hamburg

"If we don’t act now, the world of film photography which younger users are entitled to enjoy will be lost forever. "


As suppliers of analogue photographic technology, the two traditional manufacturers RICOH and PENTAX have had a decisive influence on the development of camera production. And even when digital technology increasingly replaced film photography, treasures such as the Ricoh Auto Half from the 1960s or the Pentax MX from the 1970s survived and are enjoying great popularity again today.

It is above all the generation of grandchildren who have grown up with digital photography via smartphone and, in the best case, with a digital SLR camera and are now experiencing the fascination of film photography anew.


After films were traded like little jewels in the meantime, the supply is increasing again, so that prices are now also falling again. All in all, this is an exciting development that has not escaped the attention of Ricoh Imaging's R&D team in Japan. The product planner and designer TKO has managed to overcome all doubts within the company and convince the management to invest in this challenge.

With a large team of technicians and designers working on the "Film Project" in Japan, we take you on a journey that, if TKO has his way, is only just beginning and will have many more stops to come.

In some YouTube Videos he is telling us aboutthis project.


Takeo Suzuki aka TKO was involved in the development of several projects, such as the MX-1 and the PENTAX K-30, for which he received an iF design award. Although he appreciates the advantages of digital photography, he owns several analogue cameras with which he shoots a lot.

TKO is now the face of the "Film Project", and talks about the background and current status of the project in the YouTube videos that have appeared so far.

TKO keep us updated and telling some details

Exclusive Interview with camera Magazin


The editors of "camera" magazine were given the exclusive opportunity to interview TKO, the creative head of the "Film Project" at Ricoh Imaging.


camera: How about yourself? Do you do just digital or also analog photos?

I take both analog and digital photos. I own a number of analog cameras and resumed analog photography a few years ago.



camera: : What is the biggest problem so far that you have to solve while designing a new analog camera?


TKO: The biggest problem we faced was in finding engineers who had knowledge about analog cameras. We supplemented our in-house human resources by recruiting retired PENTAX employees, because they had a great deal of experience in the field, and were devoted to analog cameras. They are our powerful ally, and avaluable treasure.

There was also the problem of tracking down the business partners and manufacturing facilities that we reinvolved in the production of analog cameras. PENTAX is not the only manufacturer that has been losing the technologies and skills of the past. This is a serious concern for all of us.



camera: Do you have any idea why so many people come back to analog photography?


TKO: I don’t have a clear explanation, but I assume this trend is something like this. Analog photography provides a mellow, artistic visual expression, something that is lacking in digital photography. It includes the quality of being a hobby, one that lets the photographer enjoy the entire process of photography, including the possibility of failure. It provides a sense of joy and anticipation because the photographer cannot check the outcome right away and has to wait for the end result. It lets the photographer concentrate more on the shooting process, because the number of photos that can be captured on a single roll of film is limited. The photographer feels the unique charm of an analog camera using film, and appreciates its classic design.

In today’s society, where everyone is very busy, analog photography appeals to many photographers because they appreciate its inconvenient, time-consuming process. It’s a very emotional experience for them, I believe.



camera: What will be the typical customer for your new camera?


Our target user is anyone who loves analog cameras. However, we are mainly targeting younger people and entry-level photographers who are experiencing analog photography for the first time. We plan to provide our assistance and support so that they can enjoy stress-free analog photography.

We’d love to hand down analog cameras to coming generations, using the support of people who once used analog cameras and have decided to use them again after many years, as well as ongoing analog camera users who can teach the beauty of analog cameras to younger users. It’s a camera for the young generation, and for those who loved film photography in their youth.



camera: The first camera will be a point and shoot, we understand. Why did you select this kind of camera?


TKO: We wanted to create a camera that younger users could enjoy without much fuss. Developing a lens-interchangeable, high-end analog camera from scratch is very difficult. The development process means assessing every technology, one by one, step by step. That’s why we decided to develop a compact camera first, launch it as soon as possible and deliver it to younger users.



camera: Are there major differences between the analog cameras of the 1970s and 80s and the new camera—for example, in materials or in technical capabilities?


TKO: The cameras of the past contained some parts that required different levels of manufacturing accuracy. This meant that experienced craftsmen with a high level of skill were needed to handle these variations. Many different assembly processes were also needed, all of which had to be performed by hand. Unfortunately, skills like these have almost disappeared today. However, parts today are produced with much greater accuracy than in the past, making it possible to manufacture high-quality products much more quickly.



camera: Some years ago, there was a successful crowdfunding for an analog SLR—but in the end the camera was not built, because the shutter needed was no longer produced. Has this also been a problem?


TKO: Yes, the shutter is another big concern for us. It takes a great deal of time and a lot of money to produce a shutter unit. Since our initial goal is to produce a compact camera, we have been studying different types and specifications to find the best shutter unit for this model.



camera: Is an ideal camera for Japanese customers different from that for Europeans?


TKO: We intend to carefully listen to the voices of consumers in different regions of the world, so that we can create the ideal model for all analog camera users.



camera: How about differences between men and women? In the past very small and lightweight cameras were especially produced for women, such as the Olympus Pen or Mju. As the market for analog cameras is quite small, we assume that you have to build one model that is everyone will want?


TKO: We conducted a survey about analog cameras in Japan and found that there was a relatively large number of woman users in their 20s. However, we did not discover major differences in the preference of men and women. As you pointed out, we’d like to make this compact camera a model that makes analog photography enjoyable for as many people as possible. We want to make it a camera that they feel close to, and that they can easily handle.



camera: The analog hype is already more than 3years getting bigger and bigger. Isn’t it highest time to come to the market with new analog models?


TKO: Since we first announced our Film Project in December 2022, we have received many positive comments from users. We want to achieve our goal as soon as possible, but we still have many hurdles to overcome. We are hoping that we’ll eventually be able to launch a dependable product by overcoming each of these hurdles.



camera: How about your time table? When we will see a first film camera under the brand of Pentax arriving on the market? Which one will be the first and what will follow?


TKO: We’re doing our best to launch the analog cameras as soon as possible, but it will take time to clear all the difficult technical issues involved.

That’s why we decided as our first step to focus on the development of a compact camera. We want it to be a camera that younger users can use in a relaxed and fun way. At the same time, we do plan to incorporate technologies that can then be used in future models, such as a lever-type, hand-winding mechanism. We may be able to apply this mechanism to a film-format SLR camera in the future. We are thinking ahead about future models as we focus on the development of our first analog compact camera.



camera: The film market, especially for color films, is dominated by one company. Is this a problematic situation for the star of your project? Do you see any future changes in this market?


TKO: The film market is very important to us. Even if we develop a new analog camera, however, it won’t necessarily solve this issue and help to stabilize the film market. We hope that this project will start up a new process, even if it is a minor step. and have an influence on film-related businesses and organizations. We feel that, in the end, this will help start a new trend in which the entire camera industry decides to provide a new platform for the market, and particularly for younger users.

We are delighted that there are so many supporters, including both businesses and photographers, who understand and are backing this project. We truly feel that we have partners across the globe.



camera: Please describe the typical way you work on a new project like this analog camera. Which are the most important steps until your camera will be finished?


TKO: We’re listening to the voices of users in different markets and are looking for the ideas that only PENTAX can achieve.

Our Film Project was made possible because people who are interested in analog cameras shared their ideas and expectations with us. Fortunately, social media is popular today, and this was very helpful. We would very much appreciate it if people would continue to send us their ideas and opinions about analog cameras. We’re looking at their ideas and opinions every day as we proceed with this project. We hope that they will continue to upload their comments, as all of us watch the project’s progress together. We believe that eventually it will start a new trend in the development of modern analog cameras. I really look forward to seeing this happen.

We would like to thank the editors of Magazin "camera" (www.camera-mag.de) for allowing us to print the interview from the first issue in full.



Meet the photograper

Photography as it is currently practised provides us with image results that are heavily dependent on a camera sensor and the film simulation or image processing used. Concentration on the subject and creative design options often take a back seat when shooting. However, it is precisely the creative options that begin with the choice of film that fascinate young people in particular. The camera technology takes a back seat and the process of photography takes centre stage.


Here we present photographers and their thoughts on analogue photography.

If you would like to share your thoughts with us, please send us a message.



Karin Majoka -

Photographer from Münster / Germany


We had the opportunity to meet Karin Majoka. She is known in the worldwide community of analogue photographers through her YouTube channel, where she keeps her followers up to date on analogue photography as an absolute specialist. A Pentax MX was the cornerstone of her analogue passion, which she now pursues with various cameras.

Karin, what fascinates you about film photography?
What fascinates me the most about film is that it is tangible material: it is physical, tactile, organic, and not just data compound of ones and zeros. This makes film surprising and unpredictable at times. It has a life of its own adds another dimension to the sometimes predictable and technical side of photography. I am also fascinated by the power of film to influence the whole process of shooting. With film you are forced to be patient. You don’t get instant gratification, but you need to finish the roll, develop and either print or scan the film before being able to review the pictures. This creates an interesting balance of distance and closeness to the images I have taken: due to the effort I put in, I am a bit more particular and selective about what I shoot and make sure the composition and exposure is how I envision it before pressing the shutter. It's makes me feel closer and more connected to my subjects while simultaneously creating a temporal distance before seeing the outcome which helps to let me see the images with novel eyes.


What are your favourite subjects?

What I love about photography is that it is so versatile and readily accessible in almost all situations in contrast to other forms of art such as painting. Thus, I like to make use of this advantage and have a camera with me wherever I go - which makes everyday life photography one of my most favourite subjects. I am very drawn to human interactions and interpersonal dynamics which probably is why most of my photography touches upon these topics in one way or another. Street photography and portraits might be the obvious subjects I enjoy, but I also try to explore traces of human behavior through urban landscapes and liminal spaces



©Karin Majoka

©Karin Majoka

©Karin Majoka

©Karin Majoka

©Karin Majoka

©Karin Majoka

We had also opportunity to met Kensaku Hopf @kensaku.hopf who, in addition to his great interest in skateboarding, is a passionate photographer with a PENTAX MX.


Kensaku, take us with you, what fascinates you about photographing with film?


For me, the joy of film lies primarily in the process. I enjoy photographing intuitively, paying less attention to the settings of my camera. The straightforward operation of a film camera makes it easier for me to fully concentrate on my eye. I keep things simple and make do with what I have. As a result, I feel like I don't need to focus on the camera but rather let my eye roam freely. The essential aspect is the decisive moment, not the "perfectly" exposed image. Therefore, I mainly photograph on the streets, capturing what seems interesting to me. This way, I turn the experiences I capture on the streets into memories. The beauty of it is that these memories gain a nostalgic quality, reminding me of those moments each time. It takes a bit longer for the exposed films to be developed, but that's precisely what fascinates me about analogue photography. My goal is not to produce something quickly but rather to be present in the moment.



Kensaku Hopf -

Photographer from Berlin / Germany


©Kensaku Hopf

©Kensaku Hopf

©Kensaku Hopf

©Kensaku Hopf

©Kensaku Hopf

©Kensaku Hopf

How to start

If you want to get started with analogue photography, you will find a wide range of old equipment on the second-hand market.

Even though many cameras, such as the PENTAX MX, consist mainly of mechanical components, exposure control and shutter are a major challenge.

This is why shops such as www.nationphoto.com in Paris, www.clickundsurr.de in Berlin or www.khrome.de in Hamburg, which not only sell everything to do with analogue photography, even have their own department, some of which go to great lengths to restore old cameras.


But the proportion of defective cameras is very high, and the options for repairing old cameras are very limited. This is why the step of developing a new film camera is very important. This allows photographers to have confidence in the function of the camera and to be certain that they can get spare parts for repairs if the worst comes to the worst.




Join us on a journey into the fascination of analogue photography, register for the newsletter now and stay up to date on the "Film Project"...