More than just a shot in the darkroom


(Image credit: Zigmar Stein / Shutterstock)

Pentax has made some of the best film cameras ever – and now the classic brand could be making a comeback thanks to a new film camera project launched by its parent company, Ricoh.

Ricoh has launched a new ‘Film Camera Project’ that will involve the “research and development of new Pentax-brand film camera products”. If you spent your formative photography years with a Pentax K1000 (above), or just fancy experimenting with the tactile joys of 35mm film, that’s potentially very exciting news indeed.

Before you start building a darkroom in your shed, there are a couple of caveats. First, the project is currently at the toe-dipping stage and Ricoh’s statements are a little contradictory. For example, Ricoh President and CEO Noboru Akahane says, “I want to stress that this announcement does not mean we will release new film cameras”.

Fortunately, that appears to be more a note of caution about the project’s difficulty than an absence of ambition. In a launch video (opens in new tab) (below), Ricoh Product Planner Takeo Suzuki has laid out a roadmap for the film camera project. “We plan to market not one but a series of film cameras,” he says. 

“First, we’ll develop a compact film camera. Then while reviewing a range of technologies, we’ll move on to develop a high-end compact model, an SLR model, and finally and hopefully, a fully-mechanical SLR camera”, Suzuki adds. While the latter could be a while off, the aim for the first camera will be to produce a film model with a “solid warranty” that “comes at an affordable price for younger users”.

That earlier note of caution, then, is simply because the company is still in the early stages of discovering how viable new film cameras actually are. As Akahane explains: “We also know how difficult it will be to restart the production of film cameras long after production was terminated. In fact, we’re only at the starting line right now”.

Still, the intention is very clear – Ricoh and Pentax will “begin research into developing new Pentax-brand film camera products”. And that could potentially result in a new film camera and aftercare services. But why? The project is more than a misguided exercise in nostalgia – given the recent resurgence in film photography, it makes sense for a few reasons.

On a roll

First, film cameras have seen a resurgence in recent years. The evidence for this is more anecdotal and cultural than it is statistical, as there’s very little data on global film camera sales today. But the effect can be seen in the sky-rocketing cost of buying film itself – a pack of Kodak Portra 400 (opens in new tab), for example, now costs over twice as much as it did three years ago, and it’s a similar story with Fujifilm’s color film.

This is partly a result of Kodak and Fujifilm both underestimating future demand, leading to shortages that have been exacerbated by supply chain issues. But independent factories are now rising up to fill the gaps, and when the ‘Pentax Film Project’ is further down the road the picture should (hopefully) be a lot healthier.

Film cameras themselves are also increasingly popular, as Ricoh and Pentax have noted in their project. According to Ricoh, this is true “especially among younger generations, who are “taking photos with film cameras, developing the film, and then uploading images in digitalized form to social media sites without making final prints”.

But the problem with old film cameras is that they’re, well, old. This means mechanical parts like the shutter can break, or they need servicing from a dwindling number of specialist technicians. While it’s very early days, this new project promises to make owning film cameras a smoother experience, including after-sales service.

The final reason why Ricoh and Pentax project makes sense is that there’s no real competition, particularly from any brands with Pentax’s heritage. The company was at the heart of Japanese film camera innovation from the 1950s, introducing trailblazers like the Pentax Spotmatic in 1960, which offered TTL (through-the-lens) metering for the first time so you didn’t have to carry around a separate light meter.

While it’s unclear whether we could ultimately see a reborn version of the much-loved Pentax K1000 SLR, the ‘Film Camera Project’ is definitely one to watch if you’re keen to join the resurgence of 35mm film cameras.

TechRadar Newsletter

Sign up to get breaking news, reviews, opinion, analysis and more, plus the hottest tech deals!

By submitting your information you agree to the Terms & Conditions (opens in new tab) and Privacy Policy (opens in new tab) and are aged 16 or over.

Mark Wilson

Cameras editor

Mark is the Cameras Editor at TechRadar. Having worked in tech journalism for a ludicrous 17 years, Mark is now attempting to break the world record for the number of camera bags hoarded by one person. He was previously Cameras Editor at Trusted Reviews, Acting editor on, as well as Features editor and Reviews editor on Stuff magazine. As a freelancer, he’s contributed to titles including The Sunday Times, FourFourTwo and Arena. And in a former life, he also won The Daily Telegraph’s Young Sportswriter of the Year. But that was before he discovered the strange joys of getting up at 4am for a photo shoot in London’s Square Mile. 


This Tiny MSI PC is Packed With Power

MSI Following the example set by the Mac Mini, many Windows-powered compact PCs have popped up recently with solid hardware. If none have quite caught your eye, though, maybe this PC by MSI will. MSI has just released a new tiny PC called the Cubi 5 12M, and it’s ...

View more: This Tiny MSI PC is Packed With Power

Logitech’s New Colorful Keyboards and Mice Look Great

Logitech Logitech makes some of the best keyboards and best mice around, and you might be familiar with the company’s RGB-packed gaming products. These new peripherals are really packed with color, but we’re not really talking about lights. Logitech has announced a range of new colors for a bunch ...

View more: Logitech’s New Colorful Keyboards and Mice Look Great

“Part of the Journey Is the End;” Marvel’s Avengers Seems to be Shutting Down

Whether it be purely the lackluster quality of the game or the general distaste for live service games, Marvel’s Avengers never truly found its footing in the two years since it was released. Despite the fact that both the Marvel and Avengers labels should guarantee a happy, comic-lover audience, ...

View more: “Part of the Journey Is the End;” Marvel’s Avengers Seems to be Shutting Down

Satechi Thunderbolt 4 Slim Hub review: A sleek and portable laptop hub

Thunderbolt 4 docks are now much more widely available, meaning that it’s much easier to get a high speed dock that works with your laptop. But unfortunately, while they’re relatively widely available now, they’re still quite expensive. Thankfully, however, that price seems to now be coming down a little through ...

View more: Satechi Thunderbolt 4 Slim Hub review: A sleek and portable laptop hub

Wi-Fi routers are being hit by a dangerous new Android malware with extra DNS hacks

With the DNS changed, users are redirected to malicious pages

View more: Wi-Fi routers are being hit by a dangerous new Android malware with extra DNS hacks

Servant unleashes a bed bug blitz [Apple TV+ recap]

Just when you thought things couldn't get any worse … bed bugs! Photo: Apple TV+ Dorothy is back in the bizarre Turner household this week on Apple TV+ thriller Servant — and she’s not happy to be home. Leanne insists on normalcy, but considering the things that have happened, ...

View more: Servant unleashes a bed bug blitz [Apple TV+ recap]

Hostinger quietly shutters Zyro to focus on Hostinger Website Builder service

Will Zyro website builder still exist soon?

View more: Hostinger quietly shutters Zyro to focus on Hostinger Website Builder service

Redmi Note 12 Turbo Tipped to get Snapdragon 7-series SoC

The Xiaomi Redmi Note 12 Series arrived in China and India last year. With that being said, we might see another offering in the Redmi Note series phone in the coming months where it will be powered by the Snapdragon 7-series chipset onboard. The information comes from a notable ...

View more: Redmi Note 12 Turbo Tipped to get Snapdragon 7-series SoC

Avatar 2 animators tricked James Cameron into believing some shots were practical

Super Bowl 2023 live stream: how to watch the game, commercials and halftime show from anywhere

The Minecraft Community Answers the Age-old Question: “Can it Run Doom?”

Mark Hamill Hints That His Time as the Joker Is Over

Deadpool joins Marvel's Midnight Suns next week, adding new story missions

Chic-Fil-A’s Training Program Apparently Features a Familiar Fallout Face

Nintendo is reportedly increasing Switch production ahead of Breath of the Wild 2

Ex-Halo dev believes those who pushed for a better game ‘got laid off for it’

There are two clear winners in the PSVR 2 launch lineup

A nuclear-powered data center is opening this year

Anker’s New Monitor Stand Doubles as an All-In-One Docking Station

Naked Elden Ring Player Counter’s Placidusax’ Attack With Chaotic Results


Top Car News Car News