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Pentax Intros K-x d-SLR

New York
– Pentax used the launch of its latest entry-level d-SLR, the K-x, to update
its retailers and the industry on its ongoing reorganization.

The company-wide changes, dubbed The Plan, covers a wide range of
policy shifts, including improving retailer relations, getting a better handle
on inventory control, and having more discipline when it comes to product
development and the company’s finances, said Bill Zani, Pentax’s sales and
marketing VP.

Many of the changes were spurred by the executive team at Hoya,
which bought Petnax in 2007, Zani said. The financial adjustments centered on
focusing on operating profit and have already had an impact, and Ned Bunnell,
Pentax’s president, said the company expects to at least break even for its
fiscal year, which will end in March 2010. He called this a major
accomplishment considering the current economic climate.

“We have a new MAP policy and will now only sell through
authorized dealers,” Zani said. “We want responsible sellers, and we want our
customers to be partners in our endeavor.”

Pentax also promised to alter the way it does business with its

“The days of Pentax expecting a seller to go through 13 weeks of
product in one day are over,” Zani said.

Pentax will also increase its public relations, marketing and
advertising efforts and, with input from Hoya, has updated the approach used to
bring products to market.

Bunnel cited the case of the companies K-2000 d-SLR. Pentax
wanted to conduct focus groups nationwide to measure the interest in a white-bodied
version, but Hoya executives said to simply build several thousand and see how
they sell. The suggestion paid off and Bunnell said the company learned much
more from watching who bought the cameras and where they were purchased then
could have been gleaned from focus groups.

Many of these lessons were carried over to the company’s latest
introduction, the K-x.

The $549.95 K-x is a 12.4-megapixel camera that is a follow-up
model to the Pentax K2000, the company said. The camera is based on a CMOS
sensor and has a 2.7-inch LCD that features live view, face detection auto focus,
contrast and phase difference.

The camera has 720p HD video capture capability at 24 fps through
the camera’s 35mm lens.

The camera is being positioned as a gateway product for consumers
new to the d-SLR category, Bunnell said.

It will ship in October, although pre-orders are now being
accepted. The K-x will come with several color choices, white, black and limited-edition
red and navy models will also be offered.

The K-x will be available in three configurations:

*a single-lens kit with a Pentax DA L 18-55mm lens for $649;

*a twin-lens kit that includes the Pentax DA L 18-55mm lens and a
DA L 55-200 zoom lens for $749; and

*a twin-lens kit that includes the Pentax DA L 18-55mm lens and a
DA L 55-300 zoom lens for $849.