Pentax is a brand name used primarily by Ricoh Imaging Company for cameras, sport optics including binoculars andrifle scopes and CCTV optics. The brand is also used by Hoya Corporation for medical products & services TI Asahi for surveying instruments and Seiko Optical Products for certain optical lenses.
The company was founded as Asahi Kogaku Goshi Kaisha in November 1919 by Kumao Kajiwara, at a shop in theToshima suburb of Tokyo, and began producing spectacle lenses which it still manufactures.In 1938 it changed its name to Asahi Optical Co., Ltd and by this time it was also manufacturing camera/cine lenses. In the lead-up to World War II, Asahi Optical devoted much of its time to fulfilling military contracts for optical instruments. At the end of the war Asahi Optical was disbanded by the occupying powers, being allowed to re-form in 1948. The company resumed its pre-war activities, manufacturing binoculars and consumer camera lenses for Konishiroku and Chiyoda Kōgaku Seikō (later Konica and Minolta respectively).
Early 1950s to 2007
The period around 1950 marked the return of the Japanese photographic industry to the vigorous level of the late 1930s, and its emergence as a major exporter. The newly reborn industry had sold many of its cameras to the occupation forces (having had far more disposable income than the Japanese) and they were well received. TheKorean War saw a huge influx of journalists and photographers to the Far East, where they were impressed by lenses from companies such as Nikon and Canon for their Leica rangefinder cameras, and also by bodies by these and other companies to supplement and replace the Leica and Contax cameras they were using.
In December 2006, Pentax started the process of merging with Hoya Corporation to form ‘Hoya Pentax HD Corporation.Hoya’s primary goal was to strengthen its medical-related business by taking advantage of Pentax’s technologies