Ricoh Imaging Americas has become the new official distributor for Kenko branded photography accessories, a brand which usually sees its name tied along with Tokina.
Tokina and Kenko merged back in 2011 and while the two brands both service the photography market, they don’t always overlap when it comes to branding. Tokina lenses, for example, don’t carry the Kenko name while Kenko filters don’t carry the Tokina name.
Additionally, while Tokina lenses are relatively available in the United States — Adorama lists almost 300 products that bear the Tokina name — Kenko photo accessories are far less common.
For example, in 2022 Kenko announced a new set of filters, called the ZXII, which it claimed were the flattest ever produced and were capable of eliminating nearly all distortion. Kenko explained that in most cases, filter glass is clipped inside a metal frame in a way that holds it in place by exerting permanent pressure onto the glass through direct contact. The company says this causes the glass surface to become distorted, and that as a result image quality is worsened.
That sounds great and while these filters were available in Japan, finding them in the United States is a lot more difficult. Outside of finding an importer, it was basically impossible.
Ricoh is looking to change that and will bring a wide range of Kenko filters and photo accessories to the U.S. market starting this month. The ZXII filters are on the list of products it intends to distribute as are a series of other filters and adapters. Below is the full list:
- ZXII PROTECTOR
- ZXII UVL41
- BLACK MIST No.05
- BLACK MIST No.1
- PRO1D SMART MC UV
- PRO1D SMART C-PL
- PRO1D SMART Variable NDX 3-450
- PRO1D+ INSTANT ACTION PROTECTOR
- PRO1D+ INSTANT ACTION PROTECTOR SET
- PRO1D+ INSTANT ACTION UVL41
- PRO1D+ INSTANT ACTION UVL41 SET
- PRO1D+ INSTANT ACTION C-PL
- PRO1D+ INSTANT ACTION C-PL SET
- PRO1D+ INSTANT ACTION ADAPTER
- PRO1D+ INSTANT ACTION VARIABLE NDX3-450+ C-PL
- PRO1D+ INSTANT ACTION VARIABLE NDX3-450+ C-PL SET
- PRO1D+ INSTANT ACTION CONVERSION RING
- PRO1D+ INSTANT ACTION C-UP LENS No.1
- PRO1D+ INSTANT ACTION C-UP LENS No.2
- PRO1D+ INSTANT ACTION C-UP LENS No.3
- PRO1D+ INSTANT ACTION C-UP LENS No.4
- INSTANT ACT C-UP No. 1&3 SET
Obviously Kenko Tokina already distributes in the United States, so it’s not clear why the company didn’t choose to add its line of filters into that equation. Ricoh, however, explains why it decided to get involved.
“Kenko makes high-quality optical filters, and we see this as an opportunity for Ricoh Imaging to provide new offerings to our customers, while making Kenko filters available in the U.S.,” Ken Curry, president of the Ricoh Imaging Americas Corporation tells PetaPixel.
“As we’ve seen this year, there’s a renewed interest in digital camera photography among Gen Z and younger generations, and we’re excited to offer high-quality accessories to help a new generation learn the art and science of photography and develop their styles.”
Update 10/2: Added a statement from Ricoh.