The Pentax brand originated in a company founded in 1919 under the name Asahi Kogaku Goshi Kaisha (Asahi Optical Joint Stock Co.) to make lenses for spectacles. This company introduced the first ever Japanese 35mm SLR (Asahiflex I) in 1952, and enjoyed great success in the 1970ies with its Pentax Spotmatic SLR-series. Its first digital camera, the EI-C90, was introduced in 1997.
The company was renamed Pentax Corporation in 2002, after its camera brand.
Various optical products, including spectacle lenses, DSLRs, compact cameras and the 645D, a 40 megapixel medium format SLR system still carries the Pentax brand.
Since 2011, the Pentax camera business has been a subsidiary of Ricoh.