Konica-Minolta to exit camera/photo market

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Chip NoVaMac, Jan 19, 2006.

  1. macrumors G3

    Chip NoVaMac

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    #1
    Just as in the 1980's when we had a consolidation of the camera/photo market, that trend is now upon us in 2006.

    The news is here for a full read:

    http://www.dpreview.com/news/0601/06011901konicaminoltaout.asp

    Good news is that it appears that Sony will continue the KM mount DSLR system under the Sony name. And I guess some will look at that as the bad news also.

    Shame is that the 5400 II film scanner is a casualty in this news.
     
  2. macrumors newbie

    Yogurt

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    #2
    i personally dont like sony's product at all. they do everything but nothing they do really comes out to the top...
     
  3. macrumors 68020

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    #3
    Wow, this is a shocker. I've been a Minolta user for 20 years.

    I have to say, though, I'm glad they cut a deal with Sony. Mainly because it's a solid company. Sure, their products may not always be winners, but I look at them as being a bit like Apple in some ways (so is Minolta). At least my lenses will keep working
     
  4. macrumors regular

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    #4
    That is disappointing. I've got a Minolta SLR and had been looking at the 5D as a starter DSLR. Hmmm . . . guess it's back to the Nikon vs. Canon fray. :(
     
  5. Moderator emeritus

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    #5
    Well, it's about time. So much mediocrity that the two companies had to merge and that still didn't stop their slide into nowhere. It sounds about right that Sony will pick up their camera line--they're strong on mediocrity, too.

    Too bad about the film scanners, though, because they were the only great products in the portfolio.
     
  6. macrumors 6502a

    geese

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    #6
    'Tis a shocker- shouldn't sadden me but it does. My dad still uses his 35mm 'compact' from 1984. Works just as good as new, even if does look vintage. Almost the size of an SLR body, with its main feature being 'Automatic Focus'!. I remember taking it on a school trip, and all the other boys taking the Michael out of me for having such an ancient camera. "how many shillings did it cost'!

    And that was 10 years ago! Still going strong today.
     
  7. macrumors regular

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    #7
    Maybe Minolta will allow Pentax or someone else to produce a DSRL with the old manual focus MD/MC mount, a nice $750 8MP DSLR for all that great old glass still floating around.
     
  8. macrumors 6502a

    kwajo.com

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    #8
    you know there are other manufacturers right? Pentax for one is top notch, and Olympus also make very good cameras still. please don't get sucked in by the Canon/Nikon madness!
     
  9. macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

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    #9
    Haha, I didn't even know Sony made DSLRs. I thought they only made those huge zoom cameras that are similar to DSLRs, but "not." But I guess Sony cameras will get a bit better now. That "R1" camera they have now is supposed to be quite good, but not a DSLR.
     
  10. macrumors newbie

    Yogurt

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    #10
    but i see the trend that Mobile phones with cameras will take over the whole digital cameras in maybe 3-5 yrs...

    in terms of SLRs, you may see some tourists on the street with their mobile phones attached with a hugh lense by 2015.

    :D
     
  11. thread starter macrumors G3

    Chip NoVaMac

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    #11
    Possible (but don't know about huge lenses on mobile phones though IMO). Just as in the 80's there was a giant shift from hard to use 35mm SLR and pocket RF cameras to the AF 35mm easy to use point and shoots, we are seeing a shift that will leave some names missing from the landscape of camera manufacturers.
     
  12. macrumors 68020

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    #12
    They don't make DSLRs, which is why they bought Minolta's line of cameras. There's an entry barrier, because there's an installed base of users with particular lenses. Canon and Nikon have those, and people tend to stick with the same company because they've inveseted in teh lenses (which are much more expensive than teh camera typically).

    So, Sony wanted to get into DSLRs, but if they tried from scratch, it would be quite tough since high-end users wouldn't want to sell all their nikon/canon lenses just to buy sony lenses. So instead, they get access to the 16m minolta lenses, and will supply digital bodies going forward so people can use those lenses. they also get credibility in the prosumer market because it's basically minolta cameras that they'll be producing for a while.
     
  13. macrumors 68020

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    #13
    I don't see that at all. Maybe for point and shoots. But even then do you want to be at a party and run your phone out of juice taking a lot of flash photos? I doubt it. So there will still be separate uses.

    Once you add lenses like SLRs have, there's no reason that the body needs to be phone sized. And there's just no way to get the photo quality of an SLR packed into a tiny cell phone, with a fixed-focus lens with fixed Depth of field. There's a reason top photographers want big lenses. it vastly improves image quality and flexibility. Sure you can take good pictues with a point and shoot, but you can do a lot more with an SLR
     
  14. macrumors 6502

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    #14
    I think that this is pretty bad news

    The 7D replacement was rumoured to be coming this summer. Though I guess it will be interesting to see what Sony come out with.
     
  15. macrumors 68020

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    #15

    The 7D replacement, maybe with a Sony label on it instead.

    BTW, all I need now is for Apple to buy out sony, and then we're so happy together!
     
  16. macrumors demi-goddess

    Clix Pix

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    #16
    I was so sad, but not really surprised, to read this news.....years and years ago, my very first SLR was a Minolta. Eventually, when I had the money and also had developed my skills a bit, I moved on to a Nikon (N90) and haven't looked back since, but I do remember that Minolta with great fondness.

    OTB
     
  17. macrumors 604

    Lacero

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    #17
    I have never used any Konica/Minolta film or products in my entire life. It has always been Kodak. Brand loyalty seems very high in this industry and I think the push from Kodak into the digital space, even though they tripped, means Konica has little chance of success in this new market. Oh well.

    Here's to the Crazy Ones [​IMG]
     
  18. macrumors G3

    Counterfit

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    #18
    My father and I both have Minolta SRT-101s. (Mine used to belong to my grandfather (his father-in-law).) Supposedly, they have great light meters (which doesn't help if you can't SEE the lollipop-and-stick :rolleyes: ), and they're fully mechanical, although I could probably find a drive booster if I searched long/hard enough.

    Of course, I was just thinking last night about the Sony R1, and how if Sony really wanted the pro market, they'd have to develop/buy an interchangeable lens system and probably skip using EVF. Lo and behold they did just that.
    Unfortunately, it means the end of Konica film and paper (not sure if I should be sad about that, as I think I've only used Fuji and Kodak), and their film scanners (much more affordable than the Nikons). Well, I hope my Minolta doesn't break anytime soon. :(
     
  19. thread starter macrumors G3

    Chip NoVaMac

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    #19
    Right you are. Given that the deal with Sony ws inked in July, I can't think that Konica did not have an idea that they would not exit the market. They deserve credit in trying to help their faithful users.

    Now that would be great news, but IMO I don't think it will happen. Nationalistic issues and market issues are at play here.

    Keep in mind though that Apple was one of the first with a "consumer" digital camera with the Quicktake 100....

    LOL, my first SLR (OK my second after some issues with the Petri FTe SLR) was the SRT100. I just wish I knew what became of my uncle's SR1.

    If they wanted the true SLR market, they could have done it. Now they are sort of forced into. For the KM mount owners this is good news.

    This is the sad part. Konica made some good color films. And they made once a year a truly great IR BW film. And their color chemical paper was no slouch either.

    Add to the demise of the scanners are the Minolta meters. It is a sad time. Only to get sadder after the passing of Bronica in 2005, and who knows who else in 2006.
     
  20. macrumors G3

    Counterfit

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    #20
    It would have been quite an undertaking for Sony to get people to switch from Canon/Nikon, although the supposedly great image quality of the R1 (and the Zeiss lens, which certainly doesn't hurt ;)) would have gone quite a ways in helping them to that end. Perhaps they would have partnered with CZ to make lenses. It's all moot now anyway.
    Does anyone make a good IR film currently?

    A medium format company went under? :eek:
    I'm surprised it wasn't Seagull :rolleyes: Too bad about the meters going away too :(
     
  21. thread starter macrumors G3

    Chip NoVaMac

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    #21
    Sometimes it is about getting people to switch; mostly IMO it is about capturing new users for these manufacturers. Getting someone to switch means giving them something that can not be had under their current brand of ownership.

    In the Nikon/Canon debate it is about Canon offering 1.6x, 1.3x and 1x field of view factors. For some it is the HS crop that Nikon offers on the D2X. In the case of Olympus it is the potential promise of dust free images, and for the pro shooters their new line of 2.0 and 2.8 lenses.

    The ugly truth about the names behind the lenses is that they may not be made by the the people you think they are. It is a branding exercise in some cases.

    Look at the recent announcement by Samsung with their Pentax inspired DSLR. According to DPR the Schnieder lenses on the Samsung are exact copies of what Pentax has already been offering. Time will tell if we see a Sony DSLR with a 11-18mm with the CZ name on it. The current Konica-Minolta 11-18 lens is the same basic lens that Tamron is offering.

    The truth is that for "popularly" priced lenses, camera manufactures are hard pressed to meet the pricing demands of the consumer. So they will go to the likes of Tamron, Sigma, and others to produce these lenses.

    Think of the auto industry that uses their primarily Asian affiliates to help build affordable entry level vehicles. The profits for auto makers is in uniquely American vehicles like the SUV's. Same for Nikon or Canon.

    The thing about marketing agreements is that companies like CZ, Schneider , and Leica have a stake in what is put out their with their name on it. So far based on DPR reviews, Leica seems to have the greatest sway with Panasonic on what is put out there. Not to say the others are not good, but as the lenses go, Panasonic with Leica lenses has always gotten top reviews.

    AFAIK, Kodak is the last company doing IR film. It is a shame since the Konica offering had people lined up for the once a year production their IR film.

    I know what you mean. Your sarcasm was not lost on me. The end of Bronica meant more to those that wanted MF on a budget. Contax was lost last year too. That leaves Hassleblad and Mamiya. And both of these are trying hard to move to digital.

    Hassleblad killed off for the most part their V series line, the traditional 501 series. And now are focusing more on their H series MF, and their X series panoramic 35mm cameras. Until late last year Mamiya struggled to bring their ZD digital series to market. At least now the ZD is shipping in Japan, and this Spring in the US.

    For those of us that have either followed or used MF digital cameras, it is sad to see the passing of Bronica. IMO their RF645 was a perfect platform for MF digital.

    Some may question the discussion of P&S vs APSC vs full frame (35mm) vs MF sized sensors for digital. Why does it make a difference? First off, if you take 10mp in any of the above formats, the more densely you pack the same info in the megapixel space, the noisier the image will be at any given ISO. Then you have field of view (FOV) and depth of field (DOF) factors.

    FOV is what you see at a given focal length at a given distance. In 35mm photography, 50mm is consider normal. In MF it is consider to about 80mm. In APSC is about 30mm. For some P&S digital cameras it might be 12mm.

    With DOF the laws of optics are "generally" consistent. Meaning that if you have a 50mm focal length focused at 10 feet at an aperture of 2.8, you will get the same DOF regardless of the format you shoot in. I say generally, since there is another factor in figuring DOF, and that is circle of confusion - which I will not even try to explain here (sorry :) ).

    DOF plays a part in separating your subject from the background. Smaller sensors require shorter focal lengths that in the end give greater DOF. For many consumers this is a great benefit. For others that learned photography with 35mm and MF cameras (like I have), this is sore point. It never ceases to amaze me when picking up a MF camera with a 80mm lens at 2.8 at how the background disappears.

    This is one of the reasons that you see so many waxing on and on about the Canon EOS 5D. For most of us are more familiar to the 35mm over the MF. In the end it is about DOF.

    Sorry about the photography lesson tonight. But we also have the issue of perspective. Longer focal lengths "compress" the perspective. This is one of the reasons we are "wowed" by some older photographs of buildings, compared to what we tried to photograph.

    About the Seagull MF cameras. We sometimes look at things from an American or European view. Meaning we have the money to buy what ever we want. KOdak and others realize there are emerging markets like China and others that photography is a new and interesting past time. But they don't have the money to make the jump to digital just yet.

    Add to that, there are those that want to hold on to "old tech" for as long as they can. Also for those that realize there is a true difference between film and digital.

    As to meters, it seems that Gossen and Sekonic are the only ones left. Though it does give pause to the Sekonic brand. I had someone in the last few years tell me that the "konic" in Sekonic was a nod to Konica. Don't know if this true or not.
     
  22. macrumors G3

    Counterfit

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    #22
    Actually, I was genuinely surprised that one of the "higher" (a.k.a. non-Seagull-esque) MF companies went under. I also hadn't heard about Contax. What about Rollei? Someone has to be around for all the other TLR companies (Seagull) to copy. :(
     
  23. thread starter macrumors G3

    Chip NoVaMac

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    #23
    Rollei is still around. Though they might be headed, if not already in the same vein as the Leica 35mm RF cameras; meaning only for those that can afford the Hummer's and the McMansions.

    Film quality will cost us more for those of us that know the difference....
     
  24. macrumors 65816

    whocares

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    #24
    Long post to edit ;)

    Good point you made there. Zeiss is now "making" MF lenses for the Nikon F mount (link). However, they seem to be manufactured in Japan by Cosina. I'm not commenting on quality here - I'm not qualified for that, just pointing out the tricks of marketing :eek: ;)
     
  25. macrumors newbie

    Yogurt

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    #25
    Point and shoot is definitely going well with mobile phones. i am based in the UK, and remember when the London boming happened, all pics/videos on the TV are from camera phones. with some good camera phones on the market now, day to day pic can be achieved with phones like Sharp 903 or the new Samsung with 8MP camera, even good enough for printing. as i did mention on the other post, that Nokia have a section on their site www.seenew.com where you can find photos taken by proper photographers with Nokia N90. the quality is not bad at all.

    obviously not good enough for proper commercial use but otherwise, SLRs will be out of the business.

    also, i would like to add that size is not everything. remember when our first mainframe computer was invented, who would believe in a PDA phone with 400mhz processor and 128 memory? so i see no reason why not to believe one day compact (size wise) cameras or camera phones taking over the whole SLR in maybe 10-15 yrs ! !
     

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