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Old Thursday 19th January 2006, 17:05   #1
QuantumTiger
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Konica Minolta to withdraw from Camera Market

A very sad day.

See the following Article on DP Review
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Old Friday 20th January 2006, 00:30   #2
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Originally Posted by QuantumTiger
A very sad day.

See the following Article on DP Review
This could be a very positive thing for us. While it does suck that KM is pulling out, Sony will bring lots and lots of new options to our tables. I hope PMA will answer our questions...C & N execs. may be quivering in their offices right now...My Maxxum 7D still works perfectly.
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Old Friday 20th January 2006, 01:53   #3
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Sony woild be pretty close to my last choice as the new owner of the proud Minolta heritage. Sony is a firm that has become fat and bloated and distracted by its massive content holdings and is now very much on the way down as a hardware innovator. Instead of a focus on customer satisfaction, we have naked selfishness and greed (remember the rootkit scandal?); instead of genuine innovation, we get self-serving quirkiness to the customer's disadvantage (idiot notions like the propritary Memory Stick instead of industry standards like CF).

It is a very sad day.

Thankfully, that other grand old name of the camera industry, Pentax, is in partnership with a company heading in the other direction - up - Samsung. It will take a few years, but it is reasonable to expect some very good cameras from the Samsung - Pentax partnership.
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Old Friday 20th January 2006, 02:18   #4
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Will the Minolta Activa line of binoculars continue?

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Old Friday 20th January 2006, 02:24   #5
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How sad, Minolta just couldn't keep up I guess... My first AF SLR was a Minolta Maxxum 5, a smashing camera, most bang for the buck of any 35mm SLR I've ever seen.

The last company I'd choose to buy out Minolta would be Sony... IMO Sony's all about proprietary media, formats, storage and hardware, all about the $$$ and nothing else.
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Old Friday 20th January 2006, 09:56   #6
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It's a competitive world out there! Minolta don't seem to have been able to keep up - by the time they finally got round to bringing out a DSLR they had probably lost a lot of business to their competitors.

They're anti-shake system within the body is a good idea but bird-photographers are not going to use it in droves for one simple reason - lenses. According to the Warehouse Express website they've discontinued the 300mmF4, 400mm F4.5 and the 100mm-400mm Apo-zoom, whilst the 300mmF2.8 and 600mm F4 lenses are £1000 more than the Canon equivalents!

Sony's high-end cameras now seem to have dual-slots for Memory Stick and Compact Flash cards so I would assume they'll do the same for any SLR they bring out (unlike the Nikon D50, for instance, which only has SD slot...)
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Old Friday 20th January 2006, 12:02   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Adey Baker
It's a competitive world out there! Minolta don't seem to have been able to keep up - by the time they finally got round to bringing out a DSLR they had probably lost a lot of business to their competitors.

They're anti-shake system within the body is a good idea but bird-photographers are not going to use it in droves for one simple reason - lenses.
It's a real shame - Minolta's cameras were real photographer's camera in terms of ergonmics and features. They were also a very inovative company. But your second point says it all. I went Canon largely on the basis of lens selection.
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Old Friday 20th January 2006, 15:20   #8
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Originally Posted by Tannin
Sony woild be pretty close to my last choice as the new owner of the proud Minolta heritage. Sony is a firm that has become fat and bloated and distracted by its massive content holdings and is now very much on the way down as a hardware innovator. Instead of a focus on customer satisfaction, we have naked selfishness and greed (remember the rootkit scandal?); instead of genuine innovation, we get self-serving quirkiness to the customer's disadvantage (idiot notions like the propritary Memory Stick instead of industry standards like CF).
I couldn't agree more!

I wonder how they will treat the intellectual property inherited from Minolta. OK, they may accept the Minolta mount and "AS" system, but I think their problem with DSLR will be image and branding. Even though Sony owns strong brands in consumer electronics and makes great CCD-sensors, I am afraid that the image of "Minolta lenses" in serious photography just can't compete with Canon, Nikon, Olympus or even Pentax. If they had chosen the Zeiss/Contax camp (or maybe Kyocera didn't sell the mount), their image would have had a higher profile - and could have persuaded some people to choose it instead of C, N etc. Now I think Sony just has to compete with price, and that is difficult to make profitably on a small market share. Anyway, let's hope the competition remains healthy.

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Old Friday 20th January 2006, 19:58   #9
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Sony have been looking to get into the DSLR market for a good while now, and this is the easy way in for them - simply "walk into" a going concern.

I imagine that this will worry the other DSLR manufacturers that currently use Sony sensors (everyone but Canon?) because it's not impossible that if Sony/Minolta actually make a good job of this, they might decide to stop selling sensors to their competitors.

They'd have to make a very good job of it of course, to make up for the loss of income if they did withdraw from the sensor supply market.

Conversely they could do it anyway as a way to kill the competition off - you can't make much of a camera without a sensor...
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Old Monday 23rd January 2006, 12:56   #10
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(everyone but Canon?)

Hi Keith

Interesting points you raise. I don't know if you intentionally or accidentally forgot to mention Fuji as a sensor maker.

I don't know how big the Fuji camera market is, but I currently think that their sensors are truly fantastic. They also make some average ones I admit. But the Compact F10 and the DSLR S3 pro to name but two, are probably the best available as I write (This is regarding sensitivity, noise, dynamic range, etc.).
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Old Monday 23rd January 2006, 13:17   #11
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People often talk about sensor manufacture as if it was a secret black art only practiced by a few select firms. I always wonder about this: after all, there is a heap of firms out there and many of them are very good indeed at semiconductor manufacturing. Seems to me that a firm smart enough to manufacture RAM and actually make money at it ought to be well and truly capable of making camera sensors - if they were interested in a market of such (small) size, that is. Actually, they might do better to make sensors for mobile phones than for SLRs - the potential market is vastly bigger (My tip: keep your eye on Samsung.)
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Old Tuesday 24th January 2006, 09:08   #12
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Hi guys,

yeah, I know about the other sensor manufacturers (even Samsung are producing them), but I'd anticipate that it would be a significant (short term?) problem for any of Sony's current sensor customers to have to start from scratch with another supplier.

Negotiating new contracts, quality assuring the alternatives, confirming fitness for purpose - maybe re-engineering in-house cicuit boards to accept the new CCD - all of these would be issues that camera manufacturers would surely prefer to avoid?
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Old Tuesday 24th January 2006, 10:07   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Keith Reeder
Hi guys,

yeah, I know about the other sensor manufacturers (even Samsung are producing them), but I'd anticipate that it would be a significant (short term?) problem for any of Sony's current sensor customers to have to start from scratch with another supplier.

Negotiating new contracts, quality assuring the alternatives, confirming fitness for purpose - maybe re-engineering in-house cicuit boards to accept the new CCD - all of these would be issues that camera manufacturers would surely prefer to avoid?
I would guess that any big name company using a third party for such a vital part of their camera would have the good sense to have a contract that would stop this from happening. It would be foolish to leave themselves in a situation where a part supplier could cause such problems and disruption.

Personally I'm sad to see this happen to Minolta, but also feel it has been coming for some time now. I'm another one who was using Minolta film cameras but then switched to another manufacturer when I went digital - Minolta just did not have a good enough option.
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Old Tuesday 24th January 2006, 11:07   #14
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I wouldn't doubt that there will be punative contractual arrangments in any contract between Sony and their customers if Sony choose to cease providing sensors.

But if Sony crunch the numbers and decide that the financial benefits to be gained from pulling the plug outweigh the compensation they'll have to pay for breach of contract - well, business is business..!

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Old Tuesday 24th January 2006, 11:38   #15
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If I remember correctly Contax (Zeiss/Yashica) tried an in-camera-AF several years ago with their film-SLRs. This made it possible to use any of their non-AF lenses and the camera body took care of focusing. The cameras were horribly fat, but the lenses also received some additional close focusing range. I wonder who "owns" this technology now, because it would actually work with digitals much more easily than it did with the film. As the Minolta "AS" already moves the sensor in X and Y directions, I wonder how much it would require from Sony to incorporate focusing (Z-direction movement) in this sensor. If this were possible at reasonable costs, you can think about possibilities: all the intelligence would be in the camera and it wouldn't practically require any communication between the lens and the camera. This could open markets for "compatible" cameras that can be adapted to use any lenses (new or old) from any manufacturer. It would be very nice to see some value in the old, well made optics.

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Old Tuesday 21st February 2006, 16:20   #16
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Rumors are starting to buzz about a whole new slew of high end lenses to be offered this summer by KM/Sony . Although it appears doubtful if there will be an announcement at PMA . The dpreview.com folks are getting excited...
Cheers.

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Old Thursday 23rd February 2006, 13:20   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PatT
Rumors are starting to buzz about a whole new slew of high end lenses to be offered this summer by KM/Sony . Although it appears doubtful if there will be an announcement at PMA . The dpreview.com folks are getting excited...
Cheers.

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I bet they are getting excited! It means that they will be getting a bunch of new advertisements on their site. I'd be getting excited too!
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Old Saturday 25th February 2006, 19:37   #18
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I bet they are getting excited! It means that they will be getting a bunch of new advertisements on their site. I'd be getting excited too!
I meant the people on the forum are getting excited...Anyway, Sony has their PMA press conference in 1 hour. Hopefully we'll get some insite on the future of the KM/Sony line.

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Old Sunday 26th February 2006, 11:45   #19
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Any more news on the Sony statement, Pat?
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Old Thursday 2nd March 2006, 01:37   #20
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Any more news on the Sony statement, Pat?

There are 2 theories right now. 1st is that Sony could talk after April 1st. That is the official take over date from KM. Some say they (Sony) may not be legally allowed to talk now.

The other is that Sony will not talk until summer 2006, a date that they said their first DSLR should be ready.

Oh, here's the latest info: "Sony now has access to finished technologies developed by Konica Minolta, as well as some stuff which has been on the drawing board for some time.

This unfinished stuff is, according to Sony, far more interesting then they had imagined."


That's the scoop as I see it (my $0.02). I'm keeping my fingers crossed...

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Old Sunday 19th March 2006, 12:19   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PatT
There are 2 theories right now. 1st is that Sony could talk after April 1st. That is the official take over date from KM. Some say they (Sony) may not be legally allowed to talk now.

The other is that Sony will not talk until summer 2006, a date that they said their first DSLR should be ready.

Oh, here's the latest info: "Sony now has access to finished technologies developed by Konica Minolta, as well as some stuff which has been on the drawing board for some time.

This unfinished stuff is, according to Sony, far more interesting then they had imagined."


That's the scoop as I see it (my $0.02). I'm keeping my fingers crossed...

Pat
KM/Sony have withdrawn all KM lenses from shops in Malaysia. Nothing will be available here till 'mid-April' though that's probably just a random time-frame the dealers use to pacify customers.

Have they done the same thing in other parts of the world or are new lenses still available? And my other question is - why would they do that?
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Old Tuesday 9th May 2006, 17:33   #22
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Talking

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave B
KM/Sony have withdrawn all KM lenses from shops in Malaysia. Nothing will be available here till 'mid-April' though that's probably just a random time-frame the dealers use to pacify customers.

Have they done the same thing in other parts of the world or are new lenses still available? And my other question is - why would they do that?
New camera bodies and 20 (yes 20) lenses to be announced on June 6, 2006.
Info is up on the Sony websites.

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Old Friday 2nd June 2006, 21:34   #23
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I can't wait.

I use a KM 5D and am very interested to see the new range of lenses.
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Old Friday 2nd June 2006, 22:10   #24
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I can't find anything about the new lenses - anyone else apart from Pat seen anything?
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Old Friday 2nd June 2006, 22:20   #25
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I can't find anything about the new lenses - anyone else apart from Pat seen anything?
Only this, but it doesn't say much.
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