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Posted: 1/19/2006 1:12:56 AM EDT
Japan's Konica Minolta to stop making all cameras
Jan. 19, 2006

Japan's Konica Minolta, one of the world's leading photographic equipment makers, said it would stop making all cameras because the market had become too competitive.

The company plans to slash 3,700 jobs or about 11 percent of its global workforce by 2007 under a restructuring package that will also see part of its business making high-end digital cameras sold off to Sony.

Konica Minolta will also gradually stop making camera film by 2007 to focus on its more profitable optics and medical imaging activities.

"In today's era of digital cameras... it became difficult to timely provide competitive products even with our top optical, mechanical and electronics technologies," the company said in a statement on its website.

"For color film and color paper, while considering our customer needs, we will step-by-step reduce product lineup and cease our film production and color paper by the end of fiscal year ending March 31, 2007," it added.

The announcement comes less than a week after Nikon unveiled plans to stop selling most of its film cameras to focus on hot-selling digital models.

Konica Minolta struggled to adapt to the rapidly changing shift to digital photography and away from traditional film.

It slumped into the red in the first half of the current financial year and forecast a large full-year loss due to falling sales of conventional photo film and intense competition in digital cameras.

The group, formed through the 2003 merger of Konika and Minolta, made a net loss of 3.48 billion yen (30.2 million dollars) in the first half to September, reversing a net profit of 8.20 billion yen a year earlier.

In November it forecast a net loss of 47 billion yen for the full year.


news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20060119/ts_afp/japanphotocompanykonicaminolta_060119075712
Link Posted: 1/19/2006 1:32:56 AM EDT
Can't say i'm surprised.
Link Posted: 1/19/2006 2:29:37 AM EDT
Wow. Japan is starting to sound like America - can't make anything competitively
Link Posted: 1/19/2006 3:09:49 AM EDT

That really sucks, but then my working relationship with Minolta is primarily centered around my X-700 (fantastic SLR) and a bunch of printing and scanning equipment at places I've worked.

I just haven't been excited about their SLRs since about 1990, and have they even tried to be competitive in the digital market? They could make a digital back for an X series cameras and give Nikon and Canon a run for their money.

They could be competitive if they tried. Sounds like short term financial reports will trump long term wisdom in this case. Too bad.
Link Posted: 1/19/2006 3:21:59 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/19/2006 3:22:25 AM EDT by metroplex]
I have a Minolta Maxxim film SLR that I bought around graduation from HS for photo class (and for my own use). It has been problem free since I bought it, but it's been sitting on the shelf after I got a Fuji digital. I've taken enough digital pics that the cost savings from not developing the film paid for my Fuji digital camera twice-over.
Link Posted: 1/19/2006 3:39:36 AM EDT

Originally Posted By metroplex:
I have a Minolta Maxxim film SLR that I bought around graduation from HS for photo class (and for my own use). It has been problem free since I bought it, but it's been sitting on the shelf after I got a Fuji digital. I've taken enough digital pics that the cost savings from not developing the film paid for my Fuji digital camera twice-over.



i also have an x-370 which has been trouble-free since about '87, but it too has been sitting idle since the digital cameras have been out.
Link Posted: 1/19/2006 3:48:36 AM EDT
Link Posted: 1/19/2006 4:03:37 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Sylvan:
Ah shit, there goes the idea of using my minolta lenses for an upcoming digital SLR.
Told my wife we should have went canon (or nikon)



Cannon is not making film cameras anymore either.

Now I really feel like a dinosaur....


efxguy
Link Posted: 1/19/2006 4:28:32 AM EDT

Originally Posted By KS_Physicist:
That really sucks, but then my working relationship with Minolta is primarily centered around my X-700 (fantastic SLR) and a bunch of printing and scanning equipment at places I've worked.

I just haven't been excited about their SLRs since about 1990, and have they even tried to be competitive in the digital market? They could make a digital back for an X series cameras and give Nikon and Canon a run for their money.

They could be competitive if they tried. Sounds like short term financial reports will trump long term wisdom in this case. Too bad.



Dumbest thing I've read in a long time.
Link Posted: 1/19/2006 4:30:36 AM EDT

Originally Posted By efxguy:

Originally Posted By Sylvan:
Ah shit, there goes the idea of using my minolta lenses for an upcoming digital SLR.
Told my wife we should have went canon (or nikon)



Cannon is not making film cameras anymore either.

Now I really feel like a dinosaur....


efxguy



Nope, Nikon stopped making film cameras save for their top of the line F6. Canon is making more money than God and is still churning out a broad portfolio of products at leisure.
Link Posted: 1/19/2006 4:42:35 AM EDT

Originally Posted By DukeSnookems:

Originally Posted By efxguy:

Originally Posted By Sylvan:
Ah shit, there goes the idea of using my minolta lenses for an upcoming digital SLR.
Told my wife we should have went canon (or nikon)



Cannon is not making film cameras anymore either.

Now I really feel like a dinosaur....


efxguy



Nope, Nikon stopped making film cameras save for their top of the line F6. Canon is making more money than God and is still churning out a broad portfolio of products at leisure.



Nope, what? They ARE still making film cameras? I recall a press release saying that they stopped.

efxguy

Link Posted: 1/19/2006 4:49:16 AM EDT

Originally Posted By efxguy:

Originally Posted By DukeSnookems:

Originally Posted By efxguy:

Originally Posted By Sylvan:
Ah shit, there goes the idea of using my minolta lenses for an upcoming digital SLR.
Told my wife we should have went canon (or nikon)



Cannon is not making film cameras anymore either.

Now I really feel like a dinosaur....


efxguy



Nope, Nikon stopped making film cameras save for their top of the line F6. Canon is making more money than God and is still churning out a broad portfolio of products at leisure.



Nope, what? They ARE still making film cameras? I recall a press release saying that they stopped.

efxguy




Nope = Canon is still making film cameras, what you read was a story about Nikon.
Link Posted: 1/19/2006 5:04:41 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Sylvan:
Ah shit, there goes the idea of using my minolta lenses for an upcoming digital SLR.
Told my wife we should have went canon (or nikon)




MInolta made lots of bad engineering and marketing decisions. Like Canon, their lenses did not fit the new auto-focus SLR camera bodies. That effectively made a generation of camera lenses junk. Nikon were smart and knew that they should be evolutionary, not revolutionary. Nikon made it so that you could put your old manual focus lenses on the new AF film cams, saving photogs much $ and keeping their customer base.

Since getting out of the field, I have no idea about digicams- I don't even own one.

Minolta's engineeering was also bizarre, esp. in their professional Maxxum 9xi range- the power focus was a needless feature, as one customer of mine told me at the camera shop I ran in the 1990s, "the answer to the question nobody asked." The Maxxum top-of-the lines were tough, professional cameras, but they never sold anywhere near as much as Nikon or Canon.

I'm surprised Minolta as a company lasted so long. They should have concentrated on making student type MF cameras (x-700 derivatives) and mid-priced AF point/shoot cameras, and then waited to see what was going to happen with digital.

Konica made some OK film, nothing special, but they had great support staff who really worked for their customers, whereas dealing with Kodak's staff was always like getting root canal done. Our little store sold huge amounts of film and developing for its size, and we won lots of awards from Konica. Kodak treated us as if we barely existed. Their attitude was like that of the old AT&T: "We don't need you, but you need us."

Link Posted: 1/19/2006 5:35:34 AM EDT
Minoltas were in use at our HS photo class - very sturdy and easy to use auto SLRs. I'm not sure how the film camera companies never expected digital to pick up. It was clear as day IMHO as soon as the quality picked up. The Canon EOS digital cameras are a prime example of how film will become obsolete in the modern industry. Film has its place but on a cost/performance analysis, digital cameras make a lot more sense.
Link Posted: 1/19/2006 5:51:57 AM EDT
I really like my Minolta Z20 Digicam. I hate to hear this.
Link Posted: 1/19/2006 12:05:02 PM EDT

Originally Posted By patrol120:
I really like my Minolta Z20 Digicam. I hate to hear this.



Oddly, Minolta was one of the first companies to come out with a digital video stiil cam, the MAVICA, in the early 90s. But it bombed, royally, although they reintroduced the name for a later line of products about eight or so years later.
Link Posted: 1/19/2006 12:07:12 PM EDT

Originally Posted By 95thFoot:

Originally Posted By patrol120:
I really like my Minolta Z20 Digicam. I hate to hear this.



Oddly, Minolta was one of the first companies to come out with a digital video stiil cam, the MAVICA, in the early 90s. But it bombed, royally, although they reintroduced the name for a later line of products about eight or so years later.



Ive got a MAVICA some where.
Link Posted: 1/19/2006 12:10:51 PM EDT
All your digital video camera market are belong to Sony.
Link Posted: 1/19/2006 12:11:43 PM EDT

Originally Posted By efxguy:

Originally Posted By Sylvan:
Ah shit, there goes the idea of using my minolta lenses for an upcoming digital SLR.
Told my wife we should have went canon (or nikon)



Cannon is not making film cameras anymore either.

Now I really feel like a dinosaur....


efxguy



Yes, they are.
Link Posted: 1/19/2006 12:13:00 PM EDT

Originally Posted By 95thFoot:

Originally Posted By Sylvan:
Ah shit, there goes the idea of using my minolta lenses for an upcoming digital SLR.
Told my wife we should have went canon (or nikon)




MInolta made lots of bad engineering and marketing decisions. Like Canon, their lenses did not fit the new auto-focus SLR camera bodies.



Canon's shift to new lenses was quite a ways back and they've moved past it quite handily, probably making money on it in the process.
Link Posted: 1/19/2006 12:13:45 PM EDT

Originally Posted By 95thFoot:

Originally Posted By patrol120:
I really like my Minolta Z20 Digicam. I hate to hear this.



Oddly, Minolta was one of the first companies to come out with a digital video stiil cam, the MAVICA, in the early 90s. But it bombed, royally, although they reintroduced the name for a later line of products about eight or so years later.



I thought Mavica was a Sony name?
Link Posted: 1/19/2006 12:15:19 PM EDT

Originally Posted By JBowles:

Originally Posted By 95thFoot:

Originally Posted By patrol120:
I really like my Minolta Z20 Digicam. I hate to hear this.



Oddly, Minolta was one of the first companies to come out with a digital video stiil cam, the MAVICA, in the early 90s. But it bombed, royally, although they reintroduced the name for a later line of products about eight or so years later.



Ive got a MAVICA some where.



And it turns out it's a Sony- Minolta made the DImage.

We sold both as used. Few takers.
Link Posted: 1/19/2006 12:19:01 PM EDT

Originally Posted By RikWriter:

Originally Posted By 95thFoot:

Originally Posted By Sylvan:
Ah shit, there goes the idea of using my minolta lenses for an upcoming digital SLR.
Told my wife we should have went canon (or nikon)




MInolta made lots of bad engineering and marketing decisions. Like Canon, their lenses did not fit the new auto-focus SLR camera bodies.



Canon's shift to new lenses was quite a ways back and they've moved past it quite handily, probably making money on it in the process.



Unscientific observation of mine, from running a camera shop and photo lab for six years: Canon users I found to be different than Nikon users. Nikon users were very conservative, equipment and innovation-wise, whereas Canon people were willing to try anything. To Nikon people, a camera was a tool, but to Canon types, a camera was a paintbrush.
Link Posted: 1/19/2006 12:24:26 PM EDT

Originally Posted By 95thFoot:
Unscientific observation of mine, from running a camera shop and photo lab for six years: Canon users I found to be different than Nikon users. Nikon users were very conservative, equipment and innovation-wise, whereas Canon people were willing to try anything. To Nikon people, a camera was a tool, but to Canon types, a camera was a paintbrush.



so Canon cameras are for liberals?
Link Posted: 1/19/2006 12:25:37 PM EDT

Originally Posted By cduarte:

Originally Posted By 95thFoot:
Unscientific observation of mine, from running a camera shop and photo lab for six years: Canon users I found to be different than Nikon users. Nikon users were very conservative, equipment and innovation-wise, whereas Canon people were willing to try anything. To Nikon people, a camera was a tool, but to Canon types, a camera was a paintbrush.



so Canon cameras are for liberals?



Say that to my face, Nikonian...
Link Posted: 1/19/2006 12:29:47 PM EDT
As long as both Canon and Nikon stay in business, and at least one of them makes pro film cameras, I'll be fine.

I never really was fond of Konica Minolta, anyway.
Link Posted: 1/19/2006 12:44:01 PM EDT
All of you guys that say the Minolta didn't come out with a DSLR in time are wrong, they had one out in '95 called the RD-175. I guess they just had bad timing.
Link Posted: 1/19/2006 12:50:35 PM EDT
Should I be worried about my Kodak?

Link Posted: 1/19/2006 12:51:03 PM EDT
I always liked Minolta stuff.

I've taken many pictures with these two:

Link Posted: 1/19/2006 1:01:06 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Sylvan:
Ah shit, there goes the idea of using my minolta lenses for an upcoming digital SLR.
Told my wife we should have went canon (or nikon)



Actually, they do have the 7D and 5D DSLRs out that do use MAXXUM lenses and accessories.
Probably be able to find one for a good price now...(figures since I got the 5D over the holidays).



Link Posted: 1/19/2006 1:11:03 PM EDT
Don't overlook Olympus. I own one of their point and shoots. I'm not a professional photog by any means but thusfar I'm impressed with the performance and reliablility of my little camera.
Their professional line looks to be of hi-quality and at some point I would like to try one of their top shelf models.
Link Posted: 1/19/2006 1:16:47 PM EDT
I also understand Contax is going under (don’t know about Yashica).


Originally Posted By fight4yourrights:
Wow. Japan is starting to sound like America - can't make anything competitively


I guess I’m the only person here who remembers Petrie, Topcon or Miranda.
Link Posted: 1/19/2006 6:04:03 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/19/2006 6:06:43 PM EDT by 95thFoot]

Originally Posted By RikWriter:

Originally Posted By cduarte:

Originally Posted By 95thFoot:
Unscientific observation of mine, from running a camera shop and photo lab for six years: Canon users I found to be different than Nikon users. Nikon users were very conservative, equipment and innovation-wise, whereas Canon people were willing to try anything. To Nikon people, a camera was a tool, but to Canon types, a camera was a paintbrush.



so Canon cameras are for liberals?



Say that to my face, Nikonian...





Actually, most cameras I dealt with were either for hobbyists or students. Those are the people that (cough) actually pay their bills....pros I dealt with were either broke or just nickel-and-diming you in search of freebies.

"Hey, man, can I try out this brand new 80-200 2.8EF lens?"

"As in: leave the store with it?"

"Um, yeah- you know I'm good for it. I wanna try it out on a job I'm doing."

"Sure- where's your credit card- I'll put in on the card, in case something happens."

"Uh, yeah.... uh, lemme get back to ya on that one...."

Worse than working in a music store....

I've been away from it all for ten years, so I can only tell old news. But the used Nikon stuff (with the exception of the egregious EM) always worked, whereas the old Canon bodies (As, FTbs, etc.), developed the dreaded "Canon chirp" in the shutter mechanism. Sooner or later the old, dried out shutters would hang up and the irate customer would have to spend about 100-150 bux to get the body repaired. But, I'd usually get them to trade in all their old Canon stuff, upgrade to Nikon, and I'd sell the Canon lenses, flash, etc. to students....

Somebody mentioned the Olympus cameras- the OMs were a nice series, as were the old standby Pentax, the K-1000. I sold more of those latter cameras en masse to schools and photo teachers for classes than anything else.

Petris, Mirandas, Yashicas- hey, don't forget Mamiya and Vivitar SLRs- where they at today? Answer: paperweights and doorstops.
Link Posted: 1/19/2006 6:47:10 PM EDT

Originally Posted By DukeSnookems:

Originally Posted By KS_Physicist:
That really sucks, but then my working relationship with Minolta is primarily centered around my X-700 (fantastic SLR) and a bunch of printing and scanning equipment at places I've worked.

I just haven't been excited about their SLRs since about 1990, and have they even tried to be competitive in the digital market? They could make a digital back for an X series cameras and give Nikon and Canon a run for their money.

They could be competitive if they tried. Sounds like short term financial reports will trump long term wisdom in this case. Too bad.



Dumbest thing I've read in a long time.



The Minolta story or my comment?
Link Posted: 1/19/2006 6:55:26 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/19/2006 6:57:11 PM EDT by warlord]
That is unfortunate that Konica Minolta is no longer making any cameras. I have a Minolta SRT-101 that has never failed ma, and also a XG7, until my daughter screwed up the shutter mechanism for her high school phtography class.


Originally Posted By 199:
I also understand Contax is going under (don’t know about Yashica).


Originally Posted By fight4yourrights:
Wow. Japan is starting to sound like America - can't make anything competitively


I guess I’m the only person here who remembers Petrie, Topcon or Miranda.


Another old fogy that remembers those brand names. How about the Swiss made Alpa SLRs with the macro Switar lense? I was ready to buy a Miranda Sensorex years ago. The Topcon SLRs had a unique thru-mirror light metering system.
Link Posted: 1/19/2006 6:57:24 PM EDT
And they are closing the plant they have near me in Guilford Co., NC.
Move will force closure or sale of Konica's Guilford plant
Link Posted: 1/19/2006 7:56:58 PM EDT
I have an old srt200, x-370, and a Maxxium 5. All have been great cameras. But, they've been collecting dust since getting my little Canon Digital Elph.

I've been debating on selling off the SLRs to finance the purchase of one of Canon's Digital SLRs.



Link Posted: 1/19/2006 8:09:56 PM EDT

Originally Posted By ARinKCMO:
I have an old srt200, x-370, and a Maxxium 5. All have been great cameras. But, they've been collecting dust since getting my little Canon Digital Elph.

I've been debating on selling off the SLRs to finance the purchase of one of Canon's Digital SLRs.






Do it now, before you get scrap metal value for them.
Link Posted: 1/19/2006 8:13:24 PM EDT
.
Link Posted: 1/19/2006 8:14:29 PM EDT

Originally Posted By warlord:
That is unfortunate that Konica Minolta is no longer making any cameras. I have a Minolta SRT-101 that has never failed ma, and also a XG7, until my daughter screwed up the shutter mechanism for her high school phtography class.



Uh-oh.....the SRT is the more durable of the two cameras, anyway. It will be around long after there is no more film.


How about the Swiss made Alpa SLRs with the macro Switar lense? I was ready to buy a Miranda Sensorex years ago. The Topcon SLRs had a unique thru-mirror light metering system.


Classy camera- there are whole collectors' clubs for this camera. Me, I used to collect Exaktas, ranging from the 1970s 35mm stuff up to 127 rollfilm Exakta SLRs from the 1930s. I sold them all (exc. for a 127 model or two) to buy guns.
Link Posted: 1/19/2006 8:25:28 PM EDT
Hey KS_ I got your email about looking for a position at my company- I'm sorry I didn't right back to you, I was tired that night and forgot about it, sorry about that.

My company has most of the big hitters like yourself in the UK, I am a lowley US engineer that spends most of his time on customers sites working issues and designing mods. I will keep an eye out for you in the photonic field though.

Jason
Link Posted: 1/19/2006 8:41:21 PM EDT
I have a Konica Minolta Z3 and I'm not impressed with it. I put it back in the box and use my Canon PowerShot A510. The photos are just as nice and it's pocket size.



________________________



Link Posted: 1/19/2006 9:00:26 PM EDT
Wow.

I've got my dad's old SRT-101 that he bought new during the Vietnam war (still has the leather film canisters on the strap that say "Vietnam" in shiny gold letters).

That camera is utterly reliable and while its seen heavy use it still looks and functions like brand new. As a kid I always enjoyed playing with the built-in lightmeter.

From a nostalgia standpoint I'm sorry to see them go under but after dabbling with Olympus consumer digital gear I bought a Canon and lenses and haven't looked back.
Link Posted: 1/19/2006 9:09:28 PM EDT
I have a Minolta Dimage Z2, a fine camera. A pity they won't be making them anymore.

Link Posted: 1/19/2006 9:16:59 PM EDT
Most of our Laparoscopic equipment at the hospital is made by camera manufacturers. But even that field is crowded. Just in our OR, we Olympus, Minolta, and Stryker stuff as well as Storz.

But I guess you can sell one medical camera and make the same profit as selling a container or digital cameras.
Link Posted: 1/19/2006 11:38:18 PM EDT
AAAHHHHHHHHHHHH
NOOOOOOOOOOOOO

I have an SRT-102 and an XD (the XD I bought in Hong Kong, same body as an XD-7 here and an XD-12 in Japan)

And I have a bunch of nice lenses. One of my really faint hopes was that they would bring out a digital body for the older non-auto focus lenses.

BTW, I don't think any makers standard focus lenses fit their auto-focus bodies

And that SRT-102 is built like a brick shithouse. Every time I go someplace neat on a vacation, I always see one or two guys with SRTs.

Then again it's almost impossible to get and use slide film anymore either.
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