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Konica Minolta Quits Photography Market

Zonk posted more than 8 years ago | from the harsh-world-out-there dept.

239

halenger writes "Japanese photographic equipment maker Konica Minolta has announced plans to withdraw from the camera business. Konica Minolta said the market had become too competitive, and added it would sell its digital camera business to Japanese electronics giant Sony." From the article: "Its decision to ditch the camera business altogether includes the cessation of its colour film and photo paper business, in which it has trailed Eastman Kodak of the US and Japan's Fuji Photo Film. Instead, it plans to focus on products such as colour office photocopiers and medical imaging equipment." We just recently reported on the decision by Nikon to go completely digital.

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239 comments

Comming soon..... (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14508955)

Cameras with rootkits.

Bad timing... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14508980)

For the people who've just bought a Konica Minolta SLR. I was just looking at buying a DSLR and considering Minolta, but now I would never buy one. At least not until we know for certain what's going to happen to their lens-system.

I'm still buying one, and here's why (3, Interesting)

Penguinisto (415985) | more than 8 years ago | (#14509461)

I have waaaay too many Minolta lenses for my film cameras to not buy a new DSLR. Even if they stop making them, I'm quite sure that there are way too many silver nitrate addicts like myself who have lots of Minolta bodies, lenses, and accessories to simply ignore as a potential customer base.

And if they decide to cut us all off? Oh well - I'll still be using my shiny new Maxxum 5D (picking it up Saturday) until it finally dies and Sony decides to not support it anymore. This will likely be quite a long time, because in my experience almost every SLR I've owned was built to last. My old Maxxum 7, Maxxum 5, and Maxxum Qt-si are still cranking away after literal years of abuse (the old Maxxum 7 most of all - it's been beaten to within an inch of its life on my trips to the backcountry throughout the US West, and it still happily comes to life whenever I want it to).

Sad to see them go, though - it's kind of cool to have image stabilization without the need to buy image-stabilized lenses.

/P

KEWL! I get to start the ball rolling. (1)

ncurtain (937487) | more than 8 years ago | (#14509787)

I'll still be using my shiny new Maxxum 5D (picking it up Saturday) until it finally dies and Sony decides to not support it anymore. This will likely be quite a long time, because in my experience almost every SLR I've owned was built to last.

My old Maxxum 7, Maxxum 5, and Maxxum Qt-si are still cranking away after literal[ly] years of abuse (the old Maxxum 7 most of all - it's been beaten to within an inch of its life on my trips to the backcountry throughout the US West, and it still happily comes to life whenever I want it to).


Now we know why every Microsoft operating system ever made has operated the way it has. :~))

Re:I'm still buying one, and here's why (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14509935)

I happen to own a Maxxum 7D and an "old" Maxxum 5... Unfortunately, I do not expect the 7D to outlast the 5 as it is way more fragile, internally at least. A film camera has a lot of mechanical parts but it can be easily repaired by a technician. Digital cameras are way more sensitive to operating conditions (such as cold weather, humid conditions, condensation) and fixing them is usually much less obvious, especially considering the short manufacturing life of most chips they contain (especially the sensor).

Re:Bad timing... (1)

Jumper99 (51637) | more than 8 years ago | (#14509834)

At least not until we know for certain what's going to happen to their lens-system.

Here is an article that says, in part, http://www.macworld.com/news/2006/01/19/konica/ind ex.php/ [macworld.com] that "Sony plans to use the Konica Minolta Maxxum/Dynax lens mount on these digital SLR cameras." It goes on to say that "Konica Minolta said the ability of existing customers to use their lenses with future cameras is one advantage of transferring the digital SLR work to Sony."
I think you are safe buying from Sony since it seems that all the existing Minolta lenses will still work on Sony's camera bodies.

management speak decoded... (4, Insightful)

advocate_one (662832) | more than 8 years ago | (#14508985)

Konica Minolta said the market had become too competitive,

means the competition's cameras are too cheap and we have no margin left...

Re:management speak decoded... (2, Insightful)

nomadic (141991) | more than 8 years ago | (#14509158)

That didn't require decoding, that's plainly what the phrase meant.

Re:management speak decoded... (4, Insightful)

Ubergrendle (531719) | more than 8 years ago | (#14509236)

Conservative estimates indicate Canon has about 50% of the DSLR market, whereas Nikon has 30-35% at this time. So that leaves a remaining 15% to be divided amongst: Olympus, Pentax, Fuji, KM, Sigma, and a few other minor players.

I suspect the 'innovations' in the DSLR market are going to slow down a bit now, the 18mo lifecycle for $1k - $10k bodies will probably stretch to 24mos, maybe 36mos. Unfortunately w/ several hundred thousand 350D Rebels and D70s cameras having been sold, the early adopters have already bought into mount systems, making prospects of explosive growth for one of the niche players unlikely... if you're not profitable now, you won't ever be.

Sony might do something interesting with the KM patents their acquiring, but the odds are against it.

And yes, DSLR bodies might become cheaper...the D50 is a good entry level, perhaps a D500 for Nikon at the $500 point might be possible in the future... but if you're selling $500 cameras, you're not tapping a segment that will buy $1000 lenses regularly.

Re:management speak decoded... (0)

heavy snowfall (847023) | more than 8 years ago | (#14509294)

RE: D50

The lack of a depth of field preview button is a problem.. Not so great :)

D70s is the way to go if you want a serious amateur DSLR.

Re:management speak decoded... (1)

TgBoat (718023) | more than 8 years ago | (#14509642)

I see this comment all the time about the D50. I don't see this as a huge issue for 2 reasons: 1) relatively small viewfinder limits the usefulness of DOF preview. 2) You can immediately view the image on the 2" LCD and zoom in to get a better view. A 1:1 pixel zoom would be a great enhancement to the D50. Actually, I would have loved to have a front command dial and the grid lines from the D70 viewfinder before DOF preview. The more I think about it, the happier I am with my D50. I almost traded up to the D70s a few months after I purchased it. Now I'm glad I didn't... My next upgrade with be to the D200.

Re:management speak decoded... (1)

ZedNaught (533388) | more than 8 years ago | (#14509895)

I prefer the D200 ... makes the D70 look like a cap pistol.

Re:management speak decoded... (1)

BVis (267028) | more than 8 years ago | (#14509909)

The lack of a depth of field preview button is a problem.. Not so great :)

D70s is the way to go if you want a serious amateur DSLR.
This is a very common complaint re: the D50. I recently got a D50 and am thrilled with it, but I'm a hack, just taking pictures for fun. Dollar for dollar, I have to say the D50 is a better buy for someone like myself; the D70 is *seriously* more expensive, and AFAICT the only significant differences are the depth of field preview and a higher pixel count on the CCD. Feel free to correct me if I'm wrong; also, does the D70 have a "point and shoot" preset mode? Sometimes I just want to take pictures, not futz with settings :) That's the value of the D50 to me, if the D70 does that too... well it's more expensive :)

Re:management speak decoded... (3, Interesting)

Kadin2048 (468275) | more than 8 years ago | (#14509449)

This is really too bad. I've always been a fan of Minolta's photography products, dating back to when I used to work behind the counter in a photo store.

They were never as cheap as the low-end Nikon or Canon, but for a little bit more money you got a lot more features. I thought this was the case with their digital line as well.

I think where they failed was waiting so long to bring out a DSLR that was lens-compatible with their Maxxum series of film SLRs. They played around for a long time with the idea of DSLRs that used special digital lenses, a standard lens format that would be brand-neutral (not a bad concept, really). It required them to retool their factories completely, and in the meantime Nikon and Canon brought out DSLRs that were basically a chip shoved into their film bodies and used the film-series lenses. These were a lot more attractive to photographers and left Minolta photographers in the lurch for a number of years.

Frankly I think the Minolta 7D, the digital version of the Maxxum 7, was sweet -- it was just introduced too late and at too high a price to compete with Nikon. And the features it offered were a tough sell to an "average consumer" whose primary concern is price. (Image stabilization is not an easy feature to sell, altough I think it's a really good deal given that to get the same thing in Nikon or Canon you'd need all new lenses.) I guess I should hurry up and buy one.

I find it odd that they're selling out to Sony; Minolta's products always seemed to me like the anti-Sony: not a lot of proprietary accessories, inexpensive addons, etc. I would have thought that selling out to Kodak would be the logical step. I guess they got a better offer. I wonder if Sony will retain the digital-Maxxum series DSLRs, given that Sony doesn't have any DSLR history. There are a LOT of Maxxum users in Japan (I've heard that the Maxxum 9 is the most popular film camera for photojournalists there, versus the Nikon F5 in the states.) It seems silly not to continue with it, but Sony has never been constrained by the bounds of what I'd consider to be logical behavior.

I had been afraid this was going to happen though, ever since Konica and Minolta merged. It's really too bad, though. They made good gear, and I hope that Sigma and the other aftermarket manufacturers will continue to support their lineup in the future.

Re:management speak decoded... (1)

sdpuppy (898535) | more than 8 years ago | (#14509356)

means the competition's cameras are too cheap and we have no margin left...

You're probably right, but after following Minolta for many years, I would say, in addition:

"means our lousy consumer service finally caught up with us "

Re:management speak decoded... (1, Flamebait)

raider_red (156642) | more than 8 years ago | (#14509379)

Not to mention that their SLRs and DSLRs are almost unusable, and not very innovative. I think the last thing they beat the competition at was getting an autofocus SLR to market, in the '80s.

Re:management speak decoded... (1)

pgolik (526039) | more than 8 years ago | (#14509677)

In what way the Minolta dSLRS are unusable compared to similarly priced offerings from Canon or Nikon? They offer the same basic set of funtcions and comparable picture quality (standard 6MP CCD sensor), but the design and ergonomics are much better. Minolta dSLRS have way better optical viewfinders than amateur Canons and Nikons, only Pentax is slightly better. The control layout is very logical to anyone with any SLR experience - main functions are controllable by dials and buttons, you don't need do go through levels of screen menus to change basic settings. The handling and feel of those cameras is way superior to entry-level Canon or Nikon models. Not to mention the excellent built-in antishake function. SLR systems are like computer operating systems, they have their dedicated following and rabid fans. You choose what feels best for your needs and tastes, but calling Minolta dSLRs and SLRs "almost unusable" is just trolling without any factual support.

Re:management speak decoded... (1)

Glytch (4881) | more than 8 years ago | (#14509679)

I mostly agree, but Minolta also had some other recent interesting ideas. Their wireless flash system is a very cool piece of technology. As a Canon user, I really envy having the master flash (not sure what the Minolta terminology is) built into the camera itself, not an expensive add-on.

I admit that 99.99% or so of the people who need to use a wireless flash setup under Canon are pros who can afford to spring for the extra gear, but it would be nice for us more budget-oriented Canon shooters to simply be able to set our cheapie 420EX down somewhere and use the popup flash to control it.

Re:management speak decoded... (1)

advocate_one (662832) | more than 8 years ago | (#14509767)

I still have my old Minolta XGM SLR which I bought back in 1983... still works fine... perhaps that's their biggest problem, they couldn't get me to upgrade... all I've bought for it since have been a couple of lenses and film... I would have liked a digital back for it, but they never bothered, prolly wanted me to buy a new camera instead...

Re:management speak decoded... (1)

Ceriel Nosforit (682174) | more than 8 years ago | (#14509789)

Woha. You're either misinformed or trolling. Or a Canon/Nikon fanboy. ;)

KM has got an in-camera anti-shake system which works really well. While you have to pay over a $1000 for an IS lens for Canon or Nicon cameras, ALL your lenses become IS lenses on a KM dSLR camera. This for example means no more blurry pictures when shooting handheld without flash indoors, which is Significant with a capital S.
I bought a second-hand 70-210mm zoom lens for my KM 5D and I can take blur-free shots at 210mm (305mm film equivalent) handheld thanks to the Anti-Shake. No need to haul a tripod with me when I'm out shootin'.

Already working w/Sony (2, Insightful)

carlos_benj (140796) | more than 8 years ago | (#14508990)

I knew that they were already working with Sony. Digital has certainly changed the photography landscape. Each year it looks more and more like film will become a smaller niche.

Film won't die. (1)

Penguinisto (415985) | more than 8 years ago | (#14509555)

It's the absolute best way to prove that you took the pictures in any copyright accusation. Even when I take along the semi-crappy/semi-decent Fuji S5000 and use it, I'll take at least one photo of something potentially useful for sale or let with my little Maxxum Qt-si, so that I have a negative to prove incontrovertably that I did it.

It's too easy to edit EXIF data, and it's way too easy for someone to claim that a digital photograph is his, even if he didn't take it. BUT - if you have a 35mm negative of the same scene, same lighting conditions, nearly the same angle, etc... there's no way someone can credibly (and especially legally) claim that your work is theirs, unless the person can prove that he or she was standing right next to you at that moment in time when the photo was taken. This is especially true in such things as landscape phtography, where clouds and individual plant life characteristics are too unique.

With widespread image pirating (of film, art, you-name-it) a constant on the Internet, sometimes a bit of old-fashioned technology is your best defense (and an ISP will listen to you much more attentively if you let them know that you have a negative of the stolen image in your possession - otherwise it's your word against the pirate's).

/P

Evolution of the Species (2, Insightful)

pvera (250260) | more than 8 years ago | (#14509002)

Good riddance. Evolve or step aside.

Notice how right as Nikon announced they would stop most of their film cameras, Zeiss recovered from the Contax failure by offering their glass for the Nikon F-mount.

Film photography is far from dead, but we are past the point in which you can wrap a business around expensive film-based gear and exotic film types. Kodak killed their B&W paper products, but it was not the end. Ilford is still around.

The same will happen with film. Now it would be nice if we can get Nikon out of the 35mm frame mindset when designing future SLR gear.

Re:Evolution of the Species (2, Interesting)

mwvdlee (775178) | more than 8 years ago | (#14509113)

Now it would be nice if we can get Nikon out of the 35mm frame mindset when designing future SLR gear.

I expect the sheer price of producing digital medium format camera's will safeguard the 35mm format for quite some time. I certainly don't see medium format DSLR's entering the consumer market in the foreseeable future.
That is assuming you meant them moving towards medium format ofcourse :)

Re:Evolution of the Species (1)

Glytch (4881) | more than 8 years ago | (#14509541)

I think the original poster was referring more to 16x24mm sized sensors. Nikon's refused to say one way or the other if they'll ever make a full-frame sensor as Canon has done. This makes people wonder if Nikon will eventually only produce lenses made for the smaller sensor.

A smaller sensor means less glass needed to project an image large enough to cover the sensor, which means much a lower weight lens. The price to pay, of course, is that the DX lenses won't work properly on 35mm film. Remove film cameras from the whole equation, and anyone buying any of Nikon's SLRs won't care about that one disadvantage. As far as the new SLR owner is concerned, any Nikon lens they see on the camera store shelf will work just fine with their new camera.

A few years back, I would have been skeptical of the wisdom of this, but the sensor in the new D2X is supposed to be amazing, with very low noise and very high resolution. And this is coming from a dedicated Canon fanboy who's only Nikon gear is a 35mm EM with a 50/1.8 series E, so I'm not exactly a shill for the company. :)

Re:Evolution of the Species (1)

mwvdlee (775178) | more than 8 years ago | (#14509908)

But what about diffraction?

Re:Evolution of the Species (2, Interesting)

Brunellus (875635) | more than 8 years ago | (#14509155)

...and when Ilford isn't around, there might still be Seagull and Foma and Efke.

Chemical photography is going to become like etching and engraving: a specialized art or trade. This makes me sad, because I used to enjoy chemical photography a great deal...but I just don't have the time/space for my darkroom anymore.

WRT the withdrawal of Konica/Minolta: I'm not surprised. My next thought is--who's next? Asahi-Pentax? As a Pentax user, that'd make me very sad, as I've always liked their bodies & lenses....

Re:Evolution of the Species (4, Insightful)

drooling-dog (189103) | more than 8 years ago | (#14509313)

...but I just don't have the time/space for my darkroom anymore.

We've become accustomed now to imagery being cheap, fast, and easy. It makes us look at the effort required to achieve a chemical photograph - and maybe even the value of the result - a lot differently.

Re:Evolution of the Species (1)

Brunellus (875635) | more than 8 years ago | (#14509546)

I agree. In the distant future, I forsee a revival of the more archaic, non-silver-based photographic processes--cyanotype, for instance--among the real enthusiasts. Maybe now would be a good time for me to start buying up those old 8x10 view cameras...

Re:Evolution of the Species (1)

sdpuppy (898535) | more than 8 years ago | (#14509400)

This makes me sad, because I used to enjoy chemical photography a great deal...but I just don't have the time/space

Me too - I haven't handed any of that stuff in ages - but then nowadays isn't one of the problems with home "chemical photography" disposal of the stuff?

Sure you can flush it down, but is that technically legal now?

Disposal (1)

Brunellus (875635) | more than 8 years ago | (#14509523)

Depends what stuff you're talking about. For most hobbyists using conventional b&w chemistry, the chemicals involved are largely benign. The big worry would be the silver dissolved in exhausted fixer, but again, most hobbyists don't produce this in enough volume to make this a problem. If, however, you're talking about commercial-type volumes of this, then you will need to add a silver recovery step to your disposal routine.

(More modest silver recovery is possible for the hobbyist. I used to put pennies in my exhausted fix, so that the silver would replace the copper plating--then I'd give the silvered penny to my kid brother. OK, so that just replaces one heavy-metal with another, but it certainly pays to see a little kid's eyes light up)

Colour photography is much, much nastier, and may have more stringent disposal requirements. And, of course, if you're using 'exotics'--selenium toner, for instance, or pyrogallol-based developers, the storage and disposal rules for those are much more stringent.

One thing I'll say about my photographic hobby--it's certainly kept my education balanced. I'm an historian by training, but photography keeps my mathematics, chemistry, and physics sharp

Re:Disposal (2, Insightful)

Glytch (4881) | more than 8 years ago | (#14509874)

Color chemicals aren't that bad either. The C41 negative process and RA4 paper process are fairly benign as well, as long one is careful to run the bleach-fix through a well-maintained silver recovery unit before disposal.

I couldn't speak about slide development, as I've never worked in an E6-process lab. Or a Kodachrome lab for that matter, but from what I've heard, processing Kodachrome is more art than science, and uses some really exotic stuff. Besides, there's something like only 3 labs in the world that still do Kodachrome.

Re:Disposal (1)

Brunellus (875635) | more than 8 years ago | (#14509988)

the bleach-fix is the big culprit. C41 and RA4 are just too fussy, and I can't control my environment well enough. The fact that bleach-fix is noxious and needs an additional disposal step means that it's not really a great choice for the home user.

Kodachrome is a weird, weird process. From what I understand, it's really more science than art, as it requires still more rigorous control of time/temp variables, as well as requiring some not-so-nice chemicals.

Re:Evolution of the Species (1)

sgant (178166) | more than 8 years ago | (#14509460)

Actually, kind of sad news. I'm a photographer and when I was 13 I got my very first SLR. A Minolta 201 with a 50mm f1.7 lens. I shot more rolls of film through that thing and it kept chugging right along. I would still have it if it didn't get stolen along with just about everything else I owned about 20 years ago.

But hey, they need to move on. It's a different world now.

no loss really (2, Interesting)

Nobley (598336) | more than 8 years ago | (#14509008)

While their latest digital slr had some nice features such as the built in anti shake feature, they were only ever 2nd or 3rd best to canon and nikon in this department, and as far as their film goes, it is really as 2nd teir as agfa etc. The saddest day for film will be when fuji stops making Velvia and the likes, and of course the sad day for digital has already come,... all these people with top of the line digital SLRs that have no clue how to use them

Re:no loss really (1)

07734 (947149) | more than 8 years ago | (#14509304)

I'll be flying a flag for Fuji Provia for a while yet. I take photos in some rather demanding light conditions (on winter mountain photography) and although I shoot digital for many clients, the way Provia handles the blues in the midtones and shadows is still unique.

Re:no loss really (1)

spitek (942062) | more than 8 years ago | (#14509531)

That is some good film. I was involved with testing for that for Fuji years back. Fiji, to me is the leader in film and paper. Strauss Peyton, the second oldest Studio in the country, founded in 1900 has been using Fuji for at least 20+ years. However in the last year went completely digital. No more Fuji large format, Cannon Mark II.

Re:no loss really (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14509369)

"of course the sad day for digital has already come,... all these people with top of the line digital SLRs that have no clue how to use them "

How typical of the elite mindset. I own a digital slr (proud owner of a Canon Rebel XT) and have no clue on how to use it besides auto mode. But guess what! Digital SLR'S made photography actually fun fun for me and actually pushed me to learn more. So, sad day? I don't know it's your call I guess

Re:no loss really (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14509714)

...and of course the sad day for digital has already come,... all these people with top of the line digital SLRs that have no clue how to use them

What's up? Your top-of-the-line camera is starting to blend in with all the others? If I own a fancy digital SLR (maybe one day), how does that prevent you from using yours? It's the picture that counts. It doesn't matter if you use a disposable camera, a flatbed scanner or a digi SLR. Or maybe you like to hide behind the technology?

Nikon High Dynamic Range (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14509009)

Nikon is coming out with High Dynamic Range cameras later this year that will rival the range of film. Unfortunately monitors (VGA?) can't display HDR images (limited to 8 bits of brightness per subpixel which is fine for most situations ... but duplicating nature can require about 20 bits .. looking at a monitor will be like looking out a window).

proof? (1)

John Nowak (872479) | more than 8 years ago | (#14509042)

8 bits of brightness per subpixel which is fine for most situations ... but duplicating nature can require about 20 bits

I'm not buying it. Where's the proof?

Re:proof? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14509214)

Google or look in Wikipedia for sources:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/High_dynamic_range_im aging [wikipedia.org]

Scenes have ranges of brightness beyond 8 bits.. try taking pictures at night .. notice how any lights or brighter parts are overexposed? The 8 bit (that is, 256)levels of brighness lumps all the darker parts of the scene into being just black and the brighter parts into full white. You can't fix that by varying the exposure time (reduce exposure time and you'll end up missing the darker details, but increasing it will cause overexposure on the high end).

Another way to think of it: You can show perfect black on the monitor, correct? Now, you know how you have to squint when you look at the sun ... Think of all the detectable amounts you can "decrement" that brightness. Can you duplicate those decrements with just 256 steps on a monitor?

Re:proof? (3, Informative)

coult (200316) | more than 8 years ago | (#14509625)

8 bits of brightness per subpixel which is fine for most situations ... but duplicating nature can require about 20 bits

I'm not buying it. Where's the proof?

Check out http://kenrockwell.com/tech/ev.htm [kenrockwell.com] ...the Light Value scale is logarithmic, each additional Light Value is twice the intensity of light of the previous value. The highest LV you'd see is about 20, the lowest about -15, but those wouldn't be in the same scene. Since LV 20 is basically looking straight into the sun, and LV 1 is typical outdoor scene at night, probably 20 bits is an exaggeration.

On the other hand, my Nikon D50 has 12 bits of dynamic range and it certainly is possible to both blow out highlights and underexpose shadows in the same scene.

Of course, this all gets more complicated by the fact that one usually applies some sort of non-linear gamma curve to remap the intensity levels to something more closely approximating the human eye's response, which means that 8-bit intensity coding using a gamma curve can almost capture the 12 bits of "linear" response of the Nikon sensor (I put "linear" in quotes because it seems more like an exponential to me, but whatever).

Re:Nikon High Dynamic Range (1)

Anne Thwacks (531696) | more than 8 years ago | (#14509217)

A research project I was connected with in the 1980s (when extra bits cost a lot more), came to the conclusion that 16BPP is fine if you use YUV, and a good, non-linear mapping to 16 bits per tube gun. At the time the best we could get was 1024*768. I believe the research used a criterion like 50% of the people could detect a change in LSB. Using linear scales and RGB colour space was not a good idea.

I did not do the research, was not a subject, and don't know the names of the people wo did, but it was Cambridge University that did the research I think.

see definition of "paradigm shift" (5, Interesting)

swschrad (312009) | more than 8 years ago | (#14509022)

the same thing happened to 16mm film in the news business around 1978 - 1979. ENG minicams and tape started infiltrating newsrooms, and everybody was saying they'd keep both. we moved our color processor into the basement, and I built a splash pan for the open-bottom drain. frezzolini was saying their next cameras would be computer-controlled and monitored to the extent that you would know which cell of the battery pack was dying.

but this coincided with kodak's deciding to drop E4 for E6 color processing, and E6 was desperately sensitive to water pH. in other words, all of a sudden, your film came out either deep blue or wildly yellow.

this plus the one-time nature of film costs put film out of business in our 8-station tv operation in four months.

if you can find ANY new film cameras, ANY, offered in one year, it will be a major surprise. I suspect canon and nikon will offer one more digital back for their F lines, and that will be it. the major players in one-use supermarket cameras will be offering digital one-shots by next christmas, probably on the order of grill gas bottles... pay $50 up front, swap the camera for $10 when this one is full.

glorious silver halide photography, R I P. don't dip a finger to taste the developer any more, it's done.

Re:see definition of "paradigm shift" (3, Insightful)

Thag (8436) | more than 8 years ago | (#14509237)

if you can find ANY new film cameras, ANY, offered in one year, it will be a major surprise. I suspect canon and nikon will offer one more digital back for their F lines, and that will be it. the major players in one-use supermarket cameras will be offering digital one-shots by next christmas, probably on the order of grill gas bottles... pay $50 up front, swap the camera for $10 when this one is full.

I doubt the film market will disappear, but it will probably wind up being a boutique industry. You'll be able to find camera places in major cities, and there will be companies that specialize in manufacturing replacement parts for discontinued major brands. That's getting cheaper to do all the time with computer aided manufacturing.

But yeah, they'll probably stop selling film cameras in the discount stores fairly soon.

Jon Acheson

Re:see definition of "paradigm shift" (1)

nomadic (141991) | more than 8 years ago | (#14509251)

I understood maybe every third word of that post. Maybe.

Re:see definition of "paradigm shift" (2, Interesting)

snopes (27370) | more than 8 years ago | (#14509289)

> if you can find ANY new film cameras, ANY, offered in one year, it will be a major surprise.

That is a ridiculous assertion. You do know that 16mm motion film is still in wide use, right? You can go out right now and buy a 16mm camera no problem:
http://www.aaton.com/products/film/aminima/index.p hp [aaton.com]

The switch by TV journalists did not end the availability of 16mm film and equipment. The same will be true for 35mm (or other format) still film and equipment. Just because every wedding photog in America is going to be shooting digital now does not mean there will be no film equipment and supplies in the future.

Re:see definition of "paradigm shift" (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14509823)

Just because every wedding photog in America is going to be shooting digital now does not mean there will be no film equipment and supplies in the future.

Most weddings I've been to recently, the photographer uses a DSLR for the candid shots, but the posed shots with tripod & lights still use medium format.

Most people are blown away by the quality of medium format.

Re:see definition of "paradigm shift" (1)

igb (28052) | more than 8 years ago | (#14509628)

I worked in the Photographers' Centre at the British Grand Prix in 2004 and 2005. They'd just removed the darkrooms, and the space was available for yet more laptops. In 2004, there were empty 35mm film canisters around, and someone muttered that Kodak were visiting to collect stuff for processing. In 2005 I didn't see a single 35mm canister, although Darren Heath was there and I believe doing film photography for the monthly magazines.

ian

Focus on the future (3, Funny)

digitaldc (879047) | more than 8 years ago | (#14509024)

"Japanese photographic equipment maker Konica Minolta has announced plans to withdraw from the camera business."

Was this a well-thought out resolution? Or just a snap decision?

Re:Focus on the future (3, Funny)

stunt_penguin (906223) | more than 8 years ago | (#14509355)

No, they just developed this solution over time.

Re:Focus on the future (1)

Riktov (632) | more than 8 years ago | (#14509378)

For die-hard Minolta fans, it's an emulsional issue, but they're just focusing their product line. With the right market exposure, good things should develop.

Re:Focus on the future (1)

LurkerXXX (667952) | more than 8 years ago | (#14509457)

To frame it in another light:

I'm not sure if this shows insight, or if it's just a shot in the dark.

Re:Focus on the future (1)

Jafafa Hots (580169) | more than 8 years ago | (#14509631)

Well, the way the market trends were developing, going into 2006 the picture looked fuzzy. The market changes in a flash these days, so they have decided to focus on more stable products.

Re:Focus on the future (0, Flamebait)

TRS80NT (695421) | more than 8 years ago | (#14509967)

Alright you guys, f***stop it.


The real question will be... (0, Redundant)

calzone5018 (946901) | more than 8 years ago | (#14509028)

... will they put a root kit on the cameras?

yuck, Sony firmware (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14509316)

If my Sony DSC-V3 is any indication, Sony either has a product life cycle that is too short to consider customer support and upgrades or Sony doesn't know how to write firmware which allows the photographer to control the photograph.

Come on Sony Open up your firmware!:
      Not everyone wants all of their "soft focus" to come from diffraction (Allow the user to shift the default program mode towards wide aperatures)

      Occasionally real photographers want to use an external flash and occasionally that flash should be slave-triggered by the in-camera flash.

      There are occasions when a photographer wants to make an exposure longer than 1/30th of a second and not have your patented noise reduction algorithm run on their image.

    There are occasions when a photographer wants to make an exposure longer than 30 seconds.

Arbitrary decisions made by the camera such as the shutter speed can't exceed 1/1000th unless the aperature is larger than F5.6 should be reserved for program mode, not Aperture or Shutter priority and certainly not for manual mode!

    Sorry, laser autofocus really doesn't work well enough to justify shining a laser in your subject's eyes, regardless of how "safe" ISO guidelines say this particular laser is.

nikon and canon (1)

omar_armas (633987) | more than 8 years ago | (#14509030)

Nikon and Canon are eating the market. I hope Pentax dont leave also, because I just bought a Pentax *ist DSLR.
Omar

Re:nikon and canon (2, Insightful)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 8 years ago | (#14509218)

not completely.

I see lots of the Fuji Finepix S series in pro hands. The older S1 at 3 megapixels kicks the crap out of canon's 6 megapixel cameras and the newest S3 with a native of 12 and interpolated at 24 kicked the ever living crap out of the newest canon pro DSLR we have here in the Graphics department.

It's a sleeper that you do not see advertised but even the older S1 can serve as a great money maker to a photographer shooting and printing 11X17 photos that wow people .

Being able to use the cheaper nikon lenses is also a bonus. the IS F1.4 100-300 monster we have here was $1500.00 less than the equlivant Canon lens doe the D series.

Re:nikon and canon (1)

pgolik (526039) | more than 8 years ago | (#14509751)

It seems that Pentax is going the same way - they just made a deal with Samsung and showed a dSLR, which is essentially *iSTDL2 with the Samsung logo replacing Pentax. Same thing will happen to Konica - there will be new cameras for the system, but with the Sony logo. Sony already own the Zeiss brand for lenses, so it could be interesting...

Smart move... (1)

deviantphil (543645) | more than 8 years ago | (#14509047)

...Like the copier industry is less saturated than the photography industry.

Are they nuts?!?!?

Sad to see Minolta go... (4, Insightful)

milgr (726027) | more than 8 years ago | (#14509059)

I have an old Minolta SLR camera. It is roughly as old as me (well, it could conceivably be older, I don't really know). All the important controls are manual -- focus, aperature, speed. It takes great pictures. Much better than my wife's auto-everything camera. Not that I have a flash.... but who needs a flash when you can brace the camera against a wall or a knee and take really long exposures?

Upon first hearing the news that Minolta was getting out of the camera business, I thought, time to upgrade.

On the other hand, the only thing I buy for this camera is film.

My one complaint is its size. I guess you can't get everything.

Re:Sad to see Minolta go... (1)

MagicBox (576175) | more than 8 years ago | (#14509190)

I know that the 35mm Minoltas were amazing. Took great pics. However I must say that it makes sense for them to leave the digital business. I bought Minolta digital's twice and twice returned them. The cameras looked great but the picture quality was horrible.

the only thing I buy for this camera is film. (1)

wiredog (43288) | more than 8 years ago | (#14509721)

I went digital last year because the cost of film got too high. The cost to buy, develop, and print (from a good lab) was approaching $1/frame. My digital setup (Canon EOS Digital+lens, 1gb cf card, and flash) cost $1400. At the rate I take pictures it will pay for itself by the end of this year.

Pitiful (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14509079)

They deserve it. I own a digital camera from them. It's very inexpensive for what it is. However, the softwares is very buggy. Image colors are not very truthful. I had to send back for fix because the connector to the USB connector got blown out (they should have guard against high voltage load and static, etc). Other problems: you have to pay for newer version of the camera software. You have to pay for newer version of drivers and firmware (how stupid is this?). With the drivers/firmwares alone, I would not buy from them.

It's so stupid that they don't fix their stupid mistakes, but shut down. If these are fixed, I would definitely buy from them again. They don't have good digital market share because of poor quality. I think they just need to fire who ever in charge of these areas. Streamline the engineer group and things should work.

colour office photocopiers (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14509143)

What's with the extra 'u' in color? I thought slashdot was US-centric? Next we'll be seeing articles about Aluminium and 'petrol' cars.

Re:colour office photocopiers (0, Offtopic)

J_Darnley (918721) | more than 8 years ago | (#14509230)

Well I haven't seen a car that runs on 'gas' yet. I have only read about hydrogen powered cars.

Re:colour office photocopiers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14509364)

Well, I bought a surplus colour copier from my company the other day, but when I tried to get in the car I knocked the top off the aluminium fuel can onto the pavement, and the petrol went down the centre of the boot, onto my spare tyre, just where I keep my licence. Poor judgement on my part - I had to to the theatre that night smelling like a mechanic....

Quality isn't the issue. Fun is. (4, Insightful)

Control Group (105494) | more than 8 years ago | (#14509186)

*sigh*

And another one bites the dust.

I've got two Minolta 35mm film SLR cameras, (an old 7-series, and a much newer Maxxum 4). They're not professional-grade cameras by any means, but I like them far more than any digital camera I can afford to buy. Minolta dropping out of the camera business entirely probably means that finding accessories for them is going to suddenly become difficult.

And I still need a good flash for the Maxxum, as well as various lenses for each.

Looks like I'm being left behind by the march of technology, and it's really too bad. I won't argue that digital isn't better than film in almost all respects, but I really enjoy making B&W prints in my little darkroom (and, honestly, I have yet to see a digital camera that can give you authentic-looking B&W. I don't know the technical reason, but I can always tell the difference between a picture that's just been desaturated, and an actual B&W). The more niche it becomes, the less I'm going to be able to afford it.

*shrug*

Call me a luddite, but losing the environment wherein you can buy a decent camera and expect your kids to use it after they grow up in favor of the fast-paced furor of modern electronics sort of depresses me. It used to be all about the photographer: a talented amateur with a fairly cheap 35mm camera could take pictures all but indistinguishable from those taken by an average pro if they just used quality film/paper. That is, the stuff that made all the technical difference on the print was the cheap stuff. Now, the stuff that makes all the technical difference on the print is the expensive stuff.

I'm not a serious artist, and I can't afford to spend serious artist money on just a fun thing I like to do. Looks like the market is squeezing my hobby out.

Re:Quality isn't the issue. Fun is. (1)

vg30e (779871) | more than 8 years ago | (#14509500)

I agree,

I bought my current Canon EOS3 with powergrip for $400.00 USD used a year or so ago, and I still get a kick out of the high quality pictures at ASA-100 or slower film. I can do sports-action shots at 6 frames/second, and take multi-hour exposures for astronomy stuff.

Ditching this for a digital SLR of similar photo quality would cost me close to an order of magnitude more than I paid, and it would be superceded by the next newest model in about 2 years.

Re:Quality isn't the issue. Fun is. (4, Insightful)

Shimmer (3036) | more than 8 years ago | (#14509581)

It used to be all about the photographer: a talented amateur with a fairly cheap 35mm camera could take pictures all but indistinguishable from those taken by an average pro

I think this is still true in the digital age. Why wouldn't it be?

Re:Quality isn't the issue. Fun is. (3, Insightful)

Control Group (105494) | more than 8 years ago | (#14510036)

Because Fuji ISO-100 35mm film yields negatives of the same informational quality regardless of camera. The camera is just a tool the photographer uses to help frame and compose the image, then to help properly expose the film. The difference between a professional film camera and a amateur film camera is only the amount of work the photographer needs to do to get a given photograph. The amateur can buy (relatively inexpensive) quality film, and take up the camera's slack with elbow grease.

With digital cameras, however, no matter how much work the amateur is willing to do, he cannot make a 3 megapixel camera take 10 megapixel pictures. Other things being equal, a 10 megapixel picture is simply superior to a 3 megapixel picture.

To analogize: switching from a $200 film camera to a $2000 film camera is sort of like switching from DOS+Assembly to, say, Win2k+IIS+VBScript to generate active server pages. You can accomplish exactly the same goals either way, but one tool makes it easier on the developer. The switch from a $200 digital camera to a $2000 digital camera, however, is like switching from a 486 with 64MB of RAM on a 28.8kbps connection to a Dell Poweredge 6800 on a dedicated OC3 to serve your active server pages. No amount of work is going to make the 486 do as well at, say, streaming video as the 6800.

The baseline quality is now inherent to the expensive part (the device), rather than to the inexpensive part (the medium).

Re:Quality isn't the issue. Fun is. (1)

Dr Reducto (665121) | more than 8 years ago | (#14509793)

I don't know the technical reason, but I can always tell the difference between a picture that's just been desaturated, and an actual B&W).

It's generally because film has much higher contrast and noise, and most people who try to convert to black and white simply desaturate their files, which makes them look very flat

Re:Quality isn't the issue. Fun is. (1)

Tim Doran (910) | more than 8 years ago | (#14509811)

I'm in the reverse situation - I have a bunch of great Maxxum lenses and a really good flash (5400xi) as well as two film bodies. I've been waiting for a cheaper Maxxum digital body so I could dust it all off and get back to SLR photography.

Oh well, guess I'll have to buy the very good but very expensive Maxxum digital body now. I'm too deep into the Maxxum platform to switch at this point...

They're Still in the DSLR business (5, Informative)

Noordijk (319866) | more than 8 years ago | (#14509215)

KM will be making DSLRs and glass for Sony (they've been working together since last summer, apparently the first ones will simply be rebranded KM), their consumer point&shoot cameras do indeed appear dead. However, I think the real news here is that Sony may suddenly be a DSLR player. With KM expertise (the 7D and 5D are quite good) in making cameras (and their in-camera anti-shake patents) coupled with Sony's sensor experience (Sony makes the ccds for everybody save Canon), Sony will suddenly have a vertically integrated DSLR business, with proven and well known lens availability (a big barrier to acceptance of new DSLR by pros and prosumers). Canon is the only other company that matches this. That said, keep the -expletive deleted- memory stick out of 'em!

Re:They're Still in the DSLR business (1)

jimicus (737525) | more than 8 years ago | (#14509285)

That's interesting. So presumably they'll keep the same Dynax/Maxxum lens mount?

Even so, I still think it's a great loss. They never really recovered from the (what were they thinking?!) business decision to not produce a new digital SLR for years, letting Canon and Nikon thrash them in the market.

Keeping the Dynax/Maxxum mount (1)

Noordijk (319866) | more than 8 years ago | (#14509334)

Yup, way down in the releases they say that they'll be keeping the same mount, which makes sense, and which may signal a switch in Sony's corporate culture. Sony has a history of trying to impose their own formats on various sectors of the market, with disastrous recent results (ATRAC v. MP3, Memory Stick, and on and on, even back to Betamax). Perhaps the recent CEO switch is bearing some fruit.

Re:They're Still in the DSLR business (1)

The Second Horseman (121958) | more than 8 years ago | (#14509882)

Yup. Personally, I have a Dimage 7D DSLR, a Z5, and for film Maxxum/Dynax 7 and a Maxxum/Dynax 5. I'm happy as hell with them. My Maxxum 7 autofocuses faster than almost anything out there, and it's a nearly 6-year-old model. The 7D is a terrific camera. A friend of mine with a Nikon D200 even likes it :)

One question I have is the film scanners - the Dimage Elite 5400 II is really one of the better units on the market, and it's really not very expensive.

The Swiss Mistake (missing the paradigm shift) (1)

Sculp7ur3 (860791) | more than 8 years ago | (#14510004)

Didn't the same kind of thing happen to the Swiss watch manufacturers, when they decided the digital watch market would never go anywhere? The Japanese firms seized on the opportunity, and the rest is history. Perhaps film cameras will enjoy the kind of specialized market that Swiss mechanical watches do. I wonder what the next paradigm shift will be that catches the Japanese firms by surprise....

I knew it! (1)

hal2814 (725639) | more than 8 years ago | (#14509225)

I knew I should've bought the Canon I was also looking at! Now I get all the benefits of going to Sony with repair/replacement issues. Couldn't Minolta at least sell of to Nikon or Canon?

They never really owned any niche (2, Insightful)

ianscot (591483) | more than 8 years ago | (#14509240)

I own a Dimage Z5 -- a cool design [dpreview.com] with a nice mix of features, including a 12x optical zoom with image stablization which I appreciate for nature shots. Having said that, it was a camera with some conspicuous tradeoffs. The default image settings simply weren't sharp enough, and bumping them up meant leaving the auto settings which you sometimes do want for snap situations. The manual focus system was worthless. And so on.

A few months after I bought my Z5, Canon effectively leapfrogged it with their own new IS model, also using AAs which was a selling point for me. Maybe Konica Minolta drove that new model some, so they had their positive competitive effect on the market, but they didn't have a clear winner in my book for more than a few months, and I'm someone who actually bought their product.

They had their own way of doing things, though. The design of the Z5 is one of those ones you immediately recognize as having some thought to it, even if you don't like it in use (which I did). You hate to see another independent voice vanish.

Makes my choice of a new DSLR easier... (1)

technopinion (469686) | more than 8 years ago | (#14509262)

I keep wanting a new camera since my current Minolta Dimage 7hi is almost 3 years old, and I was thinking of going Minolta again since I had spent over $300 on an external Minolta flash unit. I guess I'll just have to eBay it and switch brands, or maybe there will now be some really good deals on current Minolta models.

Re:Makes my choice of a new DSLR easier... (1)

rsd-17 (765038) | more than 8 years ago | (#14510016)

Ditto for me...I also have a Dimage 7Hi. I was hoping to get the Maxxum 5d to replace the 7Hi and my 35mm Maxxum 5 (and use its lenses), but Konica-Minolta already have withdrawn marketing of their digitals here in Canada. It's a shame as they were good cameras. I guess I'll be joining the Canon crowd when I can afford it...but it's not top of my priority list as I have a sick out-of-warranty Thinkpad to repair/replace.

And in more local news... (5, Funny)

ek_adam (442283) | more than 8 years ago | (#14509265)

Film is dead. Digital at 11.

Re:And in more local news... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14509985)

Their will always be those of us who like the old analog formats for any media.
Bet I've more published pictures in magazines and brochures than the other 99.9% posting here that film is dead!

Bring on Sony Minolta (1)

Wonderkid (541329) | more than 8 years ago | (#14509308)

As an avid Minolta and then Sony camera user and saving for a excellent KM 7D (or it's rumored replacement the 7Di) was devastated by this news. But as I posted on www.dpreview.com KM SLR forums, if Sony and KM can do what Sony and Ericsson did and merge their brands, it will retain loyal Minolta followers and give Sony credibility in the pro photography market. Minolta have a history of innovation from auto focus to anti-shake while Sony have a reputation for engineering, so such a merging would be perfect, but ONLY if the branding is right. On a personal note, the Konica Minolta 7D has the best ergonomics of any camera I have ever held (and natural looking photos too), and if it becomes unavailable or hard to service, there will be no camera out there for me to consider. Effectively, I will protest by not buying anything else until a equal or better designed camera is launched by someone.

OT: Some assistance, please. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14509567)

"Minolta have a history of innovation from..."
OK, I don't want anyone to go mental over this and this really isn't criticism of Wonderkid or his post but... When did we start using company names as if they were plural? Really, it's a single organization. I realize that its made up of mulitple individuals but we wouldn't say, for instance, "My school have put together a program..." Just wondering. Really. I'm seeing this more and more and I'm about to go mental; Quietly mental mind you, but mental all the same.

It's British. (2, Informative)

Roydd McWilson (730636) | more than 8 years ago | (#14509881)

It's British.

Re:It's British. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14510034)

OK, well, I guess I can parse that. It still plays tricks in my brain but at least I have a context for it now. I'll forgo the obvious, "Hey, this is the internet: speak english!!" Because, well, that would be stupid.

Nikon still makes film cameras (2, Informative)

CallistoLion (651747) | more than 8 years ago | (#14509345)

Zonk, your editorial comment "We just recently reported on the decision by Nikon to go completely digital." is wrong.

Nikon continues to make their top of the line F6. It's hard to imagine a better 35mm SLR. They will also continue to market the entry level FM10 (made for them by Cosina).

Having said that, the writing's on the wall. I suspect they can only still make the F6 since it shares much with their top of the line DSLR.

And another one gone (1)

winchester (265873) | more than 8 years ago | (#14509368)

This is so cool... this reminds me of people getting rid of their records years ago, and then realising the treasures they threw away... the same thing will happen with analog photo gear. Hasselblad, Leica, Nikon, stuff is practically given away. Now is the time to buy :-)

Big prints? (1)

dada21 (163177) | more than 8 years ago | (#14509404)

For years I was able to perform (and even sell) large prints. I even was one of the few Xerox Versatec electrostatic plotter owners for a few years, although now Inkjet has replaced my old beloved format.

The reason for the post is quality in large print (especially zoomed prints). Even with the 6.1-8.1 MP images I feed the large format printers I use, there is something "magic" about the drum scanned photos that come out of even my old Rebel SLR with stock kit lens.

I lost the analog war many times over (I still use my turntables) but I gave up on analog film with the purchase of my D50 this year. Every digital camera until then that I bought (even up to $800) was garbage, the D50 is a miracle in a small package. I wish I went a step higher but I had 10 digital duds sitting around the house so I was hesitant.

Last week I blew up my first digital picture and it was harse. I did some self cleanup and it was still "digital."

Is it possible that I'm facing a psychosomatic impression knowing that the original image was digital, or is there a definitive need for film capturing for large format prints? I can compare two very similar shots side by side on the large format print and the film print has more depth and more "clarity" (or is it acuity?).

I left the print business a LONG time ago, but I still do prints as I own the equipment. My biggest "customer" are wealthy folks from my IT business who want large prints of artwork or family junk -- and the digital pics so far just don't feel the same. Maybe they won't notice, or maybe it's just me.

Re:Big prints? (1)

Hast (24833) | more than 8 years ago | (#14509922)

From what I've read for all but the most extreme uses digital (as in dSLR) beats film across the board. In your example I'd be more inclined to believe that it's either psychosomatic (as you put it) or that you just are more experienced with film. Most people spend as much (or more) time tweaking the RAW files from a dSLR as they would in the old developing studio.

Also consider that the D50 is pretty much the lowest level of current dSLR (though that doesn't mean it's bad). If you compare a high end camera like the Canon 1Ds even professionally scanned medium has a hard time stacking up (http://www.luminous-landscape.com/reviews/shootou t.shtml [luminous-landscape.com] ).

They make a nice printer now too (3, Informative)

BigCheese (47608) | more than 8 years ago | (#14509416)

Just to go off topic for a bit. My wife just recently bought a Konica-Minolta Magicolor 2430-DL printer. Great printer, great price, reasonable priced consumables. The built in ethernet print server supports OSX and Linux out of the box.
I didn't even know they made printers. Much less good ones.
You can get them for $350 (if I remember correctly) at Costco. It's a much better deal then the inkjet ripoff.

I wield a KM 5D, and I dread naught (3, Interesting)

Ceriel Nosforit (682174) | more than 8 years ago | (#14509623)

I wield a KM 5D, and I dread naught. In fact, I find the move rather delightful in what promises are held for me. For one, I'm likely to be able to use my lenses on an SLR equivalent with an EVF (Electronic ViewFinder), meaning that lacking a mirror in front of the CCD I'll be able to capture high-res video. This basically turns what used to be a still camera into a HDTV video camera. Couple it with KM's Anti-Shake system and suddenly a world of new possibilities open up.
Another benefit I get is better support for my camera. Yet another the name recognition to increase the second-hand value of my gear. Further Sony's hit-and-miss tendency technology-wise means I'm likely to see all sorts of experimental features in models that come and go, giving new photographic opportunities. All point toward a bright bright feature.

My only concern is that Sony might jump on the Microsoft-only bandwagon, with encrypted file formats & ilk. Yet, with Sony marketing the PS3 as a computer, Linux support might not be a mere pipe-dream. If they do support Linux they will be the only manufacturer to do so, and might grab some additional market-share because of this. This would be enough to redeem them from the rootkit fiasco in my eyes.

And my equipment value continues to rise (1)

Mycroft_514 (701676) | more than 8 years ago | (#14509740)

The last true Alpa was made in around 1988. I spent some time over the years collecting the lenses I wanted, the accessories I desired. Haven't had to buy anything but film and batteries for years. (And a typical camera battery for those cameras lasts 10+ years).

I, for one, welcome many Nikon and Minolta owners to the orphaned cameras club.

I have watched the price of my cameras do nothing but INCREASE on e-bay and in used camera stores and shows over the years, to the point that I can sell my gear for more than I paid for it NEW (for the parts I got new).

Heck, my oldest camera body (made in 1965/6) has increased 5-6 fold in value from what I paid for it, used, many years ago.

There are still several shops around where I can get repairs, including one that can fabricate parts.

I learned years ago to have my own backups for the time repairs take.

they also are closing shop for their mini-lab busi (2, Interesting)

psybertech (926732) | more than 8 years ago | (#14509901)

I am shocked everyone picked up on the camera part, but KM is also withdrawing from the mini-lab side of things.

http://konicaminolta.com/releases/2006/0119_01_01. html [konicaminolta.com]

That leaves two major players (Noritsu & Fuji) and a revamped comppany (DigitalPortal - aka KISS) still producing traditional labs. (and yes, they all print from digital images as well as film (neg/pos).

No one is printing images on real, traditional (cheaper) photographic, silver halide paper. Everyone seems content with spending their time and money on home solutions when they finally decide to print anything at all.

It is funny to me that most people take more pictures now on their camera or device since they don't have to buy film or pay for processing, but no one has a single print to show me!

I HATE seeing your family or fun shots on your 2.5" Horiz. - MAX size LCD! (even worse 1.5"!!!)
Come on!!! Get real!

Make prints people!!!!

Support your local lab or even local wholesale or major retailer and make some 4x5.5 or 4x6 or larger prints!
It still is cheaper and faster than doing it yourself and people can actually see if your eyes are open in your images.

MAKE MORE PRINTS PEOPLE!

LIGHT METERS (1)

mrm677 (456727) | more than 8 years ago | (#14509927)

IMHO, Minolta makes the best light meters. Yes, these are still useful even for digital users.
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