Go to:
Previous Item
Current News
Next Item

Konica Minolta's logo. Courtesy of Konica Minolta Holdings Inc. Sony, Konica Minolta cooperate on DSLRs
(Tuesday, July 19, 2005 - 10:12 EDT)

A press release today from Konica Minolta Photo Imaging Inc. reveals that the company is to cooperate with consumer electronic giant Sony Corp. to develop single-lens reflex digital cameras.

Speculation has been rife for the last couple of years that Sony would join Olympus, Kodak, Fujifilm, Matsushita (Panasonic), Sanyo and Sigma - all participating in the competing Four Thirds digital SLR standard. Today's news may hence come as a surprise to some readers. If you consider that two of Sony's main competitors are already Four Thirds members though, and that one of the pair has already announced plans to commercialise its own Four Thirds SLRs, it seems logical for Sony to strike out in a different direction.

The partnership with Konica Minolta could be a major win for both companies, given that they each possess some rather special technologies that don't seem to overlap each other. According to the release, the companies will develop SLRs jointly - which suggests that they may share these technologies, and that we may indeed see an SLR camera with the Sony brandname and a Maxxum / Dynax lens mount. (Note however that the release doesn't definitively state that SLRs will be sold under the Sony brand; it could equally be that Sony is to cooperate in developing future DSLR cameras that will be sold under Konica Minolta's brand).

Konica Minolta's technologies of particular interest in SLR camera development include the lens mount, autofocus systems, and its CCD Shift anti-shake system. Sony meanwhile brings its CCD and CMOS image sensors, image processing technologies, and InfoLithium Li-Ion battery technology to the table.

It will be very interesting indeed to see where today's announcement takes us in the coming months. The market for digital SLRs has really been heating up. With a second consumer electronics manufacturer now perhaps to join the fray alongside the traditional film camera manufacturers, we can expect even fiercer competition - which can only be a good thing for photographers!

Original Source Press Release:

Konica Minolta and Sony Agree to Jointly Develop Digital SLR Cameras

Tokyo (July 19, 2005) - Konica Minolta Photo Imaging, Inc. and Sony Corporation have reached an agreement to jointly develop digital Single Lens Reflex (SLR) cameras. Taking full advantages of their respective imaging technologies and key devices, the two companies will develop and commercialize new digital SLR cameras based on and compatible to "Maxxum/Dynax lens mount system.*1"

Konica Minolta has superb autofocus auto-exposure technologies nourished through development of "Maxxum/Dynax series" from the age of film cameras, mechanical electronics technologies indispensable for SLR cameras, and sixteen million units of lens shipped worldwide. In addition, Konica Minolta has enthusiastically innovated cutting edge features, such as, for the first time, incorporating a CCD shift-type body-integral Anti-Shake technology for the Camera Grand Prix awarding "α-7 DIGITAL. *2"

Sony has numerous technologies and devices essential for digital imaging equipment, such as CCD and CMOS imaging sensors, image processing technologies and lithium ion batteries. Moreover, Sony's strength in product planning, total design and high-density mounting have created a series of breakthrough compact and light digital imaging products. With products such as "Handycam" video cameras, and "Cyber-shot" digital still cameras, Sony has greatly contributed to expanding the digital imaging market.

Both companies, utilizing respective unique technologies, will begin joint development of advanced and feature-rich digital SLR cameras. According to recent CIPA (Camera & Imaging Products Association) data, the digital SLR camera market reached 2.5 million units in 2004, and is expected to further expand to 3.6 million units in 2005. Konica Minolta and Sony see great opportunities and will aggressively promote their businesses in this growing market.

*1 Konica Minolta's original lens mount system to connect camera body and lens adopted in its "Maxxum/Dynax series" SLR cameras.
*2 "α-7 DIGITAL is marketed as "Maxxum 7D" in North America and "Dynax 7D" in other regions.

"Sony has powerful devices and technologies essential for digital cameras," said Tsuyoshi Miyachi, President and Chief Executive Officer of Konica Minolta Photo Imaging, Inc. "I am extremely excited to work with Sony. Together with Sony, we will endeavor to create new value in the field of imaging through increasing attractiveness of digital SLR cameras where we are strongly focused."

"We are excited to co-develop new products with Konica Minolta's advanced camera technologies represented by its "Maxxum/Dynax series" and our digital audio visual technologies," said Yutaka Nakagawa, Sony's Executive Vice President and Personal Audio Visual Network Company NC President. "Sony will further strengthen its digital imaging business through creating new market opportunities with the digital SLR camera field."

Go to:
Previous Item
Current News
Next Item

Powered by Coranto