Ricoh Caplio RR230 - could it be a Konica?|
(Thursday, February 6, 2003 - 22:14 EST)
We told readers yesterday of a new digital camera from Ricoh Japan, and sharp-eyed Unco Calkoen has identified what seems to be a perfect match for this new model.
Ricoh's Caplio RR230 replaces the Caplio RR120, itself a model manufactured for Ricoh by Taiwanese digicam company Premier Camera. Unco sent us an email noting the strong resemblance with Konica's KD-220Z (announced at the Photokina show in Germany late last year).
Indeed, the two cameras seem nearly identical - the layout of the lens, viewfinder, flash, mode dial, shutter button, etc. seem very close indeed in the product photos. Not only that, but the specifications released by both companies seem to agree down to almost the very last detail - and what slight inconsistencies there are look to be simply differences in rounding (for example a 1/3.15" CCD vs. a 1/3.2" CCD).
Unco speculates that the camera design may be being sold as a consequence of the recently announced merger of Konica and Minolta. This certainly sounds feasible - one of the first things that we'd expect as a result of a merger would be identification of product lines that overlapped, and identification of ways to generate more revenue from existing products. Perhaps Konica Minolta (as the new company will be known) has decided that the KD-220Z is too similar to an existing Minolta model, and has sold their design to Ricoh (or perhaps even manufactures the cameras for them).
This is of course just speculation on our part - we have no hard evidence of who manufactures the camera, and it is quite possible that a third party is manufacturing both the RR230 and the KD-220Z for both companies. We certainly don't see a similar model in Premier Camera's lineup though, and can't think of who else might be manufacturing these cameras.
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