DarrylW4 PRO 3:15pm, 27 January 2006
I thought it would be worth adding this topic for some discussion on the impact of the Konica Minolta and Nikon announcements. Just to recap, Konica Minolta will be dropping all cameras -- film and digital. The digital SLRs and Maxxum lenses will be transferred to SONY. Only about a week earlier Nikon announced that they have discontinued production on all film bodies, save the F6 and FM10, and many of the manual focus lenses. It also bears mention that in the months leading up to these announcements several others have exited their camera markets, including Bronica and Contax.

Overall I think we're seeing the end of consumer-grade film. The dropping of the lower-end film products is simply a reflection of this condition. The remaining Nikon products are at the full manual for the students and full pro sends of the spectrum. I would guess that we'll have plenty of cameras available in the pipe for the next year at least for the enthusiasts who would want them. After that there's a thriving used market for Nikon hardware and no sign of that drying up. I would expect in the coming months to see other manufacturers including Canon, Pentax, and Yashica to start either quietly or publicly stripping back their film lines as well till all we have are a couple of models at best from each manufacturer. I would hope that Kodak and Fuji will continue to produce the professional grade 35mm films and all indications are that which they have scaled back the selection the film will be available in some variety.

On the Konica Minolta announcement, I think that's simply a situation where the company wasn't able to sell product. Minolta digital cameras have in most cases been lagging behind the more well known makers. With increased competition in the consumer end of the market, I think they just didn't see a future without a ridiculous investment on which they couldn't promise a return. Transferring the DSLR business to SONY gives that line new life from a better known consumer-electronics name and will likely revitalize the Maxxum series in the future.

I think we're looking at a bright future for digital development and competive pricing though. Minolta was not a serious player for the last couple of years on either the bleeding edge or low-cost. Plus if anything, transferring the most competitive asset of their digital line to a larger player will only serve to step-up the battle on both fronts. I would suggest that some of the other brands will either leave the consumer digital market or parter with other companies to produce badge-engineered models to reduce the burden of development. Only time will tell for sure, but I look forward to SONY producing a serious competitor to the Nikon and Canon DSLRs. The two companies have been battling head-to-head for the last couple of years without any serious competition from the others, why not add some new blood to the mix?
animefx 12 years ago
Thanks Darryl. We discuss this further in Episode 13 of flickrcast.
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