Konica Minolta ditches photography

Camera companies seem to be dropping like flies at the moment. First we find out they’re all ditching traditional film cameras in favour of digital, a

Camera companies seem to be dropping like flies at the moment. First we find out they’re all ditching traditional film cameras in favour of digital, and now Konica Minolta has decided to get the hell out of the business altogether – and fast. We hope this isn’t going to be the next big trend.

It’s not a good sign when an old industry staple like Konica Minolta - responsible for just over a century’s worth of photographic innovation  - gives up the ghost.

It’s taken only a couple of years since the 2003 merger between Konica corp and Minolta Co for the world’s third largest maker of camera film to flatline. And it comes as a bit of a shock since in November the Tokyo based company talked (like Nikon did last week) about merely scaling down its operations.

But the company means business. It will be all done with compact cameras by the end of March this year and, if you have a penchant for developing with its photographic film and colour paper, you’ve only got until March 2007 to stock up.

A pretty rapid shutdown then. The company has shot out of its escape hatch and will be shortly landing in the rather unsexy business of colour office copiers, medical equipment and optical devices.

Sony has done a deal with the golden oldie to continue the production of cameras compatible with Konica Minolta’s lenses and will also receive some of the company’s DSLR related assets. So the technology and expertise will live on, but the Konica Minolta brand will sadly become extinct.

Get out your snot rags and have a snivel. You’re allowed, it’s a sad day.

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