Konica Minolta and Sony have today announced an agreement to jointly develop digital SLR cameras. This agreement appears to mean that both Konica Minolta and Sony will develop D-SLR cameras with Konica Minolta lens mounts. It also covers technology sharing between the two, including Sony's CMOS sensors and Info-Lithium batteries and Konica Minolta's AF, metering and Anti-Shake system. The release doesn't state whether each company will be able to use any of these techologies in products other than DSLRs. I suppose this means Sony aren't going the Four Thirds route...
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.
“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.”
*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.