Major camera company quits photo business

Discussion in 'Photography' started by editor, Jan 21, 2006.

  1. editor

    editor Guest

    In recent years, photo retailers have explained a 60% drop in film
    sales by saying digicams took it away. Now, a major manufacturer of
    digicams itself says it's no longer going to sell them in America. And
    Konica Minolta also is ending production of photo paper for the
    American market - even though all of those cheap disposable cameras
    that even now sell briskly for under $10 at seemingly every store each
    require photo paper to print the pictures.
    Aside from the article about the camera side of Konica Minolta's
    shutdown in today's Washington Post (below), Konica Minolta is shutting
    down its big photo paper plant near here in North Carolina - and
    downsizing hundreds of those who'd worked there. This all raises the
    question of whether the photo paper for processing all those disposable
    cameras will just now be "offshored" to Asia - like so many other
    good-paying American jobs.
    Photography icon Konica Minolta Group is shuttering its camera
    The Japanese company, which introduced its first camera and
    silver-halide film paper in 1903, cited a photographic film market that
    "is shrinking astonishingly by the surge of the worldwide
    digitization." After March 1, Konica plans to phase out worldwide sales
    of its film and digital cameras.
    Konica's announcement comes a week after Nikon Corp. said it would
    phase out most of its film-camera business to focus on marketing
    digital cameras, which now make up the vast majority of camera sales to
    In the past two decades, consumer photography has blossomed with
    easy-to-use technologies, such as cell-phone cameras, home printers and
    services like online photo finishing. That progress came, however, at
    the expense of darkrooms and rolls of film. The newest generation of
    cameras has wireless connections that allow pictures to be uploaded
    directly to the Internet and panoramic editing that stitches together
    several shots.
    "Film is in its twilight. You don't see the volume to support three big
    businesses," said Christopher Chute, an analyst with the research firm
    IDC. "Twenty years ago we'd spend a couple hundred dollars on a Nikon
    film camera -- now we'll spend on a couple hundred dollars on a digital
    At its height in the 1980s, film photography accounted for 80 billion
    to 90 billion prints per year, Chute said. Last year, 101 billion
    prints were made worldwide, 60 percent of which were digital photos, he
    One of Konica Minolta's rivals, Olympus Imaging America Inc., yesterday
    said it would continue its film camera business for as long as
    possible. "Film will be over soon, [but] we're going to be the last
    company in it," said Stewart Muller, executive vice president of
    Olympus, which makes about 40 percent of film cameras sold in the
    United States. Digital makes up 95 percent of the company's sales, and
    that's growing, he said. "But there will be people who hang on for some
    A representative of Eastman Kodak Co., the Rochester, N.Y., company
    that in 1900 introduced the Brownie, the first consumer camera,
    declined to comment on Konica's announcement. Rival Fuji Photo Film Co.
    acknowledged in a statement that the "unexpectedly rapid shift toward
    digitalization has greatly reduced demand for films and photographic
    products," but said it would continue to produce silver-halide
    With the transition from film comes the end of the solitary creative
    process in the dim, reddish light of darkrooms, said Kenny Irby,
    founder of the Poynter Institute's photojournalism program. "What's
    lost is a romantic experience in a dark room."
    Instead, newspapers, magazines and many artists use computer software,
    such as Photoshop, to do what liquid baths of nitrate and fixer
    solutions used to do, he said. "The professional market had already
    made this transition [to digital], so this is the death knell of film
    in the amateur market."
    Konica and Minolta, which merged in 2003, have sold 13.5 million
    cameras since 1985, when the popular Maxxum/Dynax line was launched.
    Konica plans to continue making that line of digital cameras, but they
    are to be sold by Sony Corp. In April, Sony plans to take over the
    service and repair for Konica cameras.
    "In a changing world, profits for camera and photo businesses worsened
    in recent years," Konica said in its statement, "and it became
    necessary to drastically reform business structure for the further
    growth of Konica Minolta."
    No $4 parking! No $6 admission!
    editor, Jan 21, 2006
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  2. editor

    Tesco News Guest

    This all raises the question of whether the photo paper for processing all
    those disposable cameras will just now be "offshored" to Asia - like so many
    other good-paying American jobs.


    This unfortunate event just demonstrates the unfairness of the "Free Trade"
    policy insisted upon by the USA.

    A "Fair Trade" policy, would increase the price of many products in the
    Developed World, but would also increase the standard of living in the Third
    World, and reduce the availability of "Starvation Wage" labour there.

    Once the "Third World" has all the production jobs, guess who will be on
    "Starvation Wages", if there are any jobs left.

    Roy G
    Tesco News, Jan 21, 2006
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  3. editor

    editor Guest

    Tesco News quoted me:
    and replied:
    Get real. Nations like India and China would rather have lots of
    jobs at poverty wages than NO jobs at all based on an export market.
    And it's only their poverty - and resulting poverty wages - that gives
    them that export market to American, Canadian, and European
    "offshorers." After all, what American company would "offshore" jobs
    to India or China if the labor there cost as much as in Kalifornia?

    No $6 admission!
    editor, Jan 21, 2006
  4. editor

    Paul Heslop Guest

    After all, what American company would "offshore" jobs
    Ah yes, the lovely practice of moving call centres to countries where
    English is not the first language then training operatives to act like
    robots just to save a few pennies.... phone calls that go like this

    Paul gets half a dozen dead calls, ones where phone is answered
    quickly by him but silence greets him until he is told the other
    person is cleared, during that time even if he hangs up the line stays
    busy.... until eventually he gets a crackly connection.

    "Hello," says lady in Eastern accents, "Is that Mr Heslop?"

    Paul, in full knowledge of what he is doing by now "What are you

    Lady, slightly flustered as I have deviated from script "Hello, my
    name is EasternLady and I am ringing to offer you something you don't
    want again, for the tenth time this fortnight. We..."

    "I'm sorry, Ms Easternlady, but as I have told your company many
    times, I am not interested in something I don't want. Wouldn't it be a
    good idea to remove us from your list?"

    Easternlady is more rattled, script has been chucked out of window..
    slight pause... "Hello, my name is Easternlady and I am ringing to

    "Ms Easternlady, I have already told you, I am not interested, I will
    not be interested, EVER. I told you this yesterday, and the day
    before... I'm not interested. Not. NO."

    Slightly longer pause ... "I am ringing to offer...."

    Paul Heslop, Jan 21, 2006
  5. But then the machinery and the trade routes are intact and running, and
    who bothers to retrain Amerikans (or English) when there is a skill pool
    already available in countries like China...You got to pay 'em the same
    anyway... It's right what the man sez, Globalisation is a really neat
    way of the Amerikan empire shooting itself in the foot
    Eddie Daughton, Jan 21, 2006
  6. editor

    Jasen Guest

    I'll drink to that. Capitolism. Where the rich get richer and the poor and
    middle classes, singles and families just get buttfucked!
    Jasen, Jan 21, 2006
  7. editor

    Paul Heslop Guest

    Well, this be England, but yeah, I read Michael Moore about the great
    American screjob some time ago.
    Paul Heslop, Jan 21, 2006
  8. editor

    Paul Heslop Guest

    screjob ???

    Paul Heslop, Jan 21, 2006
  9. editor

    Bill Funk Guest

    What's your preferred system?
    Bill Funk, Jan 21, 2006
  10. editor

    Jasen Guest

    One that is similar but fairer and more regulated :) One where a
    corporation actually realises that by looking after the average worker by
    properly rewarding hard work, they can do better in the productivity stakes.
    I work for a mob of doctors who run a huge pathology company that brings in
    about a billion dollars in revenue each year. The pay their workers the
    bare minimum and the workers know it. The workers are miffed and they do
    only what is required or less much of the time. I know first hand that
    rewards pay dividends in business.
    Too many companies in this and other western countries cut costs by
    employing workers in third world countries such as China and India. This
    has obvious effects. Capitolism in this form backfires eventually. Our
    Prime Minister wants to compete on the world stage with the likes of these
    countries. How can you compete with a worker in another country who gets a
    few dollars a week compared to our many hundreds of dollars paid to western can't. So we all import, import, import! That fucks up
    the trade deficit even more because we just HAVE to have our technology and
    cheap food. That's the issue with free trade and globalisation in short.
    Unfortunately, it isn't a level playing field for you have totally different
    working conditions and wages in poorer countries being taken advantage of by
    Obviously there is more to it than this, but the bottom line of anything
    these days is money and greed. Capitolism would be fair if people who
    participated where actually decent human beings with a conscience..........a
    conscience and the corporate world do not mix well it seems, and this is
    only the tip of the iceberg.
    Communism is not acceptable either......maybe someplace inbetween?
    Jasen, Jan 21, 2006
  11. editor

    Bill Funk Guest

    That seems less like a system than Utopia.
    How could such a system be implemented without very strict and heavy
    governmental control of the businesses?
    Bill Funk, Jan 21, 2006
  12. Well, if you're in luck! There are but 51 Capitols in the USA, probably
    less than 1% of the land. Europe is denser in terms of Capitols per acre.
    John McWilliams, Jan 21, 2006
  13. editor

    Tesco News Guest

    "England" - didn't know it had a government, I always thought it was part
    of the UK.

    Roy G
    Tesco News, Jan 22, 2006
  14. editor

    Tesco News Guest

    Exactly the point I was trying to make. If the USA keeps screwing the
    poorer countries, ALL the jobs in the USA will move there, because the
    labour is cheap.

    It is fairly simple logic.

    Roy G
    Tesco News, Jan 22, 2006
  15. editor

    editor Guest

    Get out of denial. China is a nuclear power and has a positive
    balance of trade and is a net creditor nation. It isn't Burkina Faso.
    If its leaders have a cheap-labor policy, it's because they WANT it -
    not because Washington forced it on them!

    No $4 to park! No $6 admission!
    editor, Jan 22, 2006
  16. editor

    Jasen Guest

    I'm pretty sure the people don't want it.......only the government and
    business do.
    Jasen, Jan 22, 2006
  17. editor

    Paul Heslop Guest

    yup, but I live in England, not Scotland, Ireland, or Wales. I would
    like to see an end to the idea of the British Isles as long as present
    government gets scots (I should say mps who work in Scotland, not
    necessarily Scottish people at all) to vote for its policies when
    they don't affect Scotland.
    Paul Heslop, Jan 22, 2006
  18. editor

    Paul Heslop Guest

    and in a country where arguing with government can result in a bullet
    in the head... well I guess those wage slaves will always be so.
    Paul Heslop, Jan 22, 2006
  19. editor

    editor Guest

    Jasen quoted Tesco News:
    quoted me:
    and replied:
    Face reality. The average Chinese would much rather have a good
    chance at a job for the American export trade paying less than his
    long-lost cousin in Los Angeles makes flipping burgers than ZERO chance
    at ZERO jobs for the American export market if labor in China cost as
    much as labor in Los Angeles.

    No $6 admission!
    editor, Jan 22, 2006
  20. editor

    Jasen Guest

    Have you spoken to any Chinese recently. I work with 5 of them and trust me,
    they don't want it and wouldn't go back if there were no jobs for them back
    there for the same as Americans. I think you have no idea what life is like
    for the poor, or in fact anyone in China under a communist regime. Speak
    when you either have the experience, or know those who have.
    Jasen, Jan 22, 2006
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