"Minolta" cameras back on the market

Discussion in 'Sony/Minolta' started by Colin O, Jul 23, 2019.

  1. First, just a little history...

    In 2003, Minolta and Konica jointly announced the "Integration of Management between Konica Corporation and Minolta Co., Ltd.", following which Minolta became Konica Minolta. In 2005, it was announced that "Konica Minolta and Sony Agree to Jointly Develop Digital SLR Cameras", and in 2006, Sony announced the "Partial Transfer of Certain Assets Related to Digital SLR cameras", buying the assets of Konica Minolta Photo Imaging.

    It was my understanding that Sony bought all of Konica Minolta's assets from their photography business, excluding the film scanners (which seem to have been discontinued) and the light meters, which I think may have been bought out by Kenko. Konica Minolta continued (and continue) in business making office equipment and other imaging/optical/measuring instruments.

    Just today I discovered this website...
    Minolta Digital

    A bunch of cameras all branded Minolta. On the "About Us" page, it says, "Minolta is a registered trademark of JMM Lee Properties, LLC and is used in the United States by Elite Brands Inc. under license." I wonder if anyone has any more insight? It seems that "Minolta" cameras have re-entered the market, by some company who are licencing the brand. I assume that Konica Minolta, Inc. have nothing to do with designing/manufacturing these cameras.
  2. Over the years there have been a fair number of "zombie" cameras made by people who have acquired names.

    I don't know about Minolta, but Praktica, Exakta, and Prakticar and other former East German trademarks have been made by Asian manufacturers having no real connection to the originals:
  3. Simple 'badge engineering'.

    All the products shown have a nagging familiarity, and a strong resemblance to other marques of low-end camera.

    However, obtaining the license to use the name must have been a nightmare; involving negotiation with both Sony and the remnants of Minolta.
  4. The only interesting item they have is the "instax" knockoff using an embedded cell phone camera and miniature inkjet printer instead of film. I thought this was a nifty workaround when it was first attempted (and failed) as an accessory to point & shoot digicams some years ago. Back then, it was rejected by the masses as clumsy and a "not really genuine instant photography experience". Today, with the Instax popularity explosion, who knows: might catch on as an integrated product.

    Otherwise, meh: I always wonder who the target demographic is for these zombie branding pitches. Anyone who still remembers there was a Minolta also remembers they croaked ten years ago thru a combination of patent screwups and the digital transition (and had already become almost irrelevant before then). If you remember Minolta fondly for the fine cameras of its heyday, when it was considered good enough to collaborate with Leica, you wouldn't have the least interest in these new generic point and shoots today. And if you don't remember Minolta from a hole in the ground, just as a random brand name, you won't be particularly impressed by this collection either.

    Its almost as if these companies hope there is a huge real-life segment of the population with the mentality of "Grandpa Simpson" - vague memories of a long-defunct brand that can be leveraged to sell them new junk products, often totally unrelated to what the brand once represented. The most annoying example is Bell & Howell, once king of movie cameras and slide projectors, today used to flog everything from screwdrivers to sunglasses to hearing aids to toilet caddies on late-night TV. To who, exactly? Bell & Howell has been dead and buried for decades.

    The only one of these gimmicks that remotely made sense was the Polaroid licensing bonanza that began immediately after the company folded (if not sooner). The brand was still very current, and many of the initial licensed products had at least a tenuous connection to something Polaroid might plausibly be involved with (AV electronics, etc).

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