System Camera Production increased 34% in volume, 43% in value during 2012, compact camera production shows further decline.

A few notes: These numbers come from CIPA, Japan's Camera & Imaging Products Association, and as thus, production numbers from China and Korea are not included. However, seeing the onslaught of Chinese branded digicams in markets everywhere, my guess is that China's compact camera output has not declined at all, and since Samsung's latest earning report stated a slight volume increase too, the Cassandras predicting the imminent demise of the compact camera segment can just pack up and go home. Also, the biggest increase in volume occurred in Europe, maybe photography is a good outlet for austerity related stress :)

Chris Cheesman at Amateur Photographer reports:
Production of interchangeable-lens cameras rose 34% in 2012 and shipments of lenses broke through the 30 million unit mark, Japanese trade figures have revealed. But total digital camera shipments – including compacts – dropped 15%, according to Japan's Camera & Imaging Products Association (CIPA).

. . . read more

No Hope: ALL 193 Jessops stores to close tonight, 1370 jobs will be terminated.

Lucy Crossley at the Daily Mail reports on this sad story: 

"High street camera chain Jessops is to shut all of its stores at the end of trading today with the loss of 1,370 jobs, it has been announced. The photography chain has become the first major retail failure of the New Year after it suffered from online competition and the rising popularity of camera phones. Administrator PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), has announced that all 187 of the company's stores will cease trading today, with staff set to lose their jobs. . . . read more

Zenfolio sold to wallpaper retailer, apparently due to 'synergy in the wallpaper space'

Sorry, meant to say Wall décor e-retailer, whose CEO sees the move as "very natural because of the synergy between the two companies in the wall decor space" Ok, then:

" buys photography platform provider Zenfolio

Zenfolio enables photographers to sell their work online.

Wall décor e-retailer Inc. has acquired Zenfolio Inc., which provides photographers the technology to upload, share and sell their work, announced today.

. . . read more

The vast Kodak intellectual property portfolio to (mostly) stay in America: Señor Perez finally manages to offload the bundle to a consortium, primary members are Apple, Google, Facebook, Amazon and Microsoft, but also Fujifilm and Samsung.

And this is actually the true end of Kodak as we knew it. The company is now completely out of digital consumer imaging and printing, focusing instead on commercial printing and packaging. Whatever imaging business left is film based, and it will sooner than later dwindle out of existence. 
Kodak Chief Executive Antonio M. Perez (the one with the private jets and millions in salary and bonuses) had this to say: "This monetization of patents is another major milestone toward successful emergence (from bankruptcy)," and then he went on to say: "Kodak remains a major center of invention and innovation." What's that thing the kids say these days? Oh yes, ROTFLMAO Thankfully for Mr. Perez, Rochester appears to be all out of pitchforks and torches.

However things are not all bad for the residents of Rochester. Kodak may not be anywhere near to being a 'center of invention and innovation" as Mr. Perez belies believes, but the University of Rochester and the Technical Institute of Rochester certainly are. These two Institutes have both a very strong presence in Optics and Digital Imaging, like for example, The Institute of Optics, one of the greatest optics research facilities in the world. A little known fact outside Rochester is that these institutes, together now employ more people than Kodak ever did. . . . read more

Celebrity Photographer Annie Leibovitz lists her swanky New York townhouse(s) for a cool $ 33 million. Included are 13 fireplaces and a piece of Rock'n Roll photography history.

Poor Annie, after years of going MJ mismanagement of her own funds, and a heap of legal troubles, it has finally come to this. Officially she sells the house to move closer to her daughter, unofficially, she's broke.

From the official listing at BHS real estate:


Occupying a superb corner of the West Village, 755 Greenwich Street is an extraordinary compound of approximately 10,202 square feet and comprises three distinct townhouses positioned on the northeast corner of Greenwich and . . . read more

Twitter lashes back at Instagram, will launch filters for photos and other media: This war will be broadcast in sepia colors.

After Instagram has withdrawn support for image previews within Twitter in the past several days, it is now the little blue bird's time to respond: A new service called Twitter Cards will make it possible for users to attach media to their tweets, media that can initially be enriched by a selection of photo filters. More functionality and features will be added along the road. Here's an (slightly morbid) example posted by the Twitter Dev team: . . . read more

Apple and Google Gang up for common $500 million bid to acquire what good is left In Kodak's portfolio of patents.

Reuters Reports:

"Apple Inc. (AAPL) and Google Inc. (GOOG) have joined forces to offer more than $500 million to buy Eastman Kodak Co. (EKDKQ)’s patents out of bankruptcy, said people familiar with the situation.

The two companies, competing for dominance of the smartphone market, have partnered after leading two separate groups this summer to buy some of Kodak’s 1,100 imaging patents, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the process is private. . . . read more

Slightly off topic: China Daily claims that Japan 'falls behind' in technology innovation, cites Panasonic and Sony as examples of crumbling giants.

"In the last few months, many Japanese companies announced their layoff plans. Three IT giants - Sony, Panasonic and Sharp - are expected to make a total of 50,000 employees redundant in the near future.

Panasonic, which was founded in 1918 and remains Japan's biggest employer with 330,000 employees, said it will reduce its workforce by about 10,000 employees by March 2013. In the last five years it has posted four consecutive annual net losses. Recently, the company explained that because of losses in its mobile, solar panel and lithium battery . . . read more

Former Olympus CEO: Nothing has changed at Japan Inc. since the scandal was exposed, at times i was fearing for my life.

How severe is it for our favourite Japanese brands? Well, these two last paragraphs of his Cnn interview illustrates the situation in really bleak colours: 

"Woodford compared the success of South Korean electronics giant Samsung to that of ailing Japanese rivals such as Sharp, Sony and Panasonic -- all have their debts set at junk status.

"Japan is losing it," said Woodford. "The companies and country can't change. They just can't change themselves. It's desperately sad." . . . read more

Shocker: Fitch downgrades Sony and Panasonic debt rating to 'Junk" status, shares tumble to all time low.

Panasonic has even mentioned the possibility of dumping loss inducing core business sectors, and the imaging division is unfortunately one of them. Edmonton Journal reports:

"The two companies, along with Sharp Corp, racked up combined losses of $20 billion last year, leading them to axe jobs, sell assets and close facilities. “Both Sony and Panasonic are struggling to generate operating profits, but each is restructuring and I don’t envision the current situation continuing,” said Masahi Oda, Chief Investment Officer at Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Bank." . . . read more

BBC News: Olympus back in profit as it recovers from scandals, but camera business is still making losses.

"In November last year, Olympus admitted to hiding billions of yen of losses over 20 years in one of Japan's biggest corporate scandals. The company and three of its former executives were charged by prosecutors in March in connection with the scandal. Olympus is engaged in a five-year restructuring plan, which will involve reducing its global workforce by 7% by 2014 and cutting the number of its factories around the world from 30 to 18 by 2015." . . . read more

Canon USA refurbished specials: Get in while the action is hot.

There are 48 lenses and many DSLRs currently listed, like the EF 75-300mm f/4-5.6 III USM Refurbished for $187 and the EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6L IS USM Refurbished for $1.207. All products are refurbished and warranted by Canon US. . . . read more

Reuters: Sony set for $642 million investment in Olympus for a 10% stake.

"Rocked by an accounting scandal over falsified financial statements and hidden investment losses, camera and endoscope maker Olympus needs cash to fix its finances. In the year to March 31 it booked a net loss of 49 billion yen.

In June its ratio of shareholders' equity to total assets fell to 2.2 percent, from 4.6 percent in March. The figure is a . . . read more

Olympus and former executives plead guilty, faces up to 10 years in jail.

This disgraceful story that nearly killed off Olympus is finally reaching the end, and the news ain't good for Kikukawa san:

"Former Olympus chairman, Tsuyoshi Kikukawa, has pleaded guilty to charges of falsifying accounts, covering up losses of $1.7bn(£1.1bn), in a trial that begins today"

PriceRunner UK looks into hobby costs, photography is on top, knitting on bottom

Via Rochdale Online:

"A new study by PriceRunner, the independent shopping comparison website, reveals that photography is the most expensive hobby to maintain. A list of the most pricey and cheapest hobbies compiled by the site reveals that snap happy photographers might faced with a bill of over £4,500 a year on buying the most sophisticated equipment." . . . read more

Bloomberg: Olympus Ex-Chairman and Six Others Arrested.

"Kikukawa, 70, who headed Olympus for 10 years until last year, Hideo Yamada, 67, who led the investment unit since the 1980s and later became an auditing officer, and former Executive Vice President Hisashi Mori concealed losses, booked overstated goodwill and falsified financial statements, the prosecutors said in a statement. . . . read more

Olympus halves digital camera operating loss; sales rise @ AP

"Olympus slashed its imaging division operating loss by more than 50% in the nine months to 31 December 2011, newly released accounts show. 

 Olympus reported a 14.7% rise in digital camera sales over the nine months, reaching 94,557 million yen (£771m) at 31 December 2011. 

Kodak's former sensor business is now Truesense Imaging.

Kodak sensor you say? They may not have been a mass producer of sensors, but here's some of the companies that still uses them: Hasselblad, Sinar, Pentax (on their 645 medium format) and Leica on the S2 (KODAK KAF-37500) and their M9 (KODAK KAF-18500). Limitation of current sensors include not so good high iso performance, no video capture, and no liveview ability.  . . . read more

Kodak to phase out digital cameras and digital picture frames.

When Kodak execs in Rochester claim Kodak is to be transformed into an 'All digital company" perhaps what they ultimately have in mind is a usb stick with whatever is left of Kodak's intellectual property on it, in a safe at some ip lawyer firm's office.  . . . read more

Ricoh re-organizes, puts Pentax in charge of consumer imaging division.

Good, so now Pentax is in charge of a family of 2 and a half weird mirrorless systems: The toy/gimmick Q system, Ricoh's interchangeable sensor+lens box system, and the K-01 that's actually a K-mount camera with a chopped off pentaprism and viewfinder. The plan becomes effective April 1st, an appropriate date. . . . read more

A Photographer's Eulogy for Eastman Kodak at Luminous Landscape

Is Kodak aware that people are writing eulogies left and right? Is the company even aware of its death? No, not really, according to them they are 'restructuring' and 'focusing on core strategies' and 'enforcing the transformation to an all digital company' and stuff like that. Kodak, welcome to the purgatory, Agfa and Polaroid will be your guides. . . . read more

Sony: Howard Stringer out, Kazuo Hirai new CEO

Right after Canon it is now turn for Sony to rid itself of its CEO for a new one. Kazuo Hirai made a big name for himself in the gaming division. 

LA Times reports: . . . read more

Pentax Q Sales dissapointing @ TR

One of the 3 'weird sisters'  the Pentax Q system (the others being the newly announced K-01 and the Ricoh GXR) is not performing as expected 

according to Pentax rep. Jonathan Martin: . . . read more

Panasonic Q3/2011 earnings: loss at a tune of 9 Billion Dollars.

Ouch! Outlook for 2012 is not very bright either:


"Regarding the annual forecast for fiscal 2012, the company revised its previous sales forecast of 8,300.0 billion yen downward to 8,000.0 billion . . . read more

Sony posts Q3 2011 earnings, losses everywhere.

The outcast for next quarter ain't luminous either. Sony puts the blame on the usual culprits (mama nature and the strong Yen). The report keeps a gloomy a pessimistic tone thorough, like it was almost written by an emo accountant. . . . read more

Nikon posts Q3 2011 earnings, losses as expected.

Mother nature really took its toll last year, both on human lives and corporate balance sheets. What's amazing when it comes to the sheets, is that Nikon loses a very small amount compared to other megacorps in the imaging world like Sony, Panasonic et al. If you remember, Nikon was one of the most-if not THE most affected company with the majority of its plants under water in both Japan and Thailand during a good bit of 2011.

Nikon accountants predict good things for 2012 however, provided the apocalyptic events slated for 2012 do not show up. . . . read more

Tamron to build a new factory in Vietnam

Afraid of floods, Tamron? Or is it the slightly lower labour cost? Maybe the shorter distance (supply route) to China and Japan?'

Tamron Press Release . . . read more

Fujifilm posts Q3/2011 earnings: more than 100.000 x100 sold, and more.

Overall, it is not such a gloomy report. Fujifilm came out as one of the least affected among the major major Japanese companies from the tsunami/nukepoof incident, and the Thailand floods. Digital imaging is up 7%, everything else is more or less down but we'll leave that to the analysts and shareholders. . . . read more

Canon forecast much weaker earnings/profit than expected, kicks president.

Can the much delayed mirrorless system, or for that matter, the much delayed almost anything, have to do with this? P.S to Reuters: Canon does not only compete with Nikon and Sony in the camera market, but with a hooplah of other companies too that slowly eat into its profits, like  Olympus, Panasonic, Fujifilm et al.  . . . read more

Deal Alert! Acdsee 5 pro for only $99

Or, $69.99 for owners of an existing ACD Systems product. (check your mailbox for that) . . . read more

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