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Main / Articles: Sony, Konica in digital camera tie-up

The two will share technology to develop digital single lens reflex cameras to meet growing demand.

TOKYO - Sony Corp. and Konica Minolta Holdings Inc. said Tuesday they would jointly develop digital single lens reflex (SLR) cameras, marking Sony's entry into the fastest-growing segment of the camera market.

Digital SLR cameras typically use interchangeable lenses and offer higher performance than simple point-and-shoot compact models.

Sales of digital SLR cameras have expanded rapidly over the past few years and are outstripping growth in compact models as top makers such as Canon Inc. (Research) and Nikon Corp. introduce better and cheaper models, stoking demand.

The lack of a digital SLR model has been a weak point for Sony (Research) because digital SLRs yield fatter profit margins than compact cameras, which are much easier to make and are under intense price pressure due to an influx of low-cost makers.

In a joint statement, the two companies said the relationship would combine Sony's expertise in image sensor and battery technology with Konica Minolta's long history in developing SLR cameras and interchangeable lenses.

"We aim to introduce a (jointly developed) product next summer," Konica Minolta spokesman Minoru Ikehara said.

The tie-up is similar to one forged early this year between Olympus Corp. and Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. (Research) under which the two will share technology to jointly develop a digital SLR.

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