An increasingly competitive market, coupled with worsening profits, have led to Konica Minolta announcing its withdrawal from the camera business.

An increasingly competitive market, coupled with worsening profits, have led to Konica Minolta announcing its withdrawal from the camera business.

A statement on the company?s website says: ?In today?s era of digital cameras, where image-sensor technologies such as CCD is indispensable, it became difficult to timely provide competitive products?.

Following news last July that Konica Minolta and Sony had reached an agreement to jointly develop digital SLRs, on March 31st the company will transfer some assets related to its digital SLRs to Sony, who will continue to develop digital SLRs based on and compatible with the Maxxum/Dynax mount system under the Sony brand.

This will enable existing owners of Konica Minolta lenses to be able to continue using them.

Before their merger in 2003, Konica and Minolta were innovators in the photography market. Konica produced Japan?s first photographic paper in 1903 and colour film in 1940, while Minolta introduced the world?s first autofocus camera in 1962 and the Maxxum/Dynax series was the world?s first body-integral autofocus SLR.

Konica Minolta will continue to: ?concentrate on its core ?business technologies? field and its strategic ?optics and display devices field?.

Customer service for Konica Minolta, Konica and Minolta brand film cameras, digital stills cameras, lenses and accessories; will be taken over by Sony from April 1st.