Farewell, Konica Minolta -- hello, Sony!

Well, we knew this day was coming, but it still makes us a little melancholy when a gadget-maker closes its doors (unless it's Tiger Telematics, that is). Today's the day that, somewhere in Japan, Malaysia, China or wherever else the company does its manufacturing, Konica Minolta produced its last camera. And while the company was never more than an also-ran in the digicam market, it did manage to come up with some good products, including the first DSLRs with an integrated anti-shake system, the Maxxum/Dynax 5D and 7D. The company was also handicapped by being late to digital in the first place, not to mention having to hand over $172 million to Honeywell after a jury found that Minolta had stolen autofocus tech from that company (economic woes following the verdict were among the reasons for Minolta's merger with Konica). The good news for fans of the 5D and 7D (as well as film shooters with a lot of Minolta glass) is that Sony plans to introduce its own line of DSLRs that will be compatible with Minolta's lenses, and may also include the anti-shake system. And given Sony's long-standing partnership with Carl Zeiss, there could be an upside to this after all.