The world's biggest consumer electronics maker, which makes the Panasonic brand, has been developing technologies and devices for digital SLR cameras jointly with Japanese precision equipment maker Olympus, the companies said Monday.
Digital SLR cameras, which use interchangeable lenses, are generally more expensive and yield higher profit-margins than simple point-and-shoot compact cameras that can be produced by low-cost electronics makers.
The digital SLR camera market has been growing rapidly, and global shipments in this market are expected to increase 48 percent to 5.62 million units by 2008, according to Japan's Camera and Imaging Products Association.
Konica Minolta Holdings and Sony, as well as Pentax and a unit of South Korea's Samsung Electronics, have sought similar digital SLR camera alliances to pool resources and cut costs.
But Konica said last month it would sell a portion of its SLR camera business to Sony, part of its move to withdraw completely from the business of selling cameras and photographic film.