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Kyocera kills Contax cameras

Japanese electronics conglomerate Kyocera announced Tuesday that it was ditching its Contax line of cameras, one of the oldest and most respected brands in photography.

Zeiss Ikon, the German company founded by lensmaker Carl Zeiss, began making Contax 35mm cameras in the 1930s, quickly establishing the brand as the main competition against high-end camera maker Leica.

Zeiss formed a partnership with Japanese camera maker Yashica in the 1970s to cut production costs. Kyocera acquired Yashica in 1996 and continued producing camera under the Contax name, but the brand never established much headway in digital imaging.

"Kyocera has decided to terminate (the Contax) business due to difficulties in catching up with the recent rapid market changes," the company said in its statement. Kyocera said it would halt shipments of all Contax cameras, lens and accessories by the end of the year.