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Traditional Camera Makers Loosing Focus

Associated Press reports that they are some of the most legendary names in photography. Minolta developed the world's first successful auto-focus, single-lens reflex camera. Fuji invented 1600-speed film, once the industry's fastest. Nikon's fabled F-series made the 35 mm camera the picture taking workhorse for the past half-century.

Now, the companies share a more dubious distinction: abandoning part of the business that made them famous. Traditional camera makers have battled to adapt to the digital revolution for the past 10 years, but recent retreats by leading brands underline how the industry has turned upside down.

With interlopers like Sony, Panasonic and Samsung capitalizing on their high-tech know-how, traditional camera makers and their black scrolls of film may soon join 19th-century daguerreotypes as museum-shelf curios.

In just the past few years, digital cameras have catapulted from cutting-edge novelties to mainstream must-haves. But with the market poised to plateau, more players are chasing fewer opportunities, and the old guard is losing out.

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