I'll have a fetish hobby after all

First it was Nikon, now it's Konica Minolta.

TOKYO, Jan. 19 (Reuters) - Konica Minolta Holdings said on Thursday it would withdraw from the camera and color film businesses, ending one of the best-known brands in the photography world.

As part of the surprise move, Konica Minolta said it would sell a portion of its digital single-lens reflex camera assets to the Sony Corporation for an undisclosed sum and cease production of compact cameras by March.

The company said it would stop making photographic film and color paper by March 2007, withdrawing from a market that has been shrinking more than 20 percent a year as a result of the spread of digital cameras.

In all honesty, this worries me. Don't get me wrong--I like digital cameras too. I bought my first one about seven years ago (and immediately took an embarassing picture of myself that I then forgot to erase) and while I've never spent big bucks on one, would consider doing it if I had the disposable income.

But there's nothing quite like film for me, the anticipation that comes from bringing film to the developer, the smell of the paper as you open the envelope, the delicate way you hold the prints so as not to smudge them. Maybe it has to do with the delayed gratification that you don't have with digital, I don't know, but I just really like film, and I don't plan to stop shooting it.

But I'd be willing to bet that my hobby is going to get quite a bit more expensive in the coming years.

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