April 12, 2005 — Kyocera Corporation issued a press release today officially announcing the end of production for their Contax camera business sector. "Kyocera has decided to terminate such business due to difficulties in catching up with the recent rapid market changes," the release stated. The British Journal of Photography reported the halt in Kyocera’s production in March and said the company will pursue the more lucrative mobile phone business instead.
Although Contax-branded cameras will not be manufactured anymore, shipments of inventory will continue through September 2005. The only exception to this date is the Contax 645 camera system, which will continue shipping through December 2005. On Feb. 1, the company turned over distribution duties to ToCAD America Inc. While ToCAD will control the sales and distribution of the digital cameras, Kyocera will continue to offer customer service to buyers for a decade after each model was first introduced.
Kyocera Corporation has had a long history in imaging. The company crossed paths with Carl Zeiss, whose Zeiss Ikon company produced the first Contax camera in 1932 and is well-known for its lenses. Contax manufactured the first 35mm SLR film camera in 1949, but was a latecomer to the digital boom when it introduced its first digital camera under the Yashica brand name in 1997.