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Panasonic will likely survive because it focuses on more than just consumer electronics

A credit rating agency said that Panasonic would likely survive longer than Sony after downgrading both electronics companies.

Credit rating agency Fitch recently lowered Panasonic's rating down two notches to BB, but cut Sony down three notches to BB minus. Other credit rating agencies have put them at the same level.

The reason for Fitch's credit ratings? It claims Panasonic has a "relatively stable consumer appliance business," such as refrigerators and washing machines, aside from just consumer electronics. Sony, on the other hand, is mainly depending on the extremely competitive consumer electronics market.

Right now, tech giants like Apple and Samsung have a strong hold on the electronics market, such as smartphones and tablets.

Sony's troubles largely stem from its failing TV business. It has seen eight straight years of quarterly losses, and last December, Sony decided to shake up its TV division by negotiating a buyout of its 50 percent manufacturing stake with Samsung in the LCD joint venture. It also split its TV division into three units consisting of sales of LCD TVs, outsourcing manufacturing to cheaper foreign facilities and developing future TVs.

To make matters worse, Sony reported a record annual loss of $5.7 billion USD in May 2012.

However, new Sony CEO Kazuo Hirai has been working to turn the company around since he took over in April 2012. In fact, he offered an entirely new plan for restructuring the company. A key idea behind the restructuring was to strengthen core businesses, including digital imaging, games and mobile. He also opted to take over the failing TV business, expand business in emerging markets, create new businesses and realign the business portfolio.

Just last month, Sony closed a factory in Japan and cut 2,000 jobs at its Tokyo headquarters.

While Hirai is trying to make Sony profitable again, Fitch said "most of their electronic business are loss making" and "appear to be overstretched."

Fitch said Panasonic, on the other hand, is focusing on areas other than consumer electronics like home appliances, lithium batteries, solar panels and automotive parts.

Source: Reuters

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RE: my analysis
By Tony Swash on 11/25/2012 8:44:48 PM , Rating: 1
Thanks again. One last question, motivated by your observation about raw vs. jpeg (and by the considered responses you've given above): I’ve never worked with raw (indeed, outside of those in my computer and phone, I’ve not yet owned a digital camera, not having returned to the hobby since I left it after the demise of film), and I’m wondering how it would not be burdensome to have to do post-production (required by raw) on each of one’s shots. Back when I shot film (mostly 35 mm, but also some medium format), while I liked to compose my shots, adjust dof, etc., I never liked bothering with developing, which seems the film analog of manipulating raw files. I’d be interested to hear your observations on this, if it wouldn’t be a burden.

I always shoot raw and love post processing but it can eat up the time. Raw images almost always do need post processing and can look pretty crapy straight out of the camera. One solution would be to shoot Raw+JPEG (which the RX can do) and get the best of both worlds, use the JPEGs most of the time and fall back on the Raw if you really want to tweak the most out of a shot.

For processing raw images quickly I would strongly suggest Lightroom, the tools in the latest version are fantastic and with a simple slide of a control you can open the shadows and pull back the highlights. It takes me less than a minute to process most raw images in Lightroom (although the 36 meg files from the D800 can strain your system).

That's actually why I was hoping for effective in-camera HDR -- HDR is a good way to motivate a film person into digital, since it's a powerful, and non-gimmicky, photographic technique uniquely available from digital, and I was looking forward to being able to implement it routinely without a lot of extra work -- not so much to get that HDR look, but simply to routinely improve the dynamic range of my photos. Indeed, since what it offers -- increased dynamic range -- seems so fundamental (it's more than a mere feature -- I would think it improves performance), I don't understand why it's not considered an essential part of all digital cameras. Further, with sufficiently sophisticated auto-alignment algorithms, it seems one could routinely use a non-bracketed form of burst-mode HDR to take better conventional pictures in low light (would summing 3 pics give similar low-light performance to a single pic with a much larger sensor?), thus significantly extending the usable range of compact cameras. Of course, I'm speaking as a digicam neophyte.]

I couldn't agree more, I used to have a lovely Fuji S5 that had a special high dynamic range sensor which produced really great images but alas it only had 12 megapixels and for the big landscape prints I often do that was not enough. I sold it and got the D800 which has three times the resolution and fantastic dynamic range, if it only weighed as little as the RX100 on those long hikes in the mountains it would be the perfect camera.

Good luck with the photography. What I most like photography is how it makes you really look at the world around you, when I wander about shooting I go into a sort of super relaxed trance :)

RE: my analysis
By chemist1 on 11/25/2012 10:05:19 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah, I've heard some find Lightroom much more convenient than Photoshop, so I may purchase the former instead of upgrading my Adobe suite from CS3 to CS6. Though I understand LR doesn't align images, so for HDR one would need LR + something like Photomatix (or Photoshop).

I just found this great table that gives burst-mode automatic exposure bracketing for a huge range of cameras; it appears that Sony did a firmware update to improve this functionality in the NEX7, so perhaps the RX100 will get it down the road:

RE: my analysis
By Tony Swash on 11/26/2012 9:09:17 AM , Rating: 1
Yeah, I've heard some find Lightroom much more convenient than Photoshop, so I may purchase the former instead of upgrading my Adobe suite from CS3 to CS6. Though I understand LR doesn't align images, so for HDR one would need LR + something like Photomatix (or Photoshop).

If you go with Lightroom check out LR/Enfuse which uses the open source Enfuse system to align and blend exposures in Lightroom, in my opinion it produces more natural looking results than Photomatix.

On a Mac you can use the same Enfuse system to blend exposures without using Lightroom. It's $20

The other approach, which I currently favour, uses Photoshop and Lightroom together. Since Lightroom 4.2 (I think that was the version) it has had the ability to process 32 bit images. So you can select a set of bracketed shots in Lightroom, then using the 'Edit in' function and select 'Merge to HRD Pro in Photoshop' send them to Photoshop to be blended into a 32 bit image. Once Photoshop has completed the merger of images don't do any processing or tone mapping in Photoshop just shut and save the image which then imports the new 32 bit merged file back into Lightroom. In Lightroom with a 32 bit file the standard controls to open shadows or pull back highlights now have much more headroom, several stops depending on your bracket spread, to play with and you can get some amazing results.

RE: my analysis
By chemist1 on 11/27/2012 1:35:49 AM , Rating: 2
Interesting. So in your view, in increasing order of quality, it's:
1) make HDR by merging/aligning/tonemapping in Photomatix
2) don't create HDR (thus avoiding need for tonemapping), instead align/blend images using Enfuse/Bracketeer
3) make HDR by merging/aligning in PS, then tonemapping in LR

Since the second option is $20, I'll probably try that first. The last is potentially expensive b/c, in addition to the purchase of LR, I might also need to get CS6, since the alignment algorithm in my current CS3 is probably not very good (plus PS in CS3 might not be compatible with current LR).

Here's another open-source implementation, by Durand, that might interest you:
(see comparison of diff. algorithms here:

RE: my analysis
By Lord 666 on 11/26/2012 2:09:47 AM , Rating: 2
Never understood why you got a bad rep around here nor why after being senselessly abused you stick around.

Your posts are insightful and mature. This thread of yours is an excellent example of collaboration versus the other polarized BS posted by others.

The whole topic of Sony is relative to the Apple vs. Android argument. At one point, Sony could do no wrong. Eventually, bad business practices and stagnation took hold and Sony started to fail. Consumers decide with their wallet and companies succeed or fall because of it. Only time will tell if it will happen again to Apple. But until then, it is pointless to argue senselessly about what comes down to personal preference.

RE: my analysis
By Cheesew1z69 on 11/26/2012 8:30:13 AM , Rating: 3
Never understood why you got a bad rep around here nor why after being senselessly abused you stick around.
Not hard to understand at all...

RE: my analysis
By nikon133 on 11/26/2012 3:16:14 PM , Rating: 2
I shoot RAW, batch-convert to JPG (which might take some time but does not require my presence) and then fine-tune selected photos and convert them individually to JPG again.

While it can take more time altogether, it takes less of my time.

"I'd be pissed too, but you didn't have to go all Minority Report on his ass!" -- Jon Stewart on police raiding Gizmodo editor Jason Chen's home

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