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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 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:

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