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Whatever happened to Ikegami?

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John Cummings
Whatever happened to Ikegami?
on Feb 14, 2009 at 1:51:41 am

I know they're still around in the EFP world, but out on the street, they seem to have dropped off the the face of the earth. I know many of us here past a certain age used--or at least lusted after--those wonderful cameras. Back in the day, I remember the first time I put an HL77 on my shoulder and thought I'd died and gone to heaven.

I recall hearing stories making the rounds that they lost several top engineers to Panasonic shortly before the big push to HD. From what I can gather, that unholy alliance with Avid didn't pan out, and it looks like they're now trying to market yet another proprietary format solution to potential customers that could care less.

What happened to that company that turned out such incredible hand-crafted cameras? Anybody here know what they're working on, if anything?

Seems to me there a nice niche between the Varicams and the RED that you drive a truck through with your eyes closed...

Anyway, it would be fun to see Ikegami back in the game.

J Cummings

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Mark Suszko
Re: Whatever happened to Ikegami?
on Feb 16, 2009 at 6:05:53 pm

I remember carrying HL-79's on MY shoulder, and it was never a comfortable experience. You put up with the pain for the "Handy-Looky"'s image quality, but those cams were also rather finnicky, at least ours were. You don't see them much now because IMO they were too high-priced to compete in the larger lower-end market.

They sure blazed a trail with non-tape on-camera recording, but I always got the impression, and I guess the general industrial public did too, that that was still mostly a lab curiosity than an everyday product.

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john sharaf
Re: Whatever happened to Ikegami?
on Feb 16, 2009 at 6:50:26 pm

Ikegami is still hanging in there, mostly making studio and OB truck cameras that are very good, but have been effectively frozen out of the camcorder market because they were not able to secure HDCAM decks from Sony or DVCPRO100 decks from Panasonic. This is what forced their strategic alliances with Avid and Toshiba for other non-linear recording products. Also their security camera business is strong (especially since 9/11). I understand that Sony offered them the decks from the F900 camera, but they had to buy 5000 of them, which was totally unrealistic.

It is unfortunate because Ikegami's innovation, quality of build and service is second to none. It is true that some ex-Ikegami designers were responsible for the Varicam which makes a very-Ikegami-ish picture; warm and film-like.

They are also the only of the big three camera manufacturers that is developing, building and selling professional CMOS cameras, not that they are better, but it definitely shows how Ike wants to distinguish themselves by leading-edge innovation.

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