Remember they have new ownership - a software company iirc - and I bet they have their sights set on a digital future for Mamiya, having that sort of background. So that excludes Phase. Also, the money is not in the camera bodies, especially with so many bodies on the used market at the moment. Really I don't see what Phase can offer Mamiya right now.
Graham, I agree. I would not have seen the Phase One/Mamiya deal as optimal for either party. For Mamiya it is providing some sort of back-up plan in case their own development of the digital side (the ZD's) does not work out. For Phase One, Mamiya was the only hardware manufacturer left and isuppose they felt they needed to hook up with SOMEONE.
You seem to forget that Contax owns all the lens designs for that camera. They are all Carl Zeiss lenses.
It was my understanding (and I may very well be wrong) that Carl Zeiss was integral in the design of that camera and holds rights to it as well.
Sometimes some posters on this board over simplify the legal and ownership hurdles to what seem like great ideas.
Carl Zeiss would love to have ability to have that camera (or a successor) in production again. However it just doesn't seem to be in the cards anytime soon.
Matt, I think that's right to some extent. First, let us be clear about a couple of things. "Contax" doesn't "own" anything. It is just a marketing name. The lenses for the Contax 645 were designed, manufactuered and marketed as "Zeiss" lenses. Look at the packaging and labeling, it doesn't say "Kyocera" anywhere. it doesn't even say "Contax" anywhere on the box. (Only on the lens information sheet does it say "Contax 645 mount"). Yes, the lenses are clearly ZEISS products, even if the OEM manufacturer for them was Kyocera, and their designs owned by Zeiss.
Now, that is not to say Kyocera had no role in the development of those lenses. Kyocera developed all the electronics in the lenses, and I believe OWN the intellectual property associated with the electronics AND lens mount. And that is the rub. It's not so much the Contax name that is the issue here. I believe that Zeiss could have done something with another name, if the license for the Contax name was the only issue. But it is the technology of the 645 -- the body-lens interface, lens mount and lens control that is the issue. This is what is owned by Kyocera and what Kyocera is apparently not giving up. Zeiss or anyone else, can not do anything with the Contax camera platforms without an agreement with Kyocera that would give them access to the technology. There are legal and ownership hurdles, just not the ones that many people think.
The Contax 645 would have been an IDEAL partner for Phase One -- and Phase one and Kyocera had gone very far down the road in licensing the Contax 645 technology (and perhaps tooling) to Phase. But my understanding is that the Phase One board of directors (in an act of extreme short-sightedness) rejected the deal. Especially, given the well known fact that Kyocera had a Contax 645 MkII model ready to go, this is a very distressing situation. Phase, without a body, had no place to go other than run over to Mamiya, which is a much less attactive proposition for them than Contax would have been.
Quite frankly, and hindsight here is especially valuable, if Kyocera management had their sh*t together when they were having problems sorting out the N Digital (an extremely promising, but flawed DSLR) they should have brought in a digital partner like Phase One. If they had done this then, Contax might still be with us, and might just have a very nice share of the professional market. The still-born Phase One-Contax deal ultimately might have been just too late.
It is my view that Kyocera is being exceptionally foolish by not licensing their Contax technology and not selling off the Contax license -- their shareholders should be very annoyed. The sense is that this is not about money to Kyocera (rumour has it that they even have destroyed all the Contax tooling). It is about, in some sense, sticking it to Zeiss. In the end, however, all Kyocera really ended up doing it is sticking it to their loyal customers.