Sony Corp has taken an 8% stake in film equipment manufacturer Panavision, worth $10m, and plans to establish a joint venture with the company to develop and market high-definition digital video cameras to the Hollywood studios and other film production companies.

Headquartered in a Los Angeles suburb, Panavision recorded sales of $220m in 1999, much of which came from renting Panavision cameras and other equipment to film companies.

Sony has an option to acquire a further 8% in Panavision. The two companies have also agreed to contribute equal shares towards the launch of the new joint venture, with Sony taking the lead in marketing the digital cameras to other studios.