Canon has ‘solidified a policy of withdrawal from [the] low-priced compact digital camera business’, according to a report on Japanese website Nikkan.co.jp, and is considering dropping cameras less than 20,000 yen (which would be models in Australia from around $300 – including GST and the slight premium added to Australian RRPs and street prices.)
The bottom end of the market accounts for around 20 percent of Canon’s sales volume. Canon has reduced the number of digital compacts it releases each year form a high of around 20 models in 2012.
Dropping the sub-20,000 yen cameras from the range would eliminate most of the Canon Powershot A series and most Ixus models, leaving Canon with the social media-friendly Canon N-series, the high-end G-series, waterproof cameras and ultrazoom models.
The report says that Canon will concentrate resources on SLRs in future.
Commenting on Canon’s move, camera industry commentator Thom Hogan noted: ‘The only problem with this type of retreat is that it’s putting more and more pressure on a narrower price range of cameras [say from $400 to $1000 in Australia], a range that now includes everyone’s remaining compact cameras, mirrorless cameras on closeout sales, and in the upper end, both new mirrorless and DSLR cameras.
Fujifilm, Olympus, and Panasonic have already announced similar contractions of their compact ranges, and Ricoh-Pentax executives have been quoted as saying the company is concentrating on waterproof and high-end compact cameras.
Nikon appears to be going against the grain, with an executive recently expressing an interest in ‘owning’ whatever is left of the low-end compact market.
The current Nikon range in Australia is: the Coolpix P340, Coolpix P7800 and Coolpix A offering state of the art technology in a small body; the Coolpix AW120 and S32 providing tough, all-weather capabilities; the Coolpix L830, P600, P530, S9700 and S9600 delivering a super zoom range and the Coolpix S02, S2800, S3600, S6700 and S6800 coming in a variety of fashionable colours. Fifteen models in all.
Nikon launched nine new Coolpix cameras at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas in January.
‘The market might be smaller but we are still talking millions of units in the UK, Nikon UK’s group marketing manager Jeremy Gilbert told UK website Amateur Photographer.
‘Does Nikon want a good slice of that? Yes.
‘Why have we released a range of cameras? As other brands reduce their range, it actually gives us some opportunities to fill the gaps that are still there. We can own that market.’
JK Imaging, the US firm that makes Kodak-branded digital cameras, has also expressed an ambition to be ‘the last man standing’ in the digital compact market.