January 12, 2006
Nikon to Stop Producing Film Cameras, Focusing on Digital
AMSTERDAM -- Japanese camera and precision equipment maker Nikon said on Thursday it will focus on digital photography and stop producing most of its film cameras, except for a few professional photographer products.
"Nikon will discontinue production of all lenses for large format cameras and enlarging lenses. This also applies to most of our film camera bodies, interchangeable manual focus lenses and related accessories," it said in a statement on its British website.
The company expects stock of analog products to sell out in retail distribution in the summer of 2006.
Nikon is one of the two main camera brands for professional photographers and the company said it will continue to produce and sell the F6, its flagship film model, as well as a number of manual interchangeable lenses.
In addition, the manual FM10 model will continue to be available outside Europe.
Around 95 percent of Nikon's British sales are now generated by digital camera products and the firm has chosen to focus management resources on the fiercely competitive digital market.
"Demand for products that offer advanced features and extra value is continuing to grow," Nikon said.
Nikon is one of the few success stories left in the digital camera industry, generating relatively healthy profit margins while rivals such as Olympus Corp. and Fuji Photo Film continue to lose money on the business.
Quarterly operating profit at Nikon, the world's second-largest maker of digital single lens reflex cameras after Canon Inc., came to 14.4 billion yen ($126.3 million), up sharply from 5.0 billion yen a year earlier, while sales rose 6.6 percent to 185.5 billion yen.