Archive for the ‘Business of Photography’ Category

Quantum Film Threatens to Replace CMOS Sensors

PORTLAND, Ore. — Just as photographic film was mostly replaced by silicon image chips, now quantum film threats to replace the conventional CMOS image sensors in digital cameras. Made from materials similar to conventional film—a polymer with embedded particles—instead of silver grains like photographic film the embedded particles are quantum dots. Quantum films can image scenes with more pixel resolution, according to their inventors, InVisage Inc., offering four-times better sensitivity for ultra-high resolution sensors that are cheaper to manufacture.

Read More: EETimes

Thanks David

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*UPDATED* No New Canon Stock for Wolf/Ritz Camera

Correction
Canon not selling to Ritz isn’t part of the bankruptcy proceedings. The issue is Ritz got to write-off a ton of debt to Canon.

Canon & Ritz couldn’t work out a new deal before the Christmas season.

Thanks for the clarification Eric

Not until 2010 at the earliest
Canon will not be selling them any new stock for the Christmas season to Ritz Camera. Canon will sell to the retail chain during Q1 2010 at the earliest.

Ritz will be sending existing Canon stock to the “Ultra Store” locations. Apparently they’re for the higher end gear.

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Canon to revive shelved Nagasaki camera plant plan

TOKYO, June 5 (Reuters) – Japan’s Canon Inc said on Friday it has decided to revive a shelved plan to build a $180 million digital camera factory in Nagasaki, southern Japan, on solid demand for digital single-lens reflex cameras.

Details on the timing of the plant’s start-up and any changes in the investment will be announced later in the day, a Canon spokesman said.

The plant, to make both digital compacts and digital single-lens reflex cameras, was originally to have an annual production capacity of 4 million cameras.

(Reporting by Mayumi Negishi)

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Canon Q1 profit falls 88%, raises outlook

TOKYO - Japan’s Canon Inc reported an 88 per cent fall in quarterly profit, hit by slumping demand for copiers and printers, but it raised its annual outlook on cost cuts and a weakening yen.

Demand for office machines and their supplies such as toner cartridges remained weak as the global financial crisis made the replacement cycle of copiers and printers longer and prompted corporate clients not to use them as heavily as before.


Fujifilm Holdings, a rival in digital cameras and office equipment which has been hit much harder by the economic downturn, forecast a ¥90 billion ($A1.30 billion) annual operating loss as it scraps equipment and cuts 5,000 jobs.

Canon, whose other competitors include Xerox Corp and Ricoh Co Ltd, earlier this month delayed the construction of a toner cartridge components plant in western Japan for a second time, underscoring weak demand.

But Canon’s overseas sales have been boosted by softer-than-expected yen. The company also said it would aim to cut Â¥172 billion in costs this year, Â¥60 billion more than originally planned.

Canon raised its 2009 operating profit forecast by 12.5 per cent to ¥180 billion, in line with an estimate in the Nikkei newspaper last week. But it lowered its sales forecast by five per cent to ¥3.33 trillion.

Mizuho Securities analyst Ryosuke Katsura said the operating profit forecast change was effectively a downward revision after stripping out currency effects but that the results show Canon is holding up relatively well.

“Some had expected losses for Canon’s first quarter, so I think it’s positive that the firm managed to post profits,” he said. “Its cost-cutting efforts should be given some credit, but I have yet to see how the company achieves growth.”

Rival Xerox last week forecast a weaker-than-expected quarterly profit and cut its annual outlook nearly in half, while Ricoh predicted a 13 per cent fall in operating profit for the year to March 2010.

Ricoh last October bought major US office equipment distributor Ikon Office Solutions for $US1.6 billion ($A2.2 billion), delivering a heavy blow to Canon, whose machines had represented 60 per cent of the products Ikon handled before the October acquisition but have rapidly been replaced with Ricoh equipment since then.

Operating profit at Canon, the world’s largest digital camera maker ahead of Sony Corp and Nikon Corp, came in at Â¥20.03 billion in January-March, compared with a Â¥170.83 billion profit a year earlier.

Sales fell 32 per cent to ¥687 billion.

Sony is set to announce results for the previous financial year through March on May 14, and Nikon plans to report on May 13.

Canon shares closed up 6.1 per cent at Â¥2,950 before its earnings announcement, outperforming the Tokyo stock market’s electrical machinery index, which rose 4.4 per cent.

The shares have recovered nearly 40 per cent since hitting their lowest level in more than seven years in early March. The electrical machinery sub-index has risen about 36 per cent from a low hit in late February.

Nikon Profit Down 64%, Sees Loss Ahead

Sign of the times
Will we see this same sort of report coming from Canon?

TOKYO, May 13 (Reuters) - Japanese precision equipment and camera maker Nikon Corp (7731.T: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) said on Wednesday annual operating profit fell 64 percent, hurt by weak sales of chip-making machines, and it forecast a tumble into the red this year.

Operating income was 48.2 billion yen ($495 million) in the year ended March 31, beating an average market estimate of 42 billion yen from 17 brokerages surveyed by Thomson Reuters.

For the current financial year, Nikon, which launched a new entry-level digital single-lens reflex camera this month, forecast a loss of 12 billion yen, smaller than an average estimate from analysts of a 17 billion yen loss.

The world’s No.2 maker of chip steppers after Netherlands-based ASML (ASML.O: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) has been hurt by spending cuts by chipmakers amid a prolonged downturn and is looking increasingly to its cameras to cover the shortfall.

Steppers are multi-million dollar machines used to scan circuitry onto silicon wafers to make semiconductors. Canon Inc (7751.T: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) also competes in the market.

Shares of Nikon shed 58 percent in the year ended in March, while Canon lost close to 39 percent and Olympus Corp (7733.T: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) lost 48 percent. (Reporting by Mayumi Negishi; Editing by Edwina Gibbs)

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Canon Delays Plant a Second Time

TOKYO: Japan’s Canon Inc. said Thursday that it was delaying the construction of a new manufacturing plant for a second time because of the global economic downturn.

Canon, which produces cameras and office equipment, had originally planned to start building the factory in late 2008 in southern Oita Prefecture.

It first delayed the start in November because of the worsening recession, and gave no new target date for the start of construction.

“The significant decline in demand has continued for longer than expected with no clear indication of when a recovery might be expected,” a company statement said.

Canon in December had shelved plans to build another domestic plant for digital cameras in southern Nagasaki prefecture.

The company, once hailed as a success story in Japan’s recovery from the 1990s recession, is one of many Japanese manufacturers cutting output and jobs to cope with the global economic downturn.

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The Real Chuck Westfall Speaks – CNET

Interview with Chuck Westfall

Real Chuck Westfall

Real Chuck Westfall

CNET sat down with Chuck Westfall to discuss the future at Canon. Nothing overly exciting, but worth a read if you haven’t’ already.

My favourite question and response.

Nikon has been making market share gains in the last year. How does that change things for Canon in terms of pricing, marketing strategy, or product development?

Westfall: I’ll say this: It’s been very good for Canon as well as the rest of the industry and customers especially to have a very vigorous competition between the two companies. It works out to better products and very competitive pricing. We’re in this business to stay. We don’t back down from challenges. Our situation is pretty good. We are very well positioned in terms of our investment in R&D to be able to continue developing new products and technology to keep us at our No. 1 level. Based on the market research we’ve seen, although it is true that Nikon made some gains on us last year, we still ended up in the No. 1 position in units and dollars for both the SLR and compact camera categories.

Read More: http://news.cnet.com/8301-13580_3-10213645-39.html

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Consolidation of Camera Companies?

From an anonymous source
This could be nothing more than some random person’s pipe dream. It was an interesting concept anyway.

Panasonic
- Acquisition of Leica Camera AG. LeicaRumors also posted about this.
*edit* Leica Geosystems AG and Leica Microsystems AG are separate entities.

- Acquisition of Olympus Corporation.

The acquisition of Olympus makes a lot more sense to me than Leica. However, after what Panasonic paid for Sanyo, anything is possible.

Samsung
- Currently investigating the possibility of acquiring Hoya Corporation, owners of Pentax.

Samsung keeps threatening to really care about digital photography. I fully expected them to be very aggressive after teaming up with Pentax. It never really happened. They continue to make uninspiring P&S cameras and a dslr that no one has bought (some say makes better images than the K20D). However, Samsung Techwin is the 3rd largest manufacturer of digital cameras. They have the size to take on Sony for 3rd in the market.

If this were true, it would have been easier to buy Pentax before Hoya, unless Hoya has something coveted by Samsung as well.

None of this may be remotely true, but it was an interesting read anyway and something to think about. There are too many manufacturers of DSLR’s currently, I think something has to give.

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Digital Camera Sales Outlook – Not all That Bad

The Camera and Imaging Products Association (CIPA), which represents the various Japanese camera manufacturers, has released their outlook for digital camera sales, 2009-2011:

  • Units shipped in 2008 rose 19.3%, to 119,757,000. Digital SLRs were a big part of that, with a year-on-year increase of 29.7%
  • Overall camera shipments are expected to drop in 2009 by 0.7%; fixed lens camera shipments are forecast to drop by 1.3%, but D-SLR sales will help mitigate that, increasing by 6.8%
  • Shipments are expected to increase in 2010 and 2011: fixed lens camera should rise 2.4% year-over-year, with D-SLRs doing even better (8.2% in 2010, 6.6% in 2011)

2009-2011 Outlook on the Shipment Forecast by Product-Type Concerning Cameras and Related Goods

The Camera & Imaging Products Association (CIPA, President: Tsuneji Uchida) has announced the outlook on the shipment forecasts by product-type concerning cameras and related goods for the term from 2009 to 2011.

I. Outlook on Shipments in 2009

1) Digital Cameras

The total shipments of digital cameras in 2008 (the cumulative total of shipments from January to December) exceeded the performance in 2007 when shipments broke through the 100 million unit mark for the first time since CIPA began compiling statistics. A total of 119,757,000 units were shipped, representing an increase of 19.3% on the previous year’s performance based on volume.

The growth was exhibited across both categories of product type with shipments of interchangeable lens digital SLR cameras reaching 9,687,000 units (a year-on-year increase of 29.7%) and shipments of digital cameras with built-in lens reaching 110,070,000 units (a year-on-year increase of 18.5%).

Nevertheless, the effects of the rapid economic slowdown since the autumn of 2008 have begun to manifest themselves in the digital camera market. On the basis of these changes, the forecast for 2009 envisages total overall shipments including digital cameras with built-in lens and the sales driver interchangeable lens digital SLR cameras declining by approximately 790,000 units to 118,971,000 units (a year-on-year decrease of 0.7%).

In terms of the breakdown in shipments by product type, the forecast anticipates shipments of interchangeable lens digital SLR cameras increasing by approximately 660,000 units to 10,349,000 units (a year-on-year increase of 6.8%) and shipments of digital cameras with built-in lens declining by approximately 1,450,000 units to 108,622,000 units (a year-on-year decrease of 1.3%).

2) Interchangeable Lenses for SLR Cameras

The total shipments of interchangeable lenses for SLR cameras in 2008 was underpinned by significant growth in shipments of interchangeable lens digital SLR cameras associated with the expansion of the SLR camera user base. Lens shipments exhibited firm growth with a total of 15,655,000 units shipped on a volume basis (a year-on-year increase of 25.1%).

The forecast for 2009 anticipates that lens shipments will continue to grow due to the continuation of sustained strong demand for interchangeable lens digital SLR cameras. Shipments are expected to increase by approximately 960,000 units to a total of 16,610,000 units (a year-on-year increase of 6.1%).

II. Outlook on Shipments in 2010 and 2011

1) Digital Cameras

The forecast for total shipments of digital cameras in both 2010 and 2011 reflects the effects of gradual moves toward economic recovery anticipated. Continued overall growth can be expected albeit at lower rates than the high levels recorded up until 2008. In view of the growth potential in Asia and Other Areas, the forecast envisages total shipments increasing in 2010 to 122,449,000 (a year-on-year increase of 2.9%) and in 2011 to 125,954,000 (a year-on-year increase of 2.9% year-on-year).

By product type, the forecast anticipates that the sustained steady growth in shipments of interchangeable lens digital SLR cameras will continue with 2010 shipments reaching 11,242,000 units (a year-on-year increase of 8.6%) and 2011 shipments totaling 12,029,000 units (a year-on-year increase of 7.0%). Shipments of digital cameras with built-in lens are also predicted to increase with 2010 shipments reaching 111,207,000 units (a year-on-year increase of 2.4%) and 2011 shipments totaling 113,925,000 units (a year-on-year increase of 2.4%).

2) Interchangeable Lenses for SLR Cameras

The forecast for total shipments of interchangeable lenses for SLR cameras in both 2010 and 2011 envisages that the growth in lens shipments will track the robust growth path of interchangeable lens digital SLR cameras with 2010 shipments reaching 17,972,000 units (a year-on-year increase of 8.2%) and 2011 shipments totaling 19,151,000 units (a year-on-year increase of 6.6%).

In view of the unavoidable effects of the rapid economic slowdown on the shipment forecast, as described above, we will continuously assess the forecast based on updated results and
announce a revised forecast on the basis of the results for the first quarter of 2009.

From Fastlens