INTERVIEW-Canon considering compact mirrorless camera

Tue Jul 5, 2011 6:09am EDT

Photo

Photo

* Canon's digital camera output back at pre-quake levels

* Plans to increase camera production capacity in Taiwan

* To raise annual SLR camera output capacity to 10 mln units

(Adds details, quotes)

By Isabel Reynolds

TOKYO, July 5 (Reuters) - Canon (7751.T), the world's largest maker of digital cameras, is exploring the possibility of launching a mirrorless model, featuring many of the capabilities of an upmarket single-lens reflex camera in a more compact body, a senior company executive said.

Masaya Maeda, head of Canon's camera division, also said the company had restored camera production to pre-quake levels at the end of June, after supply chain woes hampered output after the March 11 disaster, and it now plans to hike production capacity in Taiwan.

The planned increase in Taiwan would bring Canon's total single-lens reflex camera output capacity to 10 million units annually, from about 7 million units this year, Maeda told Reuters in an interview on Tuesday.

Rivals including Sony Corp (6758.T) offer mirrorless models, enabling them to market lucrative accessories such as lenses to consumers seeking to move upmarket from compact cameras, and speculation has simmered that Canon and Nikon (7731.T), who dominate the high-end camera market, may follow suit.

Some analysts have warned that entering the emerging segment could expose Canon to more price competition.

Maeda said he did not expect such a move would push down unit prices.

"We are considering the technical aspects," Maeda said, when asked about the mirrorless segment.

"We will launch an interesting product next year," he said, adding that it would be small, but not specifying whether it would be a mirrorless model.

Canon's production of cameras finally returned to pre-quake levels at the end of June, Maeda said, after parts shortages following the March 11 earthquake and tsunami forced it to halt manufacturing at its plants on the southern island of Kyushu for about 10 days and hampered production for months.

Following the disaster, the company was forced to lower its annual camera sales forecast for the year to 27 million units from an initial 30 million units, because a hiatus in supplies of a connector used in compact cameras cut the number of units it was able to make in the April-June period by 3 million, Maeda said.

With production back to normal, he said he hoped to achieve the original target, but added that the company is not ready to change its forecast at this point.

(Editing by Chris Gallagher)

((isabel.reynolds@thomsonreuters.com +81-3-6441-1883 Reuters Messaging: isabel.reynolds.reuters.com@reuters.net)) Keywords: CANON/

(C) Reuters 2011. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution ofReuters content, including by caching, framing or similar means, is expresslyprohibited without the prior written consent of Reuters. Reuters and the Reuterssphere logo are registered trademarks and trademarks of the Reuters group ofcompanies around the world.

* Canon's digital camera output back at pre-quake levels

* Plans to increase camera production capacity in Taiwan

* To raise annual SLR camera output capacity to 10 mln units

(Adds details, quotes)

By Isabel Reynolds

TOKYO, July 5 (Reuters) - Canon (7751.T), the world's largest maker of digital cameras, is exploring the possibility of launching a mirrorless model, featuring many of the capabilities of an upmarket single-lens reflex camera in a more compact body, a senior company executive said.

Masaya Maeda, head of Canon's camera division, also said the company had restored camera production to pre-quake levels at the end of June, after supply chain woes hampered output after the March 11 disaster, and it now plans to hike production capacity in Taiwan.

The planned increase in Taiwan would bring Canon's total single-lens reflex camera output capacity to 10 million units annually, from about 7 million units this year, Maeda told Reuters in an interview on Tuesday.

Rivals including Sony Corp (6758.T) offer mirrorless models, enabling them to market lucrative accessories such as lenses to consumers seeking to move upmarket from compact cameras, and speculation has simmered that Canon and Nikon (7731.T), who dominate the high-end camera market, may follow suit.

Some analysts have warned that entering the emerging segment could expose Canon to more price competition.

Maeda said he did not expect such a move would push down unit prices.

"We are considering the technical aspects," Maeda said, when asked about the mirrorless segment.

"We will launch an interesting product next year," he said, adding that it would be small, but not specifying whether it would be a mirrorless model.

Canon's production of cameras finally returned to pre-quake levels at the end of June, Maeda said, after parts shortages following the March 11 earthquake and tsunami forced it to halt manufacturing at its plants on the southern island of Kyushu for about 10 days and hampered production for months.

Following the disaster, the company was forced to lower its annual camera sales forecast for the year to 27 million units from an initial 30 million units, because a hiatus in supplies of a connector used in compact cameras cut the number of units it was able to make in the April-June period by 3 million, Maeda said.

With production back to normal, he said he hoped to achieve the original target, but added that the company is not ready to change its forecast at this point.

(Editing by Chris Gallagher)

((isabel.reynolds@thomsonreuters.com +81-3-6441-1883 Reuters Messaging: isabel.reynolds.reuters.com@reuters.net)) Keywords: CANON/

Comments (0)
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.

A tourist takes a plunge as she swims at Ngapali Beach, a popular tourist site, in the Thandwe township of the Rakhine state, October 6, 2013. Picture taken October 6, 2013. REUTERS/Soe Zeya Tun (MYANMAR - Tags: SOCIETY) - RTR3FOI0

Where do you want to go?

We look at when to take trips, budget considerations and the popularity of multigenerational family travel.   Video