The Boom In Digital Cameras Is At An End

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The big boom in Digital Camera sales is expected decline by up to 7.5 percent from a year earlier, when lower prices and a wider variety of models with interchangeable lenses spurred growth to 22 percent.

Global shipments by makers such as Canon and Sony  are estimated to rise to 84.9 million units in calendar 2007 from 79.0 million units last year, according to figures released by the Camera and Imaging Products Association.

Demand will continue to lose speed as shipment growth is expected to slow the association said.

The Tokyo-based industry group did  forecast that shipments of digital single-lens reflex (DSLR) models, geared for professionals and hobbyists, will continue to show double-digit growth in 2007, but their growth too will slow compared to 2006.

This year, shipments of DSLRs are forecast to increase 13.9 percent to 5.99 million units, lagging behind a 38.9 percent jump in 2006 to 5.26 million units.

Canon and Nikon Corp. <7731.T> are the dominant leaders in the market for DSLRs, while newcomers such as Sony and Matsushita Electric Industrial <6752.T> are also trying to expand in this segment as DSLRs are more profitable than compact devices.

Shipments of compact models, which have faced fierce price competition, is forecast to increase 7 percent to 78.9 million units this year, lower than the 20.9 percent jump in 2006 led by demand in emerging markets and the United States.

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