Nikon wants to 'change the concept of cameras,' teases mystery product

8th Jul 2013 | 19:00

Nikon wants to 'change the concept of cameras,' teases mystery product

What's in a camera?

Sales of point-and-shoot cameras are falling thanks to the rise of camera-equipped smartphones, but Nikon is not about to go down with that particular ship.

Its expensive digital SLR cameras are doing just fine after all, Nikon President Makoto Kimura told Bloomberg last week.

More importantly, Nikon's got big plans that will "change the concept of cameras," the president said.

Whether that means a Nikon smartphone or something else entirely for now remains a mystery, but Kimura had a little more to say.

Change is hard

"We want to create a product that will change the concept of cameras," said Kimura. "It could be a non-camera consumer product."

A "non-camera" product that "will change the concept of cameras?" If that's not a Nikon smartphone he's hinting at, then we wonder what other consumer products Nikon's engineers are busy strapping cameras to in a secret lab below the Earth's crust. At least, that's how we imagine the company's R&D facilities.

"Rapid expansion of mobile devices is a change in business environment given to us," Kimura further teased.

"Our task going forward is to find an answer to that change."

Low expectations

Nikon is probably not alone in that struggle; Kimura said point-and-shoot camera sales in April and May of 2013 fell a full 25 percent across the industry from the same time in 2012, and that the compact camera market will shrink 12 percent this financial year.

Nikon doesn't divulge quarterly specifics, but its estimates for the first quarter of this year were reportedly "fairly low."

With a mysterious ace up its sleeve, could Nikon turn things around?

A Nikon smartphone with a high-end camera inside might struggle to make a mark, especially with devices like Nokia's rumored Lumia 1020 - with its 41-megapixel camera - on the horizon. That might end up being the phone to own for photophiles.

According to Bloomberg, Nikon may expand further by following Canon, Sony and Olympus into production of medical devices.

  • Compact cameras may be on the decline, but they're far from dead - check out TechRadar's list of the best high-end compact cameras available now!
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