Wary of mobile camera threat, Canon has its focus on high-end photography

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New Delhi | Published: September 24, 2018 1:35 AM

With its all-new EOS R system, Canon is optimistic about maintaining leadership in the combined DSLR and mirrorless market.

Canon’s lens factory in Utsunomiya, Japan. The company has sold over 90 million EOS cameras and 130 million EF lens so far.

Overcoming adversity through innovations is a process that begins with mental toughness, cultivating one’s curiosity, and doing what others aren’t doing—traits that hold true for Canon, which is finding competitive advantage in adversity. Fully aware of the market reality that an increasing number of people are clicking photos with their mobile phones, this Japanese camera and printer maker is revving up its act to maintain leadership position in the imaging world. It is in an overdrive to enhance its EOS system, create new businesses and tap opportunities in the business-to-consumer (B2C) markets, such as medical equipment and surveillance cameras.

With its all-new Canon EOS R system, introduced in India last week, the Japanese MNC is optimistic about maintaining its leadership in the combined DSLR and mirrorless market. The company’s aim is now to take the EOS series to a new level “and create a fresh ecosystem while acquiring digital natives in our journey to create new business models,” says Go Tokura, executive officer and chief executive, Image Communication Business Operations (ICBO) Canon.

“With its intuitive way of shooting, we are positive the EOS R will be a winner in the mirrorless market. We are positive about EOS R contributing immensely to Canon India’s overall business,” says Kazutada Kobayashi, president & CEO, Canon India (see interview).

Developed & produced in-house

Canon’s strength lies in what Tokura calls ‘Trinity of Imaging’. “We develop and produce major components such as lens, processor and sensor in-house, with high quality production as an imperative.” The company has sold over 90 million EOS cameras and 130 million EF lens so far and the credit goes to Canon’s sprawling lens factory in the picturesque town of Utsunomiya, about 100 km north of Tokyo. There’s an R&D facility situated right across the lens factory, where the engineers work on next-gen optical technologies.

Canon has an array of cameras for users ranging from amateur photographers to professionals. “We strive to make strategic efforts to understand the evolving requirements of users and accordingly bring forth innovative solutions,” says Yoshiyuki Mizoguchi, group executive, ICB Products Group, ICBO, Canon. As beginners, users will start with an entry-level DSLR to learn the basics of photography. It will be a perfect companion for photo enthusiasts who are taking a step up from their smartphone photography. Having said that, the users will gradually advance to a higher-end DSLR, as they evolve in their pursuit of photography.

It’s also imperative to note that the generations Y and Z, or the millennials, are gradually becoming the driving force of consumption in the market. “We plan to acquire this young generation of photo enthusiasts with our three concept models: MF telephoto camera, intelligent company camera and an outdoor activity camera,” says Tokura.

Photography on upswing

According to Tokura, there has been a remarkable growth in the culture of photography, especially with the advent of social networking. “Generations Y and Z have become the driving force of consumption in the market. As the number of social networking users increase, the number of total photos taken is also on the rise; total photos taken in the world has gone up to 1300 billion in 2017, up from 660 billion photos in 2013,” he says .

Naoya Kaneda, group executive, ICB Optical Business Group, ICBO, Canon, told FE: “As the market for photography keeps evolving, more people are shooting a greater number of photos with cameras. At Canon, we have seen consistency in our higher-end cameras, as the number of professional buyers are increasing and photographers are becoming more sophisticated.”

He says that customer demands are growing in many different directions, there is demand for image devices that smartphones cannot do. “At Canon, we work to provide the consumers differentiated value. Regardless of the category, we want to reassure consumers that as a camera manufacturer, we are listening to their needs, and creating solutions for them,” he ends.

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