Nikon Chief Believes Digital Camera Market Nearly Saturated

Nikon’s new president Makoto Kimura believes that the explosive growth of the digital camera market is ending, and that the market is near its saturation point.

Kimura was previously the head of Nikon’s imaging business and instrumental in leading the company from its film photography business to the new world of digital.

At a news conference in Tokyo today, Kimura stated,

Nikon’s imaging business has been expanding quite steadily over the past 10 years. ‘But can it enjoy the same stable growth for the next 10 years? The answer is no,’ Growth for existing digital camera products will inevitably slow and they are set to move into a phase of saturation. I intend to keep dialogue open for everyone to decide what we should do to achieve further growth despite this trend.

Digital photography exploded between 2000 and 2010, with compact cameras being widely adopted and DSLRs becoming more and more accessible to ordinary consumers. Kimura believes that camera companies will now need to look for new directions to grow besides introducing digital cameras to new users.

What do you think will characterize this next decade in digital photography?

  • Emdot

    That has been boggling my mind for quite some time but I do feel that photography has rapidly grown the market will be flooded. But us as photographers should be come up with new ideas in order to seperate ourselves from the rest.

  • Vera Marks

    Crappy gimmick features come to mind… Oh how about automatic face detecting 3D HD video with geotagging?

  • QuBe

    Oooh baby!!
    Saturation point = lower prices.
    Bring on the $1000 D3s!! :D

  • Felipe Manga

    One feature I think could change the market is the release of SDKs and the ability to have our own code running on the camera ala CHDK. Software is the main reason behind the iPhone's success and most of it was written without costing Apple a penny.
    I'm actually surprised camera makers haven't done this yet: the first one to do so will have the immediate support of programmers, followed by people drawn in to the useful apps (interval shooting for kitecams, in-camera multiple-exposure, automatic shooting on motion-detection, etc) and even the gimmicky ones (yay, a NES emulator on my camera! lol). When people start choosing cameras based on the software that runs on it, these companies will regret not having released SDKs sooner.

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  • Gearbox

    Oh man, that isn't even the end of it!

    How about Automatic Human/Pet Face Detecting 3D HD Video Ready For Youtube, with a projector built in + wireless remote, touch screen, best shot selection(for when you just don't know how to capture those precious moments), and geotagging!

  • Tenaciousmoss

    Instead of more pixels, improve the quality of the pixels, make them more sensitive, able to record true colors, sharper and cleaner.

  • WilliamWilber

    Perhaps control and limit the sale of semi pro and pro bodies only to professional photographers who are using photography as a living.

    Too many people other then the pros are getting semi pro and pro bodies. This create a bubble effect.

  • JB

    So you want to see digital photography limited and segregated to the point of the salesperson telling you, “you aren't good enough to use this camera”. That is preposterous. The camera doesn't make you a pro/semi-pro, the image does. What camera you use is irrelevant.

  • WilliamWilber

    But problem is people prospective of owning semi pro and pro bodies make the pros.
    During the film days photography was expensive now it is so accessible.

    The rates for photography have dropped over the year. A lot of pros(bread n butter) are leaving the industry. Many with semi pro and pro bodies esp freelancers and amateurs trying to buy portfoilos offering free services.

  • Felipe Manga

    Controlling and limiting sales is never going to make business sense from the manufacturer point of view.

  • Bruce

    I think cell phone cameras are taking all the growth out of the camera market. At some point in the next decade most cell phone cameras will become good enough for most people. When that happens the point and shoot camera market will collapse, perhaps stabilizing at 1/5 the size it is now.

  • Lee Young

    seriously, just go back to film