Thursday, May 15, 2008

An Industry Washes Out?

After recording the production in Japan of a stunning 1580 film cameras in January of this year, the Camera and Imaging Products Association (Kamera Eizō Kiki Kōgyōkai) seems to have ceased counting the number of film cameras produced by its members.

I have drawn up a graph of the last year and a quarter of monthly production data. According to CIPA figures, manufacturers in Japan produced 92,716 film cameras in July 2007 and 79,210 as recently as October.

Click on image for full size

From all appearances, the industry has just evaporated.

I believe I now can understand what my great-grandparents must have felt when they read in the newspaper one day that the last cart owner in the city had put his old mule out to pasture.

Original report from Wired's Gadget Lab.

Later - It seems Kitanaka-san checked in with her getto first.

1 comment:

Janne Morén said...

At the same time, film cameras have not ceased to be produced altogether, not even by Japanese firms. Cosina has their rangefinder Bessa series, and are producing the Zeiss Ikon; Fuji have their recently released Klasse W. And medium- and large format cameras continues to be made (though that has always been a niche of course).

While "film is dying", it seems to do so much in the same way as the LP record - not disappearing, but becoming an enthusiast niche. With that in mind, I suspect the statistic above is showing that production of these low-volume items have moved to China, Vietnam and other low-cost production countries, rather than actual cessation of production.