Canon Will Start Selling Mirrorless Camera in September

Canon Inc., the world’s biggest camera maker, will start selling its first mirrorless model in September as demand shifts away from traditional point-and-shoot cameras.

The EOS M digital camera will go on sale in Japan starting from 79,800 yen ($1,020) with a lens, the Tokyo-based company said in a statement today. Canon plans to initially produce 100,000 units of the camera a month, it said in the statement.

Nikon Corp. introduced its first mirrorless model in October, which left Canon as the only camera manufacturer among the four largest to still use mirrors in all of its single-lens-reflex models, high-end cameras that are favored by professionals and feature interchangeable lenses. Camera makers are promoting more high-end models as smartphones with photography capabilities chip away at sales of compact cameras.

Eight of the 20 best-selling cameras with interchangeable lenses in Japan last year were mirrorless models such as Sony Corp.’s NEX-5, according to research company BCN Inc. The models offer higher-quality pictures than traditional compact cameras, yet are smaller and lighter than single-lens-reflex models, or SLRs, that use mirrors.

Worldwide shipments of cameras jumped 20 percent to 129.8 billion yen in May from a year earlier, according to the Camera & Imaging Products Association in Tokyo. Sales of SLR cameras gained 88 percent while compact-camera sales dropped 14 percent during the month, according to the industry group.

Canon, the maker of Ixus and PowerShot digital cameras, said three months ago it expected to sell 22 million compact cameras and 9.2 million SLR cameras in 2012.

The EOS M features an 18.0-megapixel APS-C size CMOS sensor, according to today’s statement. It can be used with Canon’s existing line-up of EF camera lenses by purchasing an adapter, which will cost about 12,000 yen, Canon said.

Canon fell 3.3 percent to 2,780 yen as of 1:38 p.m. in Tokyo trading, extending the stock’s loss this year to 18 percent. Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 Stock Average has advanced 1.2 percent this year.

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