Tokyo, Japanâ€" With digital cameras increasingly encroaching on the sales of film single-lens reflex cameras, Canon Inc. will halt development of new film SLRs, Tsuneji Uchida, the company’s president, announced at a press conference today.

According to the Kyodo News, Uchida said, ''We consider it difficult to develop new products [for the film camera market], but Canon will continue producing existing film cameras ''as long as they are in demand'' and would make a final judgment on the film business in the future while monitoring market demand.

This was just the latest announcement by the industry’s largest camera makers on exiting the film camera market. Konica Minolta withdrew from the camera and photo business on January 19 of this year, saying it would transfer assets concerning its camera business, particularly its DSLR assets, to Sony. And earlier that month, Nikon reported it would stop making most of its film cameras and lenses and would instead focus on digital camera production, continuing to offer only its flagship F6 SLR and the FM10.

As consumers continue to transition to digital cameras over film or analog models, Japanese camera makers have felt the effects, selling a total of 64.77 million digital cameras last year worldwide, compared with 5.38 million film cameras, according to industry figures reported by the AP.

As a result, Uchida told reporters that demand for film cameras will be limited to "special needs" like camera buffs, according to the Kyodo News agency. "It won't pay off as a business, even if we would make a new development" on a film camera, Kyodo quoted Uchida.

May 2006