Canon Inc. unveiled a new digital single-lens reflex camera on Thursday that undercut the price of a similar model sold by Sony Corp. in the market for photo enthusiasts.
Canon, the world's top digital camera maker, said it would launch the new entry-level SLR camera globally in September with plans to produce 180,000 units per month. The camera body is priced at about ¥ 90,000 ($775).
The camera, named EOS Kiss Digital X in Japan and Rebel XTi in the United States, will be equipped with a sensor capable of 10.1 megapixels of resolution.
Canon faces a new threat from consumer electronics makers including Sony and Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., which have tied up with other camera makers to make inroads into the more profitable SLR market as margins for simpler compact models decline due to price competition.
Sony , which bought the SLR unit of Konica Minolta Holdings, began selling its first digital SLR with a resolution of 10.2 megapixels in July at around ¥ 100,000.
Despite emerging competition, the digital SLR market is still dominated by traditional camera makers such as Canon, which has 70 years of history in the industry. This is the 10th generation of Canon's best-selling EOS Kiss, or Rebel, cameras.
Tokyo-based Canon accounted for 53 percent of the digital SLR market in 2005, followed by another Japanese maker, Nikon Corp., at 28 percent, according to research firm IDC.
"This new model targets customers who had been thinking of switching from film cameras to digital models as well as those who had enjoyed compact cameras or our previous Kiss models," Tomonori Iwashita, the director of Canon's camera unit, told a news conference.
Canon has said it estimates sales of digital SLRs will jump 26 percent to 2.4 million units in 2006 from a year earlier. That would outperform sales growth of compact models, expected to rise 17 percent to 17.6 million units.
Digital SLRs, unlike compact models, use interchangeable lenses. They have more advanced sensors and take better-quality pictures. Canon has sold more than 30 million interchangeable lenses, most of which can be used for both its film and digital cameras.[source]