Fujifilm plans to halve its compact camera line-up, ending low-end models, and may expand digital camera assembly to the Philippines next month to help boost efficiency.
Fuji plans to focus on higher-end compacts. Models such as the X-E1 (pictured) have been met with a positive response from consumers, says the firm
Fuji has become the latest camera maker to announce plans to scale back compact camera production in the wake of the smartphone revolution, according to a senior official at the firm.
Hiroshi Tanaka, general manager of Fuji’s Optical Device and Electronic Imaging Products Division, explained that bottom-end models have a low profit margin and will be axed from the firm’s line of around 20 compacts.
In an interview with the Nikkei newspaper last Friday – subsequently reported in trade publication Pen News Weekly – Tanaka also outlined Fuji’s plan to merge its digital camera operations with its optical devices business, which makes lenses and optical parts for broadcast and filmmaking cameras – a move designed to help reduce ‘procurement costs’ by 10%.
Fujifilm assembles digital cameras at many factories, in Japan and elsewhere.
It already runs an optical parts factory in the Philippines and assembling digital cameras there would help boost efficiency.
The Philippines plant is still at the ‘study phase’, however.
Fuji is keeping its options open as to the cameras that may be assembled in the Philippines, but Amateur Photographer (AP) understands that top-end X cameras will still be made in Japan.
The news comes as, separately, Fuji tells AP it is ‘extremely pleased’ by the public’s enthusiasm for its higher-end compacts – a market in which it plans to focus its future compact camera resources.
Adrian Clarke, senior vice president for Fujifilm Europe, today told AP: ‘We are overwhelmed by the positive reaction from photographers to the introduction of models like the X-E1, X100s, X20 and the lens line-up.
‘Although we enjoy the compact market, it’s fantastic for Fuji to get back to “real” photography.’
Meanwhile, the company plans to launch more mirrorless system cameras this fiscal year, Tanaka said in the Nikkei interview.
Fuji hopes to get its camera division back into the black by 31 March next year.
Fuji reduced the loss of its Imaging Solutions business, which includes colour paper, by 1.8 billion yen – to a deficit of 2.2 billion yen (around £14m), for the year to 31 March.
Fuji has not said publicly whether the compact cuts will lead to job losses.
In March Fujifilm employed 80,322 staff, 1,220 fewer than three months earlier.
Last month Olympus announced plans to reduce compact production as manufacturers seek to adapt to a drastic drop in demand worldwide.