Canon has issued a statement saying that it will remain in the film camera business ?as long as market needs exist?.

Canon sent the statement to AP following incorrect media reports that Canon had announced plans to halt development of new film SLRs and pull out of the film camera business.

The statement ? which was apparently misinterpreted by the mainstream press ? says: ?Canon will remain in the film camera business as long as market needs exist.? It adds: ?There is still demand for film cameras, particularly in markets outside of Japan, and we will continue to supply products in line with market needs while closely watching market conditions.?

The statement points out that since Canon?s digital SLR camera line-up includes models equipped with a 35mm full-frame image sensor it continues to produce EOS system accessories, including interchangeable EF lenses, that are compatible with both film and digital SLR cameras. ?We aim to further expand these offerings to satisfy both digital and conventional film camera users.?

Commenting on its position regarding the ?new development of film cameras? the statement continues: ?The film camera market has been steadily contracting over the past several years. (If the current rate of decline should continue, with demand halving yearly, the size of the film camera market in 2009, just three years from now, would be around 1/100th of what it was in 1998.) Generally speaking, these circumstances make it increasingly difficult to develop new film cameras. We intend to closely watch future market demand and decide accordingly how we will proceed with regard to new product development. Canon will remain in the film camera business as long as market needs exist.?

Canon predicts that ? based on the current rate of market decline ? the global annual demand for film cameras will fall to 300,000 units by 2009.