News - newspaper articles: February 2005 Archives

The February issue of Nippon Camera lists the top five cameras in various sales categories as calculated by Bic Camera, one of the largest camera retail chains in Japan, for the period 2004.12.20-2004.12.31:

Digital SLRs

  1. Konica Minolta alpha-7 (aka Maxxum 7D)
  2. Pentax *ist DS
  3. Canon EOS 20D
  4. Nikon D70
  5. Pentax *ist DS lens set

Discussion: This was surprising to me. Among the circles I travel, the Canon EOS digital cameras have been the most popular, but the 20D only ranks third in sales. The Japanese camera press has been giving the new KM alpha-7 very high reviews, especially for its built in body anti-shake feature. The same issue of Nippon Camera shows the KM body's anti-shake is right up there with Nikon's VR and Canon's IS, even besting them in some areas. My guess is that all of the people who had Minolta alpha lenses have gone out and bought the digital alpha-7. Canon's own share of the SLR market is diluted by its D60, 10D, 20D, and Kiss Digital (Digital Rebel) -- which interestingly did not make the top five. Canon may have greater market share as a whole, but the alpha-7 is the best selling camera.

Film SLRs

  1. Nikon F6
  2. Canon EOS Kiss 7 (aka Rebel)
  3. Canon EOS 7 double-zoom kit
  4. Pentax *ist
  5. Konica Minolta alpha-70

Discussion: I was also surprised that the F6 made the top despite my report on it last year. It's an expensive camera ($3000~) and many analysts couldn't figure out why Nikon was putting out another pro-level film camera when Canon has intimated that we won't see any more professional EOS film cameras being developed. But obviously they made the right decision.

Digital Compact Cameras

  1. Canon IXY Digital 50
  2. Pentax Optio S50
  3. Konica Minolta DiMage X50
  4. Sony Cybershot DSC-T3
  5. Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX7

Discussion: Nothing particularly surprising here. Market analysts are saying in Japan that in two or three years, the number of digital point and shoot manufacturers will be cut in half. There is just no profit in the market, despite good sales (see my earlier CPIA analysis for details).

Medium Format Film Cameras
  1. Mamiya 645 Pro TL
  2. Mamiya RZ67 Pro IID
  3. Mamiya 7 II
  4. Contax 645
  5. Bronica RF645
Discussion: Interestingly, the Pentax 67 did not make the top five. Nor did Hasselblad (which is terribly overpriced in Japan). The new Mamiya RZ is selling well and I think people are excited by their announcement of the Mamiya ZD digital camera as well as the ZD back for the RZ.

As always, comments and feedback always welcome. Images of cameras used here are copyright the respective manufacturers.

On page one, above the fold, Asahi Shinbun reports that Prime Minister's Jun'ichiro Koizumi's approval rating has dropped to an all-time low of 33%. Disapproval is at 46%. If you recall, when he became prime minister in 2001, his approval was in the mid-80s. This plummetted by the end of the year and never fully recovered.

The only problem is that that, like British PM Tony Blair, there is no one with enough support who could take over the reins if Koizumi were to stand down.

On page two, Asahi notes that approval for the idea of a female emperor is currently at 86%. With no male heir emerging from the line of Crown Prince Naruhito and Princess Masako, we could expect the reign of Empress Aiko in several decades.

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This page is a archive of entries in the News - newspaper articles category from February 2005.

News - newspaper articles: March 2005 is the next archive.

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