Canon Inc said on Monday it will launch a new digital single lens reflex (SLR) camera for advanced amateur users to better compete with Nikon Corp in the fastest-growing segment of the digital camera market.
The global market for digital SLR cameras -- high-end models with interchangeable lenses -- was held 47 percent by Canon in 2006 followed by Nikon with 33 percent, according to research firm IDC.
But in the Japanese market, Nikon has exceeded Canon in monthly digital SLR camera sales since December 2006, data from Tokyo-based research company BCN Inc showed, helped by strong demand for its mid-range and entry-level models.
The number of people who want to enjoy high-quality photography is growing rapidly, Canon Marketing Japan Inc. Senior Managing Director Koji Ashizawa told a news conference.
Canon Marketing Japan is Canon's sales arm covering the Japanese market.
As those people take up mid-class SLR cameras, demand for interchangeable lenses and high-end printers also expands, Ashizawa said.
Canon, the world's largest digital camera maker, is also a major supplier of printers.
The new camera model, EOS 40D, will go on sale late August. With 10.1 megapixel resolution, it is estimated to sell for about 150,000 yen ($1,312) in Japan.
Canon said it will also launch seven new models of compact digital cameras and one professional-use digital SLR camera model by the end of the year.
Shares in Canon closed up 7.6 percent at 5,810 yen on Monday, with investors encouraged by a rally on Wall Street and a drop in the yen.