Action camera competition heating up in Japan market

The Yomiuri Shimbun – Nov 9, 2016 – Japanese camera makers are growing more enthusiastic about the development and sales of action cameras, which are small, light and can be attached to the body or bicycles. These kinds of cameras can take photos and shoot videos in many conditions.

Makers are turning their attention to these cameras as the number of users increases. One reason for the growing popularity is because video clips, which can provide a sense of speed, are increasingly being posted on websites.

Japanese makers are now trying to expand their share in the domestic market, which is currently dominated by foreign makers.

On Oct. 28, Nikon Corp. entered the action camera market with the KeyMission 360, which retails for about ¥66,000.

The company said the new model is highly shock-resistant, but the main feature is that 4K high resolution videos can be shot in a 360-degree view, vertically and horizontally.

“We wish to quickly increase our company’s presence by utilizing technologies that have been accumulated through the development of cameras for many years,” a source at Nikon said.


Action cameras are palm-sized, light and have good shock resistance and waterproof capabilities. Users can attach them to their bicycles, helmets or themselves to shoot photos or videos, such as during skydiving or venturing into unexplored areas.

An increasing number of action camera users not only enjoy viewing the images themselves, but also posting them on video websites.

Recently, owners also use them for more everyday purposes, such as shooting cooking and hiking videos.

The cameras will also likely be used for business purposes. Panasonic Corp. recently conducted a demonstration in which security guards wore action cameras when they worked in areas such as an airport or sports arena.

Panasonic has also been conducting research into putting the cameras into practical use such as during the 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games.

While smartphones have deprived conventional cameras of status in the camera market, camera makers want to capitalize on expected sales growth in action cameras to provide a boost in sales of their other flagship products.

According to business research firm Futuresource Consulting Ltd., the shipment of action cameras will grow from 10.2 million units in 2015 to 11.6 million units in 2020.

However, the competition is intensifying with Sony Corp., Ricoh Co., and Elecom Co. — a PC peripheral maker — entering the market. Lower-priced Chinese-made products are also increasingly appearing.

Ichiro Michikoshi, an analyst at business research firm BCN Inc., said, “The key is whether makers will be able to demonstrate the particular characteristics of their products.”

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