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Camera Industry Hit Hard by Coronavirus, Causing Production Delays

Camera Industry Hit Hard by Coronavirus, Causing Production Delays

Over the past month, the coronavirus outbreak has rocked the world.

And now it’s making its way into the camera industry.

The three biggest imaging companies, Canon, Nikon, and Sony, have found themselves affected by coronavirus outbreaks.

First, Sony Alpha Rumors published a tip from an unnamed source, which said:

“We can expect product [launches] to be very delayed along with much lower capacity in production volumes for many of [Sony’s] current imaging products.”

While we can’t know exactly what product launches Sony Alpha is referring to, fans have been eagerly anticipating the announcement of the Sony a7s III, as well as the Sony a7 IV.

Around the same time, the CP+2020 expo, which was due to be hosted in Japan, was canceled, with the organizers citing “no effective treatment or containment measures to deal with the novel coronavirus.” Organizers went on to explain that the “event attracts around 70,000 unspecified visitors and therefore we cannot completely eliminate the risk of infection.”

Then, only weeks later, Canon Rumors says this:

“Canon…will suspend operations at its five offices in Kyushu, which produce cameras and related products, for about two weeks from March 2 to 13. The supply of parts from China may become unstable due to the effects of the new coronavirus.”

While Canon Rumors goes on to say that, “At the moment, no employees have been infected,” the message is clear: Coronavirus, directly or indirectly, is taking its toll on Canon’s camera business.

And finally, a report by Nikon Rumors, and further corroborated by PetaPixel, indicates that Nikon’s new AF-S 120-300mm f/2.8 lens would not ship as initially announced. Instead, you can expect the lens in late March, at least according to Amazon’s shipping date.

As explained in a statement from Nikon, “The U.S. availability for the AF-S NIKKOR 120-300mm f/2.8E FL ED SR VR will be announced at a later date as we determine the global impact of the novel coronavirus outbreak. We will communicate updates on timing as they become available.”

At present, it’s difficult to say what all this means; will Canon, Sony, and Nikon recover swiftly from the effects of the coronavirus? Or will the virus’s impact be more long-lasting? These closures may be just the beginning.

Here’s one concern: Nikon hasn’t reported good financial numbers in recent months. If the coronavirus continues to affect production, Nikon may see a significant drop in sales, something that could further impact the imaging company over the next year (and beyond).

And similar worries are undoubtedly plaguing companies such as Olympus, which recently weathered rumors of a camera division shutdown.

What do you think? How will things play out regarding the coronavirus and the camera industry? Is this as bad as it will get, or will things become worse?

Let me know in the comments!

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Jaymes Dempsey
Jaymes Dempsey

is a macro photographer from Ann Arbor, Michigan. To learn how to take stunning nature photos, check out his free eBook, Mastering Nature Photography: 7 Secrets For Incredible Nature Photos! And to see more of Jaymes’s work check out his website and his blog.