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Nikon Unveils L620 Camera As Forecasts Are Slashed

8/25/2013 08:00:00 PM Eastern

MELVILLE, N.Y. — Demonstrating that it is not impervious to slumping U.S. and global demand for cameras, Nikon posted its most recent financial results showing disappointing sales of its Nikon 1 mirrorless compact system cameras (CSCs) in the U.S. and Europe and cut future full-year sales forecasts.

Despite the findings, Nikon’s U.S. sales operations introduced in the U.S. market a new Coolpix point-and-shoot camera (model L620) with FullHD video shooting capability.

It also unveiled a new DSLR lens and a speedlight.

Nikon reported that sales and operating income in fiscal first quarter dropped by 2.6 billion yen ($27 million) and 5.1 billion yen ($53 million), respectively. Sales of point-and-shoot compact cameras plummeted 30 percent in the period.

The camera giant said it now expects its imaging division to sell 6.55 million units globally this year instead of the previously planned 7.1 million. The operating profit forecast was also reduced to 65 billion yen from its 85 billion yen projections.

Full-year net income was reduced 23 percent to 50 billion yen ($517 million) from a 65 billion-yen forecast in May.

Nikon attributed some of the problem to slower-than-expected sales in the U.S. and Europe for the Nikon 1 CSCs, while in Japan the diminutive interchangeable-lens cameras saw sales grow by 16.8 percent this year, as point-and-shoot shipments fell 48 percent.

To address the challenges, Nikon said it begin to accelerate a shift to newer products in the entry class of DSLR segment.

It will also reconsider product planning of Nikon 1 mirrorless CSC category.

Nikon 1 accounted for the majority of sales volume reduction of 550,000 interchangeable-lens type digital cameras, Nikon said.

The company will also revise its development plan for new compact cameras.

Nikon, which has seen growth in market share for the compact category in recent years, said sales volume is now expected to decline at a greater rate than the overall market.

The aforementioned new Coolpix L620, which will carry a $249 suggested retail when it ships in September, has a 14x optical zoom Nikkor glass lens that covers a focal length of 25mm to 350mm (35mm equivalent), and has the ability to shoot FullHD video with a single button press.

Camera features include several shooting modes, an 18.1-megapixel CMOS sensor, an integrated grip and an HVGA 3-inch LCD monitor. The ISO range goes up to 3,200.

The L620 be offered in a choice of colors, including red and black.

Nikon also announced a new DSLR lens and speedlight, both of which will be available this month.

The AF-S DX Nikkor 18-140mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR lens ($599) features a 7.8x zoom range and has four stops of Vibration Reduction image stabilization. It is constructed with one ED glass element and one aspheric lens element, Nikon said, and has a seven-blade diaphragm for natural image blur, as well as a Silent Wave Motor for quiet and precise AF operation. Photographers can operate the lens using one of two focus modes, M/A (AF with manual override) and M (manual) for complete control.

The SB-300 speedlight ($149), which is designed to be small enough to fit comfortably into a shirt pocket, covers a wide-angle 18mm in DX format and operates via on-camera controls. It is compatible with both Nikon DSLR and Advanced Performance Coolpix cameras.

The SB-300 tilts up 120 degrees, allowing for the use of creative bounce flash to soften shadows and diffuse the flash, resulting in more flattering portraits and even exposures, Nikon said. It also features thermal cutout protection to prevent overheating when capturing rapid flash images in succession.

The speedlight is powered by two AAA batteries, and its firmware is upgradable through supporting DSLRs.

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