Photographic Equipment and Supplies

SIC 3861

Companies in this industry

Industry report:

Manufacturers of photographic equipment and supplies provide the world's cameras, film, developing and enlarging equipment, photographic chemicals and papers, and related supplies. Industry output includes both still and motion cameras but not video cameras, which are discussed in SIC 3651: Household Audio and Video Equipment.

Industry Snapshot

The photographic equipment and supplies industry's products include five general categories: still picture equipment; motion picture equipment; photocopying and microfilming equipment; sensitized photographic film, plates, paper, and cloth; and prepared photographic chemicals.

In established markets, growth in the photographic goods industry was generally fueled by the introduction of new products using innovative technology, particularly digital cameras and One Time Use (OTU) disposable cameras. By 2003, digital cameras outsold traditional cameras. As a result, the overall film sector began to weaken, although there was a return to demand for film prints of digital images by some consumers. Consequently, major companies in the industry began to focus less on combating digital technology and more on developing products for the organization and storage of digital images. Industry analysts expected the digital market to level as the sector hit saturation.

Organization and Structure

The majority of the photographic equipment industry's products were considered leisure or nonessential goods, so industry sales were somewhat sensitive to reduced consumer spending during times of economic stagnation or recession. The broad range of photographic products offered, however, partially insulated the industry from fluctuations in consumer demand. Because it provided an essential service in most business and government offices, photocopying equipment sales were relatively independent of consumer spending levels. In the mid- to late 1990s, photocopying equipment accounted for approximately one-third of industry sales, and high-end photocopiers were one of the industry's most lucrative products.

The industry has grown increasingly globalized. Leading photographic equipment companies had worldwide research and development, manufacturing, marketing, and servicing divisions. Industry leaders operated through a global web of affiliates and subsidiaries that served as business offices and "transplants" (foreign manufacturing sites), providing access to both regional or national consumer markets and to local labor pools. Among international leaders, the industry was characterized by a complex and shifting network of affiliation and cooperation on the one hand and competition and rivalry on the other.

The international circulation of industry products stood to benefit from the economic globalization reflected by political treaties such as the mid-1990s General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) and the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). National and local governments, moreover, provided various forms of economic incentives to encourage industry firms to continue or establish operations and facilities within their areas of jurisdiction. In 1993, the regional government of Castilla y Leon in Spain arranged a Pta850 million guaranteed loan through the Argentaria state bank to assist Valca, a local manufacturer of photographic equipment that faced severe financial difficulties. In 1994, the French government granted financial aid for Toshiba to expand its photocopier and toner plant near Dieppe.

National and international courts historically monitored trade, monopoly, and patent issues within the industry. For example, the Eastman Kodak Company was fined $873 million for infringement of copyrights held by the Polaroid Corporation, and Honeywell won a $96 million judgment against the Minolta Camera Company for copyright infringements involving auto-focus cameras. In addition, the European Court of Justice upheld a complaint by European companies against unfair trade practices by Japanese photocopying equipment manufacturers, including Minolta. With the ratification of GATT, the United Nations established the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 1995 to govern global trade and trade policies. Shortly after its inception, the WTO began hearing complaints from the United States and Europe alleging that Japan's film market was unfairly restrictive. In 1998, however, the WTO found in favor of Japan.

Background and Development

The development of the photographic equipment and supply industry resulted from research and technology all over the world. The precursor of the modern camera was the closet-sized "camera obscura" developed by tenth-century Islamic scientists. In the sixteenth century, the Italian scientist Giambattista della Porta published his research on fitting the camera obscura with a lens to strengthen or enlarge the image projected. In 1727, the German professor Johann Heinrich Schulze took an important step forward by capturing the image produced by a camera obscura in permanent form by discovering that silver salts darkened when exposed to sunlight. As early as 1816, the French amateur inventor Joseph Nicephore Niepce, building on his interest in lithography, obtained an image of Paris on paper treated with silver chloride. By 1827, Niepce had achieved the first permanent photographic image taken from nature, a view of his country estate. Niepce termed his discovery "heliography" (Greek for "sun writing").

In 1826, the French scene painter Louis Jacques Mande Daguerre, hoping to exploit photographic images in the creation of theatrical backdrops, began corresponding with Niepce about heliography. Working with copper plates coated with silver iodine, Daguerre discovered that a latent image, exposed for the relatively short span of 30 minutes, could be developed by exposing it to mercury vapor. Ignoring the role played by Niepce, Daguerre marketed this discovery as the "daguerreotype," which proved to be a commercial sensation.

During this same period, English scientist William Henry Fox Talbot, attempting to capture a permanent photographic image on paper, created an early form of negatives (in which black and white tones are reversed). Talbot's photograph of Lacock Abbey, Wiltshire, dating to 1835, is considered the first successful photograph derived from a negative image to be taken from nature. Talbot subsequently developed a portable camera consisting of a wooden box fitted with a lens and partially lined with treated paper. By 1841, Talbot had perfected his discovery and patented it under the name of "talbotype." However, it was not until the early 1850s, when the English sculptor and inventor Frederick Scott Archer promoted the use of glass plates treated with collodion, that the daguerreotype was superseded as the most popular form of photography.

George Eastman, a U.S. inventor, was responsible for the mass-merchandising of photography and amateur manual cameras. Experimenting in his mother's kitchen, Eastman was able to coat glass photographic plates with a gelatin emulsion containing silver chloride. The emulsion, once solidified, left a light-sensitive "dry plate" that was 60 times more sensitive than plates based on the collodion process, thereby freeing the camera from the tripod. In 1881, Eastman founded the Eastman Dry Plate Company, through which he rapidly introduced dry plates and several other advances in photography. The paper and gelatin photographic film that Eastman patented in 1884, packaged in a small cassette, enabled a significant reduction of camera size. Five years later, Eastman marketed a celluloid film that was much tougher than his original paper and gelatin version. Adopting the international trade name "Kodak" in 1888, Eastman successfully marketed innovative folding, hand, and pocket cameras that made photography accessible to even the casual amateur.

In the late 1850s, Scottish physicist James Clerk Maxwell developed the additive three-color process, which became the standard method of color photography. Employing this process, U.S. inventor Frederic Eugene Ives first made color photography practical for professional photographers with his 1893 Photochromoscope camera. French inventors Auguste and Louis Lumiere, in addition to developing cinematography, introduced the first method of color photography accessible to amateurs: the autochrome method. In 1912, German scientist Hans Fischer made a further breakthrough by proposing that color photography could be achieved chemically, rather than optically, through oxidation of chemicals in a multi-layered film. By mid-century, George Eastman, in collaboration with others, had developed the color film marketed as Kodachrome.

In 1947, Dr. Edwin Herbert Land, founder of the Polaroid Corporation, introduced the first "instant" film and camera. In 1959, the Haloid Company, which was renamed the Xerox Corporation, introduced the first successful commercial photocopier, the 914 model.

During the 1980s and 1990s, Japan, the United States, and Germany led the world in production of photographic equipment and supplies, accounting for 80 percent of the global market. Japan and the United States held the largest share, while Germany remained a distant third. Japan led in exports of photographic equipment and supplies, with a 36 percent market share for equipment and a 24 percent market share for supplies in 1995. The United States controlled 9 percent of the equipment export market and 13.9 percent of the supply export market. According to preliminary United Nations estimates, total industry trade in 1996 reached about $30 billion, about even with 1995 figures, and up from $24 billion in 1994.

International trade policies on photographic equipment and supplies came under increased scrutiny during the 1990s as the United States and the European Union (EU) argued that Japan unfairly shielded its photographic equipment and supply market from outside competition. Spearheaded by Kodak, the United States and the EU took their complaint before the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 1996. Although the United States expected the WTO to agree with Kodak's allegations, the WTO ruled in January of 1998 that the Japanese government did not restrict film imports, specifically from Kodak. The United States announced in February of that year that it would not appeal the decision.

The development of the digital camera proved a major turning point in the global photographic equipment and supplies industry. At first, industry analysts speculated as to how the camera, with its limited ability to produce high quality photographs, would fare. Technological advances that increased resolution, as well as declining prices, transformed the digital camera from a personal computer accessory to a full-fledged rival to the standard 35-millimeter camera. Nearly one-third of U.S. households owned digital cameras in 2003, which was the first year that traditional film cameras were outsold, and by the close of 2004 that percentage was expected to reach 42 percent. The global digital camera market was worth about $9 billion in 2006, and nearly two-thirds of all cameras sold by then were digital.

As digital camera sales began to outpace 35 mm camera sales early in the twenty-first century, new players entered the photographic equipment and supplies industry. Traditional players like Eastman Kodak found themselves having to compete with the likes of Sony Corp. In fact, in 2001, Sony held a 25 percent share of the global digital camera market, compared to the 14 percent held by Kodak. A handful of major camera makers in Japan, including Konica Corp., Olympus Optical Co., and Minolta Co., all shuttered their Advanced Photo System (APS) camera operations. In addition, Nikon Corp. and Asahi Optical Co. downsized APS activities to pour resources instead into digital technology. Conversely, despite the shrinking APS market, both Fuji and Canon, two of the world's largest APS camera makers, announced their intent to launch new APS products during 2002.

Along with undercutting sales of APS cameras, the growth in the digital camera market also impacted the film sector, which traditionally boasted high profit margins and provided consistent business for industry leaders like Eastman Kodak and Fuji. Because digital technology allowed for the storage of photographs on either a hard drive or disk, film was simply unnecessary for digital camera users. Those wishing to print photographs in 2001 had a wide range of high-quality paper options from which to choose.

Film sales declined to 438 million units in 2004. At 66 percent of the market, 35mm film still held a majority, while APS trailed with 6 percent of the market. Traditional camera sales remained in decline, with analog camera sales dropping 45 percent and 35mm cameras sales dropping 43 percent in 2004. Despite the continuing decrease in film sales, the market was not dead.

By 2004 one-time-use (OTU) disposable cameras was the fastest growing film processing sector, peaking at 218 million units. In contrast to other sectors, which were declining, the OTU sector commanded more than 22 percent of film processing, a 3 percent increase over 2003 levels.

While Japan proved to be the largest digital camera market in 2001, many analysts expected China to claim that title by 2005. In response to such predictions, both Kodak and Fuji began pursuing plans to manufacture their digital cameras in China via transplant operations. Kodak teamed with Seagull, a Chinese camera maker, to jointly manufacture digital cameras in Shanghai, while Fuji forged a similar joint venture in Suzhou. The Chinese photocopier industry was also expected to grow at least 10 percent annually during the early 2000s. As a result, Ricoh Co., Fuji Xerox Co., and Canon established photocopier plants in China.

According to the Photo Marketing Association International (PMAI), the outlook for prints was positive in the mid-2000s. Women and young families, who were the typical users of traditional film cameras, were shifting to the digital market, and were more likely to want actual prints of digital images. PMA reported total prints produced would return to 2000 levels before the end of the decade.

As of 2008, shipments in this industry segment totaled $15.2 billion, up from the previous year's total of $14.6 billion. There were 669 establishments engaged in this industry in 2007, which employed 32,249 workers who earned $1.55 billion in wages.

Current Conditions

According to IDC Research, U.S. camera shipments fell two percent to 36.9 million units in 2010, compared to 37.7 million units in 2009. In contrast, global camera shipments grew 10 percent to 141 million units during 2010, spurred by new product offerings and increased disposable income among emerging economies, including China.

In 2010 Canon and Nikon ranked as the market leaders for digital still cameras with 18.9 percent and 16.4 percent, respectively. Sony ranked third with 16.3 percent in market share followed by Kodak with 12.8 percent, Samsung with 5.7 percent, and Panasonic with 5.5 percent. In the digital SLR camera market, Canon led with 44.5 percent in share, followed by Nikon with 29.8 percent, and Sony with 11.9 percent. Going forward, demand for digital SLR cameras were expected to remain robust in 2011.

A new contender, the smartphone was capturing market share from the traditional point-and-shoot camera market. In fact, one study conducted by market researcher NPD Group found consumers used their smartphones to capture more than one quarter of their pictures. Photos taken using smartphones grew from 17 percent in 2010 to 27 percent in 2011. As a result, point-and-shoot camera sales fell 17 percent in units during the first 11 months of 2011. However, when it came to capturing the really important moments, point-and-shoot cameras outweighed smartphones. In addition, point-and-shoot cameras with optical zooms of 10-times or greater increased 12 percent in units in 2011, as did cameras with detachable lenses by 12 percent during the same time.

Research and Technology

Research and development (R&D) was the lifeblood of the photographic equipment and supply industry. For example, in 1997, the Eastman Kodak Company invested $1.04 billion (7 percent) of its $14.5 billion in net sales toward R&D, the Fuji Photo Film Company invested about $600 million (5.6 percent) of its $10.6 billion in sales, and Xerox invested about $1 billion (5 percent) of its $18.1 billion in sales.

In the 1990s, the most significant technological innovation within the photographic equipment and supplies industry was the advent of electronic imaging, a technology that uses semiconductor sensors instead of film to record images and display them on television screens or computer monitors. Electronic imaging threatened to radically affect the sales of photographic equipment and supplies because the technology did not employ film, paper, or conventional photographic chemicals to produce an image. By the mid-1990s, the Eastman Kodak Company alone spent over $1 billion in the development of this technology.

In the early 1990s, technological developments in the photocopier market included Ricoh Company's creation of a photocopying machine that turned the pages of a book as it was being photocopied and one that translated documents from English to Japanese in the process of reproducing them. In addition, Mita Industrial Company announced a five-year joint venture with the University of Tokyo to develop photocopying machines that were self-repairing. Industry leaders, in addition, responded to the need to install sophisticated anti-counterfeiting technology in color photocopiers.

A broader technological trend within the industry was the modification of design, manufacturing, packaging, and waste disposal processes to create environmentally sound products. In 1988, the Polaroid Corporation set up a Toxic Waste and Use Reduction program that achieved company-wide waste reductions of six percent annually. In 1990, Canon Inc. began to refurbish used photocopying equipment as a form of recycling. In the early 1990s, various industry leaders achieved significant reductions in photocopier ozone emissions and discontinued the use of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) in their manufacturing processes. During this same period, the Konica Corporation developed a mini-lab system using tablet form photo-chemicals, thereby halving levels of chemical effluent. In 1993, the Ricoh Company developed a "peel off" toner system that allowed for reuse of phototocopying paper and resulted in Ricoh UK Products Ltd. receiving the inaugural Queen's Award for Environmental Achievement. In 1994, German photographic companies and the recycling organization Vereinigung für Werstoffrecycling set up a recycling system comprised of 800 sites to collect used retail packaging.

During the mid-1990s, photographic equipment and supply manufacturers also rolled out Advanced Photo System (APS) cameras and film. Using silver halide technology, APS cameras and film made it easier to take pictures and to develop them because, according to the manufacturers, they offered the power of a 35mm camera with the simplicity of a point-and-shoot camera. In addition, APS technology was supposed to yield higher-quality pictures because magnetic codes on the film automatically adjusted the camera settings for factors such as lighting. Although earlier attempts to supplant the 35mm format, such as Kodak's disk camera, failed, manufacturers hoped the convenience and power of this camera would catch on. In a joint effort, Kodak, Canon, Nikon, Fuji, and Minolta developed the APS format and introduced the product in the form of disposable cameras to test the market. Although touted by manufacturers, retailers reported mixed responses to the product in 1997. Nonetheless, analysts predicted that APS would remain on the market for some time and that sales would rise, accounting for about 20 percent of all camera purchases and 7 percent of all film sales. What these analysts failed to foresee, however, was the impact of digital technology on traditional 35mm cameras.

With the growing penetration of personal computers and the global popularity of the Internet, in the late 1990s, camera manufacturers launched digital cameras, which stored images on a computerized camera's disk or hard drive memory and attached to a computer so that images could be downloaded for manipulation and printing. Digital cameras produced higher-quality images than most scanned photographs and allowed users to quickly take a photograph and place it in a report, Web page, or e-mail message. By the end of 2000, companies like Nikon and Olympus were selling digital cameras with a resolution of 2 million pixels for about $500. Such cameras were able to compete with standard 35mm cameras because they were capable of producing high-quality 4x6 photographs. By 2004, 38 percent of digital cameras sold had resolution of 3 to 3.9 megapixels, 27 percent were 4 to 4.9 megapixel cameras, and another 28 percent of buyers purchased cameras with even greater resolution. In 2004, the average price per megapixel, as reported by the PMAI, was $82, compared to $119 only one year earlier.

In 2006, FotoNation launched its FotoNation Face Tracker for cameraphones. The innovative approach identified and locked onto human faces in a preview image and followed them as they moved around, making automatic adjustments. Face Tracker was also made available for digital cameras.

Vimcro, a fabless semiconductor company that designed advanced mixed-signal multimedia products and solutions, offered another innovative technology application in 2006. The company announced that its PC camera processor VCO326 received Windows Hardware Quality Lab (WHQL) certification for Windows Vista by Microsoft. This distinction addressed the need for next generation PC camera to be compatible with the standard driver within Windows Vista OS.


In the mid-2000s, the international photographic equipment and supplies workforce continued to decline. Kodak streamlined its workforce and shut down offices and facilities in Brazil, Canada, Germany, Japan, and Spain, as well as in other locations. The company reduced its workforce by 9,600 positions in 2004. Xerox eliminated about 10,000 jobs in the 1990s, including 200 jobs from a Canadian plant and 478 jobs from its sales subsidiary in France. In 2004, the firm trimmed another 4.9 percent of employees from its ranks. Even though some companies, including Ricoh and Canon, added to their workforce during the late 1990s and early 2000s, most positions were for other operations, such as manufacturing computer printers.

Industry Leaders

The largest producer of photographic film in the world, which in 2003 accounted for 70 percent of sales, Eastman Kodak also produced photographic paper, cameras, motion picture films, microfilm paper, and X-ray film. In 2008, sales totaled U.S. $9.4 billion. The company employed 24,400 that year. Kodak 's sales fell to $6.02 billion in 2010 and its total number of employees fell to 18,800 workers. The company discontinued its iconic Kodachrome color film in 2009 as demand dwindled.

The Eastman Kodak Company was established in 1881 by George Eastman in Rochester, New York where it is still headquartered. The historic leader of the photographic equipment and supplies industry, Eastman Kodak controlled 75 percent of the U.S. market and 50 percent of the international market for photographic film and paper in the early 1990s. Later in the decade, Kodak began to target new sectors of the population such as children, the elderly, and childless adults, as well as forming alliances with stores to offer Kodak film exclusively.

Due to increased competition on the domestic front from rivals like Fuji in the late 1990s, Kodak strove to expand its sales by tapping the potentially largest market in the world: China. Although per capita film use in China was just a half roll of film per year, Kodak planned to stimulate Chinese consumption by opening manufacturing plants there and accelerating marketing. In 1998, Kodak acquired three unprofitable Chinese manufacturers of photographic supplies and began modernizing them. By 2001, the firm had also launched more than 6,000 Kodak franchises in China, which proved to be the second largest consumer film and paper market for Kodak at that time.

Despite Kodak's success in China, sales continued to decline throughout the late 1990s and into the 2000s. Along with increased competition, the firm faced a shrinking film market. According to Goldman, Sachs and Co., global film use declined 5 percent in 2001, mainly due to the growing popularity of digital cameras. Although Kodak had added digital cameras to its product line by then, its 14 percent share of the global digital camera market lagged well behind the 25 percent share held by Sony. Compounding the problem was the fact that digital cameras were simply a much less profitable business than film. The firm's EasyShare digital camera, launched in April of 2001, proved to be a best seller throughout the year and boosted Kodak's market share in that sector considerably. In order to stay competitive, Kodak was putting more and more money into digital equipment and technologies in the mid-years of the first decade of the 2000s, with an accompanying reduction in workforce. The company had 54,800 employees worldwide in 2004, compared to 62,300 the year before.

In a 2005 advertorial, Kodak discussed an industry dilemma. Retailers who had invested in digital mini-labs for their full-service photofinishing business were being faced with an expensive choice. They needed to decide whether to extend leases while hoping customers would start making more traditional prints again or explore more economical options. Kodak's recommendation was to consider its "Kodak Picture Maker," the primary benefits of which were considered to be an increase in return on investment and improved customer experience. The advertorial also claimed that households using traditional film capture approximately 240 images each year and make an average of 340 prints from them. Digital camera users shot more photos capturing an average of 400 images annually but chose to print less.

In 2007, Kodak celebrated the second straight year of being recognized by an international panel of design experts. The new Kodak EasyShare V1003 digital camera earned a 2007 Red Dot Award for product design. This model features digital stabilization, a 2.5-inch LCD screen and a high ISO 1600 mode for shooting in low-light conditions. Experts evaluated 2,548 innovative products produced by companies from 43 countries for the Red Dot Award, which is one of the most highly regarded forms of recognition in Europe where it is considered to be a "seal of quality for sophisticated and innovative design."

Another 2007 announcement reflected the fact that six newspaper printers opted for Kodak thermal digital solutions. They ordered 11 thermal CTP devices along with digital plates. The transition was described as "painless," and the change was destined to result in sharper reproduction of photographs. As an added bonus, the Kodak Service and Support team of more than 3,000 professionals in 120 countries backed the sale of Kodak products. Kodak was named the Best Support Organization at the 2006 International Business Awards.

Still another 2007 announcement acknowledged that Rohm and Haas Company and Kodak entered into an agreement for the aforementioned companies to acquire Kodak's Light Management Films business. This agreement includes rights to patents and trademarks, know-how, trade secrets, the business's portfolio of current and future products, plus a license to additional intellectual property. Kodak developed a family of light management films used in a variety of applications. Initially it was used for the flat panel industry.

In April 2007, Kodak introduced an industry-first service for Kodak Gallery Premier members. The Kodak Picture Protection plan applied to all digital photos stored on the Kodak Gallery. It also protected prints and other gift items stored purchased through the Kodak Gallery. If they are destroyed, members will receive a credit up to $500 to recreate these items through the Kodak gallery. Kodak Gallery Premier members pay an annual subscription fee of $24.99 for the basic fee.

Kodak filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in January 2012. The company, which had been struggling to remain competitive, had shed its workforce from 54,800 employees in 2004 to 17,000 at the time of filing. During the bankruptcy process, Kodak hopes to sell its patents and emerge from bankruptcy as a smaller printer company.

The top photographic film and paper manufacturer in Japan, Fuji was nearly neck and neck with Kodak in the global race in the mid-2000s. Of Fuji's $24.1 billion in revenues earned during 2004, 31.9 percent were driven by the company's Imaging Solutions section, including film digital cameras, photofinishing equipment, paper, chemicals, and photofinishing services. The company had a presence in the Americas, Asia, Europe, and Australia, but at 52 percent, the majority of Fuji's sales came from the Japanese market. The company reported revenues of $28.7 billion in 2008 and employed 77,000. The company reported revenues totaling $26.7 billion in 2010, down from $28.7 billion in 2008, with 86,271 employees.

The Fuji Photo Film Company was established in 1934 by Mokichi Morita in Tokyo. The company's photographic products included photographic films and papers, motion picture films, still and instant cameras, camcorders, and photocopiers. In contrast to the company's steady growth in the early 1990s, sales remained stagnant in the late 1990s and fell 16 percent in 2001 to $11.5 billion. In the late 1990s, Fuji remained Japan's leading film producer and controlled 70 percent of the country's general photo supply market. Worldwide, Fuji had a 37 percent market share. By 2001, the firm had secured a 30 percent share of the film market in China, compared to the 50 percent share held by Kodak.

The Xerox Corporation, with corporate headquarters in Norwalk, Connecticut, was established in 1906 as the Haloid Company and adopted its present name in 1961. The pioneer in photocopying, Xerox's photographic products included plain paper and color photocopying equipment. Xerox's total revenues stood at more than $17.6 billion in 2008, up from $15.7 billion in 2004, with 57,100 employees. Zerox grew its revenues to $22.6 billion in 2010 with 136,500 employees.

Xerox's international workforce fell from 99,000 in 1991 to 58,100 in 2004, during which time the firm struggled to overcome sluggish sales and high costs. In the early 2000s, Xerox continued to develop and market digital color copiers and integrated copier and communications hardware, as well as printers, scanners, and software. International operations accounted for roughly 45 percent of annual revenues.

Canon Inc. was established in 1937 in Tokyo and laid the foundations for its role as a global exporter by selling "Kwanon" cameras to post-World War II U.S. occupation forces. The company's photographic products included single-lens reflex (SLR) cameras; compact cameras; camcorders; and full-color, office, and personal photocopiers. By the late 1990s, Canon led the world in camera and copier sales. Canon posted sales of just under $45.3 billion in 2008, up from $33.3 billion in 2004, along with 166,980 employees. Printers and other peripheral devices for PCs brought in approximately 40 percent of revenues, while copiers secured 30 percent. Cameras garnered less than 13 percent of sales. Efforts to increase its presence in Asia resulted in Canon securing a 25.1 percent share of the digital camera market in Malaysia by the end of 2001. That year, less than one-third of sales were attributed to domestic clients. By 2007, Canon had grown to become the top patent holder in technology, ranking third overall in the United States. Canon grew its revenues to $46.3 billion in 2010 with 197,386 employees.

In March 2007, the Canon Medical Services division of Canon U.S.A. demonstrated its total digital imaging and workflow management solutions at the International Vision Expo East Show in New York City. The solutions included Eye Q Prime Imaging Systems. The system's software linked retinal images from the Canon Non-Mydriatric camera with measurement devices such as the tonometer and auto-ref keratometer. This process enhanced opportunities for quicker diagnosis by collecting patient data in one database that was easy to utilize.

In April 2007, Canon U.S.A. made several hardware and software announcements about new solutions designed to enhance the digital printing workflow experience for corporate users, print service providers and production printers. Canon also introduced its imagePRESS C7000VP digital press and related imagePRESS workflow solutions at AIIM on Demand in Boston.

The Ricoh Company, Ltd. was established in 1936 as Riken Sensitized Paper Company in Tokyo. Ricoh's photographic products included cameras, video cameras, and photocopying equipment. The company's revenues were nearly $21.1 billion in 2008, up from $16.9 billion in 2004, with a workforce of 108,477. As of the mid-2000s, the company boasted more than 400 subsidiaries around the world and ranked among the world's leading copier, fax machine, and camera manufacturers. Ricoh Corporation, Lanier Worldwide, and Savin were listed among the company's U.S.-based subsidiaries. To boost sales, the firm began to focus on laser printers and other networked imaging products early in the twenty-first century. Ricoh reported revenues of $23.4 billion in 2011 with a workforce totaling 109,014 employees.

For three consecutive years, Ricoh was listed among the Corporate Knights Inc. of Canada's "Global 100". The selection was made after evaluating the sustainability of more than 1,800 major corporations in all business sectors based on research and analysis data provided by Innovest Strategic Value Advisors of the United States. Among the world's leading corporations, Ricoh's aggressive environmental policy, plus its long-term vision extending to 2050, was highly regarded by others.

Agfa-Gevaert NV.
Agfa-Gevaert NV was established in 1964 with the merger of the Belgian partnership Agfa-Gevaert N.V. and the German partnership Agfa-Gevaert AG. It had been a wholly owned subsidiary of Bayer AG since 1981, but Bayer sold it in 2002. As of 2000, the firm's headquarters were in Mortsel, Belgium. Its photographic products included photographic film, paper, chemicals, and machinery; photo-laboratory and mini-lab equipment; and photocopiers. The company's sales rose slowly in the 1990s, reaching $4.9 billion in 2000, up from $4 billion in 1991. By 2004, sales were $5.13 billion, only to fall to less than $4.28 billion in 2008. More than 80 percent of Agfa's sales came from exports. The company's revenues fell to $3.9 billion in 2010 with 11,766 employees.

The Polaroid Corporation was established in 1937 by Edwin Herbert Land and, as of 2004, had its headquarters in Waltham, Massachusetts. Polaroid's photographic products included hand-held instant cameras; instant cameras under license by Minolta; amateur and professional photographic films; and film holders, film recorders, and photocopiers. Polaroid led the industry in instant image photographic equipment and supplies, which accounted for nearly 75 percent of sales. Due to waning demand for instant cameras and film, Polaroid's sales sagged in the late 1990s, eventually falling to $752.7 million in 2003, compared to $2.1 billion in 1997. In April 2005, Petters Group Worldwide acquired Polaroid for $426 million.

America and the World

As of the mid- to late 2000s, the United States and Japan dominated the international photographic equipment and supplies industry. The U.S. photographic equipment market grew 11.2 percent to $8.9 billion in 2003, when the nation's five largest companies accounted for 75 percent of the market. The digital camera sector proved to be the most successful. This sector surged 645 percent in value between 1996 and 2000, and was expected to reach a value of $7.2 billion by 2008, which would represent half the photographic market. To maintain market share in this intensely competitive market, manufacturers have continued to pour money into marketing endeavors, as well as research and development efforts designed to yield innovative product developments. Euromonitor International predicted that the U.S. photographic equipment industry would grow 35.7 percent to $17.1 billion by 2005. This growth was expected to be fueled by growing digital camera sales.

In 2000, U.S. imports of photographic/imaging products declined 3.6 percent to $7.62 billion, while exports grew 15.3 percent to $4.86 billion, according to the Photo Marketing Association. Japan led the world in photographic equipment and supply exports in 1995 with 36.6 percent and 24 percent shares, respectively. In 1996, Japan's equipment exports totaled $4.48 billion and its supply exports were at $4.02 billion. As the world's leading camera producer, Japan focused on digital and compact models in the late 1990s and early 2000s. By 2008, the U.S imported $1.2 billion in products while exporting $1.3 billion. For 2010 the U.S. imported $1.2 billion in products from 46 countries with exports totaling $2.6 billion to 144 countries.

Digital cameras dominated some European markets. For example, in 2003 the total German market was valued at $2 billion, with digital cameras accounting for 40 percent of sales. In the United Kingdom, however, film was the largest market sector, accounting for 80 percent of sales. China was the largest digital camera market in the world by the mid-2000s. The country also was considered one of the most promising new markets for photocopiers, as well as other photographic equipment and supplies.

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News and information about Photographic Equipment and Supplies

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Contract Notice: East Carolina University Issues Request for Quotes for Photographic Equipment and Supplies (North Carolina)
US Fed News Service, Including US State News; May 5, 2012; 315 words
...Department of Materials Management has issued Request for Quotes (56-1112-136-RFQ) on May 2 for photographic equipment and supplies. Contract, Tender Notice Type: Request for Quotes Bids will be publicly opened on May 16, 4:00 p...
Contract Notice: East Carolina University Issues Request for Quotes for Photographic Equipment and Supplies
US Fed News Service, Including US State News; September 1, 2012; 327 words
...Department of Materials Management has issued Request for Quotes (56-1213-31-RFQ) on Aug. 31 for photographic equipment and supplies. Contract, Tender Notice Type: Request for Quotes Bids will be publicly opened on Sept. 12, 4:00...
Productivity Trends in the Photographic Equipment and Supplies Industry
Monthly Labor Review; June 1, 1990; 700+ words
...World War II, the photographic equipment and supplies industry primarily...employee hour in the photographic equipment and supplies industry increased...diverse market for photographic equipment and supplies. To meet this demand...
RGH. (Reviews).(photographic equipment and supplies)(Brief Article)
Photo District News; December 1, 2001; 420 words
"What sets us apart from the competition," begins Gerard Garcia of RGH, is the fact that "we deliver and set up equipment to either a studio or location. We understand and provide electrics for complicated lighting set ups, and we provide technicians to work with the photo crew if needed."
PIX, Inc. (Reviews).(photographic equipment and supplies)(Brief Article)
Photo District News; December 1, 2001; 250 words
In a city where hundreds shooters are clicking shutters every second of the day, PIX has been open for business since June of 1990, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The top three rentals for PIX are Profoto studio lighting, Profoto battery portable lighting, and Mamiya cameras, and PIX is never
Lens and Repro NY. (Reviews).(photographic equipment and supplies)(Brief Article)
Photo District News; December 1, 2001; 376 words
The staff of Lens & Repro is large enough to handle every individual customer's need, and from an experienced point of view. "Try before you buy," is their motto. They push the advantages of renting equipment over buying with the simple reminder that by renting, you always have the latest equipment

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