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Business trends

Japanese camera makers diversify to survive smartphone wave

Nikon and others use optical expertise to make 3D printers and IoT devices

Nikon has used its optical design expertise to reduce the size of precision metal 3D printers.

TOKYO -- From single-lens reflex cameras to their mirrorless offshoots, Japanese camera makers have largely outclassed their overseas rivals in technology and sales, capturing a combined 90% of market share in digital cameras. But with the spread of smartphones with increasingly powerful photo capabilities and the effects of the pandemic on consumer consumption, industry heavyweights like Nikon and Canon have been refocusing product lineups.

These and other iconic names are now leveraging their optical technology prowess to make compact 3D printers, devices for the Internet of Things or other precision products.

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