UPDATE 1-Canon says may raise camera sales forecast

* Canon to launch smaller high-quality camera -executive

* Sales of compact cameras on track to meet forecast-Canon
(Adds details)

By Isabel Reynolds and Reiji Murai

TOKYO, July 20 (BestGrowthStock) – Japan’s Canon Inc (7751.T: ) said on
Tuesday it is thinking of slightly raising its camera sales
forecast for 2010 from the current 25.9 million units, thanks to
better-than-expected sales in the profitable interchangeable lens
camera segment.

Sales of compact cameras, forecast at 21 million units, are
in line with expectations, Masaya Maeda, head of the Image
Communication Products division at the world’s biggest digital
camera maker, said in an interview.

Canon is likely to post a 180 percent jump in profits to
about 182 billion yen ($2.10 billion) for the January-June
period, the Nikkei business daily said earlier this month. The
company last revised its annual camera sales forecast upwards in
April and is set to announce its April-June results on July 27.

Maeda also said the company was working on a smaller version
of its upmarket single-lens reflex (SLR) cameras in a bid to
compete with the new breed of mid-range so-called “mirrorless”
cameras launched by Sony Corp (6758.T: ), Olympus Corp (7733.T: ),
and Panasonic Corp (6752.T: ).

Nikon (7731.T: ) also has a new camera in the works, though it
has yet to reveal details.

Maeda did not give further details of the new camera,
including whether the internal structure would include a mirror.

Competitors have made high-quality cameras more compact by
removing the mirror that enables the user to look at the actual
scene through a viewfinder, creating a new market segment that is
popular in Japan and which analysts say may grow rapidly.

“It’s not a question of whether or not you have a mirror.
There is a consumer need for good-quality cameras to be made
smaller,” Maeda said. “We will meet this need.”

He denied this would be difficult without removing the
internal mirror, adding that Canon had produced very small SLR
cameras in the past.

One analyst said a smaller, lighter SLR camera would likely
be good news for Canon.

“This would be very positive,” said Kazumasa Kubota of Okasan
Securities. “Looking directly at something through a viewfinder
is different from seeing it indirectly via semiconductors,” he
added.

Stock Market Report

($1=86.76 Yen)
(Editing by Michael Watson)

UPDATE 1-Canon says may raise camera sales forecast