And so, the end is near, too near in fact for the traditional 35mm film camera. High-street electronics monolith Dixons today announced that it is to stop selling 35mm cameras once it has exhausted existing stocks, on account of their falling sales and increasing popularity, quality and falling cost of digital cameras. The announcement comes just a few months after the company announced it would stop selling VHS video recorders amid falling sales and growing popularity of their digital counterparts.
The Dixons we all know and hate (remember, its parent company DSG has been prosecuted countless times for selling refurbished and customer returned goods as new) started life as Dixons Photographic – a camera shop! Its transformation into the consumer electronics group it now is did not start until 1984, with the acquisition of white goods specialist Currys, and was followed by the launch of PC World, The Link and the acquisition of Byte.
The downturn in 35mm camera sales is not a surprise. Kodak announced last year that it was to stop production of 35mm cameras, and has laid off thousands of staff from its developing business. Most recently, it announced plans to stop making some types of photographic paper due to falling demand. Kodak is still attempting to transform itself into a digital imaging company, and while its digital cameras have enjoued much acclaim, the business is struggling to adapt to this new digital landscape.
And so we have to ask, just how much longer will the film camera survive as a mainstream product. Excluding disposable cameras, which serve a niche unlikely to disappear any time soon, 35mm is the only film camera format still in any form of production. 110 and Disc have long since disappeared, while Polaroid is following Kodak and going digital (sales of its instant cameras continue to slide, and the company has only recently emerged from bankruptcy).
It’s not entirely the end for 35mm cameras at Dixons. The company will continue to stock a small range at its Tax Free airport shops, to cater for tourists and travelling photography professionals.