Camera Production Hit by Japanese Earthquake

Camera Production Hit by Japanese Earthquake

Photographer Thom Hogan reports that camera production has been hard hit by the Japanese earthquake and tsunami:

Nikon has closed their FX body and lens plants with no word on when they might be re-opened. Canon has closed several plants, the most relevant one being the one that makes their pro lenses. Fujifilm has closed the plant that makes the just released X100. Panasonic has closed the Fukushima plant that produces Lumix digital cameras. Sigma reported damage to equipment at one factory and suspended operations at two others due to rolling blackouts. An Epson plant was hit by the tsunami, and three others are currently shut down due to rolling blackouts.

This is an update to his earlier report about the Japanese camera manufacturers affected:

Nikon has issued a statement about the impact of the earthquake on their operations. Bottom line: there was damage to some equipment and buildings, some employees have been injured, and it is unclear when they'll be able to resume full production at their affected facilities. Note that plants referred to in the statement include those that make the D700, D3s, D3x (Sendai), and lenses that are labeled Made in Japan (Tochigi).

Other camera and tech companies that have plants in Northern Japan have issued similar statements. Panasonic, Sony, Canon, Fujifilm, and Sigma all have factories that are likely going to be affected by Friday's quake and tsunami, and power infrastructure in Northern Japan will be compromised significantly with so many nuclear plants shut down and power lines down.

It looks like we're not out of the woods yet, and it's uncertain just how badly this will affect worldwide supplies. We do know however, that prior to the earthquake Fujiflm Japan had already announced a shortage of the popular Fujifilm X100 camera, and this latest news looks set to compound the problem.

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