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Nikon to stop making cameras in Japan in cost-cutting measure

Nikon to stop making cameras in Japan in cost-cutting measure
(Image credit: Akihito Yonekura / AERA dot)

Nikon will no longer manufacture cameras domestically, and will shift production from its "mother factory" in Japan to its satellite plant in Thailand, in an effort to reduce costs.

Preparations to transfer production of both the Nikon Z6 and Nikon Z7 to Thailand began in October, and by 2021 the flagship Nikon D6 will also be manufactured in the Thai facility.

• Read more: Best Nikon cameras

Since 1979 Nikon has produced cameras (starting with the Nikon EM entry level film camera) at its Sendai Nikon facility, in Mkiyagi Prefecture, some 200 miles north of Tokyo. Founded in 1971, the plant acted as the "mother factory" that led the way for overseas factories and technical assistance.

That era, however, is coming to an end, as the specialist production will be shifted to the lower cost facility in Thailand as the manufacturer looks to reduce costs.

"The Sendai production plant (Sendai Nikon) will transfer the camera production that has continued for about 40 years to the Thai plant, but will continue to produce the high-performance and high-precision parts required for video products, and the production at the Thai production plant," said Hirotaka Ikegami, general manager of the Imaging Business Division, in a statement to Asahi Camera.   

"At the same time, it will also play an active role as a start-up factory for new businesses that will support Nikon's future based on the production technology and mobility cultivated through camera production and new product launches. 

"The Thai production factory, to which camera production is transferred, was established in 1990 and has been producing cameras and interchangeable lenses for about 30 years, achieving Nikon quality for many years as Nikon's main factory. We will continue to provide high-quality products that satisfy everyone."

While cameras produced in Thailand should, in principal, be no different those produced at Sendai, an interesting consideration is the potential effect on used resale value. As anyone involved in the used camera market knows, buyers can be very picky about which country certain cameras and lenses were made in…

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Nikon D6 review
Nikon Z6 review
Nikon Z6 II review
Nikon Z7 review

James Artaius

The editor of Digital Camera World, James started working in the photographic industry in 2014 as an assistant to Damian McGillicuddy – successor to David Bailey as Principal Photographer for Olympus. In this time he shot for clients as diverse as Aston Martin Racing, Elinchrom and L'Oréal, in addition to shooting campaigns and product testing for Olympus. An Olympus and Canon user, James was previously technique editor on PhotoPlus: The Canon Magazine.