UK high street retailer Dixons has announced today that it plans to stop selling 35mm cameras, following the huge surge in popularity of their digital equivalents. Dixons reports that sales of digital cameras are now outstripping sales of 35mm cameras by 15 to 1 and it says that it will not stock any more 35mm cameras once the current stock runs out. The company says film is now an 'increasingly niche market' and Bryan Magrath, marketing director at Dixons, says that "digital cameras are now the rule, rather than the exception".
Goodbye 35mm cameras, thanks for the memories
Dixons, the UK's leading high street retailer of consumer technology, today announces that it will no longer sell 35mm film-based cameras.
Dixons, originally a photographic studio, opened its first outlet in Southend in 1937. Cameras were the first products that Dixons sold.
"Last year, we pulled the plug on video recorders, but today's announcement is in many ways a more sentimental event," said Bryan Magrath, marketing director at Dixons. "35mm cameras were the first products we ever sold and film processing has been a part of our lives for several decades. Time and technology move on, though, and digital cameras are now the rule, rather than the exception. We have decided that the time is now right to take 35mm cameras out of the frame."
The digital photography vs film photography debate has been raging in photographic circles for several years, with many professionals and purists favouring the 35mm camera. But as technology progresses, the quality of digital photographs has improved enormously. Dixons reports that sales of digital cameras are now outstripping sales of 35mm cameras by 15 to 1.
35mm camera sales peaked in the UK in 1989, when 2.9 million cameras sold, according to GfK. Since then sales have fallen, a trend that has accelerated since the advent of affordable digital cameras. Amongst the first cameras that Dixons retailed was the Selfix 16-20, priced at £18 14s 5d.
Three million pixel digital cameras are now available from Dixons for under £100. The cost of digital cameras has fallen dramatically and the image quality has risen substantially since they were first launched in the early 1990s.
A test of 100 customers carried out by Dixons revealed that 93% are now unable to tell the difference between digital prints and 35mm film prints. "Statistically, this tells us that there is no real difference in quality between digital and film," said Bryan Magrath. "The digital camera, which delivers huge benefits due to its memory, speed, image quality and transferability of images, is a big winner with the millions of customers that shop with us every year."
Industry estimates reveal that around three-quarters of photographs are taken on holiday.
For sentimental shoppers keen to buy a piece of history, Dixons will retail a limited range of 35mm cameras for the next two months or until stocks last. Dixons' tax-free airport stores will continue to retail a limited specialist range of 35mm cameras.