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Last Updated: Tuesday, 13 January, 2004, 20:25 GMT
Kodak embraces digital revolution
Early Kodak camera
Kodak's cheap cameras helped popularise photography
Photography giant Eastman Kodak has announced plans to stop selling traditional film cameras in North America and Europe.

The firm said it would concentrate instead on digital models.

The move marks a milestone in the history of Kodak, which brought photography to the masses through a cheap, easy-to-use film cameras.

It reflects a recent surge in demand for filmless digital cameras, which now outsell traditional models.

Industry figures show that 12.5 million digital cameras were sold in the US last year, compared with 12.1 million film cameras.

Kodak said it would continue selling its range of popular disposable cameras, as well as film and other accessories in North America and Europe.

Changing times

It will also continue to sell traditional cameras in Asia, Latin America, and Eastern Europe.

The decision is in line with the firm's strategy of moving away from traditional products in favour of high-growth digital technologies.

Bernard Mason, the head of Kodak's digital and film imaging division, said the firm remained "committed to manufacturing and marketing the world's highest quality film."

"We will focus our film investments on opportunities that provide faster and attractive returns, while reducing investments were we see unsatisfactory returns."

Last year, Kodak controversially slashed its payout to shareholders in an effort to raise $3bn needed to expand its presence in the market for digital cameras and imaging technologies.

The change in strategy prompted warnings from analysts that the company may struggle to catch up with rivals such as Canon, Dell and Hewlett Packard, which made the switch to digital products sooner.

But Wall Street investors welcomed the latest news, market Kodak shares 1.3% higher at $26.70 in mid-morning trade in New York on Tuesday.

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