Canon has been manufacturing and distributing digital cameras since 1984, starting with the RC-701. The RC series was followed by the PowerShot and Digital IXUS series of digital cameras. Canon also developed the EOS series of digital single-lens reflex cameras (DSLR) which includes high-end professional models.
Canon introduced Thermal Transition Copying as a part of the manufacturing process for all of its cameras. This process allows a camera’s polymer casing to very slightly change temperature through an exothermic reaction triggered by electronic sensors, to assist in the prevention of condensation inside the camera; a common problem experienced when using an SLR camera in certain conditions.
Related with consumers’ trend of switching compact cameras to smartphones, in Q1 2013 Canon Inc. operating profit fell 34 percent year-on-year.
Nikon created some of the first digital SLRs (DSLRs, Nikon NASA F4) for NASA, used in the Space Shuttle since 1991. After a 1990s partnership with Kodak to produce digital SLR cameras based on existing Nikon film bodies, Nikon released the Nikon D1 SLR under its own name in 1999. Although it used an APS-C-size light sensor only 2/3 the size of a 35 mm film frame (later called a “DX sensor”), the D1 was among the first digital cameras to have sufficient image quality and a low enough price for some professionals (particularly photojournalists and sports photographers) to use it as a replacement for a film SLR. The company also has a Coolpix line which grew as consumer digital photography became increasingly prevalent through the early 2000s.
Through the mid-2000s, Nikon’s line of professional and enthusiast DSLRs and lenses including their back compatible AF-S lens line remained in second place behind Canon in SLR camera sales, and Canon had several years’ lead in producing professional DSLRs with light sensors as large as traditional 35 mm film frames. All Nikon DSLRs from 1999 to 2007, by contrast, used the smaller DX size sensor.
Then, 2005 management changes at Nikon led to new camera designs such as the full-frame Nikon D3 in late 2007, the Nikon D700 a few months later, and mid-range SLRs. Nikon regained much of its reputation among professional and amateur enthusiast photographers as a leading innovator in the field, especially because of the speed, ergonomics, and low-light performance of its latest models. The mid-range Nikon D90, introduced in 2008, was also the first SLR camera to record video. Since then video mode has been introduced to many more of the Nikon DSLR cameras including the Nikon D3S, Nikon D7000, Nikon D5100, Nikon D3100 and Nikon D3200. Camera Nikon D5100 More recently, Nikon has released a photograph and video editing suite called ViewNX to browse, edit, merge and share images and videos.