The photo industry just can’t catch a break this year. Seven months after the devastating earthquake and tsunami which killed over 10,000 people in Japan and brought camera production to a standstill in some regions, imaging factories in Thailand remain shut down from massive recent flooding across the country.
The Thai flooding, which began in late July from monsoon rains, has affected two thirds of the country and is now bearing down on Bangkok. Over 300 people have died from the flooding.
Camera factories for Nikon and Sony and an inkjet printer factory for Canon in Thailand were still closed as of today. No restart date has been set for any of the flooded factories.
“We are continuing to investigate details of the damage, but are unable at this time to predict how soon operation will be resumed,” Nikon responded to PDN in an email. Nikon said its factory, which is located in Rojana Industrial Park in Central Thailand, produces “a variety of entry-level and mid-level D-SLRs, as well as a number of Nikkor interchangeable lenses.”
Because most DSLRs — both consumer and professional — use many of the same internal parts, it’s conceivable that the Thai flooding could stall Nikon camera launches in the near future, such as the rumored upcoming introduction of a new pro DSLR.
Meanwhile, a Sony factory in Thailand, which is said to produce the new Sony A77 and A65 DSLRs, is also still crippled by the flooding, causing product delays because of transportation problems.
“Operations of our factory in Thailand have been temporarily suspended due to flooding, which will delay overall product supply,” Sony said in an email. “There is only minor damage to the facility, however transportation in /out of the factory is facing constraints. The factory restart date has not yet been determined, as the matter is still under investigation. “
Canon also confirmed with PDN today that its Canon Hi-Tech Thailand Ltd. inkjet factory remains closed and that “no additional plan has been determined.”