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Report: Canon aims to reclaim top SLR rank

Canon hopes its new Rebel XSi will help it reclaim No. 1 SLR market share in Japan. The camera maker wants to be No. 1 globally in both SLRs and compacts.

Canon's EOS Rebel XSi goes on sale in April. Canon

Canon hopes the new EOS Rebel XSi will help it reclaim the top spot in SLR camera market share in 2008 in Japan, according to a report Thursday.

Canon lost the top spot in Japan to Nikon, but the new entry-level Rebel XSi (called the 450D in Europe and the Kiss X2 in Asia) should help the company fight back this year, according to Canon director Masaya Maeda, quoted by Thomson after a Canon press conference.

Canon's ambitions are broader than just Japan and SLRs, though its lead isn't as threatened in other segments. "In 2008, we aim to capture the top market share in Japan as well as globally, in both the compact and SLR camera segments," Thomson quoted Canon president Tsuneji Uchida as saying.

SLR (single-lens reflex) cameras are costlier and bulkier than compact cameras, but they offer higher performance, interchangeable lenses, and other advantages. The market segment is growing faster than compact cameras, too, and once a customer is won, they're more likely to stay loyal because one camera maker's lenses don't work on another's camera bodies.

Canon announced the XSi Wednesday a week before the Photo Marketing Association trade show in Las Vegas. The camera, costing $900 including an image-stabilized kit lens, competes with Nikon's D40 and D40x and, if rumors are anything to go by, an imminent successor called the D60.