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Camera costs to go crazy in Europe?

The European Commission is planning to add import duty to new digital cameras that can record video -- will the result be a price increase or just a change in the way cameras are designed?

Those crazy types in Brussels. If they're not forcing us all to eat straight bananas or swim in wine lakes, they're slapping tax on our cameras. To be specific, on new digital cameras with a certain level of movie capability.

At the moment, all digital cameras are manufactured outside Europe. They're all imported. All of them. Currently, there's a European Commission-imposed 4.9 per cent import tariff on camcorders, but not on cameras, whatever their video-recording abilities. 

The EC's Nomenclature Committee (oh, to be a fly on that wall) has cottoned on to this and wants to slap a tax on cameras that can record at least 30 minutes of video in one go, with a resolution of 800x600 pixels or higher at 23 frames per second or higher. The Nomenclature Committee has recommended the proposal (boo!) but has not, as yet, garnered the required majority vote (hurray!).

We're Eurosceptical about this here at Crave. Sure, we don't mind paying taxes to keep the hospitals clean and the trains running on time (wait a second...), but this is just daft. Profits on cameras are sliced ultra-fine as it is, so an extra 5 per cent on the price is going to make manufacturers do some serious chin-stroking. The increase will no doubt be passed on to consumers.

The upshot, however, could be that manufacturers nobble the video function in their new cameras, so they can't record 30 minutes of video, or only at low resolution. We'd like to see manufacturers using this as a chance to concentrate on improving camera functions rather than trying to pack in extras like video, as they do now. But chances are they'll just use it as a chance to whack the prices up. Nice one, José Manuel Barroso. They'll be closing our post offices next. Hang about... -Rich Trenholm