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A Close Look at Lenses

Camera lenses give our machines eyes to see the world with. This in turn enhances a human being’s capability to reproduce images and videos. By using our phones and the internet, we can also be viewed by others in the world. Few inventions have been so impactful to our culture.

The best smartphone camera cannot compare to an entry-level DSLR. Their lenses are a big part of the difference. Prevalent lenses import export data suggests that the industry is worth $4.5 million and will grow to about $6.9 million by 2028.

What is it about lenses that make them half as valuable as the entire camera? Read on to find out the top players, emerging hot spots, and what to look out for in the future.

The Trade Vision is a premier data provider and market intelligence company with decades of import-export experience. Access our data on the go with comprehensive reports from over 100 countries.

Product Overview

From the first camera in 1600 and the single lens, to instant digital photos, we have come a long way. All kinds of different lenses are made in exact, meticulous, and elaborate ways, similar to watches.

They also range from casual to professional and specialized in the level. Phone cameras are accessible and enhanced by advanced imagining software. Professional cameras are far superior and give an artistic flair. Dedicated lenses like zoom, macro, telephoto, and wide-angle are also widely used.

Meanwhile security, medical, and research will require products that are more specialized. Each lens has certain characteristics like aperture, focal length, and compatibility.

Export analysis

Manufacturing lenses is a very specialized process that is both labor and machine intensive. This means that companies not only have to hire and manage skilled labor, but also invest massive capital. So lenses tend to be very expensive.

Even then, German lenses like Leica and Japanese lenses like Canon, Nikon, Sony, and Tamron are of the best quality. Many major companies get their affordable lenses mass produced in China. You can see in our free camera lens export data that China also exports a ton of lenses for smartphone cameras.

Top exporting countries (2020)

  1. China ($3.14 billion)
  2. Chinese Taipei ($2.31 billion)
  3. Japan ($2.16 billion)
  4. Germany ($1.67 billion)
  5. United States ($685M)

Import analysis

Cameras are a product that people in the middle class really desire as they grow richer. China produces a large volume of rudimentary to advanced camera lenses for various needs and specifications.

The country also has a huge population that imports high-quality lenses for professional photography. The camera lenses import data can also show you the many different uses of lenses.

From medical and scientific reasons to card readers and more. That’s why global commercial hubs like the US, Netherlands, and South Korea import various kinds of specialized lenses.

Top importing countries (2020)

  1. China ($2.03 billion)
  2. Hong Kong ($1.78 billion)
  3. United States ($1.65 billion)
  4. Netherlands ($1.25 billion)
  5. South Korea ($1.14 billion)

What to expect

China has a very well established supply chain to make lenses, which makes them affordable. Just like in the case of the mobile phone industry, Covid has put a real strain on that infrastructure. Many lens companies, including Canon and Sony, are looking to diversity their production away from China.

This is the biggest trend in the lens industry. Developing countries like Thailand, Vietnam, and even Indonesia are becoming noteworthy players in the market. Be sure to keep an eye out for opportunities.

In terms of technology, mirrorless cameras and liquid lenses are hot topics. The use of AI-powered software also is very promising for image generation and smartphone photography.