Canon has predicted that sales of digital cameras will outstrip its analogue cameras by 2003.

Canon is anticipating this growth with plans to manufacture four million digital cameras worldwide this financial year.

According to its figures, Canon has 18 per cent of the Europe's high-end (2-megapixel and above) digital-camera market.

Market mix Canon doesn’t believe this growth signifies a decline in the film- and analogue-camera markets, rather that the digital-imaging market will co-exist alongside these traditional markets for several years to come.

Canon holds a 39 per cent market share in SLR and 14 per cent in the compact markets.

Alessandro Stanzani, head of European marketing, Canon Consumer Imaging, said: "Consumers are attracted to the new breed of digital cameras because they are simpler to use, inspire creativity and imagination, and the results are instantaneous and have multiple applications.

"Canon studies show that people will take more than five times as many photographs with digital cameras as they will with film-based cameras. However, they may only print a quarter of the digital photographs taken."