Customers worldwide snapped up 1.76 million Nikon system cameras in the three months to 31 December 2013, compared to 2.1m a year earlier.

The interchangeable-lens camera category is made up of mirrorless compact system cameras and DSLRs.

Volume sales of interchangeable lenses fell 15% in a ‘sluggish’ system camera market, according to trading figures released overnight by Nikon’s Japan-based headquarters.

Compact camera unit sales plummeted to 3.81m, from 6.19m in the same period in 2012.

However, operating income at Nikon’s imaging division more than doubled.

‘In the fierce environment… operating income doubled from [the] previous year, as a result of the effort of product mix improvement in entry-class DSLR cameras and new product launch of middle/high-class DSLR cameras,’ stated a slide shown at a presentation to accompany the announcement.

The group’s overall net profits increased 16% year-on-year.