For the first time since the digital revolution began, Britain?s total imaging market ? which includes camera, film and memory card sales – has fallen in value.

Following a decade of year-on-year growth, total annual sales dropped by 0.6% for the year to 31 July 2006, compared with the previous year, according to market analysts GfK.

?Prices have come down so drastically,? said a GfK spokesman earlier today.

In value terms, most camera sales are made in the £175-199 price range, according to GfK.

Posting its first year-on-year decline were digital compacts, whose sales fell in value by 0.7%.

The figures come despite Britain notching-up total sales of 20m digital cameras since 1997 (see AP website story 2 October).

Digital cameras now make up more than 73% of the imaging market.

Strong overall sales of digital cameras appear to be fuelled by digital SLRs, whose sales grew by 71% in volume and 34% in value for the 12 months to 31 July, compared to the year before.

?The period from January-July 2006 records a value growth of just 3.1%, and virtually all of this can be attributed to the digital SLR sector, where growth rates continue to stay in double figures,? adds GfK.

GfK claims that, during its market analysis, it now regularly comes across a digital SLR with a body price as low as around ?£300?.

GfK claims its figures cover around 90% of Britain?s market ? including internet retailing.

The ?imaging market? includes film and digital cameras, single-use models, film and memory cards but excludes photo printers.