Sigma?s Japanese factory is working ’round the clock’ to cope with unprecedented demand for its lenses brought about by the boom in digital SLRs, the company has revealed.

?Business couldn?t be better,? said UK spokesman Paul Reynolds who explained that Sigma?s Japanese factory is having to install new machines to meet production targets.

The independent lens maker plans to step-up production to 120,000 lenses a month, from the previous ?full capacity? of 110,000 per month three months ago.

?The factory is working 24/7 at the moment to keep up with demand,? he added.

Sigma puts its success down to the consumer boom in sales of digital SLRs caused by falling prices. ?This has opened the floodgates for people buying digital SLRs, along with accessories such as lenses and flashguns,? said Reynolds who believes that a ?reasonable? price? for a digital SLR these days is around £500.

Yesterday Jessops reported a 124% leap in sales of digital SLRs in value terms for the year to 30 September 2005.

Jessops said this was driven by ?more manufacturers entering the digital SLR market, providing the consumer with a wider range of products at competitive price points?.

Sigma also puts the popularity of its digital SLR lenses down to such factors as the multi-layer lens coating, which is designed to reduce flare and ghosting on images.