Digital camera manufacturer Nikon has announced that it will be launching a new image-sharing and storage service, called Nikon Image Space, on January 28 (8:00pm Japan Standard Time).

The new website will replace Nikon’s current offering, ‘my Picturetown’, and be accessible to anyone, regardless of what camera make they own or use. Most importantly, Nikon Image Space will also be free, and hopes to make uploading, organizing, viewing and sharing photographs a much more painless process.

Nikon Image Space will offer two accounts when it launches; the first, simply called a ‘Basic’ account, will offer 2GB of free storage; the second, known as a ‘Special’ account, is for Nikon camera owners and will offer 20GB of storage once the user has completed an online application form to verify their hardware. Nikon says that Special accounts will also offer “more advanced options,” including the ability to add a password when sharing images, and also use a tool to restrict image downloads.

It’s also worth noting that anyone still using ‘my Picturetown’ will have their account information and images transferred automatically to Nikon Image Space when it launches.

Zurab Kiknadze, European Product Manager at Nikon Europe, said: “We recognised that the time had come to give this service a complete overhaul – to create a new service that is more intuitive, fun and easier to use, and better integrated with the social networks that most people like to use.”

The website isn’t live until next week, but Nikon has hinted that “significant changes” in window design will make various tasks associated with the service, including uploading, viewing, organizing and sharing photos an awful lot smoother. It will also offer greater functionality with various social networks such as Facebook and Twitter, although further details haven’t yet been disclosed.

Nikon’s current service, ‘my Picturetown’, has been around since August 2007 but in the main, it’s failed to make much of an impression on the photography community. The camera manufacturer is now clearly going after the territory dominated by Flickr, but also encroached by fresh faces such as 500px.

Photographers are always looking for a service that can solve two problems; the first is a safe, sturdy online solution for storing all of their files in their original quality; the second is an organic and thriving community where they can display and discuss photos with other users. Until now that second part is what’s kept Flickr in first position, but as rival platforms such as Google+ and even Instagram have continued to question it, room for new services has opened up.

Nikon Image Space could well be that service, provided it gets the exposure and momentum from users needed to build a dynamic community of photographers.

Image Credit: David Becker/Getty Images