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Andrew Reid

Market for DSLRs shrinking dramatically and why Canon / Nikon are to blame

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I don't see any sign of people getting off the consumerist upgrade bandwagon.

 

Despite the clear tanking of low end sales (Nikon 1, GF5, EOSHD M etc.) Mirrorless sales haven't dropped in the same way. They're remained steady. This means that if the low end mirrorless crap has tanked in the way I think it has, there's been considerable growth in sales for the more innovative higher end stuff. Clearly people are upgrading for features like 4K video, 5 axis stabilisation, mirrorless full frame lens mounts, mirrorless lenses, Leica M lens compatibility, clean ISO 3200, 14 stop dynamic range and 36MP full frame sensors, classic body styling like the X-T1 and huge EVFs, better video modes, smaller bodies, smaller lenses, more adaptable lenses and perhaps even for better AF in live-view mode (who'd have though it!?)

 

Canon and Nikon will wake up eventually...

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EOSHD Pro Color for Sony cameras EOSHD Pro LOG for Sony CamerasEOSHD C-LOG and Film Profiles for All Canon DSLRs

Unfortunately for them, technology and economics has caught up with them and now everyone has a smartphone that does probably 90% of everything the average buyer will ever do with a camera, and they likely aren't willing to pay $600 to get that extra 10%. Do you disagree with last statement (of opinion)?


And again let's not forget most people in America who want a DSLR already own a pretty good one. As the years have gone by and Canon and Nikon have made better and better DSLRs people have upgraded less and less.
 

What innovations do you have in mind that *would* cause the average camera buyer to plunk down $1000 (or $700) on a new camera? Do you really think that if Canon and Nikon both released killer mirrorless full-frame 4:2:2 4K [email protected] 14-stop DR with ND for $999 that sales would suddenly go back up to the good old days of 2012? Do you know how many people actually care about those specs? Pretty much everyone who routinely goes to this awesome website of yours, and almost no one else.

Yeah I would love to see someone explain to the average consumer who already has a cell phone that they should blow $2,500 on a 12.2 megapixel Sony mirrorless camera. No average consumer in their right mind is going to pay $2,500 for a 12.2 megapixel camera. And they are going to be reluctant to spend that kind of dough on any camera that doesn't have Canon or Nikon firmly attached. I mean what kind of a conversation at the water cooler or country club is that going to be?

Coworker: "Hey man I heard you got some super expensive bad @$$ camera!"
Average Consumer: "Yeah it was $2,500."
Coworker: "How many megapixels?"
Average Consumer: "12.2"
Coworker: [Silence]
Coworker: "Is it a Canon?"
Average Consumer: "It's a Sony."
Coworker: [Silence]

The stuff we discuss and get excited about on this forum is niche stuff. It is not mass market. I just don't see the average consumer having the courage to get a $1,700+ camera of any sort let alone a mirroless camera from someone who isn't Canon or Nikon. I'm sure if you look at Canon sales numbers the majority of cameras they sold sell for less than $1,100. So no I don't think the Panasonic GH4 nor the Sony a7s are going to do diddly as far as the mass market. They may sell a lot for their niches but they are not going to bring about a DSLR apocolypse.

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Erm, the A7S is targeted at people who understand the specs, having done basic internet research, which is more common than you think and more people are capable of being less stupid than you think when it comes to spending that much on a camera.

 

The average consumer does not spend $2500 anyway, so it doesn't matter that they don't understand the merits of an A7S. It isn't for them.
 

There's a good reason why smartphones are so popular as cameras. First of all they've been mainstream for more than a decade, and during those 10 years Canon & Nikon have done absolutely nothing to successfully integrate their imaging devices with the internet era.

 

All the exciting mainstream imaging stuff has happened in that connected-up smartphone / internet space... Consumers aren't stupid, they value this stuff. DSLRs aren't giving it them.

 

Think back to 2003 with the Canon 300D - http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/canoneos300d

 

The gap between this and the phone cameras of the time was enormous and Facebook didn't even exist.

 

A lot has changed and Canon have not changed the breed in response.

 

They are still doing 300Ds just with larger sensors and better image quality.

 

In video now they are really nowhere.

 

Where's the revolution?

 

Also back in 2003 there was a prosumer market for compacts above $1000. These users migrated to DSLRs because of the better image quality and falling prices of DSLRs so they were level with high end compacts. Whereas in 2003 the word 'selfie' did not exist and the masses chose digital cameras based on a price / performance ratio. In 2014 the criteria for selection couldn't be more different. The masses attach more value to the moment, the snapshot. Showing off is rife because of social media, and because phones are carried everywhere, they make very good snapshot / moment getters - they are quick and simple, only one device required to be carried (not lots of separate ones, i.e. camera, iPod, phone) and now image quality is good enough for that people need to do with them.

 

DSLRs are also a saturated market. Too much supply, too much similarity between models. Supply is now dropping because the demand for so many models just isn't there.

 

Don't forget also that smartphones have a major price advantage over DSLRs, even now end ones, and that people generally don't want to carry around a brick with them that isn't pocketable. Thin is the trend in smartphones, always has been since the sales success of the Motorola Razr.

 

DSLRs have no choice but to retreat from the mainstream and become photographer's tools again, and if that means it's a 'niche' by comparison then so be it! More high end models for us and less of the low end crap.

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I don't see any sign of people getting off the consumerist upgrade bandwagon.


DSLRs are a mature market. As far as stills are concerned no one (DSLR, mirroless, cell phone, etc) is producing anything new in my price range that is compelling enough for me to upgrade. I see it amongst the people I know. Upgrading your camera just isn't a topic these days.
 

Despite the clear tanking of low end sales (Nikon 1, GF5, EOSHD M etc.) Mirrorless sales haven't dropped in the same way. They're remained steady. This means that if the low end mirrorless crap has tanked in the way I think it has, there's been considerable growth in sales for the more innovative higher end stuff.


Well you are assuming. Your previous arguments in this thread were based on numbers you quoted and a graph you posted. You are wandering into the realm of speculation now. I mean the EOS M NEVER had good sales. I'm not sure it is "tanking." It has had a constant level of sales... weak. In fact I dare say with some of the fire sales that have gone on with it its sales at various times may actualy have been UP. I mean they were selling it on ebay with the 20mm f/2 lens for $250!

The fact remains most of Canon and Nikon's sales happen below $1,100. So the GH4 and a7s are not going to move the mass market needle. Absolutely no one I know would pay $1,700 for a mirrorless camera... let alone $2,500.

 

Canon and Nikon will wake up eventually...


Wake up to what?! As someone else pointed out they can put all the 4K 10bit 4:2:2 Prores, with zebras, peaking, NDs, etc they want into $1,700+ camera and the average consumer will not buy it. They will jack up their Cinema camera sales but they will not get the average consumer to buy. Photography forums are full of people saying they don't want any more video in DSLRs. The photography forums are full of people turning up their noses at the few micro four thirds evangelists that post.

I only bought a bmpcc because it was $500. And I'm someone who is a little bit knowledgable and really interested. You really think the average consumer is going to pay three times that price for a GH4?

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A typical conversation between a Canon or Nikon rep and a consumer satisfied with their smartphone and existing DSLR would go a bit like this -

 

Consumer: why do I need this new model. It's expensive!

 

Rep: it will give you better image quality than your smartphone!

 

Consumer: but I have taken a lot of nice images with my smartphone (Editor's note: and so have I, because it is always there to capture a special moment, whilst a DSLR isn't)

 

Rep: [Spouts some technical jargon about sensor size]

 

Consumer: Hmm

 

Rep: You can pair it to your smartphone via WiFi for social networks

 

Consumer: I cannot be bothered. Carrying two devices is impractical on a daily basis. Through sheer laziness I only take photos using my smartphone. Sometimes even on special occasions. Pairing via a WiFi network is slow and complicated. May as well use a card reader. It is of no use to me.

 

Rep: Hmm

 

Consumer: I have a 5D Mark III by the way. What do you have to tempt me to upgrade that!?

 

Rep: Nothing!

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Wake up to what?! As someone else pointed out they can put all the 4K 10bit 4:2:2 Prores, with zebras, peaking, NDs, etc they want into $1,700+ camera and the average consumer will not buy it. They will jack up their Cinema camera sales but they will not get the average consumer to buy. Photography forums are full of people saying they don't want any more video in DSLRs. The photography forums are full of people turning up their noses at the few micro four thirds evangelists that post.

I only bought a bmpcc because it was $500. And I'm someone who is a little bit knowledgable and really interested. You really think the average consumer is going to pay three times that price for a GH4?

 

What kind of 'average consumer' are we talking about here exactly? Those who bought a high end DSLR in 2012, in which there were lots of buyers, for the 5D Mark III and D800 released that year, see no reason to upgrade and that's one of the reasons for the 2014 drop in supply, due to lower demand. I am pretty sure the buyers at the 5D / D800 level are interested in the specs and not naive. They want 4K, better image quality, innovation. They are also interested in mirrorless functionality that is missing on their DSLRs. They are certainly interested in the GH4 and the A7S if the sales of those are anything to go by.

 

As for the low end of the consumer market, they are flocking away from DSLRs due to a lack of innovation as well.

 

Smartphones are more innovative as imaging devices in 2014 and they are giving customers what they need.

 

If that was merely speculation on my part, the figures and facts would be very different.

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What is the problem people have with speculation exactly?
 
You read EOSHD as much for my opinion I hope, as you do for raw specs, facts and figures.


I refer to your video quality chart all the time. I value your opinion when you talk about video quality between cameras. You are going to see and use more cameras in a year than I will in a lifetime. But that doesn't make you an financial analyst or an economist.

Getting your hands on all these cameras and spending some meaningful time with them is something I simply cannot do. I was excited about the Sony RX10 but after reading your words I did not buy it. I ended up pulling the trigger on the bmpcc early on in the sale because I did my research on this site amongst others. I have a major disagreement with you about this mirrorless thing but there is plenty of other stuff I pretty much treat as the gospel when you say it. You're my only source for a lot of that stuff so I have no basis to argue.

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So in that case I ask again... what is the problem with speculation and opinion? It gets a hard time. A blog is always going to be one person's take based on the facts available - unless you have 20 guest writers and this is not that kind of 'churn em out' blog.

 

Regardless, camera companies need younger management and need to get with the internet age.

 

And I don't mean with gimmicks and low end tacky stuff like selfie cameras, but with serious technology and Apple-like cutting edge innovation.

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So in that case I ask again... what is the problem with speculation and opinion? It gets a hard time.

 

Nothing wrong with speculation and opinion, but it will trigger the opinion of others. Some people will disagree with you - those are most likely the ones that will reply in a discussion like this. That shouldn't be a problem either. The internet is a hard place.

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A typical conversation between a Canon or Nikon rep and a consumer satisfied with their smartphone and existing DSLR would go a bit like this -

 

Consumer: why do I need this new model. It's expensive!

 

Rep: it will give you better image quality than your smartphone!

 

Consumer: but I have taken a lot of nice images with my smartphone (Editor's note: and so have I, because it is always there to capture a special moment, whilst a DSLR isn't)

 

Rep: [Spouts some technical jargon about sensor size]

 

Consumer: Hmm

 

Rep: You can pair it to your smartphone via WiFi for social networks

 

Consumer: I cannot be bothered. Carrying two devices is impractical on a daily basis. Through sheer laziness I only take photos using my smartphone. Sometimes even on special occasions. Pairing via a WiFi network is slow and complicated. May as well use a card reader. It is of no use to me.

 

Rep: Hmm

 

Consumer: I have a 5D Mark III by the way. What do you have to tempt me to upgrade that!?

 

Rep: Nothing!

 

Wait, *who* has a Canon 5d Mark III?  The average camera buyer?

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What is the problem people have with speculation exactly?

 

You read EOSHD as much for my opinion I hope, as you do for raw specs, facts and figures.

 

Correct! I love hearing about both facts and opinions.  I'm just disagreeing with one of them.

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So in that case I ask again... what is the problem with speculation and opinion? It gets a hard time. A blog is always going to be one person's take based on the facts available - unless you have 20 guest writers and this is not that kind of 'churn em out' blog.

 

Nothing is wrong with speculation and opinion.  I follow your opinion and accept it on a lot of stuff.  To be honest with you most of the time when I disagree with you it is over trival stuff like this topic.  And to me this is a debate about economics, marketing, and product life cycles.  It's not really about video.  I was pretty pissed off and Canon for a long time but I've since come to see a method to their madness.  They are perfectly happy letting me buy a bmpcc for $500.  I will still adapt my Canon lens to use with it.  I will still keep my Canon DSLR.  And they still get to sell Cinema cameras for a premium.

 

 

By the way here is a Reuter's article analyzing the same data set...

 

 

Japanese camera makers were hoping that mirrorless cameras, which work with a sensors, could pick up the slack as compact camera sales continue to slide as consumers are increasingly shifting to high-resolution smartphone cameras.

But so far, they have only seen strong mirrorless sales at home, where shipments grew 16.8 percent in the six months to June, while dropping 18.5 percent globally, according to data from the Camera and Imaging Products Association (CIPA) of Japan. Compact camera shipments plummeted 48 percent.

Rival Olympus Corp said on Thursday that its sales of its signature mirrorless model, the PEN, had fallen 12 percent in the first quarter, below its expectations.

 

http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/08/08/us-nikon-earnings-idUSBRE9770EH20130808

 

Two different sources.  Two entirely different takes.  Same dataset.  I think that is why you got a debate.

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I have to agree with Andrew.    I know a bunch of pro photogs who have switched to mirrorless, mostly Sony.  One guy is hard core Nikon with a D800, switched to the A7R, another Canon 1DX switched to the A7S, another Sony A77 switched to the A6000.  Why?  Smaller, lighter, great image quality.  I too am thinking of dumping my 5DmkIII in favor of using my GH4 - for stills!  It's just easier to carry, smaller lenses but just as sharp, and great fast AF with great stills quality.  I think it's just the natural evolution of things.  The old adage of huge bulky cameras is going away.  It's about functionality and convenience. 

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I have to agree with Andrew.    I know a bunch of pro photogs who have switched to mirrorless, mostly Sony.  One guy is hard core Nikon with a D800, switched to the A7R, another Canon 1DX switched to the A7S, another Sony A77 switched to the A6000.  Why?  Smaller, lighter, great image quality.  I too am thinking of dumping my 5DmkIII in favor of using my GH4 - for stills!  It's just easier to carry, smaller lenses but just as sharp, and great fast AF with great stills quality.  I think it's just the natural evolution of things.  The old adage of huge bulky cameras is going away.  It's about functionality and convenience. 

 

If PRO PHOTOGRAPHERS were dumping Canon and Nikon DSLRs en masse in favor of mirrorless cameras Canon and Nikon would address it.  My suspicion is that is simply not the case.

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I agree with Andrew this time. I know more photographer and enthusiam than videographer, most of them now own another Olympus or Fuji, but not give up Canon or Nikon at all. And the reason most of them not buying anything new from Canon and Nikon is there's nothing new to buy. Imagine Canon sudden release something with 1.5X the dynamic range of the current one? At least 20 of my friends will buy it in the heart beat while not putting 5dmk3 on sale. But there's nothing like that gonna happen.

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