Did Canon and Nikon let 31% of the pro video market slip away to mirrorless?

GH4 with Cooke cinema lens

Market research from 2014 has surfaced from consulting firm FutureSource. The year-old report suggests a swing of 50% from DSLRs to mirrorless cameras in 2015 (for pro video users). The report predicts that in the coming years 4K mirrorless cameras will dominate the market for video relative to DSLRs and that sales of large sensor professional camcorders (such as the Canon C300) will continue to grow and occupy roughly a third of the pro video market with the mirrorless camera share at a respectable 20%.

In 2012/13 apparently 31% of the pro video market were buying DSLRs.

As we know, Canon decided they didn’t want pros buying the cheap stills gear. They wanted to extract much larger margins from them. But in doing so did Canon shoot themselves in the foot?

31% of the pro video market is a very large number of 5D and 7D sales down the toilet.

Equally the figures reflect a profound success for the GH4 and A7S. If the report is to believed, mirrorless cameras in 2013 accounted for just 1% to 2% of the pro video market. In 2014 the report shows that mirrorless had taken away a third of pro video sales from DSLRs and were now 10% of the entire market. This is only projected to keep on growing.

These “pro video” sales for mirrorless cameras are projected to outnumber DSLRs by 2016. The Sony A7R II will certainly help speed that up.

EOSHD is now 90% about mirrorless cameras

The term “DSLR” has for a long time been used as a kind of ‘catch-all’ phrase for a stills camera that shoots video. That needs to change now as in the coming years the term DSLR won’t really have any relevance.

However the naming terminology for mirrorless cameras is still a confused mess, which doesn’t help the transition. Some companies are saying one thing and others another – for example the report refers to mirrorless cameras as “compact system cameras (CSC)”.

My view is that the report is correct, because we’ve seen it with our own eyes here at EOSHD. DSLRs were always destined to die out the moment the Panasonic GH1 came out. Mirrorless technology is the future of almost all stills and video cameras. Would it be any point at all in Canon keeping the 5D alive for video? Would 4K on a future 5D Mark IV achieve anything at all when it can’t hope to match the usability of the Sony A7R II or an upcoming Panasonic GH5 due to the dated form factor?

5D Mark III vs GH4 vs A7S size comparison
Dave Dugdale’s comparison of the 5D3, A7S and GH4 (LearningDSLRVideo.com)

What the report reveals isn’t surprising. Canon and Nikon have spectacularly failed to deliver when it comes to video on their DSLRs. Some would say they have even been wary of trying!

I do think however that Canon did the right thing starting their Cinema EOS line. They did the wrong thing by their DSLR customers who were interested in video but the right thing by pros.

The question is where does it leave their DSLR sales and where does it leave Nikon who haven’t got a dedicated video line?

Actually I think there’s an even bigger challenge for Canon and Nikon now and it isn’t just what to do about video, it is all encompassing.

They must transition from the SLR era into the mirrorless era. This means switching lens mounts and consigning the two most successful lens ranges of all time to history.

Can’t say I didn’t warn them…

The short FutureSource report summary is available here