This is sad news and maybe premature, but in my opinion all the new full frame systems all have strategic flaws.
It’s well known that DSLR sales are sliding now, following the worrying trajectory of compact cameras.
Then I read with great interest Vincent Laforet’s prediction that the era of stand-alone cameras is coming to an abrupt end for the mass market.
There was a very key chart in that blog post which you can see above. I believe it speaks volumes about why the mass market is migrating from hardware focussed imaging tools like DSLRs to innovative new growth areas like apps and services orientated smartphones.
Incidentally in our own little world of DSLR video, this is also why Canon were so utterly wrong to dismiss Magic Lantern as a intolerable ‘hack’.
Let’s diagnose the problem and suggest the solution…
This advice has been met with an arrogance built on a decade of increasing sales. Now in an era of falling shipments both companies have blamed smartphones and the world economy. For me this is unacceptable, it’s all about the product. Sales are down because the products aren’t good enough.
Sales are down every month this year compared to last. The peak months in each year are normally June and November. Taking the month of June as our sample, shipments have halved in two years. 800,000 DSLRs in June 2014 compares to 1.2 million in 2013 and 1.6m in June 2012. That’s units shipped from the factories of all manufacturers, but mainly Canon and Nikon with the lion’s share of that and therefore most responsible for the decline.
Meanwhile sales at mirrorless system camera manufacturer Olympus are up 22% year on year. There’s something even more telling from Olympus in America, previously a market where mirrorless has been a failure, sales in this region saw a huge 70% gain for the OM range. This is despite massive competition from Sony with the A7, etc. Panasonic and Fuji’s X range.
Engaging the uninterested general public with dedicated cameras was never going to be sustainable – not with smartphones around.
But I think the decline of consumer DSLRs will actually be the best thing to happen to photography and video in the digital era.
Finally companies will have to get innovative, putting more weight behind enthusiast and pro orientated camera line-ups.
There are signs that a lack new product releases are hurting Canon and Nikon’s sales.
First sign comes from Japan (thanks 1001NoisyCameras), ever a forward looking market. Here Canon and Nikon’s duopoly on DSLR sales is no longer what it once was, down to just 60% of the market – roughly 32% to Canon and 28% to Nikon.