PetaPixel

Report Claims Only Nikon, Canon and Sony Will Survive the Smartphone Revolution

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The camera industry is turning into a two-tier market, with Canon, Nikon and Sony DSLRs at the top, smartphones at the bottom and nothing in the middle, according to a recent Reuters report that finds little traction for mid-tier camera makers counting on mirrorless to save the day.

Panasonic, Fujifilm and Olympus are all losing money on cameras, according to the report, and don’t have any immediate prospects of turning that around as global mirrorless sales stagnate and the market for compact camera evaporates at an alarming pace.

“If you look mid-to-long term, digital camera makers are slipping and the market is becoming an oligopoly,” Credit Suisse imaging analyst Yu Yoshida told Reuters. “Only those who have a strong brand and are competitive on price will last — and only Canon, Nikon and Sony fulfill that criteria.”

panasonicl1Some numbers:

  • Global sales of compact cameras are expected to fall 40 percent this year to 59 million units.
  • Panasonic camera sales dropped 40 percent just in the period from April to September 2013.
  • Mirrorless has only really caught on in Japan, where it accounts for 36 percent of shipments of interchangeable-lens cameras. By comparison, mirrorless market share is a paltry 10.5 and 11.2 percent in the U.S. and Europe, respectively.
  • Mirrorless sales in the U.S. dropped 20 percent during the holiday shopping season, while DSLR sales climbed 1 percent.

Analysts say Canon and Nikon can get by on advanced camera sales. Otherwise, the prize will go to the camera maker that comes up with a bridge between the image quality of advanced cameras and the connectivity (easy Instagram and Facebook uploads) of smartphones.

According to the report, Sony is the only one to make a mark there with its surprisingly in-demand line of QX lens/camera thingies.

(via Chicago Tribune/Reuters)


 
  • Jimmy Fartpants

    I’d really hate to see Olympus go.
    Their line of micro 4/3rd’s cameras are wonderful.

  • http://shotfolder.com/ Lorenzo Viola

    and leica?

  • http://www.neuralmarkettrends.com/ Thomas Ott

    Whew, looks like Ricoh is safe. :)

  • Jessica Hammond

    It looks like I’m following the trend for once! It’s either a conscious decision to cart around my Canon DSLR, or I whip out my iPhone. I’ve got a few mid-range digital cameras collecting dust on a shelf!

  • Jimmy Fartpants

    That’s how I roll these days too. Iphone for random photos of whatever, Canon DSLR when I want to shoot “photography”, and Olympus PEN when I want to shoot nice photos with a smaller, more portable system.

  • alex stuart

    No mention of Samsung? They have investment in the point and shoot and mirrorless market, and seem to chug along happily in the background. They can even make it a loss leader if it helps them push the likes of android?

  • Fed Up with weirdos like you

    I don’t believe this article at all. I am very suspect. I understand that smartphones are most definitely killing camera sales but some of this just doesn’t pan-out, doesn’t make sense. Still trying to digest this article and figure out why it was written (not journalistic integrity)…someone has a selfish reason for it..i mostly suspect people at Sony. They are the company that will fail. Their cameras are junk, their sensors are good, they make most of their money from selling insurance in the Japanese and Asian Markets.

  • Fed Up with weirdos like you

    Give me full frame sensors, in small bodies with ultra fast glass, at a fair price and I will never use my phone camera again

  • Fed Up with weirdos like you

    When I look at Canon, the prices on their newest lenses (over-the-top nuts)…same thing with Nikon…what I SEE is the same business model as Sony….”make money elsewhere, shed it in electronics because the pride of company depends on it”….heck…look at what Sigma is accomplishing lately with their new lenses……they are who I am looking at these days.

  • Fed Up with weirdos like you

    Leica……..what a COMPLETELY WORTHLESS JOKE THEY ARE. Who could POSSIBLY think that Leica will survive, other than a Leica Owner ? Leica sells cameras to Collectors..NOT Photographers..repeat after me. thank you very much

  • Fed Up with weirdos like you

    you see…..this “article” fails to mention that SONY IS LOSING money on EVERYTHING THEY MAKE……they are an INSURANCE COMPANY that operates under the ILLUSION that they are an electronics company

  • Sky

    Leica got constant growth year to year. They’re unaffected by smartphones. Demand for luxury goods shapes sales of Leica.

  • Sky

    Seems like Mirrorless came out to be a failed experiment. Perhapis it will remain as niche market IF companies supporting them won’t go bankrupt (a lot depends on Samsung, Olympus and Sony Imaging – all of which currently loose a lot of money), but all these so-called prophets of DSLR doom and “mirrorless future” that both: petapixel and dPreview propagate so loudly – were wrong.

  • Bob

    Reuters is proposing this timeline:

    Compacts are replaced by phones -> mirrorless is next -> all that’s left are phones and high end DSLRs -> high end DSLR market is already an oligopoly, and it will stay that way

    I propose an alternative timeline:

    Compacts are replaced by phones -> bridge cameras and low end DSLRs are slowly replaced by more “connected” high end compacts and mirrorless -> high end mirrorless replace some high-end crop-sensor DSLRs -> DSLR sales become mostly full-frame.

    Result: the market starts at phones (commodities), then “connected” compacts (commodities), then mirrorless (rational competition), and then full-frame DSLRs (oligopoly).

    This makes a lot more sense to me than just “phones and high end DSLRs”… the real world isn’t that simple.

  • TheGloriousEnd

    Really hoping fuji weathers this….not sure what I’d do if they went under =/

  • http://www.richardsnotes.org Richard

    Thank god. My GR is one of my all time fav cameras.

  • Ian W. M.

    Fuji’s business is way bigger than their cameras, same goes for Panasonic, so I doubt it’s a huge problem for them. Nikon for example would collapse without good camera sales, because it’s most of what they do. Fuji in particular expanded their business really successfully.

  • Ian W. M.

    Sony’s camera sales aren’t even that great, they subsidize it heavily with the rest of their sales. Only Canon and Nikon are really reliant on their camera sales.

  • http://www.neuralmarkettrends.com/ Thomas Ott

    The GRD3 is my favorite, but GR is tempting.

  • http://www.richardsnotes.org Richard

    They’re all great but the big sensor in the GR really works well for me and the overall speed of the camera has been improved, which is saying something because the GRD IV which I had before was no slouch.

  • Sterling

    Your scenario makes much more sense because, unlike the article writer, we understand that a D3200 does not equal a D800.

  • Ralph Hightower

    If Fuji folds, that will take out half of the films available. Okay, Fuji announced prices increases for film in 2014. Even though I’d had a DSLR for a few days, my Canon A-1 and F-1N won’t become shelf queens.

  • Karl Meyer

    Smartphone sales are sustained by subsidized contracts so once carriers end the later expect sales of the former slip even faster than compacts.

  • Andy

    2014 will be the year of the mirrorless. Sony, Olympus and Fuji will eat a lot of the DSLR pie with their products. In Europe mirrorless cameras account for more than 30% of the market (this article is misleading in this regard). Americans prefer bigger things. Bigger is better is their mentality. We’re not in the 50s and 60s anymore however. Wake up!

  • Dhaval Panchal

    and Samsung, as they’ll shoehorn android into anything with a screen!

  • AMVR

    This ¨article¨ is utterly misleading and ill-intentioned, I wouldn’t be surprised if this was commissioned directly by Canikony. Some things to consider:

    1. ¨Mirrorless has only really caught on in Japan¨ WRONG, mirrorless has taken a huge piece of the Asia-Pasific market (how many millions of people is that?), it’s not just Japan. Also, Mirrorless represents a large proportion of the European market as well. It’s only in the US that mirrorless hasn’t caught on, this is no surprise as the US market has always been a late-adopter technology-wise (and in this case, the ¨bigger is better¨ mentality is hard to break). Only canikon have enough connections in retail to have store presence, that’s why no one knows about mirrorless.

    2.. Most of the aforementioned companies have pulled out of the compact camera market so there’s no point in projecting for that segment anymore, it’s dead. Also, not a week or so ago it was reported that Olympus and Panasonic are expected to return to profit in the near future, they’re far from dead

    3.Mirrorless, unlike canikon’s tired and lazy DSLRs rehashes, have incorporated more technology to its arsenal since its conception than any of the big two could dream off, it’s not mirrorless that’s out of touch with connectivity and social media, quite the contrary.

    3. This analysis is just ridiculous. Are we supposed to believe that in this two-tier scenario people are just going to be forced into a D4 or 1DX monstrosity or whatever whenever they decide to go a step ahead of their iphone ? life is not black or white. Oh, and sorry, but the Sony QX is just a joke, you either improve current smarphone sensors and even then still settle for mediocre quality, or you go for an actual camera, the QX concept is just silly because when you attach a proper camera to your phone that camera still has to conform to physics and it’s still gonna be as bulky or bulkier than proper compact/mirrorless.

    4. This is a cheap excuse but a valid one still: the economic crisis affected everyone, not just mirrorless manufacturers. Canikon duopoly has had more than a decade to itself to calmy capture the market and consumer minds, mirrorless is a concept no older than 4 years. Also, the term mirrorless applies to a wide variety of cameras, to put them all in the same sack is ignorant to say the least.

    This fear-mongering is really uncalled for and creates a bad mindset for the whole market, for petapixel to report this is really a new low, I’m quite disappointed.

  • Paul Wintruba

    Leica produces a quality camera that has not changed the basics of it’s inner workings since the conception of the M. The people at Leica create a quality camera that is the only quality piece of camera engineering left on the market. It is this, that keeps them in the bags of working photographers. I have a Leica IIIb myself (sitting next to my K 5ii), and it is more reliable than any modern camera gear I have ever seen or used. You have no place to put such an empty headed comment against a great company that has stood next to photographers throughout the ages. There is a reason their cameras hold their value through the years, and modern cameras are worthless after two or three.

  • Sterling

    So the mirrorless market share numbers in the article are correct for the U.S. (10.5%) but are grossly wrong for Europe (11.2%)?

  • sony fan

    Albeit losing money, they are an electronic company, with good products too. The problem for Sony is Samsung offers cheaper products with the same quality.

  • Fed Up with weirdos like you

    I have owned Leica..YOU have no right to Pontificate like this. Leica
    should permanently remove all the Red Dots and affix the Panasonic Name
    once and for all. Leica pshhhh…..Minolta made most of their stuff for
    years..R Lenses….Rangefinder Bodies. Leica cameras are eye candy that
    few people take out of the presentation boxes..they can’t afford the
    risk of getting a scratch…might drop in value 2-3 grand for each
    scratch. I know Leica and their products VERY well…….they are a
    JOKE. I love that picture of you with a 1970′s Mamiya SLR…those were JUNK in those days..i remember. And a Leica 111b was junk also…at least get a 111f. From your FB profile you look like a young child who has very little experience or knowledge.thank you very much

  • Fed Up with weirdos like you

    I have owned Leica..YOU have no right to Pontificate like this. Leica
    should permanently remove all the Red Dots and affix the Panasonic Name
    once and for all. Leica pshhhh…..Minolta made most of their stuff for
    years..R Lenses….Rangefinder Bodies. Leica cameras are eye candy that
    few people take out of the presentation boxes..they can’t afford the
    risk of getting a scratch…might drop in value 2-3 grand for each
    scratch. I know Leica and their products VERY well…….they are a
    JOKE.
    I love that picture of you with a 1970′s Mamiya SLR…those were JUNK
    in those days..i remember. And a Leica 111b was junk also…at least get
    a 111f. From your FB profile you look like a young child who has very
    little experience or knowledge.thank you very much

  • Fed Up with weirdos like you

    you know NOTHING

  • Fed Up with weirdos like you

    no

  • Fed Up with weirdos like you

    well…it’s like this –>

  • Fed Up with weirdos like you

    fair enough

  • Fed Up with weirdos like you

    Paul…you have a 500 year old Leica and have a profile picture showing a 1970′s Mamiya camera and you want to lecture ME about how good Leica is…trust me…I’ve owned Leica longer that you’ve been alive and they are a JOKE

  • Fed Up with weirdos like you

    You sound like a Leica Brochure….what do you you know about Leica? From Minolta to Cosina to Panasonic etc….who do you has made most of their lenses and bodies? Paul..trust me…you are a misplaced fanboy that doesn’t know much

  • Fed Up with weirdos like you

    Leica almost VANISHED from the face of the Earth after they released the POS Leica M8…..omg…what a JuNkeR that was….the M9 saved them FROM EXTINCTION….thanks to the RICH collectors out there.

  • Fed Up with weirdos like you

    Problem with Olympus is that they have been at the center of Corporate Theft and Crime in the recent past…they are a good company …especially in the Medical Arena..but they have some real losers in management.

  • markz

    as a small (in camera market terms company) boutique (’nuff said) brand they probably flew about as under the radar on this report as Lomo.

    Leica exist in a different market to consumer cameras.

  • Paul Wintruba

    You would think with all of your “experience” you would have some more constructive statements to make about my Mamiya NC1000, other than hitting the caps lock. “Experience” obviously hasn’t given you a firm grasp of basic grammar, or a proper timeline of when the cameras you discuss where created. (Either that or I am wrong, and 35mm film predates both the discovery of America, and photography itself). At that, are you also telling me that you don’t have anything better to do on a Monday night than rummage through a college student’s Facebook page? I am a young photographer, and I will admit I don’t know everything about photographic gear, as you apparently do. I am however, here under the pretense that if you can hide behind a smart-alec name, makeing obnoxious/ hateful comments against the Leica brand, I could then defend a brand I enjoy using.

  • markz

    of course the big question is who’s shares release or buy out is this analysis tied to… … my experience business news (20+ years of working in the business/finance education sector) generally you find some “corporate whoring” to vested clients behind many of the so called “financial reports” and “market analysis:

  • fed up with this weirdo

    ??? an off med day today?

  • Jay

    Sony is losing? considering Sony makes all Nikons sensors, I figure they the only ones winning right now…

  • markz

    more only Nikon… Canon are massively diverse both in consumer and industrial (including OEM) products, Nikon have started to diversify in to industrial imaging.

    For many of these companies camera making has a double benefit:

    it is synergistic with their industrial products (medical imaging etc) and R&D in to camera imaging technology is part and parcel of R&D in to industrial imaging products.

    Cameras represent a public face to the industrial technology and drives both direct and indirect sales…. going to an optometrist and seeing a Canon branded machine to test your eyes for glaucoma etc. is reassuring to the public who know Canon as a “trusted brand” rather than some unknown brand

  • markz

    there’s still Ilford/kentmere ;)

    Annoyingly even though the price rise it announced is not supposed to kick in until late March 2014 I notice most of the Japanese, SE asian and Oceanic retail outlets have already increased their shelf prices to match the future price rise, I was hoping to buy a few bricks of Neopan during my next visit to Tokyo but its still cheaper to buy from the US and shipping it back to SE Asia!

  • tonyl

    Ffed up with weirdos like you is a troll. Why allow such a psychopath’s reply’s stay. He is attacking someone repeatedly and personally whilst being anonymous. If this is allowed to stay then this will stop normal people from commenting.

  • gochugogi

    Oly M43 gear is doing well but not the company. If it fails I suspect Sony or some other large company will scoop them up.

  • dannybuoy

    Errr. Of course a highly profitable company is going to disappear… As for your comment about collectors not photographers. I’d say I’ve been more of a photographer since owning a Leica (M9 and now an M) than I ever was with other systems. They make wonderful cameras and hopefully will be around for the end of days proving people like you very wrong

  • Oj0

    Somehow I don’t see Sinar, Hasselblad, Mamiya, etc being wiped out. Unless people are going to start doing product shots with cellphones.