Mirrorless Camera Market Share 2012/2011

In this article I want you to take a look at the Mirrorless vs DSLR market share for 2011 and early 2012. Understand the growth of this market. If you are still debating whether to purchase a DSLR or MIrrorless (ILC) camera, I can understand it. I must admit that I’ve decided to purchase a DSLR over Compact System Camera due to better high ISO performance and lens selection, However, since then many news models have been introduced to the market, including a wide range of lenses.
If we look at the top 20 selling DSLR + Mirrorless cameras for May 2011 in Japan, we can  clearly see that  out of the 20, eight of them are mirrorless cameras. The Nikon D3100 is at the top of the list, and the Panasonic Lumix GF2 is the top selling mirrorless camera in the forth position.

Top 20 selling digital SLR and mirrorless cameras in Japan 2011, chart
Top Selling Interchangeable Lens cameras - Japan 2011 (source BCN)

Mirrorless cameras certainly gains more market share in Japan than other Western countries. According to CIPA the demand for mirrorless cameras continues to grow rapidly.

Here’s a summary of that data: (first couple = July/September 2011, second = October/December 2011)

[table id=13 /]

You can clearly see that from the market share table above, mirrorless camera market share is growing rapidly. You just can’t argue with facts – Mirrorless cameras will eventually rule the interchangeable lens camera’s market, and it will happen sooner than we might expect.

According to CIPA and for July 1st until December 31st 2011, Mirrorless camera shipments are almost in par with DSLR shipments to Japan. In Japan Mirrorless camera’s shipments are 46.10% of the total amount of interchangeable lens cameras shipment. More in the following chart.

Mirrorless camera shipments in H2 2011, chart
Mirrorless camera shipments in H2 2011

The next chart from BCN shows the unit share of Interchangeable Lens cameras by manufacturer in Japan over the years, starting from January 2008 up to  July 2011.


Unit share of DSLR by manufacturer Japan (BCN chart)
Unit share of DSLR by manufacturer Japan (Source: BCN)

The above chart certainly gives us a good bird-view about what’s happening in the interchangeable lens camera market in Japan. Nikon and Canon are start losing their strong hold in Japan for Panasonic, Sony and Olympus.  With excellent products like the Olympus OM-D E-M5, I will not be surprised if Olympus will get further apart from the competition.

Every company must make its move into the Mirrorless market and fast. Innovation is the key to success, but timing is also very important too.

Nikon has released the Nikon 1 J1 and V1 mirrorless cameras, small sensor ILC camera, which I personally think that it was a mistake. The Micro Four Thirds is a very good balance between size and performance, and considering the ever growing lens availability, it’s a great system to jump into. Pentax went with the Pentax Q, which again, I think it was a big mistake. After that Pentax has released the K-01 K-mount cameras with APS-C size sensors, which the sensor is much larger than the tiny one on the Pentax Q.

Sony has proven that its NEX cameras are very capable ones. NEX cameras have been praised for the image quality (ASP-C sensors), but were criticized for having small bodies but large lenses (due to the large sensor). The ability to succeed in this business is understanding the market needs and design a camera that answer the basic needs of this market, a compact camera that can take DSLR-like quality photos. Pack this camera with great features and some gimmicky ones, and you get a winning formula. Having said that, Sony has lost market share from 32.2% in 2011 to 27.3% in 2012. That’s kind of hard to understand because it launched the Sony NEX-5N and NEX-7 in the 4Q of 2011.

Canon, what about Canon?! – We are still waiting for Canon to make up its mind, but some patent pending document lead many to assume that a Canon mirrorless camera in on its way. If Canon will release a new mirrorless camera, it will certainly attract a lot of attention from the media, abut without an advanced product, it will have hard time gaining that market share. The competition is very stiff, and Canon really need to come up with a camera that will outperform the current mirrorless models. I just hope that Canon won’t put out an APS-C sensor camera, but a new mount and smaller sensor, which can allow Canon to create smaller camera bodies and lenses. Let’s not forget that it’s not just the camera that has to be small, but the lenses as well. If not, many will prefer the competition offering or just jump to a DSLR camera instead.The camera Size is very important decision-making factor in this market.

Panasonic has proven to among the leading competitors. When it comes to technology innovation, video and image quality and camera performance, all of us anxiously waiting to see what Panasonic will come up with next.   Panasonic lost 9% of its global mirrorless market share from 2011 to 2012, while Olympus has strengthen it’s positioning from 29.1% market share in 2011 to 36.6% in 2012.

Olympus is certainly in a very strong position and it can be proud with its products and how t can handle the competition. Olympus was always my favorite companies when it comes to technology innovation (some great minds in this company), and it proves every time that it’s worth waiting for their product to emerge, and people do wait.

As you can see, the Mirrorless market will continue to rapidly grow and evolve and their is only wait to stay in this business, join the trend and blend or vanish. The Mirrorless market is very exciting, much more exciting than the DSLR market in my opinion. We are leaving in very interesting times, where digital photography evolution is happening right in front of our eyes.