Reuters suggests “mirrorless” format facing shakeout

Japan mid-tier camera makers face shakeout as smartphones shatter mirrorless hopes | Reuters.

Reuters seems to have gotten this story half right, and half wrong.  See below for the details.

  • Point and shoot market is mostly dying, replaced by consumers with smart phones
  • Says Canon, Nikon and Sony own 60% of the camera market
  • Panasonic and Olympus, two large promoters of “mirrorless” high end cameras, are said to be suffering in the current camera market shake out. ┬áSony is also a big promoter of mirrorless – the difference is that Panasonic and Olympus use the micro-four thirds sensor format.
  • The mirrorless market is large in Japan but has not had a big success elsewhere (around just 10% of sales in the U.S.)
  • The analysts think consumers want “connectivity” direct from their camera to Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

The Japan Times has a very different spin on this story saying the smart phone is hurting all of the camera makers including Canon and Nikon. And that mirrorless sales grew January through October, Year over Year. The Reuters story points to a drop in sales up through Christmas. Something’s fishy.

Olympus expects to return to profitability in 2014 (they were dealing with an accounting scandal recently). And Canon plans to re-engage the mirrorless market. In other words, the Reuters story seems all mixed up.

I much prefer mirrorless cameras. First, I mostly shoot video and need an electronic viewfinder, and second, since I often shoot 3D, I am carrying not one camera but two or three pairs of cameras. Mirrorless cameras are smaller and lighter, their lenses are smaller and lighter and cost less too.

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