Mirrorless Opportunities for Sony, Panasonic as Canon and Nikon Hang on to Mirror Cameras.
Update: as of Sep 21, Nikon has Jumped into the Mirrorless market
Canon and Nikon two one of the world’s largest high-end cameras manufactures, may be losing out on the biggest technology change since film rolls went out of style.
The two companies based in Tokyo continue uses mirrors in all their interchangeable lens cameras, a technique Sony is moving away from. Resulting in, the combined Canon and Nikon Japanese market share dropping by 35 percent, meanwhile the Sony share of the market has doubled, in a report released by research firm BCN.
Additionally Panasonic and Sony are leaving the mirrors out to diminish the size and reduce the cost of their cameras, while Japanese consumers are among the earliest to switch. Canon and Nikon, are under the gun from smart phones at the bottom-end market, may now further cut into their $6.5 billion lead in camera business due to mirrorless cameras being lighter and take pictures good enough for the majority of photographers, analysts said.
Tokyo-based analyst for MF Global FXA Securities Ltd, David Rubenstein, said, "Mirrorless cameras have become a threat," He's changed his ratings on both Canon and Nikon market shares to "neutral". "and If the western regions follow in the same Asia pattern, then it will turn all negative for Canon and Nikon."
For traditional high-end cameras called single-lens-reflex (SLR) cameras, mirrors let photographers frame looking into an optical viewfinder in place of the liquid-crystal display (LCD). Compared to an LCD, a viewfinder lets photographers see a more realistic representation of the photos they compose, avoid lag time between shots and extend battery life.
Panasonic initially introduced mirrorless SLRs in 2008.. Their electronic image sensors send the image data straight to the LCD monitor. That allows camera manufactures like Panasonic and Sony and to forego mirrors, the optical viewfinder and prisms.
Ryosuke Katsura, research analyst for Securities Equity Research wrote, :This technology could possibly be the largest "shift of paradigm" in the DSLR industry in sixty years
For instance, The new Hoya Pentax Q weighs in at 200 grams while body dimensions are less than an Apple iPhone 4. In comparison, the Canon’s EOS Rebel T3 entry level camera weighs in at 495 grams.
Freelance photographer, Kumio Yamada says, "It’s like comparing an automatic and manual car transmission. "There is a conflict going on between accepted camera manufactures and consumer electronics manufactures. As dedicated camera makers, Canon and Nikon should better demonstrate the advantages of their cameras or they're in for difficult time."
During the late 1950s, Canon and Nikon started manufacturing SLR cameras, they are beginning to lose their advantage in Japan, which is home to five of the world’s largest DSLR cameras makers . Accounting for 40.4 percent of all SLR camera sales in Japan in July, were mirrorless cameras which surged from a mere 5 percent early in 2009, in a BCN report.
Globally, mirrorless cameras sales surged five times to 2.2 million units during 2010, while their portion of the entire SLR market may rise as high as 23 percent during 2011 up from 16 percent, estimates Macquarie Group Ltd..
Japan’s largest consumer electronics exporter, Sony, said last month their industry shipments will reach perhaps 13 million worldwide within three years. The NEX series which was announced last year helped in increasing Sony’s share of the worldwide SLR camera market to around 15 percent during their year ending March 31, up from from 10 percent the previous year, said a Tokyo-based Sony spokesman, Hirofumi Otsuru,.
Sony is releasing the NEX-5N this coming week, while Samsung in South Korea plans to start selling of its NX200 the following month. Panasonic announced the G3 in July while Olympus started shipping the PEN E-PL3 the previous week. Meanwhile, Fujifilm a company that only offers compact cameras, said it’s thinking about developing a mirrorless SLR camera.
Nikon has completed the development of it's next-generation imaging device and deciding when it will announce the camera, a Tokyo-based Nikon spokeswoman, Sayaka Suzuki said, She did not volunteer whether Nikon will be introducing a mirrorless version. Mirrorless cameras have not caught on in countries other than Japan, permitting Canon to hang to it's estimated 45 percent global SLR camera market share. Nikon's SLR market share is around 30 percent, in an IDC report.
These new camera types are not as popular in the U.S. and Europe since "the big camera manufactures still haven’t gotten in the game" while "the amount of products is not yet large enough to draw consumers," said, president of the Sony sound and imaging business group, Ichiro Takagi, she said "A brand new market is in the making."
Mirrors Still Significant
Mirrors are still big money. Canon made $1.5 billion (114.8 billion yen) in profits with sales of 5.9 million conventional SLR cameras last year, over four times the profits made from compact camera sales, in a Nomura Holdings Inc. estimates report last month. Nikon earned more profits from SLRs and lens sales their last fiscal year, more than any other product, reported Nomura.
"We recognize the significance of making smaller and lighter SLRs to increase the market," Takafumi Hongo said, a Tokyo- based Canon spokesman. "We plan to persist in concentrating on this issue using or not using mirrors."
Canon, which builds EOS cameras, predicts sales of SLR camera will increase 24 percent during this year, assisting in making up for the production loss from the factory interruption caused by the March 11 Japan earthquake and resulting tsunami. SLR sales made up 65 percent of the entire Canon camera profits last year, stated the company back in February.
The Canon and Nikon reliance on SLR sales may increase while compact cameras sales, whose sales leap-frogged 10-fold during the past decade, come face to face with mobile-phone camera competition. Sales will most likely start shrinking in 2014, indicated by predictions from IHS iSuppli a research firm.
"Nikon and Canon will both need to get in the market in the long range," said Tokyo-based analyst Hideki Yasuda, at Toyoko Ace Securities Co. . "Although, it will not be too delayed for them to get in the market subsequent to mirrorless cameras becoming a global trend."