DSLR sales were down in 2016 – but before you put on your “see mirrorless is taking over the world” hat, mirrorless sales were down too (tho they were less down than DSLR sales)!
Yesterday, I was thinking about the new Light L16 I've been telling you about (and have a new site covering this incredible new technology called lightRumors) and they're about to start shipping the first production cameras this Friday, and I've been thinking a lot about the future of cameras. And so when I found this video by Mark over at The Photo/Video Show, it really hit home.
People are buying fewer interchangeable lens cameras (whether you're talking DSLR or Mirrorless) and I know that's no big surprise… it has been happening since 2010.
Everyone knows there are more photos and videos shot on the smartphones than ‘real' cameras – that's been true for a few years now. It is easy because they're in your pocket (or purse) all the time.
But what's really the future? Will Canon/Nikon/Sony/Panasonic and the others survive?
Light's CTO Dr. Rajiv Laroia has made the claim that in 5 years the DSLR won't exist any more (which I think most people would consider a major stretch) – but if you think about the possibilities of computational imaging and the abilities we have with software these days (and it is growing more crazy what you can do in software every day!), then there's a case to be made for Rajiv's beliefs.
People do NOT like carrying around DSLRs and gobs of lenses. Convenience is winning.
Not only that, but smartphone cameras are improving in image quality yearly.
But does that mean image quality is losing? I think this is the exact spot where the Light L16 is going to fit – convenient and great image quality. The happy middle ground between the DSLR/Mirrorless and smartphone camera.
Now in Mark's video about the decline in DSLR sales, he doesn't consider the future of cameras like the Light L16, but I've been swapping emails and he is aware of the Light L16 but that so far, since it hasn't been in anyone's hands yet so everyone is still skeptical.
I think all of these factors mean that we're going to continue to see a downward slide for DSLR and Mirrorless sales.
And maybe the biggest question is what are the camera manufacturers going to do to compensate? Innovate? Or go the way of the dinosaur?
What do you think? Sound off in the comments below!
DSLR Sales Down
In the video, there are some significant notes (mainly from the chart from LensVid)
- Camera sales down 35% in 2016
- DSLR sales down
- Lens sales down 12%
- Mirrorless sales down 4%
Video description from The Photo/Video Show (note the links below are his affiliate links):
Traditional camera sales are in massive decline! Is it's Canon's fault? Is it because of smartphones? Or is it just a massive lack of
📷 My Photo/Video gear: kit.com/PhotoVideoShow
Notes on the future:
So what do all these numbers really mean for the photography industry and to us as photographers? Here are a few points to think about:
- Smartphones killed the compact camera market – from over 100 million compact cameras sold in 2010 we will most likely see under 10 million sold in 2017. Just for reference, in 2016 the global sales of smart phones reached 1.5 billion units, an increase of 5 percent from 2015.
- Mirrorless are not fulfilling their promise – mirrorless are making lots of noise in the photo industry but looking at the numbers they have been more or less stagnant for the past 3 years at around 3 million cameras per year – far from impressive numbers.
- The DSLR market is shrinking – this was to be expected but it is not because of the rise of mirrorless. Why this is happening is probably a combination of reasons – at the entry level some people who might have considered buying a DSLR a few years back just settle for their smartphone camera which is better than ever and will soon improve even further with dual cameras, smart zoom technologies and more advanced features. At the mid to high end segments – there just isn’t enough innovation to justify replacing gear as often as it used to be and on the more positive side – cameras are quite reliable and replacing a working camera for a new one which doesn’t offer significantly more, just doesn’t make sense to many users.
- Cameras are for older people – you can’t see this in the numbers but we clearly see this all around us – aside from the professional segment – dedicated cameras do not interest the younger generation. The people who are still interested in photography are typically around the ages of 40-60 or more – the same people who maybe shot with analog cameras as youngsters and now have the time and money to invest in photography as a hobby – their children and grandchildren are far less interested in cameras and prefer to use their smartphones.
(cover photo credit: snap from the video)