If you sniff the winds of change, it is likely that you are detecting that camera sales are changing in all categories much faster than we anticipated just a short time back.
If we look at the SLR category, it is unlikely that there’ll be oblivion or anything like it in the near future, however there is an unmistakable feeling that we on the edge of radical change over the next couple of years that we can barely comprehend at this point in the cycle.
Driving these changes will be many things. For example, an ageing population demanding
lighter equipment, particularly for travel; pros who are sick of lugging 15KG of equipment
costing a small fortune, for an ever-diminishing return on pro work; the female customers
who hate heavy gear, too much lens changing, and big bags (now 50 percent of DSLR buyers); smaller budgets in a worldwide changing demographic which amounts to less money around (even for governments); a hunger for innovative new designs, particularly from the younger generation; the need or desire for less complexity, and so forth.
Leading this change, may be cameras like the new Panasonic GH3 – a highly engineered
lightweight mirrorless design capable of eye-popping professional results. You can be certain this is one camera that everyone will be watching closely, particularly Nikon and Canon, who are far behind in this new era in the camera design development cycle and simply can’t afford to be.
All of the majors missed the astounding action cam success story driven by GoPro, and lost out on hundreds of millions of dollars, while they watched over diminishing sales of conventional camcorders to where it is now almost a dead category.
The next two to five years will certainly lead to amazing changes and the right moves on this big game of chess will be essential for ongoing success.
– Reader contribution
COMMENT: I wasn’t aware of the high regard in which the GH3 is universally held until I followed up on the contribution above. Maybe Panasonic needs to look at its marketing communications…Check out the award list here.
Both Nikon and Canon’s contributions so far to the mirrorless category seem to be carefully avoiding looking like DSLRs, while the cameras which really turn the heads of consumers, such as the Olympus OM-D and the Panasonic GH3, benefit in appeal and possibly performance by following that familiar form factor. Canon and Nikon are tying themselves in knots trying to invent new categories of customers rather than accept the uncomfortable fact that to be more successful in mirrorless cameras they need to deliver real alternatives to the market they dominate – DSLRs. Shades of Kodak and digital…