Mirrorless Camera Makers Losing to Smartphones Over Connectivity
December 30, 2013 3:23 PM
Consumers prefer having the convenience of uploading their photos instantly to Facebook or Twitter
Smartphone cameras may not be as sharp as a lot of the digital cameras available, but many consumers still prefer to have connectivity over the best photo -- and this is hurting mid-tier
A new report from
says that Japanese camera makers like Panasonic, Fujifilm and Olympus are losing out when it comes to their mirrorless cameras because consumers prefer having the convenience of uploading their photos instantly to Facebook or Twitter.
Mirrorless cameras, which were introduced around five years ago, were meant to be the middle ground between low-end compacts and high-end single-lens reflex (SLR) cameras. They terminate internal mirrors that optical viewfinders typically use, and allows users to compose images via electronic viewfinders or liquid crystal displays. The end result is a camera smaller than an SLR, but with better quality than compacts or smartphones thanks to larger sensors and interchangeable lenses.
However, Japanese camera makers that depended on this mid-tier haven't seen much of a return.
, for instance, saw a 40 percent drop in overall camera sales from April through September of this year. From July to September, it held 3.1 percent of the camera market -- a drop from 3.8 percent during the same period a year earlier.
Critics argue that LCD screens can never compete with the clarity of an optical viewfinder, which doesn't help the mirrorless camera's cause. While mirrorless looks to be a big deal in Japan, it has failed to catch on in the U.S. and Europe.
Panasonic, Fujifilm and Olympus have pretty much been pushed out of the SLR market, since it's dominated by the likes of Canon and Nikon.
Sony is another strong camera player, since it makes sensors for many camera manufacturers and has its own smartphone division.
Analysts, such as Ben Arnold from NPD, have said that the mirrorless camera makers should ditch their current ideas and instead focus on the detachable lens market and connectivity.
Sony did this with its two QX lenses, which are small, clip onto smartphones, have their own sensors and processors, and are operated wirelessly.
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