Smartphones keep twisting the knife on camera sales

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camera sales
iPhone photography is still incredibly good.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

When the CEO of one of the biggest brands in cameras said his company was in a losing battle against smartphones, he was dismissed by some of his contemporaries who insisted on a brighter future.

Canon CEO Fujio Mitarai today probably wishes he was wrong.

A new report by Japan’s Camera & Imaging Products Association (CIPA), shows camera sales for February dropping by 35 percent compared to the second month of 2018.

The report also showed a sharp decline in the interchangeable lens camera market over a three-year period.

The report is alarming to some analysts because sales slid as Canon and Nikon introduced new professional-grade mirrorless cameras and lenses.

camera sales
Orange is the new red.
Graph: CIPA

Shipments for interchangeable lens cameras in February 2017 hit 843,217. This past February, that figure was at 521,217.

In January, Mitarai predicted the market would shrink by almost 50 percent over the next two years.

“People usually shoot with smartphones,” Mitarai said in an interview with Nikkei. “The digital camera market will keep falling for about two years. In our company, cameras have declined at around 10 percent a year in the past few years. Professional and amateurs use about 5 to 6 million units. Finally, the market will hit the bottom.”

While Canon continues to cater to professional photographers, Mitarai said his company would shift focus to corporate customers in fields like surveillance and medical care.

Meanwhile, smartphone cameras, a revolution that began with the iPhone in 2007, keep getting better and better. The latest iPhones have great cameras but now competitors like Huawei and Samsung, have arguably raised the bar even higher than Apple.

Recently, Huawei introduced the P30 Pro, a low-light shooting overachiever with an unheard of light sensitivity ISO rating of 409,600.

Source: DP Review