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06-19-2019, 06:36 AM - 1 Like   #1
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Where to leave the masses of ex-mirrorless buyers? phones?

The alleged success of mirrorless cameras is usually claimed with reference to the stagnant or very slowly rising (let us ignore the recent months drop in mirrorless sales for a moment) sales of such equipment, while DSLR sales drop faster.
ok.
Then we also hear references to anecdotal claims where Joe's brother in law sold his DSLR and now makes the same photos with a new mirrorless toy. This aims to support the idea that lots (read: everybody) of former DSLR shooters now switched.
ok.

The question is:
With the total number of mirrorless users pretty much stagnant (remember: ignore the recent fall for now) plus a massive inflow of switchers - this means an equally massive number of prior mirrorless users leave to keep the numbers static.
Now we can not dodge the question by claiming something like "oh they are so happy, they just dont buy new cameras" because the same would apply to the falling DSLR numbers as well - we could spin this into a tale of the DSLRs superiority just because they are so great nobody ever needs another ILC again.

So does anyone have any sources explaining where the ex-mirrorless crowd is going to?
Is it really that smartphones kill the sales of mirrorless cameras in such a huge degree that it counterbalances all the proclaimed DSLR switchers?

What are the main drawbacks of mirrorless cameras that make so many people leave it?

06-19-2019, 07:14 AM   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by beholder3 Quote
Is it really that smartphones kill the sales of mirrorless cameras in such a huge degree that it counterbalances all the proclaimed DSLR switchers?
I was recently on holiday to Bretange in France. I would say that those switchers. ....if they hoped that the mirrorless set was smaller and lighter and more conveniŽnt then their dslr bag.......well they left it at home mostly I think. The thing is that you still have to carry a bag around and no one in your family is helping with that or has the patiŽnts for the waiting on you to take some pictures. And all have their own smartphone. In the past daddy took the pictures for the family album and now the daughters take their own images for Instagram. Overhere starting at age 9 (some 8) they all tend to have a smartphone.
06-19-2019, 08:17 AM - 3 Likes   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by beholder3 Quote
The question is:
With the total number of mirrorless users pretty much stagnant (remember: ignore the recent fall for now) plus a massive inflow of switchers - this means an equally massive number of prior mirrorless users leave to keep the numbers static.
Now we can not dodge the question by claiming something like "oh they are so happy, they just dont buy new cameras" because the same would apply to the falling DSLR numbers as well - we could spin this into a tale of the DSLRs superiority just because they are so great nobody ever needs another ILC again.

So does anyone have any sources explaining where the ex-mirrorless crowd is going to?
Is it really that smartphones kill the sales of mirrorless cameras in such a huge degree that it counterbalances all the proclaimed DSLR switchers?

What are the main drawbacks of mirrorless cameras that make so many people leave it?
I don't see any evidence that there are "masses of ex-mirrorless buyers" And I don't think sales of cameras at this level are significantly impacted by smartphone camera sales.

Both DSLR and mirrorless owners are keeping their existing cameras longer without updating / upgrading, because in most cases their cameras are already very good. Some are switching from DSLR to mirrorless, because it's newer and there are more developments in that area to tempt them - and that probably accounts for a good deal of mirrorless sales right now. But otherwise, mirrorless users are in much the same spot as DSLR folks. It's not that masses of people are leaving mirrorless - it's that they're not replacing their existing gear as quickly.

When the K-3II replacement comes out, I'll be in no mad rush to buy it (I probably will eventually, but only when it has dropped in price significantly - perhaps when it's on close-out, a few years from now). As for my Sony A7 MkII... it's good enough that I don't feel the need to buy the MkIII, no matter how much better it is...

Last edited by BigMackCam; 06-19-2019 at 08:29 AM.
06-19-2019, 08:48 AM   #4
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I'm a die hard Pentax fan, K1, K3, K50. Even when a New body may be released, I don't have any desire to upgrade at this point. There are no new tricks or gadgets, that I would require, YMMV. Only when a body finally fails through age or otherwise would I look for another body. Even in traveling, If I don't want to carry a DSLR, I don't need anything other than my smartphone for my needs.

06-19-2019, 08:49 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by BigMackCam Quote
Both DSLR and mirrorless owners are keeping their existing cameras longer without updating / upgrading, because in most cases their cameras are already very good.
This ^^^^^^^^. Look back 10 years and recall the steep improvement curve of each additional model. There was a real, real world, measurable improvement on each model. Now days we have only minor improvements, often things that really make little or no difference in real world photography.


I think there are three issues with the ILC market:
1) A slowing curve of technical improvements that results in fewer people upgrading, combined with a slower release cycle.


2) The huge growth curve in digital camera sales from film camera users replacing their film gear has now dropped to essentially zero. Which means camera sales are dropping to more historic replacement / growth rates as the huge 'digital bubble' is passed.


3) The availability of cell phone cameras that for most users will produce a better image than what can be obtained with an ILC by an inexperienced, untrained user. You can pick up a cell phone and produce acceptable family snapshots with 2 minutes of practice. You cannot do that with an ILC. Which means many people who would have started with a P&S camera never move up to an ILC beacuse their needs are satisfied.
06-19-2019, 08:54 AM - 2 Likes   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by beholder3 Quote
With the total number of mirrorless users pretty much stagnant (remember: ignore the recent fall for now) plus a massive inflow of switchers - this means an equally massive number of prior mirrorless users leave to keep the numbers static
You're interpreting sales figures to mean ownership figures. Two completely different things.

It's not that the masses are leaving mirrorless, it is that the ILC market as a whole is shrinking fast. The market is shifting to higher priced, higher margin products. As a result people are probably upgrading less frequently.
New generations of users brought up on tablets and phones are satisfied with their phones for photography and are less interested in a 'clunky' ILC's.

What we have is market with an abundance of high-end ILC choices chasing a shrinking and aging group of affluent buyers.
06-19-2019, 11:23 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by RonHendriks1966 Quote
The thing is that you still have to carry a bag around and no one in your family is helping with that or has the patiŽnts for the waiting on you to take some pictures.
Excellent photographs taken in perfect conditions with intensive post processing widely available online kinda kill the deal of carrying a good camera and a tripod to end-up taken photographs under poor lighting, rain etc. Photography end-up being a time consuming activity if you want to rival the best images found online. For example, last year I was for a short while in the dolomite, it is so advertised that even to drive to a car park you have to pay something like 30 euros (free money for the region)... once you are there you have to pay to accommodation which is also not cheap, if the weather is nice you are lucky so that you can manage to take the 10000th photo at a location that everyone has already taken and posted online. Online sharing wasn't possible with film camera , everyone felt that his photo was unique because he wouldn't see how many rolls of film the rest of the world took at the exact same location. The volume of digital photographs posted online kinda kill the deal of carry gear on location to get unique shots. Great photo hot-spots are posted online, so when I get there unfortunately the only way to take photos without having a dozen on tourists in the frame is to wake up at 4 am.... had nothing to do with camera tech. At least if you take a 360 image when there is not tourist around you get something more original than a trillion of 3:2 ratio images of the same place.

Last edited by biz-engineer; 06-19-2019 at 11:30 AM.
06-19-2019, 12:28 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Roadboat24 Quote
Even in traveling, If I don't want to carry a DSLR, I don't need anything other than my smartphone for my needs.
No wildlife or sport photography and not printing more than A4 size is ultimately the death sentence of large sensor cameras. Only a small minority of apsc/ff/mf camera user do prints, the day they realize that they'll all leave the camera at home. ILC camera business currently live on a air cushion that relied only on pixel peeping to stay inflated. In fact, when printing well sized photos and shooting wildlife and sports, the need remains for large sensor cameras that phone won't be able to replace at least for the foreseeable future. Pentax users are particularly vulnerable because only a few make XL prints and also the Pentax user base isn't strong for wildlife/sport photography.


Last edited by biz-engineer; 06-19-2019 at 12:34 PM.
06-19-2019, 02:15 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by jatrax Quote
The availability of cell phone cameras that for most users will produce a better image than what can be obtained with an ILC by an inexperienced, untrained user.
I think that is the key. You can get better images with a DSLR or ILC but it takes a bit of practice. The 'snap and move on' crowd are well served by their smart phones because they can get an image which is 'good' by many measures. They are not really interested in 'best'.
06-19-2019, 10:09 PM   #10
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What he said ^^^^^

Its tempting when you know what your doing to think everyone else is as smart as you. With cameras experienced users assume everyone else can compose a pic, watch out for horizonatl and vertical lines, understand DoF, backlighting etc. Most people cant, they either just cant, lack the artistry or cant be bothered to learn. If it was different no one would ever buy a point and shoot they would all be walking around with top of the range gear. Its not just the money that holds them back its the lack of desire.
Some of this kit has been bought, is being bought as status bling but unused the same as the many pristine film cameras you see on ebay. Bought as a status object, found to be tough (and heavy) to use and consigned to the closet for the duration.

The everage person doesnt want the headache of learning o take good pucs and why should they when their smartphone can take perfectly adequate pics, allow them to photo edit, add affects ( bokeh, HDR, vignette etc ) and then post directly online to Facebook which is actually what they wanted out of the camera.

I know spmeone who a few weeks ago bought a top flight DSLR for the holiday of a lifetime. When they got back I asked how the camera had worked for them and they said ĎOh ! it was so complicated and so heavy I just didnt bother using it after the first two days. I just took pics with my phoneí.

And theres you drop in numbers right there. Outside of phones I would expect the whole dedicated camera market to shrink badly from here on in.

When you add in the high cost of digital, relative fast pace of obsolence or failure a lot of the bling buyers wont be back after their £1k toy breaks or devalues to zero and they find its not been used and theres another downward market strike for you.

Back in the day few people owned SLRs for film. Why was that ? They were complicated and you had to understand photography, you had to have some know how, learn about stuff so most people just bought a Kodak, everyone knew the pics wer better with a 35mm but didnt care. Its the same right now with phones.
06-19-2019, 11:52 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Astro-Baby Quote
I know spmeone who a few weeks ago bought a top flight DSLR for the holiday of a lifetime. When they got back I asked how the camera had worked for them and they said ‘Oh ! it was so complicated and so heavy I just didnt bother using it after the first two days. I just took pics with my phone’.

And theres you drop in numbers right there. Outside of phones I would expect the whole dedicated camera market to shrink badly from here on in.
Yeah, Canon think that within two years the market will bottom out at just professionals and very enthusiastic amateurs at five to six million bodies annually, everyone else will use phones.

That's compared to sixteen million in 2014.

Every company has to try to survive this Ice Age in its own way, Astro-Baby!
06-20-2019, 12:26 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by BigMackCam Quote
I don't see any evidence that there are "masses of ex-mirrorless buyers" And I don't think sales of cameras at this level are significantly impacted by smartphone camera sales.
Well, it depends on the claims that a relevant part of former DSLR users are switching to mirrorless. If that is a lie, then there is no evidence.

If there is some relevant influx of former DSLR customers, then there you have the evidence in numbers.

I totally do not believe any claims that people do not dump expensive cameras for smartphones. While that might be the case for enthusiasts, my experience is that the vast majority of enthusiast cameras is bought by people who are not, but have the funds.
06-20-2019, 12:27 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by beholder3 Quote
The question is:
With the total number of mirrorless users pretty much stagnant (remember: ignore the recent fall for now) plus a massive inflow of switchers - this means an equally massive number of prior mirrorless users leave to keep the numbers static.

So does anyone have any sources explaining where the ex-mirrorless crowd is going to?
I think most of the sale data we are reading include the compact camera and consumer level camera. It is a biggermarket and people in that market likely to move on to the smartphone.

QuoteOriginally posted by beholder3 Quote
What are the main drawbacks of mirrorless cameras that make so many people leave it?
In real life, I have never seen anyone leave the pro / semi-pro level mirrorless for let say Phone or DSLR. I read about it every once in a while about someone move back from mirrorless to DSLR on the internet. But never meet one in real life. (I do small photo tour on the weekend, so I am a kind of meet more photographer than before I started.) Most pro-photographer I meet have both systems Or think of switch entirely to Mirrorless, while the armature is mix depending on where they form. Asia and North America usually mirrorless, Europe usually DSLR. And large percentage of those DSLR user also eyeing mirrorless on the next upgrade.

Take what I say with a grain of salt!
06-20-2019, 02:28 AM   #14
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I wouldn't say that people totally leave ILCs for smartphones, but there are an awful lot of people who now only use ILCs in situations where they think they will benefit them (kid's sporting events, low light situations) and the rest of the time use their cell phones. Certainly when I am out and about I see a lot of people taking photos but very few ILCs. When I do see ILCs they are invariably a couple of generations old SLR. I think Asia is probably different, but the US is still SLR-centric.

I'm not sure what all of this means except that I think the market is going to continue to slow for both SLRs and MILCs, which could be problematic for Canon and Nikon in the midst of launching new mounts and lens systems.
06-20-2019, 02:58 AM - 1 Like   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by Rondec Quote
I wouldn't say that people totally leave ILCs for smartphones, but there are an awful lot of people who now only use ILCs in situations where they think they will benefit them (kid's sporting events, low light situations) and the rest of the time use their cell phones. Certainly when I am out and about I see a lot of people taking photos but very few ILCs. When I do see ILCs they are invariably a couple of generations old SLR. I think Asia is probably different, but the US is still SLR-centric.

I'm not sure what all of this means except that I think the market is going to continue to slow for both SLRs and MILCs, which could be problematic for Canon and Nikon in the midst of launching new mounts and lens systems.
Smartphones have made digital photography accessible for almost everyone, since even the cheaper phones have half-decent cameras these days. And whilst many of us might consider them too limited both in features and image quality, they're "good enough" for lots of folks, and those people probably won't move on to SLR or mirrorless cameras. Then again, phones are even more prolific than compacts were, since even those who have zero interest in photography get a camera with their phone - and some of them will go on to develop an interest, either out of curiosity or so they can contribute to social media within their peer groups. More smartphones and more folks taking photos should, I think, bode quite well for the DSLR and mirrorless market in the medium term - because a minority of phone users will make photography their hobby (perhaps, even, their profession) and will want more than a phone camera can offer. Of course, longer term, we'll still get to a point of almost total saturation...

I wonder if smartphone sales will begin to tail off in the same way interchangeable lens cameras are? Or maybe this is already happening? Certainly, there are members of my family who used to upgrade to each new iPhone, but are now keeping them for longer and missing one or two generations of phone simply because of the cost - and the fact that their existing phones are "good enough"...
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