Last Updated on 06/07/2018 by Mark Beckenbach
The latest CIPA shipment report reveals why camera manufacturers need to put more tech into their cameras
The worldwide shipment report from January to April 2018 released by the Camera & Imaging Products Association (CIPA) revealed some good and bad news. Overall, camera shipments are down compared to last year, but system camera sales were up from 2017 and 2016. According to Mirrorless Rumors, this is mainly because mirrorless system cameras saw some increased sales, with a 24% increase in numbers compared to the same month last year. This also reflects the value of mirrorless cameras going up by 40%.
For many of us, this isn’t surprising at all. There will always be photographers who will stick to their trusty DSLRs, given that they’ve invested a lot into their system of choice and have already mastered it. Still, it hasn’t stopped others from switching to mirrorless cameras and believing it’s the future. In Japan alone, mirrorless systems have been outselling DSLRs since 2011. CIPA has also reported that global sales of mirrorless cameras were on the rise back in 2014.
What is this recent CIPA report telling the camera companies? We can say that they should begin stepping up their game and developing more or better tech with their cameras. It can be challenging to pinpoint how exactly they should do that, as most cameras today are already very advanced. But if we look at the flow of trends in the last decade or so, camera buyers were mostly won over by mirrorless cameras because of the tech innovation. A compact camera that rivals — if not surpasses — the image quality, usability, and flexibility of DSLRs was something groundbreaking when it first came out. If camera companies could develop a tech with the same effect for their cameras — whether DSLRs or mirrorless cameras — we might see camera sales go up in the coming years.
Otherwise, the non-buyers might just stick with their smartphone cameras, which, in a sense, have long been tugging away consumers from the camera market. Sure, camera technologies are still constantly getting upgrades, yet we can’t discount the fact that smartphone cameras have always had lots of room for improvement: that’s what smartphone manufacturers have been tapping into. As a result, many consider smartphone cameras good enough for simple daily snapshots and social media posts — stuff that used to be consigned to digital point-and-shoot cameras. Smartphones have largely killed off the market for digital point-and-shoots with every significant upgrade of mobile camera technology. That’s something that actual camera manufacturers could possibly learn from.