Mirrorless Marketshare

Olympus OM-D EM1 with 12-40mm lens

Yesterday I wrote a piece about the many glowing reviews that the Fuji X-T1 has received now that it has been out for a couple of weeks. Not only has Fuji had excellent reviews but so has Sony with their A7/A7R cameras and Olympus with their OMD-EM1 camera they are all very good cameras – not many people will disagree on this. If they are so good then why are they not selling in greater numbers? Why hasn’t the death of the DSLR happened yet? I keep reading horror stories about how all of the companies (Olympus, Panasonic, Fuji and Sony particularly) are all loosing money and could (notice the italics there) cease to make them and leave the market.

I have already posted my thoughts on this many months ago, I pointed out the flaw in these cameras – they are all too damned expensive!

To illustrate this lets look at some prices (all taken from WEX Photographic):

  • Fuji X-T1 body: £1049 (includes £250 off XF18-135mm f3.5-5.6 R OIS WR lens when released)
  • Fuji X-T1 and 18-55mm lens: £1399 (includes £250 off XF18-135mm f3.5-5.6 R OIS WR lens when released)
  • Sony A7 body: £1235
  • Sony A7 body and 28-70mm lens: £1489
  • Sony A7R body: £1669
  • Olympus OM-D E-M1 body: £1299 (includes £100 cash-back on Olympus accessory of £200 or greater)
  • Olympus OM-D E-M1 and 12-40mm lens: £1949 (includes £100 cash-back on Olympus accessory of £200 or greater)
  • Nikon D3300 body: £500
  • Nikon D3300 and 18-55 VRII lens: £600
  • Nikon D5300 body: £670 (£610 after cash-back)
  • Nikon D5300 and 18-55 VRII lens: £700 (£639 after cash-back
  • Nikon D7100 body: £839 (£739 after cash-back)
  • Nikon D7100 and 18-105 VR lens: £979 (£879 after cash-back)
  • Canon EOS 700D body: £489
  • Canon EOS 700D and 18-55 IS STM lens: 598
  • Canon EOS 70D body: £858
  • Canon EOS 70D and 18-55 IS STM lens: £968

NOTE: The cash-backs and offers above are correct at time of publication and could differ and change in the future.

Can you see the problem? All of the top premium Mirror-less cameras are much more than the current mainstream D-SLR’s on the market today. You may say that the above comparisons aren’t fair but only the top mirror-less cameras can compete in the same performance area that the above D-SLR’s already work in. It is also fair to say that the Sony A7 cameras are still the cheapest way into 35mm full-frame photography (Canon EOS 6D is £1379 and the much better Nikon D610 is £1399), but they are only slightly cheaper and having nothing like the killer lens selection that Nikon and Canon has.

All of the mirror-less cameras above are more than £1000 without a lens, the D-SLR’s area cheaper with lenses. Arguably the lenses that the mirror-less cameras ship with are much better (in the case of Fuji and Olympus anyway) although Canon’s latest STM lenses are very good.

So who cares that the mirror-less cameras are more expensive but are more portable, lighter have better live-view AF, etc? Unfortunately your average person who wants to step up from their compact or bridge cameras (and more commonly their smart phone) don’t care about these things. They want a D-SLR because that is what a “proper photographer uses”; this may be their view, equally it could be the view of their photographer friend or family member or it could be the shop. So would they a)buy what they thinks is best for them and save some money or b)they buy something that is probably better suited to them but costs more (it will probably act more like their phone/compact camera too). You guessed it, I suspect that 99.9% time they choose option a), after all the money saved can be invested into better glass.

I have suspected that this has been the situation for some time and until the cheaper mirror-less cameras have the same performance as the cheaper DSLRs we are always going to find this situation. I really like Sound Image Blog’s post about this here, I think that he illustrates the point very well..