Entry level market

Started Apr 23, 2010 | Discussions thread
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DWEverett
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Entry level market
Apr 23, 2010

Zepzr has a current post discussing the possibility of NEF becoming the new entry level option for Sony.

http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/read.asp?forum=1037&message=35133608

It brought me back to something I've been thinking about and rather than hijack that thread I thought I'd post it separately.

I think there are at least 3 different groups that buy entry level SLRs.

1) Enthusiasts who want a second cheaper (often smaller) body

2) P&S users who have developed an interest in photography and are outgrowing their current camera, want more control etc.

3) People who aren't particularly interested in photography as a artistic hobby and just want better pictures in better pictures of junior in his (or her) various activities. e.g., the "soccer mom" looking for a camera that is fully automatic but takes the picture when the button gets pushed, not a second later after junior's left the scene.

These aren't mutually exclusive, I'm something of a cross between #2 and 3 (soccer dad in my case)

I have no data to support the sizing of any of the three submarkets. My guess is that the smallest by far is #1 -- which may very well be limited to readers of this forum. Two vs three is harder. From my vantage -- as a parent of 5 kids living in the US -- #3 seems to be the largest segment. We all tend to look at the people around us (who tend to be just like us) and assume the rest of the world looks like that so I don't know how accurate my assessment is. I can say it's a very large segment.

Back to Zepzr's original question of whether the small mirrorless camera should become the entry level offering. For a decent portion of subsegment 3 it definitely could. That group is generally looking for simplicity and wouldn't have a problem using the LCD. For subsegment 2, it might work as a transition level for the user but they'd want the manual controls that I suspect the initial sony offerings won't have. Also, it would be an individual choice as to which was more important, size or cost. My guess is that many would go with stick with the SLR if it was cheaper (and for a while, that's my expectation)

First subsegment would probably want both the backup slr and a nice more compact camera. To some of the earlier points, a CZ 135 on a small mirrorless camera isn't exactly going to be compact. I think most folks here would still need an SLR if they wanted a second camera to use their existing lenses but might be interested in having one of these as well for travel etc.

I think that these mirrorless cameras are going to take a big bite out of the market for entry level SLRs -- assuming they are selling in the same $500-700 price range. I think there IS an enthusiast market for the $1200 EVIL camera but it's not huge and wouldn't be the first place I'd target an offering.

Thoughts?

I will say that the view of sizing above could be very different if one were to focus on $$ spent or profit for Sony. The lifetime value of a user in the second population is likely to be multiples of a user in the third.

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