Why you don't see a lot of MILC cameras in the field

Started May 27, 2013 | Discussions thread
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Marty4650
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Why you don't see a lot of MILC cameras in the field
May 27, 2013

On this forum, and several others, I have frequently seen people posting things like "I have never seen anyone use an OM-D (or any other MILC camera) at the ball park, high school football game, or even when they are on vacation. But I do see a lot of DSLRs being used."

And this seems somehow wrong to the camera enthusiasts who dwell here. Because we spend a lot of time talking about these new MILC cameras. Comparing them. Discussing the reviews, and talking about the ones we own or want to own.

But it really makes sense when you look at the actual number of cameras in use today, and how few of them are MILC cameras, and how even fewer of those are a particular make and model.

To illustrate my point, lets do the math.

Here are the CIPA figures for cameras shipped to dealers last year. Presumably, these cameras will be sold to customers.

These numbers tells us that 98,139,157 digital cameras were shipped last year. Of those, only 20,157,053 were ILCs. or just 20.5% of the cameras sold. Of that number, 3,956,602 were MILC cameras.

This means that MILC cameras represent just 4% of the overall camera market, and around 19.6% of the ILC market. This may sound like a very small number, but just remember four short years ago MILC cameras had 0% of the market, and today they have nearly 20% of the ILC market. No wonder DSLR makers are scurrying to create their own MILC products.

But you still won't see 4% of the people using cameras using a MILC camera. Because these are just sales numbers from one year, and digital cameras are usable for up to ten years. So there are an awful lot of DSLRs out there in the hands of amateur photographers. Going all the way back to the first digital Rebel in 2003.

Since MILC cameras are a relatively recent product, this means that they might be less than 1% of all digital cameras in the hands of amateur photographers. Which is why it is very remote that you will see ANY MILC cameras at the beach, much less a specific high end model like the Olympus OM-D or Sony NEX-7. It is safe to assume that most people don't buy the highest end cameras. After all, when was the last time you saw anyone using a Canon 1Dx at a high school basketball game?

The important number for a camera maker isn't how many of their brand you see being used on cruise ships, but how many they are selling right now. And right now, MILC cameras have captured 20% of the ILC market. And that is a pretty big accomplishment in just four years.

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