Why DX mirrorless will replace FX DSLR (for most photographers)

Started Nov 3, 2013 | Discussions thread
OP WD Contributing Member • Posts: 520
Re: Why a Mirrorless Future is Still Far Off
2

stuntmonkey wrote:

One of the things about forecasting trends is that you can't describe *what* will be happening without also mentioning *who* will be doing it.

I'll buy that, except "who" sets the trend in technology is sometimes a surprise,  but when it comes to "who" is setting the trend in the market, it's always the buyer.  The company who produces a product that lights a fire of desire can start a trend.  Who introduced video to DSLRs?  Has it become a trend?  Has any mfr seen fit to introduce a DSLR without video?  (OK, the rumored Nikon DF may be the one.  We'll see how that goes.)

For a couple of years now we've been hearing that mirrorless will cannibalize DSLR's, and given the march of technology that will probably be true. But....
Let's ballpark the market shares: (I'm thinking revenue here, but you can make a mental adjustment to units with some reasonable guessing)
Canon 40%
Nikon 35%
Sony 15%
Others 10%
See the problem? Olympus and Panasonic haven't made any headway all these years, and aren't profitable. Fuji appeals to enthusiasts but hasn't reached the fat middle of the market. Sony has the most long-term potential but is currently dwarfed by Canon and Nikon and has a way to go to match either'sa support infrastructure.
In other words, 75% of the market is invested in selling DSLR's, not mirrorless. Neither of these two companies have made any serious moves (Nikon 1 or EOS M) towards turning their DSLR customers into mirrorless customers. For all of the potential that Sony has, even if they doubled their market share, they would still only have half as much share as the big two... notwithstanding the challenge that sudden surges in sales has on servicing and support.

You're correct about the recent past and the status today.  But, we're looking forward here.  The gains in technology have been quite rapid, actually, over the past two years.  Nikon has shown the ability of on-sensor PD for focus speed and accuracy; Canon's version is biased toward improved CD focusing (for now) which coincides with their lead in DSLR video; Oly's newest sensor shows quality which arguably is "good enough" for almost any purpose even when compared to the best FX of a few years ago; many feel Panasonic's GH3 leads the whole lot for marrying video and still in one camera; and now Sony is innovating like mad, even testing the FX water with the new A7r.

But, as you state, the Big Two haven't made their move.  Or have they?  Nikon has certainly made the move to push FX to the limit.  And, why not?  They have the base; they have legacy lenses; they have a little time left to make some profitable sales before the bottom falls out.  Perfect business sense, wouldn't you say?

Would it be good sense for them to NOT be researching, even designing, a competitor to the ever improving mirrorless models coming from other companies?  They better be!

That's the supply side of the equation. The demand side is that people want smaller and lighter, are aware of the benefits and know that the trade off isn't as great as it used to be. However, demand isn't enough to change the direction of a company unless there is an impetus to do so. Right now, switching DX to a hypothetical mDX for Nikon means abandoning the sunk costs of selling a DSLR's, they're not going to willingly harm that revenue stream unless the switch is financially greater or because of pressure from competition... which is not that strong at the moment.

I agree with your demand side statement: "...people want smaller and lighter, are aware of the benefits and know that the trade off isn't as great as it used to be."  That's a trend which has slowly increased as m4/3 has grown.  Even Canon has addressed it with a tinier DSLR.

We also agree, it's not quite time for Nikon to change direction...yet.  But, when does a company do research and design for a very potential change in product trend?  In Nikon's case, they've been working on mirrorless for 6 years!  Four to bring out the Nikon 1 system plus 2 years since it was released.  I don't think they've been treading water.  Just waiting for the right time.

Again, in my opinion, were Nikon to introduce a complete system ala Nikon 1 in the DX format; with 4 or 5 dedicated lenses; 4k 60P HD video; 24mpx sensor; compatible with their established flash system and accessories; superior focus speed and tracking; EVF equal to Oly EM-1; and SOLD it with great marketing, they could kickstart a trend that would carry them to the top of the ladder.

Apple's stock went ballistic after the iPad and iPhone were released.  A mirrorless V-DX could do the same for Nikon.

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Warren

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