Why Sigma Does not Make for m43

Started Jan 10, 2014 | Discussions thread
AndyGM Contributing Member • Posts: 698
Re: Why Sigma Does not Make for m43

Erik Magnuson wrote:

s_grins wrote:

3 years as a fair time span relates to M43 only.

The issue was the size of the lens market for Canon+Nikon vs. M43 lenses. If M43 sales were effectively zero for yrs 4 & 5, that only makes the Canon+Nikon market relatively bigger. I'm certain someone at Sigma has the job to estimate the actual market size (cumulative sales minus "people who never buy another lens" minus "people with multiple bodies" minus "dead or shelfware bodies", etc.) and compare this with actual Sigma sales, but almost any way you slice it M43 will be a relatively small market.

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Absolutely right.

The most recent estimate for 2013 worldwide sales I have seen are 17 million DSLRs and 4 million CSCs. The DSLR market was tiny until the consumer models came along in 2004, and then it took off, so you can say that it's ramped up from near nothing to 17 million in 10 years. I'm sure there are EOS 300Ds still in use today. 5 years ago, there was one, just one, CSC on the market, so again you could say that they have ramped up from near nothing to 4 million in 5 years.

So a rough estimate of total DSLRs and CSC sold, ever (and this is not taking into account "shelfware bodies", great phrase btw), would be 85 million DSLRs and 10 million CSCs.

With Canikons 65% market share, that's 55 million cameras. With m43s 50% market share, that's 5 million cameras. Lets round down to a nice simple factor of ten difference. So Sigma designs two lenses, a DSLR lens, and a m43 lens, lets say that 18-200mm superzoom they just announced and an m43 14-150mm. If they both sold for the same price, Sigma are going to sell 10 times as many of the DSLR lens. But they wouldn't sell both for the same price, because that's 10 times as many DSLR sales to spread the research, the design and the capital cost of the tooling across. If that came to 5% of the cost of each DSLR lens, the m43 lens would have to cost 45% more just to cover the initial investment, and still would only give a tenth of the profit!

The DSLR market is so attractive to Sigma, Tokina and Tamron because it is so large and therefore so lucrative. Sigma have already said they will not make lenses designed for m43 only, they just cannot afford to - they need their CSC lenses to sell to pretty much everyone who has got a CSC and might consider taking the kit lens off once in a while, just to justify the investment of the new designs. We only got the 3 lenses they've made so far because they were easy modifications of the CDAF optimised, fixed lens of the DP3 Merrill cameras, which they were designing anyway.

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