Manager says Canon is willing to cannibalize DSLR sales with mirrorless cameras
Scroll through your photo news feeds this morning, and you'll get a lot of "Canon manager confirms: Canon is shifting focus from SLRs to mirrorless" type headlines. But you may want to wait before you grab your hammer and smash that piggy bank in anticipation of new high-end mirrorless option from Canon, because the 'manager' in question confirmed no such thing.
The reports we're seeing are based on a late-February report in Nikkei Asian Review titled, admittedly, "Canon shifts focus from SLR to mirrorless cameras." The article was written the day after Canon released the M50 mirrorless camera, and in it, Nikkei quotes the president of Canon Marketing Japan, Masahiro Sakata, who identified mirrorless as a 'growth market' that Canon needed to invest in:
[Canon must] actively roll out products for a growth market even if there is some cannibalization.
Needless to say, this is not the same as confirming that "Canon is shifting focus from SLR to mirrorless cameras."
The quote is still intriguing, however, especially in the light of recent shipment and sales numbers out of Japan. Quoting last year's CIPA numbers, Nikkei points out that the Japanese market for interchangeable lens cameras dropped by 10% while mirrorless increased by just over 29%.
Over the years, the generally accepted narrative has been that Canon doesn't want to invest in mirrorless because it will cannibalize its SLR sales. Sakata's statement indicates that those days are over—Canon has noticed the industry trends, and is willing to "actively roll out" mirrorless cameras even if it means eating into sales of its affordable DSLRs.
|Canon wants to be more active in the mirrorless space, but that doesn't necessarily mean 'high-end' mirrorless like the full-frame Sony a7 III|
When it comes to high-end mirrorless, however, Sakata was much more reserved. He tells Nikkei that Canon will "look at the timing and consider [releasing a high-end mirrorless cameras]," which makes it seem like Canon's immediate mirrorless future might look more like the M50 than Sony's a7 line.
Of course, only time will tell, and rumor sites are still speculating that Canon (and Nikon) will both debut full-frame mirrorless offerings at Photokina 2018. We just wouldn't take these sparse quotes from Masahiro Sakata as "confirmation" that this will, in fact, happen.
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