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What would it take for mirrorless to gain larger market share?

Discussion in 'Open Discussion' started by With_Eyes_Unclouded, Feb 6, 2013.

  1. With_Eyes_Unclouded

    With_Eyes_Unclouded Mu-43 All-Pro

    Apr 17, 2012
    Following up from Thom Hogan's article below:

    Why CP+ Was So Grim | Sans Mirror — mirrorless, interchangeable lens cameras | Thom Hogan

    I'd like to isolate this segment:

    Do you agree that the main problem facing :43: in particular and MILCs in general is the marketing strategy? Or is it more product positioning and focus?

    For example, I'd be waiting by now a larger proportion of the entry-level DSLR market being claimed by some :43: cameras. I have the Panasonic G-series in mind in this example. Also for those upgrading from P&S and camera phones there is a significant number of mirrorless system cameras to cover their needs. I'm admin in a Facebook page dealing with photography technical matters and I still see most people having the belief that the main upgrade path after P&S or bridge cameras is a DSLR.

    I think product-wise :43: is currently well positioned to cover a wide variety of needs and markets: from P&S converts to mid-level enthusiasts to semi-pro or even a number of pro photographers (not to mention videographers). So is it mainly market inertia and huge market presense and resources by Canonikon? Or there's something else that can be done to practically bring MILC in the hands of more photographers?
  2. veereshai

    veereshai Mu-43 Top Veteran

    May 12, 2011
    Arlington, VA
    To me, the main problem facing micro four thirds and MILC is the lack of awareness. So, I think marketing strategy is partly responsible for that. A lot of DSLR users are biased, especially towards micro four thirds. Majority of them own an APS-C DSLR, which gives them a right to look down upon on any camera that has a smaller sensor than APS-C.

    The most common scenario that I see is a photographer using a Point and Shoot camera wishing to upgrade goes to a photographer using a DSLR for advice. And more often than not, they get the "safest bet" advice. They're told that DSLR is the best bet and how IQ is so much more better than P&S. And, when asked about mirrorless, most people will simply say, it's a P&S camera and cannot make as good photographs as a DSLR. And, from what I have seen, 90% of these guys have never used a mirrorless camera. So, DSLR looks to be the obvious upgrade path for a compact camera user.

    Another reason why most compact camera users upgrade to a DSLR is because they think big is better. I have personally asked 10-15 photographers to upgrade to a MILC, but 80% of them chose a DSLR because it was somehow associated with the way they felt in their group :rolleyes: . And after 2-3 months, they come back asking me which compact camera they should buy because they find a DSLR too heavy to carry everywhere.

    Unless, this perception changes, I doubt we'll see sales increasing for MILCs. I think one way would be for these companies to get more brand ambassadors (photographers and celebrities) to market their cameras. Tom Brady uses a GF1, get him to do a commercial for Panasonic and I am sure the sales will go up :biggrin:.
  3. Jonathan F/2

    Jonathan F/2 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 10, 2011
    Los Angeles, USA
    Panasonic just needs to simplify their line. They need to update less, but make significant improvements. Streamline their line and really start producing cameras users are asking for. All cameras should already get the 16mp sensor. I think the GF & GX line should be combined. Add an articulate screen and the option to use the LVF2. They can remove the mode dial to make it more entry level friendly. The G line should really be reexamined and perhaps changed to the rangefinder body style with integrated EVF. The GH line is fine as is.

    They should really aim to make a camera worth talking about. I think The G line can be that camera if they do change the body style.

    Also like previously mentioned, they really need to hype up the cross-brand compatibility of Micro Four-Thirds. Neither Olympus, nor Panasonic even have to hype up the competitor, they just need to say they're the biggest mirrorless camera consortium with a universal mount, shared amongst major camera manufacturers!

    Marketing-wise, they can just go gorilla style, hit up bloggers, camera websites and aim for well placed product placement. Mirrorless should be marketed to the hipster chic, to the serious street photographer. Panasonic should hire me!
    • Like Like x 1
  4. macalterego

    macalterego Mu-43 Veteran

    Jul 10, 2012
    Lawrence, KS
    Jeffrey McPheeters
    It's going to be an interesting discussion thread. Good question, though. I switched from FF and APS-H Canon bodies to m43. At a family gathering, my niece was using her Canon T2i for basic family snapshots. Why? She has small children and needed a camera that was "ready to shoot" as soon as it was turned on. I've heard that a lot; most people I talk to that are photographers by need (family, children, work activities) moved from the digicam point and shoots to the APS-C because they were constantly looking for a better (quicker focusing and shooting combined) tool and the point and shoots would charge upwards of $400 for the latest, fastest point and shoot. Once DSLRs dropped down below $600 for a kit, they got people's attention. Now many of those folks that then bought into that, liked the results EXCEPT for the size issue. And at the same time this marketing revolution in cameras was taking off, the iPhone/Android/Tablets-getting-smaller revolution with 8MP cameras also took off.

    I agree with the response above that believes most people don't really understand m43 and its advantages over APS-C. Sometimes I feel a little like an old Mac user (trying to tell a friend to upgrade their PC to a Mac) explaining to someone with a Nikon or Canon why they should buy an E-M5 or GH-3 or smaller PEN or GX body and spend more than they did on their bigger, more popular Canon or Nikon body.

    Sony, but for the lack of lenses in the initial stages, has probably positioned themselves better than anyone to weather the changes in the camera technology developments. I could wish they had been bold enough to sign on with m43 rather than create the NEX category as the "next" great thing when it's really just repackaging APS-C. They are repackaging FF, too. Probably smarter in the short run. We'll see how it works out in the long run, I suppose.
  5. rnagoda

    rnagoda Mu-43 Veteran

    Jun 12, 2012
    Tucson, AZ
    The main problem that I see is the odd attempt to differentiate these cameras from DSLRs. Seriously, why not call them mirrorless DSLRs? Eliminate the main differentiation so that people looking for DSLRs include them in the group, and make the decision about what type of DSLR to get rather than to get a DSLR (which is clearly the most common recommendation and which will remain so for quite some time). Instead, they invented weird new phrases like ILC, system camera, DSMC, EVL, etc.. Terrible.

    I look at somebody taking a photography class, for example. They could walk in with, say, a G5, a T4i or a D3200. Without knowing anything else, it's clear the G5 is the least likely contender here. And with good reason.

    Because, I mean, why - really - would somebody new to photography go mirrorless?

    Okay - price? No way - the good deals on mirrorless aren't terribly enticing versus a 24.2 megapixel Nikon for $600. And that is a wonderful camera which feels great, looks great, etc..

    How about performance? Nope. The performance of a m4/3 camera may rival that of a DSLR but that is it. It is not a better system.

    Reputation? Not a chance. Olympus lost it's shine a long time ago. Only really Canon and Nikon can claim any real stake as being viewed commonly as "real" camera companies. So many brand names have been bought and sold and degraded and ruined (read: Kodak), that people just don't even trust that a brand like Olympus remains legit. And Panasonic Lumix? What? Who? What is Lumix? Panasonic makes TVs, right?

    So - size? Yeah .... but .... blah - not really. These smaller DSLRs are not big and heavy. They aren't. Put a T4i in your hand and tell me it's heavy - I dare you. Not even the full frame DSLRs are really heavy until you put a big zoom on them, and the newbie looking around for a first "real" camera isn't thinking about that. So maybe the small body mirrorless, like GX1, pens, and whatnot, but - again - that is not what somebody looking to get serious about photography has in mind when they are trying to make that step, so you lose a lot of those people.

    So - yeah - go back and do some reworking and call these things DSLRs. Is it a fib? A bit. But so what - larger lies are told in marketing everyday. But the point is that they can then compete alongside the cameras which they are trying to compete against and the consumer will be more open to viewing them at all in the first place. Then the E-PL-whatever is a "Small DSLR," something that people can quickly understand rather than a "compact interchangeable lens format camera" which is code for "walk away from this quickly."

    Let's be realistic - if you are going to look for an SUV and somebody says "well there's SUVs and then there's SLMUVs which are like, smaller, or something." Are you going to give much thought to that? No.
    • Like Like x 1
  6. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    Mirrorless is already recognized as the ideal system for the serious street photographer as rangefinders were in the past. Just how big a market is that? The Micro Four-Thirds system is highly versatile and capable in all fields. I think targeting street shooters will only limit its audience.
    • Like Like x 1
  7. RichDesmond

    RichDesmond Mu-43 Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    Nov 18, 2011
    For the average guy in the street, an SLR/DSLR is what a "real" camera looks like. Anything small, rectangular and hump-less is thought of as a "snapshot" camera. These perceptions go back to the '60s, and they're going to take a while to change.
  8. I think that Samsung is onto something when they label their NX series as "smart cameras", in a similar vein to the popular use of the term "smartphone". Size aside, it the added features and functionality afforded by a dedicated live-view interface that separates these cameras from DSLRs built primarily around an optical viewfinder. The smaller size goes hand-in-hand with this because it makes it possible to operate the cameras from a variety of different positions within sacrificing stability. Sony's SLTs are technically also a smart camera by that definition, but the larger overall package size makes them less usable.
  9. Narnian

    Narnian Nobody in particular ...

    Aug 6, 2010
    Richmond, VA
    Richard Elliott
    Well, Dell just went private because they were not cutting it. They also went to retail as well before that because online sales were slipping. So I would not look to Dell as a long term model. I would not be surprised to see them get out of the home business and go strictly enterprise.

    That said we have the problem (especially in the US) that bigger is better. Olympus and Panasonic need to work on much better ads and get their products on shelves. Apple has managed to sell their products based on quality and convenience (smaller). THAT would be a better model than Dell.

    And they need to incentivize the sales channel. Instead they are doing the opposite. A local camera store person (and fellow mu43 forumite) mentioned their store stopped carrying Olympus because Olympus made it harder and less profitable.
  10. Jonathan F/2

    Jonathan F/2 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 10, 2011
    Los Angeles, USA
    From a marketing stand point, Panasonic lacks what Olympus has and that's the stylish, cool factor. The GX1 is the only body with some style to it. The rest of the line, looks quite bland. M43 has the lenses, but they really need to get the bodies at the same level. Once NEX starts fleshing out their lens system, it's really going to be a hard sell especially with the APS-C size sensor. Olympus to my mind is in a much healthier position and they really turned things around with quality products for 2012. Panasonic on the other hand, is losing both in the enthusiast and entry level market.

    I just picked up a clearance G3, and for all intents and purposes, it's pretty similar to an NEX-6/7, except it's quite ugly in it's SLR-style form factor. I think that's why Sony doesn't do SLR-style NEX bodies especially to differentiate their camera lines. Looks go a long way!
  11. LovinTheEP2

    LovinTheEP2 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Feb 15, 2011
    1. Better and faster tracking AF. Parents and sport photographers are a big segment. That's all that's lacking now.

    2. Lower price. Its cheaper to get a basic dSLR then m43s with a kit lens.

    3. More time as people accept as of the recent launches om-d, epl5 m43 finally has a sensor capable of competing against the APS offerings.

    4. Way way way better marketing. Get a major photographer celeb to convert and use a m43 exclusively and keep promoting its benefits.

    5. Getting rid of complicated redundant line ups.
  12. RK777

    RK777 Guest

    As a long-time Nikon user, I found I had to spend time studying the various Panasonic models to understand where they stood in relation to each other. The naming structure for Panasonic and Oly are terrible.
    Did I want to get the G3H?, the GX-3?, The G1 or the G2F? Oh wait, was the right? Which model is better? Several of them look the same at first glance. And lenses...some say Leica...are they made by Leica or Panasonic? What is the difference between the 14-42 and the 14-45? Why do they skip the "4" body models altogether?
    Since the P&S models and M4/3's are all "Lumix" cameras, aren't they all basically the same thing? How would a layman know? Oly has the same issues.
    The point is that the marketing staff have some work to do to make their product lines cohesive, clear, and understandable without a Texas-size map. It needs to be approachable to novice M4/3 buyers. Sony or Nikon does a better job in that regard. The 3200, then the 5200, then the 7000. 4-digit for amateur shooters, 3-digit for semi-pro, 1-digit for pros.
    I don't follow Sony's cameras closely but can figure out that a 7 is better than a 5 which is better than a 3.
  13. m1pui

    m1pui Mu-43 Veteran

    Dec 30, 2010
    Sunderland, UK
    What it would take is for phones to stop having built in camera's. :redface:

    "Why do I need to buy a 12mp chunk of weight in my bag when I've got a 12mp camera built into my Sony/Samsung phone which I got for free and carry in my pocket?"

    For 90% (not a proven statistic lol) of the population, they've made a P&S camera redundant and consequently those same people aren't now interested in upgrading as they've almost all realised all they use their photographs for is Facebook & Instagram. Having a proper camera involves a memory card and a computer, extra work which is bypassed completely when you can upload directly from the phone.

    This is where I think LuckyPenguin has hit the nail on the head, saying Samsung have jumped onto a trick with their new ranges.

    The majority of people I hear buying into mirrorless are ones downsizing from a DSLR and I can probably count on one hand the number I know who've gone from P&S to mirrorless. If they want to make the jump, they go straight to a DSLR. The price and size advantage of mirrorless just isn't tempting enough when balanced against the perceived quality (image and build) of a DSLR. Side by side, my 500D feels considerably more substantial than either my GF-1 & GX-1 and subliminally that plays a big part when the average punter is standing in a shop with money to spend.

    What would probably help is having more indy/enthusiast camera retailers on our high streets to guide people to what suits them best, instead of having to buy from generic electrical goods department where the guy who just sold someone a washing machine will come over and sell you anything you're showing an interest in or guide you towards the max of what you're willing to spend.
  14. Steven

    Steven Mu-43 All-Pro

    May 25, 2012
    I think mirrorless is in a strange spot- hoping to appeal to newbies who finally want to upgrade to a "big good" camera and instead attracting mostly enthusiasts who are more keenly aware of its advantages.
    I think better marketing would definitely help. I think really pushing the size issue while emphasizing almost Dslr quality would impress people too. I don't know if its being advertised that way, if not , I think it should be.
  15. elavon

    elavon Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 1, 2012
    Tel Aviv Israel
    I do not understand this thread, MLC went from 0 percent market share to about 25% worldwide in just 3 years.
    (CIPA starts to report growing mirrorless sales: Digital Photography Review)

    This is a tremendous success that was done by the small players in the Camera market. It forced Nikon and Canon to respond, introducing raw, half backed mediocre systems.
    The article was written before the introduction of the OMD and G3 two cameras that challenge the PRO DSLR. I do not know what is the current status of MLC market share but it is growing and starts to take traction in the PRO market. I think that the DSLR business is currently under attack.
    If we look at the leading system at the MLC, :43: there are a few business lines that both companies want to be in.
    In order to have a few business lines you need differentiation small , mid, and large bodies. All these bodies type with different features cause confusion in the market. This confusion is magnified by the small price gap between the mid and small body types.
    I assume that in a year or two this confusion will settle down by correct pricing. If we look at Panasonic the GH3 can not confused with the G series and the G5 can not be confused with the GF family, there is a price and feature gap. Olympus is there only with the OMD, the EPL5 and the EPM2 are too similar and still can be confusing.
    Currently the :43: is in great position to be the next leading standard, the company that have a lot of credit in this is Sony, by not producing lots of lenses to the NEX and by closing the sensor gap by providing sensor to OMD and GH3. Thank you Sony.
    • Like Like x 2
  16. spatulaboy

    spatulaboy I'm not really here Subscribing Member

    Jul 13, 2011
    North Carolina
    Olympus had a hit with OMD because they targeted the right crowd: Enthusiasts and DSLR owners. Panasonic's been trying to court the point and shoot/mainstream crowd, which was a complete waste of time. Even if someone upgraded from a p/s, they will probably not buy a single lens.
  17. rnagoda

    rnagoda Mu-43 Veteran

    Jun 12, 2012
    Tucson, AZ
    Which illustrates a marketing fail for Panasonic at least, since I seriously doubt Panasonic engineer's built the GH3 thinking about the "point and shoot crowd."
  18. hankbaskett

    hankbaskett Mu-43 Regular

    Aug 21, 2012
    I don't agree with everything you said, but I think you've got a pretty good point with your post ( not just the quoted part, I chopped the rest for brevity).

    I just "got into" photography a couple of years ago, so I recently went through this. I had a series of point and shoots, then I got serious enough (and had a good enough job) to upgrade to "the next step".

    I was pretty freaking lost, and wandered into a Best Buy having no absolutely idea what a "CSC" or "mirrorless camera system" was, but knowing full well what DSLRs were, having used my uncle's. I'm the sort of guy who likes to go on the internet and research the crap out of a purchase like that, however, so after seeing what was out there, I went home and looked into "CSC's". After seeing the images produced with the first generation Olympus m4/3 systems, I knew pretty quickly that the image quality was going to be more than adequate for my upgrade, and that there were a wide variety of lenses available to grow the system with me. I snagged an E-PM1 and the 20/f1.7, and I've now moved onto an OM-D, the 12-35, 20, 25, 45, 60, 75 and 45-200. I'd say that would make me the sort of consumer on the sort of upgrade path that Olympus and Panasonic would love to target.

    IMO, it is marketing. I had no idea these things even existed before wandering into a Best Buy, and all it took was comparing some high resolution files on a 24" monitor to make me decide that I had no reason to lug around a considerably larger (and more expensive compared to an E-PM1 + kit lens deal) system.

    I'm pretty sure that if you took a bunch of pictures of a subject on a D600 and a bunch of pictures of that same subject on an E-PM2, then had 8x10 prints made, 99% of consumers would have no ability to differentiate the two. That might make for a good commercial, actually.
    • Like Like x 1
  19. giCe

    giCe Mu-43 Rookie

    Jan 27, 2013
    Agreed on most part.
    One of the main criteria for a successful replacement product is that at the minimum it can do everything its predecessor does (This is why early adoption of electric cars didn't work, specifically, higher cost, lower performace and range. And consequently, hybrid succeeded - it had vastly improved milage, but has similar operating cost and you can go about your day like you would with a regular gas engine car). In mirrorless' case, the mirrorless camera needs to perform as well as a DSLR to gain market share.

    Some of the things I think mirrorless succeeded on recently and what convinced me to invest in a m4/3 kit are:

    - EVF - as an enthusiast. Optical viewfinder is essential for me in a camera body. EVF techonology I believe has come to a point where I don't feel it'll frustrate me as a user anymore.
    - Focusing - blazing fast for Single AF, a lot of the times faster than DSLR
    - Size - I often find myself leaving my DSLR at home because of the hassle of taking it out. When I'm simply hangout around with my friends or a casual night out, a big DSLR really restricts you from having a good time and to blend in.
    - Cost - a similarly equiped m4/3 kit costs signicantly less than a DSLR equivalent

    Reasons why I haven't liquidated my DSLR kit yet:

    - Large Optical Viewfinder - as good as EVF is, it's still no optical viewfinder. Progress is being made in hybrid and I think it's trending in the right direction.
    - AF Tracking - As good as single AF is, if i'm shooting any movement/sports/animals, given the choice I would pick up my 5DIII over my mirrorless without a second of hesitation.
    - Low light - most mirrorless performaces are very good. However, it's still noticably lacking compare to FF dslr

    Nikon and Canon both have mirrorless lineups, but they seem lacking compared to other manufacturers and for good reasons. With both of them holding a majority market share, it will make very little sense for them to produce a pro quality mirrorless system that will encroach on their mirror system. I think this is the main hurdle with regards to mirrorless market.
  20. elavon

    elavon Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 1, 2012
    Tel Aviv Israel
    With the rate of growth this keeping the cake tactic might backfire on them, if the market will follow Japan market, soon there will be no cake for Nikon and Canon to keep. They need to come fast, and produce a more compelling system if they want to stay the leaders of the gang. Right now the MLC systems they have are running on the fumes that their DSLR reputation gave them. They do not sale on quality they just sale because of brand name. It is easy to lose brand name if you don't deliver.
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