Why Even Canon's Competition Wants It to Take Mirrorless Seriously

Why Even Canon's Competition Wants It to Take Mirrorless Seriously

Photographers have been urging Canon and Nikon, the two camera making titans, to put their hearts into the still-budding mirrorless camera market for years. It's gotten to the point that even their competitors, like Fujifilm, want them to get with the times.

Last week, a Fujifilm sales manager told DP Review that powerhouses like Canon putting their weight behind mirrorless systems would help, not hurt Fujifilm. The reason? North American consumers still see the smaller, unusual-looking cameras as inferior to the large and ubiquitous DSLR. Only a serious marketing push by the likes of Canon could effectively change people's minds.

While Canon and Nikon do have mirrorless offerings, neither has catered to the high-end, where the influence would trickle down to a wider consumer base. So far they have stuck to their guns, refusing to evolve past the lower-end Nikon 1 and half-baked Canon EOS M systems.

Last year we argued that mirrorless cameras are the future for the vast majority of amateur photographers. DSLRs are still useful in certain professional situations, but for most, mirrorless has grown up to be a more-than capable option. That's a good thing, because who doesn't want a great selection of small, lightweight cameras with innovative features and killer image quality?

Fujifilm, Olympus, Sony, Panasonic, even Samsung, are doing their part with some great products. But the slow growth of the mirrorless market in the US is just begging for those big brothers of the camera world to step up and spread their mirrorless wings.

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Fujifilm Wishes Canon, Nikon Would Get On Board With Mirrorless Already

Fujifilm Wishes Canon, Nikon Would Get On Board With Mirrorless AlreadyS

In a recent interview with DP Review, Fujifilm manager Toshihisa Iida stated that it would be beneficial for their company for bigger brands like Canon and Nikon to offer high-end mirrorless cameras. This might seem counterintuitive coming from an underdog, but actually it makes perfect sense.

Mirrorless cameras (or ILCs, whichever you prefer), have been extremely slow to catch on in North America. Despite strong growth in Asia, it seems that Americans cannot get used to the idea that smaller cameras can take just as awesome pictures as bigger DSLRs. Companies like Fujifilm, which create mirrorless cameras exclusively, are doing everything they can to turn around this misconception.

When asked about the major challenges facing Fujifilm in the future, Iida, a senior manager in its imaging division, had this to say:

Our biggest challenge is customer awareness, and customer education. We think that at least 50% of the market could be mirrorless in the future, but what's missing is awareness on the part of the consumers about the benefits of mirrorless.

In my opinion this is due to the lack of focus on mirrorless from the two big brands, Canon and Nikon. The Nikon 1 and EOS M didn't satisfy customers so many consumers see mirrorless as something inferior to DSLRs. That's the biggest challenge. We need to educate customers that mirrorless is not inferior, it can be better than DSLR.

Then, when asked if Canon or Nikon's participation in the high-end mirrorless market would help Fujifilm, Iida bluntly stated, "Yes. Because it would increase awareness."

It does make sense. If a company like Canon put their full weight behind marketing a quality mirrorless camera (not the failed EOS M), it would only be a matter of time before the hordes of consumers loyal to that brand would come around to the reality that, for many, mirrorless is a great alternative to a cumbersome DSLR. That change in perception would inevitably draw people to consider other brands, like Fujifilm, at the same time as creating competition for them.

Read the rest of the great interview at DP Review.

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