Late 2011 Mirrorless Trends

As you might have noticed by all the news activity here lately, the mirrorless market is a hot place right now. Part of that is due to the fact that the only segment of the camera market that has any significant growth right now is that for small, interchanageable lens cameras that slot below the traditional DSLR market. The DSLR market itself is rather flat in sales.

In the last couple of months we've seen three trends:

  • Olympus and Panasonic shoring up their head start. As the first to exploit this market, the two m4/3 providers are now on their third or fourth generation of cameras, and deep into filling into holes in their lens lineup. While they've still got some lingering inventory of older cameras on the shelves, both companies seem hell-bent to iterate their offerings to hold off the increasing competition that's appearing. Look for both companies to continue to trickle out new releases (mostly lenses) in the next few months.
  • Third parties supplying lenses appearing. Part of this was due to Sony's opening up the E-mount (NEX) to outsiders for free. A number of companies indicated that they would support the mount, and we now have two companies (SLR Magic and Tamron) releasing such lenses, with plenty more to follow. This to is a trend that's likely to continue in the next months.
  • New competitors entering. Nikon introduced the J1 and V1, and according to dealer contacts here in the US, are having some success with that. In some ways, Nikon is the most aggressive in marketing and advertising at the moment, so that's not surprising. Fujifilm has announced they'll show their mirrorless offering in January 2012, so another tough competitor is about enter the race. Leica is hinting that they'll put a new player into the game in fall of 2012. Plus we still haven't heard from Canon.

All of these things are good for the mirrorless camera enthusiast: we'll have more choices and eventually lower prices with all this competition.

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