Where Are the New Mirrorless Cameras?

Availability of most current mirrorless camera models(I'm just going to use B&H as an example here, but similar things are happening elsewhere in the retailer chain; data current as of March 18, 2017).:

  • Canon EOS M5 — body in stock, basic kit (15-45mm) back-ordered
  • Canon EOS M6 — not yet available
  • Fujifilm GFX — back-ordered
  • Fujifilm XT-2 — back-ordered
  • Fujifilm XT-20 — not yet available
  • Fujifilm X-A3 — available
  • Fujifilm X-Pro2 — available
  • Hasselblad X1D — not yet available
  • Leica M10 — not yet available
  • Leica SL — available
  • Leica TL — available
  • Nikon J5 — available (mostly; one kit back-ordered)
  • Nikon V3 — available
  • Olympus E-M1 Mark II — back-ordered
  • Olympus Pen-F — available
  • Olympus E-M10 Mark II — available
  • Olympus E-M5 Mark II — available
  • Olympus E-PL8 — available
  • Panasonic GH5 — not yet available
  • Panasonic G85 — body available, kit back-ordered
  • Panasonic G7 — available
  • Panasonic GX85 — available
  • Panasonic GX850 — not yet available
  • Sony A7rII — available
  • Sony A7sII — available
  • Sony A7II — available
  • Sony A6500 — available, dual lens kit back-ordered
  • Sony A6300 — available
  • Sony A6000 — available
  • Sony A5000 — available

Note: B&H often uses "New Item - Coming Soon" even for products where they've managed to ship some units to their wait list. Generally that means they haven't cleared their prepurchased list yet.

The question is what to make of this. Out of 30 "current" cameras we have almost a third (9) not yet available and over a third (12) that have some form of back-order to certain forms or kits. When I look at other sources, I see basically the same thing: about a third of those 30 models I list are not currently in stock.

Some caveats before we begin: (1) I'm using US-biased data; (2) we don't know what the volume level is yet.

I see two trends in the overall data I'm looking at (which includes more than just B&H):

  1. The newest high-end mirrorless gear is either in stronger demand than anticipated, or being shipped to the US in lower quantities than current demand.
  2. Kits are tending towards back-orders for some reason. That could be that people are new to that mount and need lenses in addition to a camera, which indicates sampling and leaking from other mounts (it's far less likely that it's due to absolutely new customers entering the market given the shrinking overall market).

I have no doubt that this will change greatly as we move into the summer months and further away from the announcement dates of these products (though I should point out that some of those "not yet available" were announced now six months ago). Sony's relative complete availability would tend to tell me that the sensor shortage is behind us, too.

If you look at the CIPA data you see that shipments to the Americas were only 82.3% in volume for 2016 what they were for 2015. That despite the fact that total shipments worldwide were 94.4%. So it may be that demand for mirrorless is picking up some in the US, but the Japanese haven't yet really responded to that. Then again, for January 2017 mirrorless shipments to the Americas were 208.5% compared to January 2016, so maybe the Japanese have noticed a change in American attitude towards mirrorless.

Still, in January the Japanese companies sent as many mirrorless cameras to Japan as they did to the Americas. By comparison, they sent over twice as many DSLRs to the Americas as they did to Japan.

text and images 2017Thom Hogan
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