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Canon boss says smartphones may shrink the digital camera market in half by 2021

By midian182 · 18 replies
Jan 29, 2019
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  1. Speaking to the Nikkei (via Mirrorless Rumors) Fujio Mitarai, boss of the Japanese giant, warned that the digital camera industry would keep declining. He said that by around 2021, it will have reached its lowest point, having shrunk by almost 50 percent.

    "People usually shoot with smartphones. The digital camera market will keep falling for about two years, but professional and [advanced] amateurs use about 5 to 6 million units. Finally [the market] will hit the bottom," he said.

    While more traditional camera companies are turning to full-frame mirrorless products, Mitarai says these are simply replacing DSLRs, rather than expanding the industry and attracting new digital camera users.

    "In our company cameras have declined at around 10% a year in the past few years. The world market for interchangeable lens cameras is around 10 million. The mirrorless product is growing, but it is a replacement [for] single lens reflex, it is not adding to the market as a whole," he explained.

    To try and compensate for this market decline, Canon plans to focus on its corporate and industrial customers in fields such as surveillance and medical care.

    Smartphones have made a number of things almost obsolete. Simple calculators, maps, digital music players, voice recorders, alarm clocks, answer machines, payphones, etc. have all been affected to varying degrees. But while professionals and enthusiasts are likely always to want high-end digital cameras, the effect phones are having on the industry can’t be underestimated.

    Permalink to story.

  2. Uncle Al

    Uncle Al TS Evangelist Posts: 5,149   +3,573

    Canon especially has this to fear. For the past decade they have continued to offer slight variations on each generation of camera without significant improvements. In another YouTube video it is discussed at length but it all boils down to them cutting the group down to four main groups and not coming out with a new model UNTIL and ONLY if there is a significant improvement to the camera. Without that change they will go by the wayside like Pentax did for a long time. Camera users like to be loyal to their brands but every time the brand makes a significant change that renders the current inventory obsolete, they risk loosing their loyal followers ..... Canon ..... are you listening?!?!?!
  3. Squid Surprise

    Squid Surprise TS Evangelist Posts: 2,446   +1,440

    Unless you require a high-end camera, your iPhone easily replaces a separate camera.

    What’s scary is that the majority of people can’t even tell the difference between a good SLR and an iPhone...

    I remember the Canon Elph - used to love it... but point-and-shoot cameras are complete wastes nowadays.
    Underdog likes this.
  4. Manrubio

    Manrubio TS Rookie Posts: 40   +11

    Well said.

    The camera manufacturing market is now paying for all the years they made it very, very difficult and expensive for people to have pictures of their families and nice memories saved at home.

    Suck it Canon.
  5. seeprime

    seeprime TS Guru Posts: 371   +399

    Maybe Canon should buy into the smartphone business and stay relevant to consumers. This really depends on how resourceful the company is and if they're willing to adapt to survive, and possibly even grow. Why did they let Sony become one of the premier high end smartphone camera suppliers? Was it arrogance or complacency?
  6. wiyosaya

    wiyosaya TS Evangelist Posts: 3,713   +2,075

    Right. Just like Nikon has released an entirely new mount for their mirrorless series that renders the glass from their previous cameras obsolete. :scream: Oh wait! There's an adapter that can be used - just like in the Canon case. :facepalm:

    With advancements in any technology, incompatibilities are inevitable - at least Canon AND Nikon have adapters for your current inventory of glass.

    What is really the problem, at least as I see it, is the simple fact that people swoon over cell phone megapixels without having any knowledge that megapixels =/= image quality. Most people using a cell phone camera would probably not have any idea how to use good DSLR much less any knowledge of the fact that physics prevents their cell phone from matching the image quality of a good DSLR.

    Another thing is convenience. People always have their cell phone with them as they are permanently attached to their hands these days. And that type of person does not give a :poop:about the image quality that you get from a DSLR. They have a their favorite selifes. What more do they want?

    I am willing to bet that if you approached any of the major camera manufacturers other than Canon, they would also express similar concerns.
    Underdog likes this.
  7. p51d007

    p51d007 TS Evangelist Posts: 1,894   +1,169

    Sorry, until smartphones get AT LEAST an APS-C sensor, and removable lenses...FORGET IT!
    I'll stick with my D7200 Nikon, and the various lenses I have.
  8. p51d007

    p51d007 TS Evangelist Posts: 1,894   +1,169

    Most people don't have the ability to distinguish between "snapshots" and photo works of art.
    If a person can't tell the difference between the artificial bokeh (background blur) from a smartphone, versus a good 2.x or 1.x prime lens, then yes, they shouldn't bother with a higher end camera.
    BSim500 and SantistaUSA like this.
  9. Palladium1987

    Palladium1987 TS Member Posts: 29   +21

    Well, even phones have DSLRs beat in unstabilized wide angle night shots at least since 2017.
  10. Squid Surprise

    Squid Surprise TS Evangelist Posts: 2,446   +1,440

    Agreed... assuming you are a "real" photographer.... but for 99% of people, none of those are issues... And as for removable lenses, I believe a few companies sell those for various smartphones...
  11. Phil Wheeler

    Phil Wheeler TS Member

    Not many cameras have optical zoom. Even my lowly ELPH 330HS does 10x optical zoom -- and it's smaller than any phone I've used. I use the iPhone for lots of things, but still use cameras if I want the best quality and reach.

    But that's me :)
  12. joe1946

    joe1946 TS Rookie Posts: 24

  13. Squid Surprise

    Squid Surprise TS Evangelist Posts: 2,446   +1,440

    My point was not that there are cameras superior to a smartphone... it was that the VAST majority of people wouldn't notice the difference. And since you're carrying your smartphone around anyways, why carry a separate camera? Even if it is really small...
  14. joe1946

    joe1946 TS Rookie Posts: 24

    Some people want a small pocket size camera on vacation with a zoom lens like the Sony RX100 VI with 24-200mm eqiv lens and 1" sensor that is much larger than a smartphone sensor.
  15. Squid Surprise

    Squid Surprise TS Evangelist Posts: 2,446   +1,440

    And some people want a lot of other things.... but the MAJORITY of people simply want their smartphone.... this is why the non-high end camera market is basically dead....

    Please read my post before replying...
  16. joe1946

    joe1946 TS Rookie Posts: 24

    That is now new news, 99% of consumers have just been using the cameras in their smartphones for years. 4K superzoom cameras with up to 125x zooms have also replaced camcorders since companies like Sony and Panasonic have stopped coming out with new 4K consumer camcorders.
  17. Squid Surprise

    Squid Surprise TS Evangelist Posts: 2,446   +1,440

    Yes... we know... which is why further commentary really wasn't necessary... but hey, knock yourself out :)
  18. lazer

    lazer TS Addict Posts: 233   +54

    I think that the way we use pictures has changed too.

    In the 'old' days we had them developed and put into albums or frames to be able to share with family and friends. Today, we do NOT develop all photos, don't put them in albums and rare is the one for the frame, rather we share them by sending them via Whatsapp etc to our family and friends.

    So to have a dedicated camera is not the easiest manner to take and share pictures.

    OK, for the professional, or for the special occasion that we want to have physical pictures developed, obviously, a real camera is better, but for those daily 'see what is up' type picture, the phone is better and is slowly replacing the need for buying a camera.

    BTW: I have 3 really great cameras in my closet: a Mamiya and a Canon, but don't have film for those, Plus an old digital Canon, which I don't use, since I have no need for a high quality photo.....
  19. Odium

    Odium TS Enthusiast Posts: 38   +12

    I shoot on film(yes, I know it's 2019) and I use film cameras a lot more often that my digital Canon camera. Film produces interesting results, there is something special about it. If I want to make a beautiful and interesting picture - I shoot film. If I need to take a photo of something just for the memory - I shoot on my phone. Why bother carrying this big bulky camera with you.

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