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Canon wants a 50% markeshare in 2018
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Canon wants a 50% markeshare in 2018

Canon recently did their annual corporate strategy conference and there's a pretty surprising statement from Canon in the middle of their speech summary.  They were extremely bullish when it came to the camera side of the company as they dropped the gauntlet when it comes to mirrorless and their overall marketshare stating;

.. in our core camera business, in addition to our overwhelming share of the DSLR market, we will go on the offensive and work to expand our sales in the mirrorless camera market, which is exhibiting remarkable growth.  This will allow us to reach our goal of 50% marketshare of the entire interchangeable lens camera market.

Now keep in mind, that Canon has been pretty strong on it's mirrorless message for a while now, this is not Canon suddenly waking up and smelling the coffee ;)

Canon has also continued it's message of increasing it's automation of both Camera and Lens assembly, also leading into more of the mirrorless message simply because there's less human work required to manufacturer a mirrorless camera than the more delicate alignment of a DSLR.

A good example of this was the second quarter results from 2017;

In this quarter as well, sales remained strong, particularly for mirrorless cameras. Within this trend, we grew sales of the EOS M6, a new mirrorless camera that has been highly rated not only for its high image quality, but also for its compact and lightweight form factor. This camera was designed to capture demand from people who, for example, are considering a step up to a camera with more features and better performance. Including this factor, first half unit sales of mirrorless camera grew more than 70% compared to the same period last year, leading to overall sales growth for interchangeable-lens cameras.

My own outlook on all this..

Some caution is needed when interpreting Canon Inc's message to the world. This doesn't mean that Canon is going embark on a major plan to do anything much different than what they are doing now.  As we know from CIPA data, the vast majority of mirrorless cameras ship to asia, and north america has different ideas on what sells with respects to mirrorless.  Will they expand mirrorless and add more capability? Yes of course, the new entry level M50 shows that.  Will they launch a massive development campaign and replicate the entire Fuji lineup of primes? Probably not.   Development also has to be balanced with profitability and the majority of the world probably doesn't even need that. 

What we don't have as far as a message is; are they going to compete in the north america mirrorless market. That requires the heavier investment, the more innovative camera systems, and the higher upscale cameras then what they have been currently doing.  The M5 was a good first try - one of the more ergonomic mirrorless cameras being built today, however, it's just a small start in the right direction if they are planning inroads into the highly competitive north american market.

Personally I'm curious if mirrorless actually  moves from the Powershot group to the core ILC development area of Canon, or they maintain their two areas of development.   As you may have been aware, all current mirrorless cameras are sold under the part number scheme as Powershots, and not as digital stills cameras and as of the EOS-M3, the firmware went decidedly to Powershot firmware.  However that Powershot firmware has augmented itself to include focus peaking, EVF support, and most recently, eye focus AF and 4K h.264 video support - showing itself to be far more nimble than the more mammoth ILC firmware development for DSLR's. 

A good case could be made to continue the dual lines of development, even though I do know there is more than one person that would like to see the DSLR firmware return to mirrorless (namely, me).

Time will tell but this is certainly an indication that more is coming from mirrorless this year than simply an M50.

 

 

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