This blog is a user's perspective on the Micro Four Thirds camera system. Read more ...

Lens Buyer's Guide. Panasonic GH4 review.

My lens reviews: Olympus 9mm f/8 fisheye, Lumix G 12-32mm f/3.5-5.6, Leica 25mm f/1.4, Lumix X 12-35mm f/2.8, Lumix X 35-100mm f/2.8, Sigma 30mm f/2.8, Sigma 19mm f/2.8, Lumix X PZ 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6, Lumix X PZ 45-175mm f/4-5.6, Olympus M.Zuiko 45mm f/1.8, Panasonic Lumix G 100-300mm f/4-5.6, Panasonic Leica Lumix DG Macro-Elmarit 45mm f/2.8 1:1 Macro, Panasonic Lumix G 45-200mm f/4-5.6, Panasonic Lumix G 20mm f/1.7 pancake, Panasonic Lumix G 14mm f/2.5 pancake, Panasonic Lumix G HD 14-140mm f/4-5.8, Panasonic Lumix G HD 14-140mm f/3.5-5.6, Panasonic Lumix G 8mm f/3.5 fisheye, Lumix G 7-14mm f/4, Samyang 7.5mm f/3.5 fisheye, Tokina 300mm f/6.3 mirror reflex tele, Lensbaby 5.8mm f/3.5 circular fisheye lens
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Sunday 13 January 2013

Sales statistics from Japan

BCN Ranking publishes sales statistics for various categories of cameras in Japan. Last year, I made a summary of the system camera category, which includes both mirrorless sytems and DSLRs. We saw that Micro Four Thirds had reached a healthy 19% of this category by the end of 2011:

For the 2012 statistics, BCN Ranking has split these into two categories: DSLRs and mirrorless. This makes sense, of course, but the downside is that I cannot continue my time series of statistics. BCN only give the percentage of sales, not the absolute number, hence I cannot recombine the two categories.

Anyway, let's see what the 2012 statistics for the mirrorless category looks like:

And when summing up per camera system:

Just like the previous statistics, these are based on the twenty most sold camera models. This means that you cannot expect the percentages to add up to 100%. There is still another 9% missing. In the missing category, I would expect that you find cameras like the Panasonic G5 and GH2, among others.

Micro Four Thirds has a very healthy lead in the mirrorless camera category, at 50% market share. I would attribute this to the fact that they launched their system early, and have a lot of quality lenses out.

One could expect to find the Samsung NX system on the list. On the other hand, it is fair to say that there is some rivalry between Samsung, which is a Korean brand, and the other manufacturers on the list, which are Japanese. While Samsung does not sell well in Japan, I think they do better in other markets, like Europe.

The Nikon 1 system is already at a good market share of 13%. They have a very strong brand in Japan, and have invested heavily in marketing. The volume models, the J series, look cute, with various colour schemes, and a clean design with geometric shapes.

The Pentax Q system er quite odd, in my opinion, with a very small sensor size. At this sensor size, I think most people are better off buying a premium compact camera, like the Panasonic LX7 or Olympus XZ-2.

Pentax K-01

The Pentax K-01 is also an odd machine. It shares the lens mount with the Pentax DSLR cameras. Hence, it is a mirrorless camera with the register distance of an SLR. While sharing the lens mount has some advantages, it also means that there is little size advantage to the mirrorless system. Because the camera needs to be as large (except for the pentaprism), and the lenses cannot benefit from a shorter register distance.


  1. I believe that the solid 50% market share by the MFT system is due to the early sales & support by two independent manufactures, Olympus and Panasonic; a smart choice of the sensor size & the lens mount, and a nice choice of over 30 available lenses.

    The surprising for me is a complete lack of FujiFilm XPro mirrorless camera in the list.

    Considering how much the mirrorless ILC drop in price during their life-cycle, it would be also interesting to compare the profit received from the sales, alas no hope that any company would release the profit statistics. Since lenses doesn't drop significantly in price, it would be valuable to see the lens sales numbers.

    1. I think the Fujifilm X-Pro is not a mass market camera system. It is simply too expensive for that. Not that it is not an interesting camera, far from it.

      The Panasonic GH2 never made it into the yearly sales statistics for system cameras, for example. It, too, was not a volume camera.

      Without any volume model, I'm guessing that Fujifilm must make more profits per unit for their X-Pro cameras, compared with what Olympus does for their OM-D, for example.

  2. Good to see the m43 format prosper. I'm surprised the new Nikon did as well as it did but feel the NEX's larger sensor size misses the advantage of the small m43 lenses. The m43 kit scales much like the old Leica III series cameras and lenses and when I work with my m43 gear I feel very much as I did in the 60s using a Leica IIIg. Small body and small, light lenses that are amazing potent. No mirror noise and I feel the shutter in my hand more than hear it. I notice that pros are beginning to talk about it on podcasts - DSLR in the studio - m43 on the road. I think the future looks bright.

    1. I think the Nikon cameras win in Japan due to their strong home market position, and the cuteness factor.

      I'm also surprised at the relatively low market share of the Sony NEX system. After all, they have made quite small cameras with good image quality and a sleek design. The design is perhaps a bit on the wild side for some models, but still, I think it hits the market segment quite well.

  3. Samsung doesn't sell the camera in Japan. That's the major reason why NX share is 0% .