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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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Thursday 28 January 2016

Mirrorless sales statistics from Japan

Not much exists in terms of solid statistics on camera sales. However, one yearly event is when BCN Ranking release their statistics for the sales of cameras in Japan. Their statistics cover most of the domestic sales.

The statistics tend to take different forms every year. Some years, they have reported the 20 most sold models, which is quite interesting to see. This year, reporting on 2015 camera sales, it is probably the least useful: Only reporting the market share for the top three brands.

When compiling this into a seven year time series, this is what I get:

As only the top three systems are reported, we only see Olympus, Sony and Canon here. The Panasonic market share is not specified for 2015, but we can deduce that it is at least lower than that of Canon, that is, 13%. The same goes for the other systems.

Panasonic started off very high, which is very understandable, since they were the only mirrorless system in the very beginning. However, they were soon overtaken by Olympus and Sony.

It seems that Olympus have gotten a boost in 2015, which I would attribute to the Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II, which is very stylish, and at the same time, offered a very interesting feature set.

Sony, on the other hand, have focused almost exclusively on fullframe mirrorless during 2015. They have launched a number of Sony A7 models. These are very fine cameras, but they are expensive, and require an investment into newer, larger, and more expensive fullframe lenses. Hence, one cannot expect as many camera sales from Sony as before. They probably make a better margin from each camera, though.

We are still waiting for an upgrade of the APS-C mirrorless camera Sony A6000. A replacement camera is rumored to have a high resolution 36MP sensor. If true, this will be a game changer for APS-C sensor based cameras.

What surprises me, is that Canon gets an increase in the market share. They have improved their mirrorless cameras now, but the Canon EOS M3 is still not a very interesting camera. And with the limited palette of lenses, I would personally not have invested into this system today. The positive market development probably says something about Canon's market perception: Very strong.

With Olympus's new retro styled Olympus PEN-F, I expect their market share to remain strong.


  1. I agree with your Canon comment entirely, EOS M is not even ready to be called a system. There are good components though: at the time the first M was released the IQ was really good for mirrorless and I loved the pancake lens (apart from the strong vignetting wide open). The Canon brand is pretty strong though; they haven't suffered from QC and PR disasters like Nikon, and from what I see in Europe they are generally more highly regarded than the other makers. A few times friends explained their camera requirements to me and then bought a camera that was inferior on most of their key requirements - because it was a Canon. This is not intended as a criticism of Canon, more as a statement on how important brand perception is. Let's hope Nikon learns a few lessons regarding CQ and handling of issues - and not just them.
    Anyway, as always, thanks for putting this together. I enjoy your blog!

    1. The EOS M3 is an improvement over the original EOS M. But the focus speed is still surprisingly slow, compared with M4/3 cameras. I think the system so far only appeals to Canon fans.

  2. Well I bought another Olympus in 2015 surprising myself by getting the OM-D EM-10 Mark II. I have the original OM-D EM-5 and am very happy with it, but when I saw that I could add focus peaking, silent electronic shutter and built in HDR presets I just jumped. For the way I use it the EM-10 has no downside and really has broadened how I work. As a Mac user I've been able to avoid Adobe entirely by using Apple photos which is improving and Aurora HDR Pro and Affinity Photo for a cost of ownership of about what a year's subscription to the Lightroom and PS would cost. I certainly want Panasonic and Olympus to survive and the M4/3 market to do well. I have a good mix of Oly and Lumix lenses that I am very happy with so I am at the stage where I am mostly interested in what the new bodies have to offer. I am surprised at Panasonic's big fall. I'm not sure that new PEN-F is going to sell well - I love its looks - I cut my teeth on a Leica IIIg which it resembles - but it doesn't interest me as a camera and for the money you can buy better camers. I'm happier with the features of the EM-10. As always good posts.

    1. I think the PEN-F is mostly about style and looks. Sure, it is a good camera, and it has the latest 20MP sensor. Very few actually need 20MP over 16MP these days, but I'm sure it could come in handy some times.

      What's going to sell the PEN-F is the looks, and the rangefinder style, in my opinion. These look nostalgic, and is just what sold the original PEN E-P1 in the first place.

      I don't think there is a rational reason to put the viewfinder on the left side today, other than nostalgia. A centered viewfinder makes the camera more balanced, and easier to hold steadily.