Shipments of mirrorless single-lens cameras are breaking records, with sales up 20% in the first half of 2023. The surge is apparently driven by several factors, including the revival of Chinese outbound tourism and general expansion of tourism after the global pandemic, new AI-powered models, and a focus on making cameras more user-friendly.
Nikkei Asia reports that according to Japan’s Camera & Imaging Products Association, the largest shipment increase was seen in China, where they were up 44%. Japan and Europe also saw strong growth, with shipments up 30% and 9%, respectively.
The rise of mirrorless cameras can be attributed to a number of factors. Firstly, the global tourism industry is recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic, and people are starting to travel again. Those of us living in tourist hotspots can confirm this trend, albeit anecdotally.
The United Nations World Tourism Organization confirms this trend. The first quarter of 2023 witnessed an astounding year-on-year doubling of international travellers, totalling around 235 million individuals. This remarkable figure signifies a recovery to 80% of the 2019 travel levels. This is boosting demand for cameras, as people want to capture their memories on film.
Secondly, camera makers are introducing new AI-powered models that offer features that are not available on smartphones. For example, Nikon’s flagship Z9 can detect and autofocus on eight subjects other than people, including birds and vehicles. This is making mirrorless cameras more appealing to professional photographers and enthusiasts.
Finally, camera makers are making mirrorless cameras more user-friendly, lighter, and more compact than their DSLR predecessors. They are introducing features that help beginners take better photos, such as functions to reduce missed photo opportunities, out-of-focus pictures or wrong brightness settings. This is making mirrorless cameras more accessible to a wider range of people.
Smartphones have been the dominant force in the market for the past few years, but mirrorless cameras are now starting to catch up. With their superior image quality, advanced features and growing popularity, mirrorless cameras are poised to become the future of photography.
This is great news for the big camera brands, having suffered from poor sales the last couple of years due to shipping disruptions, the pandemic, and the worldwide chip shortage. While the larger professional mirrorless models are replacing DSLRs, these smaller mirrorless cameras may fill in the gap where consumer point-and-shoot cameras used to dominate.
[Via Asia Nikkei]