I have been subscribed for a long time to Google’s news service for information on photography and technology. Usually what I get each week are references to stories I have already been aware of to some extent, so seldom exciting until this week. Google news service did a compilation of at least a dozen articles about digital camera sales in America and elsewhere. There was a great contrast with some news that mirrorless system cameras only have 2% of sales in the USA, and five times as many, 10% in Japan.
Google was circumspect about why Americans are not buying these new, technically capable but much slimmer and lighter camera packages, indicating Americans don’t think they are “real”. I’ll not be quite so indirect by saying what I read between the lines in what enthusiasts say to me in e-mail is that dSLR cameras are attractive to them because they have an obvious look and feel to their previous 35mm film counterparts. And , that the new mirrorless system cameras are just fancy point-and-shoot cameras they do not see any serious photography enthusiast being seen with one and being respected as a photographer. In other words it doesn’t matter what technology has accomplished by putting as much performance in a smaller, lighter mirrorless system camera, it does not resemble what they recognize as a serious camera.
America, I have to assume is still a major part of the world camera market, so if camera companies cannot sell but a very small part of what they develop for the future in the USA, and the rest of the world remains in a recession; this rejection of mirrorless system cameras could be a very large loss to camera companies other than Canon and Nikon who have been late and put little into their mirrorless system offerings. But I’ll not venture any predictions on how this will play out ahead. Maybe like me, other photo enthusiast will also get tired of lugging a large heavy bag of gear around. When I changed the mirrorless systems were not available, but a very small but high resolution Sigma DP1 replaced my dSLR. Would I have chosen one of the new mirrorless system cameras instead? Probably not as the cameras that interest me currently are the Fuji X series, a step in a slightly different technology direction. Photographers won’t follow any trends set for them, it’s just like trying to herd cats.
What I wished for in days past before digital, was the time and resources to go out and make photographs with my 8x10 inch field camera.