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January 01, 2011

Year in Review (Episode #2): Big in Japan (Mirrorless and The Field make gains)

Happy New Year! We now have episode #2 of our "Year in Review" series. BCN Ranking in Japan has published the market shares of the top 20 interchangeable lens cameras in Japan (computer translated) for the calendar year 2010. We should point out that the Japanese market has a mind of its own and what is popular in Japan is not necessarily indicative of what is (or what will be) popular in other markets around the world.

The top 20 cameras account for 88.1% of the total market share in Japan. The percentages mentioned in this post are not normalized, they are with respect to 100% of the market. The remaining 11.9% is not known but the remaining cameras not shown in the top 20 are (obviously) known.

If you like diversity of cameras in the marketplace, these are numbers you are going to like to see. The mirrorless cameras account for 23.2% market share with seven mirrorless cameras in the top 20 from Panasonic (3), Olympus (2) and Sony (2).

Meanwhile, "The Field" (everyone except Canon/Nikon) is having a ...field day, thanks to the popularity of the mirrorless cameras and the Pentax K-x, they have 29.2% market share with nine cameras - the seven mirrorless, along with the K-x and Sony A55 (stock status).

In the "Canon vs Nikon" rivalry, Canon has a 32.1% vs 26.8% lead, despite Nikon having 2-of-the-Top-4 and 3-of-the-Top-7. With 11.9% remaining, and a maximum 1.2% market share per remaining camera, it is theoretically possible (but unlikely) for Nikon to make up the 5.3% margin (D7000, D300s, D700, D3s, D3X). Canon has some unlisted cameras too albeit of the more expensive variety (1DsMk3, 1DMk4, older Kiss).

The "Holy Grail" of SLR photography, 35mm full frame, has just one representative in the Top 20, the Canon 5D Mark II at #14 with 1.6%. We should point out that there were no new 35mmFF DSLRs announced in 2010.

Here is the top ten in chart format, the chart certainly makes the leaders stand out. And rightly so, between them, the top two cameras, the Canon T2i/550D and Nikon D90 have slightly more than 25% of the whole market! The top three cameras have more than 1/3rd of the market, while the Top 5 is slightly under 50%. The Top 7 can survive a ...filibuster. The Top Ten itself has 72.2% market share, so that's quite a top-heavy market. If you want to open a camera kiosk in Japan, these are the ten cameras to carry. In contrast, the Top 20 is 88.1% of the market. With a field of 60+ models, it is quite interesting!

bar chart showing top 10 DSLR/mirrorless cameras in Japan for 2010 per BCNranking

Sony is experiencing a mini-renaissance, and as you can see, none of their three Top 20 cameras are traditional dSLRs. It's the two mirrorless NEXxies and the Alpha A55. Part of that is perhaps that they have a boatload of sub-$1000 Alpha dSLRs, most of which need a microscope to differentiate.

Micro Four Thirds continues to do well, with 15% market share with five Top 20 cameras, and with a few more outside the Top 20 (G10, GH1, GH2, GF2, G1, E-P2, E-PL1s), its total is probably 2-4 points higher.

Pentax has the colorful K-x to thank for its success story. It is the #9 DSLR/iLC overall, and the #6 DSLR.

One interesting point is that the Japanese market gave the Cee Lo Green treatment to the Canon D-Rebel XS aka 1000D aka Kiss F as it is not in the Top 20.

Who is not in the Top 20?
+ Canon 1Ds Mk3, 1D Mk4, XS/1000D/Kiss F
+ Nikon D3x, D3s, D700, D300s, D7000
+ Sony A900, A850, A580, A560, A550, A500, A3XX, A2XX, A450 (not sure if available in Japan)
+ Pentax K-5, K-7, K-r, 645D (don't know if it is included in this segment)
+ Olympus E-5, E-3, E-30, E620, E-P2, E-PL1s
+ Panasonic GH2, GH1, GF2, G10, G1
+ Samsung NX10, NX5, NX100
+ Sigma SD15
+ Leica M9, S2 (don't know if it is included in this segment)
+ don't know if BCNranking classifies Ricoh GXR as DSLR/iLC
+ I am sure I forgot at least one

+ Percentages mentioned are the sum of the Top 20 which accounts for 88.1% of the market. They are raw percentages, they are not normalized. The remaining 11.9% is not shown
+ Please note some of the cameras were released prior to 2010, while others were released during 2010. The ones released prior to 2010 obviously have an advantage since they had been available for purchase for all 365 days

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