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Winds of Change – are large cameras headed for oblivion?

If you sniff the winds of change, it is likely that you are detecting that camera sales are changing in all categories much faster than we anticipated just a short time back.

The Panasonic Lumix GH3 - enthusiast DSLR 'category killer'?
The Panasonic Lumix GH3 – enthusiast DSLR ‘category killer’?

If we look at the SLR category, it is unlikely that there’ll be oblivion or anything like it in the near future, however there is an unmistakable feeling that we on the edge of radical change over the next couple of years that we can barely comprehend at this point in the cycle.

Driving these changes will be many things. For example, an ageing population demanding
lighter equipment, particularly for travel; pros who are sick of lugging 15KG of equipment
costing a small fortune, for an ever-diminishing return on pro work; the female customers
who hate heavy gear, too much lens changing, and big bags (now 50 percent of DSLR buyers); smaller budgets in a worldwide changing demographic which amounts to less money around (even for governments); a hunger for innovative new designs, particularly from the younger generation; the need or desire for less complexity, and so forth.

Leading this change, may be cameras like the new Panasonic GH3 – a highly engineered
lightweight mirrorless design capable of eye-popping professional results. You can be certain this is one camera that everyone will be watching closely, particularly Nikon and Canon, who are far behind in this new era in the camera design development cycle and simply can’t afford to be.

All of the majors missed the astounding action cam success story driven by GoPro, and lost out on hundreds of millions of dollars, while they watched over diminishing sales of conventional camcorders to where it is now almost a dead category.

The next two to five years will certainly lead to amazing changes and the right moves on this big game of chess will be essential for ongoing success.
– Reader contribution

COMMENT: I wasn’t aware of the high regard in which the GH3 is universally held until I followed up on the contribution above. Maybe Panasonic needs to look at its marketing communications…Check out the award list here.

Both Nikon and Canon’s contributions so far to the mirrorless category seem to be carefully avoiding looking like DSLRs, while the cameras which really turn the heads of consumers, such as the  Olympus OM-D and the Panasonic GH3, benefit in appeal and possibly performance by following that familiar form factor. Canon and Nikon are tying themselves in knots trying to invent new categories of customers rather than accept the uncomfortable fact that to be more successful in mirrorless cameras they need to deliver real alternatives to the market they dominate – DSLRs. Shades of Kodak and digital…




  1. James Madelin James Madelin June 6, 2013

    In answer to your title question “Winds of Change – are large cameras headed for oblivion?”… Yes. Yes they are. I’ve been saying it for a couple of years now. The canary in the goldmine breathed its last breath in 2010. It’s going to continue to be a substantial market for a few years yet, but one that’s going to start disappearing faster and faster. – James

  2. trendsetter trendsetter June 14, 2013

    Yes the camera headed for oblivion…todays the cameras have a goes up against the RED range of cameras, however the models considers its full work-flow encounter from catch to theatre provides a much better encounter.It’s going to keep be a significant industry for a few decades yet, but one that is going to begin vanishing quicker and quicker.

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