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Current Events

Sony Sees Impressive 66% Increase In Mirrorless Sales Over The Last Year

By Anthony Thurston on June 4th 2015

Sony has continued to widen its lead as the dominant mirrorless camera maker, increasing its mirrorless sales an impressive 66% over the last year. Over that same period, worldwide DSLR sales dropped another 15%, while mirrorless gained 16.5%.


This is all according to the latest NPD Group metrics, released just this morning. “Growth in the mirrorless segment shows this new technology and form factor are resonating with consumers,” said Ben Arnold, executive director, The NPD Group. “Going forward, mirrorless will continue to command a greater share of the interchangeable lens camera category.”

[REWIND: How Sony Stole My Heart From Fuji]

An interesting piece of the puzzle, and a great sign for Sony, is how they are resonating with younger -more active- photographers, which represent the largest demographic ditching the mirror for Sony mirrorless cameras. This echos the overall ILC metrics in demographics, showing that most people picking up an ILC for the first time are in their late twenties or early thirties.


The latest data shows that over 11% of first time ILC buyers are under the age of 35, up from 54% approximately two years ago.  Key motivating factors for their photography include travel and family, which fit well with Sony’s mirrorless offerings like the A6000.

Overall, it’s apparent that the DSLR market is in decline, while the Mirrorless market continues to grow. Sony will continue to be a leader in the mirrorless market, while other strong brands like Fuji, Panasonic, and Olympus will improve as well. The interesting piece here will be when Canon and Nikon finally wakes up and realize their current mirrorless strategies are not ideal.

But until that day, the mirrorless market is Sony’s and they are taking advantage of their position in this growing camera segment.

What are your thoughts on this news out of Sony? Do you think they can continue to be the top mirrorless brand as more and more impressive mirrorless offerings come to the table? Leave a comment below and let us know what you think!

[via Sony]

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Anthony Thurston is a photographer based in the Salem, Oregon area specializing in Boudoir. He recently started a new project, Fiercely Boudoir to help support the growing boudoir community. Find him over on Instagram. You may also connect with him via Email.

Q&A Discussions

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  1. Holger Foysi

    The topic speaks of sales. The graph shows “dollar growth”. All we can read off it is that there has been a strong decline in revenue followed by a growth in revenue. We don’t know from what level the decline started and wether this growth in revenue is due to more sales (shipping numbers as far as I know don’t support it) or due to more sales of high-end cameras bringing in more money despite the overall market shrinking or stalling. For me the headline is thus misleading.

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  2. robert garfinkle

    I was looking at a a6000 yesterday – something to throw in my pocket. and, I don’t like sony, yet looked at it as a lil-snapper w /11fps capability. I am not impressed with their overall IQ. the mirrorless aspect has very small interest in my book at this point – as the a6000 still had a significant noise to it when snappin’ not too dissimilar to the D810 ( IMO ).

    Maybe, Someday… (Saved by Zero :) )

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  3. John Williams

    Mirrorless is the future but I still want to delay it(future) a little while longer because I’m sorry, the D7100/7200 beats any midrange mirrorless camera out there(especially the A6000). And the battery life are horrible(minus the grip).

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    • J. Dennis Thomas

      Mirrorless is not the “future”. Mirrorless is PART of the future, along with other types of cameras.

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  4. Yankel Adler

    They have the only Mirrorless ff (not including leica)
    can’t beat that

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  5. J. Dennis Thomas

    Maybe Sony’s growth in mirrorless sales also has something to do with the fact that they aren’t releasing many new DSLRs and also the fact they make pretty bad DSLR’s?

    Always so quick to jump to the conclusion that mirrorless cameras are taking over that you overlook other mitigating factors.

    For example, Leica’s sale of mirrorless cameras last year was about 95%. That only proves that Leica only makes one camera with a mirror.

    Yes, mirrorless cameras are becoming more popular, but you can’t take every stat you read and use it to prove a theory that mirrorless is dominating without adding in other factors. We get it, you love mirrorless cameras. But you’re not seeing the forest for the trees.

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    • barbara farley

      I have to stick up for my a99. It is fabulous.

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    • barbara farley

      I love the mirrors cameras. I have an a6000 but I would give it up in a heartbeat if I had to choose between it and my a99. It rocks with a tiny lens on it. It slips into my handbag and travels light. But if I need a big gun, a 70-200 1.8, it’s not so teeny tiny anymore so where is the gain?

      It’s a wait and see game for me. My camera body will not last forever and the mirrors offerings are going to continue to get better.

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    • J. Dennis Thomas

      Well, maybe saying Sony’s DSLRs suck is overstating it, but they aren’t and have been a major player in the SLR game.

      My point is that many people are so intent on making mirrorless appear to be doing much better in the market then they really are by interpreting the data to fit their needs.

      There’s nothing wrong with mirror less cameras. I have no great hate for them. I use the original mirrorless camera everyday. But it gets really boring to keep reading the same “mirrorless is killing the DSLR” article over and over.

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    • J. Dennis Thomas

      Edit: aren’t and never have been major player in the DSLR game

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    • Dave Haynie

      Sony was never that competitive in the DSLR market. They failed to make much of an impact with the original updated Minolta models. I think they were smart in switching over to their EVF pellicle-mirror alternatives (SLT, was it), but that didn’t grab much traction, either (as the still-owner of a basically retired Canon EOS Rt, I still have a soft spot for pellicle mirror cameras). But the low prices on their mirrorless was helping them grap some well-needed share, and being the first to launch a full-frame mirrorless pushed them over the top. Given ages of camcorder experience and the fact they make about 40% of all camera sensors, it would be kind of wrong if Sony couldn’t have managed some success.

      Does this mean that mirrorless is actually going to live up to its hype in 2015? Given the relatively slow sales in past years versus the press attention, etc. I wasn’t sure it would ever get there.

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    • Dave Haynie

      I do kind of wonder about the appeal of mirrorless when it’s not about size. I love my Olympus system, which is significantly smaller than my Canon system, but there are conditions that demand the Canon full-frame.

      So I could switch over to a Sony system and get full frame and mirrorless together, but that doesn’t make things smaller. After all, the size of a full frame lens is determined by its aperture, focal length, some design decisions, and range if it’s a zoom. But there’s no inherent size advantage for a Sony FF lens versus a Canon FF lens — they’re going to be about the same size and weight, on average.

      That just leaves the body. The A7II weighs 19.52oz , while my Canon 6D weights 27.16 oz, so a 7.64oz difference. But here’s the thing.. the A7II, like all mirrorless, uses much more battery power. And yet, to keep the body compact, Sony’s batter is just a bit more than half the capacity of the Canon’s. The Sony is CPIA rated at 270 shots, the Canon at 1050 shots. And sure, your mileage will vary, and it’ll vary more with the mirrorless… but in both directions, depending on what you do with it. So realistically, I’m going to need a battery grip on that Sony just have half the number of shots I’m used to. So that’s 8.8oz more for the grip, and more for two batteries. Sure, if you don’t shoot much, you don’t need that, but I certainly would.

      In fact, given that the A7II is only slightly faster than the 6D on burst shots, it’s probably going to be a similar shooting behavior. I know I do with my OM-D E-M5II… in fact, probably a bit more, since with IBIS on, it’s also a bit faster than the 6D, but with a fast SD card, the buffer never fills up — it’s just 5fps shooting forever. And yeah, that OM-D has a battery grip on it, two batteries and the EVF set to shut down instantly when you take your eye away, it can get over 750 shots on a pair of fresh ones.

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    • adam sanford

      I am curious to see if there was any sort of strategic limits to the SoNikon sensor deal. I wonder if there’ s a rider in the deal to the tune of “Nikon may license Sony FF sensors at these terms *provided they only go into cameras with mirror boxes*…”

      It would sort of divvy up the world into: best sensors in an SLR go for Nikon, best sensors in mirrorless go for Sony.

      (yes, this is coming from a Canon guy. :-P)

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  6. Peter Nord

    Let’s see, first time buyers are young. Bet the only camera they had was a cell phone. Not many old guys were first time buyers. Could it be that they bought their first cameras when they were young? Does this tell us much more than young people don’t have much stuff, therefore are first time buyers of about everything. Looks like they’re buying ILC cameras when they have young kids.

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  7. Liam Doran

    I mainly shoot action sports so I’ll probably be one of the last holdouts for mirrorless. We used a Sony A7 during a 17 day shoot in Italy but mostly as a “run and gun” and BTS camera…IQ was good but it was super quirky to use.

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  8. adam sanford

    Sports/wildlife/birders will never give up their mirrors, but eventually I think everyone else *will*. I strongly prefer an OVF, but I’m sure I will eventually give it up as mirrorless improves it’s responsiveness, AF and battery life.

    The number one thing that will hasten that transition is CaNikon worrying enough about losing business to mirrorless to actually *try* to compete. Both are terrified of undercutting SLR sales and their massive investment in FF glass, but eventually, I think they will have to commit their resources to winning over the growing mirrorless market.

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    • Dustin Baugh

      I agree totally and the percentage of dedicated Sports/Wildlife/Birders is so small that doesn’t leave a lot of room for DSLRs to sell to. Meanwhile all the casual photographers will find the mirrorless cameras are geared perfectly to their more widely varying tastes.
      It’s the situation of something that does everything well, vs. something that only does one thing but does it perfectly. Professionals that specialize in one thing will stick to that perfect DSLR; but the majority of photographers will goto the one camera that does pretty well at everything else.

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    • Ralph Hightower

      I will never give up film as long as it’s available and not prohibitively expensive.

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  9. Thomas Horton

    As Mirrorless cameras become better can more capable along with their advantage of size and weight, I am not surprised that Mirrorless cameras will become dominant for a large demographic in the future.

    There will always be a market for DSLRs, just like there is a market for Large Format sheet film cameras, but that market will be small and perhaps reduced to one manufacturer.

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    • Brian McCue

      I agree, seems like the mirrorless cameras are rapidly gaining market share and the technology is advancing just as quickly

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    • Dustin Baugh

      I don’t know about only 1 manufacturer but I do agree there will be massive re-distribution of users since Mirrorless’s benefits sit it right in the middle of demographic of photographers. As the differences between the two fall DSLRs will be forced into niche markets.

      Point and shoots will always be the majority of the market (assuming cell phones don’t count), but mirrorless steals from DSLRs and heavily impacts the traditional “bridge” cameras putting them right in the middle of the market segment. There’s just no denying how well positioned they are.

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