Trends Go With Mirrorless, Mega-Zoom, Waterproof
By TWICE Staff On Aug 22 2011 - 4:01am
TWICE:What have been your most important products
so far this year?
David Lee, Nikon:
For us, obviously d-SLRs continue
to drive the marketplace, and Nikon and another
brand [Canon], continue to dominate the market, with
a little over 92 percent of the marketplace. So, for us,
that is a great place to be with the category growing
like it is, and we continue to innovate with new products
and plan on continuing that and continuing our
promotions within that category.
And, again, the other place that we really see a big
win going forward is in long-zoom models.
I think the NPD numbers will show that the over-
$400 price point category in point-and-shoots is still
growing. And while the overall market is down, there
are segments that continued to perform well, and within
that, I think, companies will have to compete against
each other for market share, which actually ends up
being a big win for the consumer.
Our No. 1-selling d-SLR is the D3100 right now. We
have a No. 3 spot with D5100, and D7000 is in the top
10 also. So we are in a very lucky position right now.
Stefan Guelpen, Panasonic:
It’s kind of surprising,
but in the advanced point-and-shoot camera segment,
it is manual control and high-end optics. That
is a great business for us. It’s growing and still has
high ASPs. Our relationship with Leica, through which
we build lenses to their standards, helps us tremendously.
Long-zoom point-and-shoots, such as the ZS8
and ZS10, are our top-selling models. And last but not
least, our mirrorless [Micro Four Thirds] cameras have
been very successful in the first quarter, particularly
the smaller form factor GF 2.
Peter Ewen, Olympus:
Speaking to the photo specialty
dealers, to have $400 to $500 point-and-shoot
product from most of the manufacturers this year has
been a welcome surprise. There is something that’s really
unique about each one of them. Our XZ 1, with 4x
zoom f/1.8 lens, has been very appealing to the photo
Another sector that has always done well for us is
waterproof, weather-proof, shock-proof, freeze-prooftype
models from $200 to $400. The key to success
here is in how you get the word out to consumers.
We were happy to see that 10 percent of the interchangeable-
lens camera market has swung over
to compact-system cameras. As far as the high-end
$400, $500 point-and-shoot cameras, we find ourselves
in an aided selling environment, where the
counter person now can actually explain the benefits
of a high-performance point-and-shoot compared to
an interchangeable-lens camera.
One of the key benefits of a compact-system camera
is the better image sensor. And, again, if you can
speak to why bigger is better for quality, in an aided
environment, even at the Best Buy
level, then you’ve got a win/win
situation with the consumer.
I agree. We clearly
see that there is a pull from highend
point-and-shoot into the mirrorless category.
Again, manual control, better optics and interchangeable
lenses are the key advantages. What the high-end
enthusiast is looking for is a small form factor, so we
see this being purchased in addition to a d-SLR, so
it’s a point-and-shoot, kind of, for the higher-end consumer.
John Carlson, sales and marketing senior manager,
Our most important cameras have to be
our d-SLRs and our waterproof cameras. In d-SLRs,
we still have a lot of entrants into d-SLRs because of
the color options that we’re offering. People are proud
of their different color d-SLRs. These cameras have a
higher ASP but our K-5 has also done well based a lot
on the reviews it has gotten, and, you know, the ratings
of the sensor, which is one of the top-rated sensors
with some reviewers.
For the waterproof camera category, our engineers
have done a great job evolving that feature over 12
generations. It’s continued to become more ruggedized
and look more like an adventure-proof camera
from the design and color standpoint. We have worked
with outdoor brands to find which colors were going to
resonate with the outdoor market.
Mark Sherengo, Pentax:
And I would just like to
add the 645D has been tremendous for us and the
brand in bringing technology to the market. It fills in
the gap that’s not really being filled by anybody else.
Liz Cutting, NPD:
D-SLRs with 1080p video recording
capability are just hitting it full on. People are
certainly taking a lot more photos than they are video,
but it seems that it’s the ability to use it if they need it
that’s important. In the meantime, we see camcorders
lagging month over month. Even pocket camcorders
are fading a bit.
As for mirrorless hybrids, we have seen consumers,
absolutely, saying, “For now, I am a d-SLR owner, and
this is going to be my second camera.”
The potential is there that it
would take sales away from more
advanced point-and-shoot sales.
And, if you look at the numbers,
we are not seeing any reduction in d-SLR sales, so it
seems for now that some d-SLR consumers are starting
to consider mirrorless hybrids as second cameras
as opposed to an advanced point-and-shoot. But both
are healthier sectors than lower-end cameras
Some higher-end echelon consumers are saying
they are reluctant to buy a mirrorless point-and-shoot
camera today because, “It is not my brand.” This tells
us there’s certainly more potential for growth going
forward if others choose to enter the market, and that’s
a tide that will lift all boats.
The other side of that market is women and moms
because we’re seeing that moms are saying, “This is
great. I love it. It’s small. I can take pictures it’s faster.
I could put in my purse,” and then they get to the price
part and they are like, “Oh, sorry.” So there’s going to
be some magical price point where you will start to see
the next generation of consumer moving up. Certainly,