These Numbers Seem Terrible

For an avid photographer, these numbers look really bad.  I mean, red shows negatives and negatives are bad.  In this and subsequent analysis, we’ll see if it’s really as bad as it seems.

In the meantime, negative camera production numbers show fewer units being built.  Ouch.  I’m a photographer and I don’t want that.

Camera production over the years 2012-2013.

Camera production over the years 2012-2013.

Red values - For 2013, the total production was down some 20%, but let’s break it down more granularly.  Fully 44% fewer cameras with built-in lenses were manufactured than in 2014.  Yes, these are mostly point-and-shoots, but it also includes fine prosumer models such as Canon’s G series.  

This is a huge decrease!  Of course we all know what’s happening in this category.  Mobile phones, especially the explosion of smart phones with decent cameras, are eating into the built-in-lens market.  Essentially every mobile phone has evolved into a pretty good point-and-shoot camera.

However, production of models which are even more prosumer or pro oriented, did not decrease nearly as much.  These are the cameras with interchangeable lenses (ICL).  SLR production decreased 19%.  Production of cameras with ICLs which are not SLRs, such as the mirrorless models, decreased 25%.

No surprise;  it seems the manufacturers see more of a market for cameras with interchangeable lenses (ICL) than they do for the point-and-shoots.  Further, I guess we can infer that mirrorless technology hasn’t caught up to the level of SLRs.  More on that in another analysis…

As a photography and camera enthusiast, is there any silver lining to the camera production cloud?

If we examine the two-year history even more granularly, production percentages by type of camera show something encouraging for the ICL categories.  They’re making up a greater percentage of the camera market, increasing from 21% to 28% over these two years.  Even non-reflex, including mirrorless, eked out a relative 1% increase in a poor market.

Perhaps we're watching the market shift from point-and-shoot to prosumer.  Perhaps a couple more years will see the point-and-shoot shrink to virtually nothing, especially as mobile phone cameras offer better and better IQ?

More on this and related topics in future posts...