Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Shifts Coming To The Camera Industry?

There has been a lot of news in the camera industry as of late, some good, and some bad. In recent weeks Nikon and Sony have lost the ability to produce some key consumer products (APS-C sensor cameras) due to flooding in Thailand, and it is unlikely that normal production of these products will start again until March next year. Sony has a slight advantage in that they keep larger amounts of stock on hand, but that will likely not be enough to hold them through the holiday season. Nikon is likely to suffer far more from this loss, they don't keep as much stock on hand, but they are attempting to shift production elsewhere to help mitigate the losses. At the same time both companies saw a gain in market share over the last quarter. In Nikon's case most of those sales appeared to come from increased sales of Coolpix cameras, while sales of NEX cameras boosted Sony's position. It will be interesting to see how the mixed reviews of the Nikon 1 system will effect Nikon's sales figures in the future.

In the bad news department, it looks like Olympus is in big trouble, due to some bad investments that were  hidden by using purchases of other companies to cover up the losses. For the camera industry this means that the once "open" micro four thirds format shared between Olympus and Panasonic may in the near future become a Panasonic only operation. Speaking of Panasonic, the recently introduced DMC-GX1 looks to be their answer to the Olympus E-P3. If things go badly for Olympus in the weeks ahead, Panasonic may not have any competition though. From my point of view the Panasonic GX1 is the better of the two products, but we'll have to wait and see what reviewers have to say about this new 16MP M4/3s camera.