2017 Camera Wrap-Up – Where Have all the Cameras Gone…

Carrie Sylvester
Dec 22, 2017

Where have all the cameras gone….

For the past several years we have done a year-end round up of the cameras that were introduced. It’s always an interesting exercise to look at what features and technologies camera vendors have chosen to feature in their products.

This year, the list of features was long but the number of camera models was not. You may think – is it just me or were there not as many new cameras introduced? Well you’d be right to think there were fewer cameras coming to the U.S. market. There were 33 new camera models that came to market in the U.S. since January 1, 2017 – 24 fewer than in 2016. In 2016 the US market saw 57 models introduced, 72 models in 2015 and 98 models in 2014. (Source: Keypoint Intelligence – InfoTrends U.S. Camera Model Tracker**).

There were still plenty of groovy cameras to choose from for those who were looking to buy their first or upgrade/replace an older camera. We have broken out the 2017 camera introductions by popular features and functions, including Wi-Fi connectivity and mirrorless.

Mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras (MILCs) displace Point & Shoots as #1 camera type introduced

In 2016, point and shoot (P&S) models were still the most popular camera type introduced, with 49% (28 models) of the new models. This year camera vendors introduced 12 P&S models, only 36% of the total, which is down from 42% in 2015 and way down from 71% in 2014.

MILCs cameras made up 39% of the new introductions in 2017. This is up from 28% in 2016 and 20% in 2015. Canon, Fujifilm, Leica, Panasonic, and Sony all introduced more than one mirrorless model. Notably missing from the MILC introductions was Nikon.

MILCs have been in the market for nearly 10 years but and have seen a steady, albeit slow, adoption curve since their entrance into the camera industry. These more compact cameras offer a solution for the photographer that wants the ability to swap out lenses, advanced features and functions but want a smaller/lighter camera body which a mirrorless generally offers.

Wi-Fi for All (well almost)

The best way for a traditional camera to compete with the ever-present smartphone is to make taking and sharing photos more convenient. Keypoint Intelligence – InfoTrends has been recommending for years that connectivity is the key to convenient sharing and the industry has listened. The number of Wi-Fi enabled cameras introduced has steadily grown. In 2015, 78% of cameras featured built-in Wi-Fi, 84% in 2016 but this year, all but one model, has built-in Wi-Fi. That’s 97% connected! The only model that isn’t connected this year is from Ricoh, the WG-50 a 16 MB ruggedized point & shoot model. Next year we think 100% of all cameras introduced will be connected.

Megapixels Still Matter

Although the megapixel wars are technically over, the 2016 camera market is dominated by higher resolution models. The resolution category topped out at 46 MP (Nikon D850) and the lowest was 12 MP (Olympus Tough TG-5). Nearly 73% of the cameras introduced this year were 20+ MP.

Keypoint Intelligence – InfoTrends Opinion

Although the smartphone has become the popular device for everyday and special event photo taking habits for most consumers, there remain pockets of opportunity that exist for cameras. Smartphones, although not traditional photography devices, are introducing people to photography. A budding photographer could have their interest sparked by getting a new smartphone or a cool new photo app.

Although we do believe even fewer models will be introduced next year, Keypoint Intelligence – InfoTrends’ 2017 Mobile Imaging end-user study shows that 26% of smartphone-only owners (don’t own a traditional camera), say that they are planning to buy a camera in the next 2 years.

Cameras will not go away – people still want them! This should be welcome news to the ears of camera vendors. Camera vendors have the chance to build on that interest and cultivate a new group of photo enthusiasts. Most of these people have already been taking pictures with their feature- or smartphone and may be more interested in stepping up to a digital camera with advanced features, enhanced image sensors, or the ability to switch lenses.

To learn more about the latest Keypoint Intelligence – InfoTrends digital camera coverage and insights, contact  sales team with questions.

** The vendor/models that are covered in the 2017 Quarterly Model Tracker include Canon, Fujifilm, Leica, Nikon, Olympus, Panasonic, Pentax, Ricoh, and Sony and includes cameras that were introduced up to 12/22/17.

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