Canon enters the CILC market with the EOS M camera

Ed Lee
Jul 23, 2012

In September 2011, DSLR powerhouse Nikon entered the compact interchangeable lens camera (CILC) market with its 1 Series lineup. The question at that time was, “When would Canon respond?” Well, the other shoe has finally dropped, and Canon has announced its much-anticipated EOS M camera.

Canon EOS M interchangeable lens camera

The camera is small and compact, lightweight, and incorporates a new EOS M lens mount. Other features include an 18 MP APS-C size CMOS sensor, a 3-inch LCD touch screen, and high ISO sensitivity in both still and video modes (25600 and 12800,  respectively). Alas, there is no built-in electronic viewfinder or flash ($149 option). A 22 mm f/2 lens ships with the camera and an 18 — 55 mm f/3.5-5.6 IS lens is a $299 option. Current Canon DSLR owners will be happy to know that a $199 mount adapter will allow the full line of Canon’s EF and EF-S lens to be used with the new camera. The camera will ship in October at a price of $799.

Compact interchangeable lens cameras have gained widespread market acceptance in Japan, and the EOS M will help Canon regain some of the market share it has lost in the digital interchangeable lens camera (DILC) category. CILCs have seen slower adoption in the U.S. and Western Europe, with a market share only in the low teens. But now that the two market leaders in DSLR cameras offer compact interchangeable lens cameras, the market dynamics will surely shift.

Nikon’s 1 Series and associated advertising campaigns have raised awareness, but Canon’s entry (and marketing budget) will provide the stamp of approval that the CILC market needs to take it to new heights. The Canon name is one of the strongest and most trusted brands in the digital camera market. We expect that the EOS M will find buyers and will provide a nice boost to the interchangeable lens camera market this year.

Given the $799 price point of the camera, however, the shift to CILCs may not occur as quickly as desired. Prices today range from $500 to almost $1,400, so the EOS M is among the mid-priced CILC products. It is worth noting that the EOS M is the same price at the Canon EOS T3i DSLR kit and the PowerShot G1 X compact camera with a large sensor.  One challenge that lies ahead of Canon is positioning its DSLR, CILCs, and compact P&S cameras clearly in the minds of consumers, so that they know which product is best for their needs.

One major issue that has still not been resolved for this market segment is the name of the category. In many of the news stories written about the EOS M, the term “mirrorless” was commonly used. InfoTrends has shown before in previous blogs that consumers do not relate well with this term and for this reason we continues to use the CILC terminology.

For those interested in this market segment, InfoTrends has launched a multi-client study on the digital interchangeable lens camera market that will take an in-depth look at market dynamics and consumers behaviors. Click here for more details.

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