Mirrorless Cameras Cut Into Canon, Nikon

Mirrorless cameras take a bite out of Canon and Nikon markets - by Samsung

Figures from Bloomberg indicate that Sony, Panasonic and Samsung may be scoring market share gains from Canon and Nikon with their mirrorless camera models. The trend is most obvious in Japan where Canon and Nikon’s combined share of that market has fallen an eye-popping 35%.

The losses for Canon and Nikon have been a boom for Sony, as their market share has doubled.  Panasonic and Samsung also scored gains, but not as significant.

Mirrorless cameras have a smaller physical frame and lower weight, while keeping the larger sensor sizes and interchangeable lenses.  The big chips behind good glass are getting results comparable to larger DSLRs at closer to half the weight of their bigger DSLR cousins.

If you’re tempted to dismiss the trend as one confined to Japan, keep in mind that the smart phone and tablet trend also started there before spreading to more distant shores.

No surprise that rumors have surfaced that Canon is coming out with mirrorless models in 2012, it’s not much of a stretch to think Nikon is engaged in similar efforts.

It’s my opinion that Panasonic and Olympus stumbled with the 4/3 sensor format.  I just don’t see professionals investing in that format when full size and APS-C sensors are superior and proven technologies.  For consumer cams, it’s less of an issue because the average buyer doesn’t really understand the difference in chip sizes.

As the trend in SLRs moves to mirrorless, expect Canon and Nikon to claw back some of the market share lost to Sony.  But I don’t expect to see any significant growth from Panasonic or Olympus until they abandon 4/3.

Panasonic’s New FX90 Goes Wireless

Panasonic FX90
The Panasonic FX90 incorporates 802.11b/g/n wireless capabilities

Panasonic has introduced an upgraded feature set for its Lumix line with the introduction of the FX90.

Aimed primarily at users who want to share their photos online but want better quality images that a smartphone can produce.  The most prominent feature of the FX90 is WiFi capability in conjunction with a new service called Lumix Club, a cloud-based service accessible via smartphone and your PC, as well as posting pictures directly to Facebook, Picasa, or Flickr and movies directly to YouTube.

The built-in Wifi capabilities of the FX90 allows users to skip buying a Eye-Fi WiFi capable SD card and provide overall better integration of the wireless feature set.  The 802.11b/g/n internal capability of the camera allow it to connect to home networks as well as any WIFI-capable iOS or Android device.

Inside the FX90 boasts a 12.1 MP 1/2.33 inch CCD image sensor with 5x optical zoom and true optical image stabilization.  The effective zoom range is 24mm on the wide end to 120mm on the zoom.  Because the image stabilization is optical, Panasonic included an Active Mode option which provides correction even while shooting video.

Menu options are controlled via the 3 in LCD touch panel on the back, along with physical controls for zoom, shutter and movie recording.

Pricing and availability will be announced in early September.  Panasonic’s Lumix Club is expected to go online the first week of September as well.

New compact f/2.2, 1080p HD, Lumix DMC-FX700 with touchscreen from Panasonic

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX700

This is starting to look like a Panasonic news blog. It looks like Panasonic accidentally leaked details of 4 new cameras on its tech support website, and has now pulled those pages, but they are still available in google’s cache. I previously covered news of the new f/2.0 pro digicam LX5 (replacement for the LX3) and
two new 24x super-zooms.

The new Lumix DMC-FX700 has some hot features including a 3″ touchscreen, a huge and bright f/2.2 aperture, full 1080p HD video, and blazing fast continuous shooting up to 10fps.

The FX700 looks like a replacement for the FX580, but with 1080p video instead of 720p, a wider aperture (f/2.2 instead of f/2.8), addition of a touchscreen, and faster continuous shooting. See a full comparison of the FX700 vs FX580 at Snapsort.

The FX700 looks like a good competitor to the Canon S90 and an alternative to Panasonic’s own LX3, if you’re looking for a small camera with a wide aperture. See FX700 vs S90 and FX700 vs LX3.

New super-zooms from Panasonic: Lumix DMC-FZ100 and DMC-FZ40

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ40
Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ100

Along with the leak of the LX5, Panasonic has also accidentally leaked news of two new super-zooms, both featuring huge 24x zoom, the Lumix DMC-FZ40 (aka DMC-FZ45 in europe) and the Lumix DMC-FZ100.

These look like replacements for the DMC-FZ35 and DMC-FZ28, both with only 18x zoom. Both of the new super-zooms shoot RAW which is a great feature for those looking to correct white balance or fix exposure in post production, and shoot HD video.

Key differences:

  • The FZ100 shoots full 1080p video, whereas the FZ40 only shoots 720p
  • The FZ100 has a higher resolution screen (460k dots vs 230k dots), but, the FZ40 features a touchscreen, which is the first ever super-zoom with a touch screen we’ve seen
  • The FZ100 also shoots stills at a blazing 10fps, it looks like the FZ40 will do as fast as 6fps perhaps with some resolution limitations

Detailed comparisons at Snapsort:

Also, checkout the full lineup of Panasonic super-zooms.

New Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX5 confirmed

Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX5 Black
Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX5 White

Panasonic has leaked details of the Lumix DMC-LX5. This is the much anticipated replacement of the Lumix DMC-LX3.

Like the LX3, the new LX5 features a larger than average sensor (8x6mm rather than the standard 6x4mm), a very wide aperture of f/2.0 and 720p HD video (now with AVCHD).

The LX5 has a few key improvements:

  • More zoom: 3.8x (24-90mm) vs 2.5x (24-60mm)
  • Faster burst (6fps with some limitations vs 2.5fps, even up to 10fps at lower resolutions)
  • Uses the new AVCHD codec (in addition to Motion JPEG)
  • ISO up to 12,800 (vs 6,400) which hopefully indicates some image quality improvements in the new sensor

I expect it will retail initially for about USD $500, and will be available in both black and white in the US. See Panasonic’s specs page for more details.

Here are some preliminary details about the LX5 at Snapsort:

Also, you can browse other pro digicams at Snapsort. This may mean we’ll see a D-LUX 5 from Leica, since the D-LUX 4 is Leica’s version of the LX3.