Nikon gets 'serious' with mirrorless cameras

Nikon is planning a mirrorless camera to rival those from competitors Sony and Canon.

March 14, 2017

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Nikon is planning a mirrorless camera to rival those from competitors Sony and Canon.

The Canon EOS M5 was the company's first serious mirrorless camera, and now Nikon is planning its own (Source: Canon)

Mirrorless cameras have recently gone from unique, niche products to serious professional tools. Not all photographers are won over by mirrorless systems, still preferring DSLR cameras, but the switch may be as inevitable as the one from film to digital cameras. Now, Nikon is reportedly working on "serious" mirrorless cameras. The company already has some on the market, but they have small sensors that made them inferior to products from competitors.

This move had to come eventually. Mirrorless cameras are getting more popular. Sony is a dominant brand in the market. Canon just launched its EOS M5, a serious DSLR alternative. Last year, Hasselblad announced a 50MP mirrorless camera, the first medium-format DSLM camera on the market.

The rise of DSLMs comes as more affordable point-and-shoot cameras are struggling. The value of the compact point-and-shoot camera market declined 28 percent in 2016, according to market research group GfK. Volume crashed 38 percent.

In some areas, mirrorless cameras are already flourishing. In Southeast Asia, sales volume rose 45 percent to 421,000 units and the value of the market increased 51 percent to $287 million. GfK defined Southeast Asia as Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand and the Philippines.

The biggest impact on the compact point-and-shoot camera market is smartphones. Many mobile phone cameras are good enough for many consumers. Younger buyers looking for better pictures than what a smartphone can offer are typically going to the up-market. They are willing to spend a little more on a good DSLM, which have the option to change lenses while still being smaller than DSLRs. It is a good thing Nikon is getting into the market now before it faces a fate similar to Kodak.

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