This is of course all speculation. The Sony A7s do take off and at one point Canon and Nikon will have to throw their hats in the game. Newcomers, gear nerds, enthusiasts and professional photographers, they’re all showing genuine interest for full-frame mirrorless. But neither Canon nor Nikon Rumors has said anything so far about an upcoming full-frame mirrorless camera system.
They have the (probably soon to be updated) Canon EOS M and Nikon 1 systems, both with their own pros and cons — portable, light and fast, but not equipped with a sensor of the size that’s possible today, as Sony proves.
Canon and Nikon seem to be borderline contemptuous when it comes to serious mirrorless. They will have to take this new market seriously, you can hold on to your DSLR pride only for so long. The question is not if they gonna follow suit, the question is when and how.
Right, they’re huge companies and risk-averse. Or do we see another Kodak? Film was Kodak’s bread and butter, DSLRs are Canon and Nikon’s. No signs of panic yet, but both companies recently revised their earning calls downward, and that might just be a new beginning.
As of now, Canon and Nikon’s DSLR sales still account for over 70% of the global interchangeable lens camera market. Once mirrorless seems like it’s a strong financial move (the optical division of Sony, Fujifilm, Olympus, Panasonic and Samsung are all losing money), they might then commit and conquer that market.
Their rationale? For the moment, the only thing mirrorless has going for it is size. DSLRs just work. They are rugged and reliable, ergonomics are proven and autofocus and tracking leave mirrorless out in the rain.
Let’s cannibalize profitable DSLRs first by venturing into new emerging markets, and once that cash cow’s dead, well then you still have millions of photographers bound by their legacy lenses with native mounts.
If Canon and Nikon see the time is ripe to convince their established markets to not jump ship, but to buy into a new, serious, mirrorless system, well then we gonna see Canon and Nikon mirrorless, allowing them to kill two birds with one stone: keep their own flock happy while forcing them to upgrade.
Sony, Olympus, Fujifilm & Co. doing all the innovation won’t be gone by then. But their trials and errors make it a whole lot easier for CaNikon to come up with what the market will want.
It’s a business point of view that makes a whole lot of sense. I think we’ll see them take first baby steps within a year, and once the element of “differentiation within the market” is gone with Canon and Nikon eating the smaller innovators’ lunch, then we’re off to a new innovation cycle and these smaller players push ahead.
Since electronics become more and more important than optics, especially Sony is naturally in a good position.