Ahhh Eeee Ahhh!

(commentary)

When you’re king of the jungle, all you have to do is let out a primal scream every once in awhile, like Tarzan. Or so it seems. 

Canon’s latest press release has this statement in it: “[the] EOS line of interchangeable-lens digital cameras…has consistently maintained the No. 1 share worldwide in terms of volume within the interchangeable-lens digital camera market for 11 consecutive years from 2003-2013.” (source: Canon survey). 

Yikes. I thought I was good at run-on sentences with bad grammar ;~). And is there any real meat in that statement? What does “No. 1 share” mean? In terms of volume, you know? ;~) Does that mean the most cameras shipped during that time period? Does it mean the most cameras shipped in each of the annual time periods? Does it mean installed based? What the heck does it mean? 

I don’t know, because Canon doesn’t actually say in the press release. I have a question into them to see if they’ll elaborate, but I’m not expecting great illumination on the subject. It actually could have been simple: take the CIPA numbers for each year, then publish the equivalent Canon numbers for each year. Bingo, substantiated claim that can be checked. 

It’s not that CIPA is all that great a stat to start with (it only tracks production and shipments from manufacturers into the distribution chain). But at least it’s a reliable number that everyone agrees on. As it turns out, Nikon is the only camera maker that every quarter publishes their CIPA-equivalent numbers. 

We’re entering into a period where you’re going to hear a lot more numeric claims, often without a lot of clarity. That’s because it’s the year-end for all the camera makers (other than Canon), so they will be publishing information. Typically, information that is favorable to them. So expect some more Tarzan-like screams to be heard. Indeed, we just heard another one this week: Sony claims to be the leading full frame camera maker…in South Korea.  

This is actually one of the things I admire about Nikon. They publish their unit numbers, period. They compare them to CIPA to establish market share. They break out lenses, they break out compacts. And they’ve done this in good years and bad. They tend to disclose initial production run numbers. Nikon doesn’t seem to be as afraid of numbers as many of the other companies. Bravo.

Oh, the other thing about Canon’s press release: 250 million digital cameras have been produced with the Canon name on them. That’s certainly an impressive number, so congratulations are in order. Unfortunately, the year-to-year numbers don’t look so good, thus the switch to cumulative claims, I suspect.

Caveat Quotum.  

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