May Flowers With Deals

It's common for the camera companies to put gear on sale this time of year. With camera shipments lagging for the first quarter of this year, I expect to see this become a bit more aggressive than usual (see bottom of article).

Canon has savings on cameras [advertiser link; that page has a menu system to all the deals within groups that is useful] up to US$650 (plus a free grip in the case of the 6DM2 and 5DM4), and savings on lenses of up to US$300.

Of note, we get a full frame DSLR under US$1000 (the 6D body), sort of matching what Sony has been doing with the previous generation A7M2. Likewise there are previous generation bargains on the previous 5D model (Mark III). That said, much of Canon's lineup is on sale in some way right now, so it's clear that they're trying to get their volume back up to hit marks. 

Pretty much all of the Fujifilm cameras are on sale [advertising link](other than the X-A5, X-E3, and X-H1), including the medium format GFX50s with a US$1000 discount when bought with a lens. Most of the APS-C lenses have US$50 to US$100 instant rebates on them, as well.

Nikon's discounts include promotions on the D3300, D3400, D5600, D7200, and D7500. In particular, the D7200 body at US$800 should be awful tempting for folk still using a D80, D90, or D7000. The only discounted FX bodies are the D610, D750, and D810, with the first two still having only modest reductions. 

Virtually no Nikkor lenses are on sale. The exceptions being the 55-200mm f4-5.6G DX at US$150, and the Landscape and Macro DX kit with a discount of US$100. I'm a little surprised that Nikon isn't pushing lenses harder, but maybe they're waiting to do that with a separate splash later this spring/early summer.

I get asked all the time about whether someone should switch systems. Well, one thing is very true: you should generally wait for bigger promotions like these. We'll likely have new such promotions in the summer, and then as always the big holiday promotions starting in November.

Now, about those lagging shipments: CIPA numbers for the first quarter of 2018 have mirrorless cameras volume at 93% of last year, DSLR volume at 95%. I noticed that Canon has reduced their ILC market estimate for the year to 11m units, which is a few hundred thousand lower than the original CIPA estimate earlier this year. 

My trailing-year calculations are also now down a couple hundred thousand units, mostly due to the weakness early this year. 

Not to panic. There's a good possibility that we're going to have a very busy second half of year with lots of product introductions centered around Photokina to boost ILC volume. Still, best case is that we've found a bottom to the market somewhere between 11-12m units. That means to grow, any company has to steal market share from someone else. 

Canon is now estimating they'll have 50% of the ILC market share (up from 47%) this year. That means that we have five other major players—Fujifilm, Nikon, Olympus, Panasonic, and Sony—fighting over the remaining 5.5m units. To put that in perspective, Nikon alone had more ILC volume than that as recently as 2014. 

I can't help but think that everyone in Tokyo is trying to figure out how to jockey into a position that nets them profit and growth. For Sony, that was giving up market share to go higher price. But everyone can't do that, and such a tactic has diminishing returns. 

So enjoy the discounts. They won't be the last ;~).

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