Sony Just Muscled Its Way to Top Spot for Full-Frame Camera Sales

Sony Just Muscled Its Way to Top Spot for Full-Frame Camera Sales

Latest figures of year-on-year sales released by Japanese website BCN show that for the first time, Sony is the market share leader in Japan when it comes to full-frame cameras, knocking Canon from the top spot.

As reported by Canon Watch, the figures show that based on sales between November 2018 and October 2019, Sony has improved its share of the market from 31.6% to 38%. This pushes Canon into second place, down to 36% from 37.8% the previous year. 

While this is certainly a significant development and keeps Sony on track for its goal of dominating the camera industry by 2021, it’s worth noting that full-frame unit sales are only a small percentage when looking at all full-frame and APS-C DSLR and mirrorless camera sales — just over 10%.

These figures come at a time when Canon and Nikon’s first forays into mirrorless cameras are barely a year old, and truly flagship models are yet to appear. One might expect these figures to change considerably in a year’s time when more firmware updates have been delivered, making Canon and Nikon more appealing, and new models have been brought to market.

Many photographers moved from Canon to Sony because of the potential to adapt lenses, but while this was to Sony’s advantage, it might also mean that customers can switch back just as readily.

What are your thoughts? Will Sony's position continue to expand or will Canon and Nikon stage a comeback over the next 12 months? Leave a comment below.

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55 Comments

When that dark horse pro mirrorless launches, Sony will be forced to add a "Simulate Canon" button to every cam to compete.... :D

dunno why...sony's e-mount glass is top notch, their autofocus is best is the industry, their new EVFs are impeccable, and they've finally addressed the skin tone issues with their latest offerings...all canon has on them at this point are menus, ergos, and touchscreen functionality, all of which sony could easily improve if they felt the pressure...the issues that canon currently have with their mirrorless offerings are not things you can remedy in just one or two product cycles

ANDREW WILDER's picture

Competition is a good thing. I like Sony, but hope this gives Nikon and Canon the kick in the butt they need to bring better cameras to market.

Spy Black's picture

Agreed. While Canon has made no bones about bodies down the road, things are quieter on the Nikon front, although there's no doubt they're working on heavy-duty gear as well. I think the next gen mirrorless may make or break Nikon, Canon will have an easier time of it. We'll see where the dice land.

Im a nikon user and happy with this (although its bs and just pr stuff im certain) as n/c are asleep and feeling too comfortable at the top. Too many half azzed products and high prices. Stop skimping on basic features so you dont canabilize other products n/c

Calling it now: In 10 years Pentax, Olympus and Nikon will be no more (maybe acquired if lucky). Sony, Canon, Panasonic, Fuji, Leica and MF (Phase One, Hasselblad) will remain. I am only really (90+%) sure about Sony, Canon and Leica, though.

Michael Jin's picture

What makes you think Panasonic will make it if Nikon can't?

Because of video. If Panasonic was still-photography focused like Olympus or Nikon I would give them an equally high (actually even higher) chance to exit the business. But I think they will stay in the game because of video.

Rob Davis's picture

I think Canon’s honestly in more danger than Nikon. Nikon is at least still proving it can make professionals happy with the D850. The Z-series is also a perfectly viable option for people not wanting to change systems and demanding mirrorless. Meanwhile Canon has fallen behind with the lackluster 5D IV and R-series. Everyone is getting squeezed on the consumer side and that will only get worse. The survivors will be the ones still making professionals happy. I think Olympus is probably done and Panasonic is on thin ice as well. Just sold their sensor division and the competition has caught up to the GH5 for video. Micro 4/3 enthusiasm is waning. Not sure if the L-mount can save them or not.

I will now accept the hate from Canon users.

I completely agree and am a Canon user.

Canon and Nikon will be around quite a while just from the fortunes invested in lenses but I'd love some shake up. Let some fall out of the market and let others heavily compete for the top spot

I don't disagree with your assessment of lackluster Canon bodies (they make great lenses, though). But I don't base my predictions on that. Canon still has a significantly better hold in the market than other brands (esp. Nikon) and Nikon is falling faster than Canon. Canon also has a better position thanks to video. So based on the business situation I think that Nikon will go first and many former Nikon customers are going to switch to Canon.

David Love's picture

Except for that horrible mjpeg video codec the Mark 4 is a damn good camera. No it doesn't have eye af, pet af and grandma af and is too heavy for most Sony users but I wouldn't trade it in just to be trendy. If you have to chase every little upgrade to get better pics, maybe use the money on photography lessons.

Rob Davis's picture

I think that’s one of their problems. Their high-end cameras are in competition with their cinema cameras while the trend is to provide professional mixed media devices. Nikon always had lackluster video codecs too, but has finally given people solid video options even giving Sony A7’s serious competition. I don’t think anyone will be moved to switch to Nikon, but they’ve at least convinced their users not to switch to Sony. I don’t think Canon has done that yet.

David Love's picture

Nikon is way too late to the video game and Canon can just calm down on the video feature hoarding as most movies I see are shot on Arri Alexa or Red. Was a shame because the dual auto-focus on the Mark 4 is amazing and was amazing before people thought Sony invented it and changed the world by not hoarding features. Problem people will see now is that they won't keep up with that pace of innovation and now they can wait like the rest of us for tiny upgrades.

The only thing Canon made me do was get a GH5 and BMPCC 6K for video and stop depending on my photography camera to be anything more. I use a SmallHD Focus so don't care about the flip out screen, I record external audio so don't care about audio jacks so basically now, I'm shooting how they shoot films and shows. No all in one magic camera needed. But seriously all anyone needs is an iphone cause it does everything magically. (sarcasm)

Rob Davis's picture

Yeah I don’t think anyone is going to shoot a feature film on a Nikon, but it’s enough to keep the wedding photographers from switching. At one time they even claimed to be releasing a firmware update to allow it to output 12-bit ProRes. Sony is still stuck at 8-bit and has noticeable rolling shutter issues. What are your impressions of the build of the Blackmagic Pocket cameras? Any durability issues?

David Love's picture

You would know all about the BMPCC 6K that is amazing if fstoppers didn't ignore it for more Sony and iphone vids. I have a GH5 but like the look of the BM more. Neither have AF for cats so most people will skip it. But if you want awesome video, get a video camera. BRAW is magic.

Black Rock's picture

I kinda agree with your assessment except Canon 5DIV, it's still a nice working camera, but that thing weighs a ton. :D

It doesn't necessarily mean it's the best camera system (I'm not saying it is or isn't). It just means they are better at marketing. And just because Sony is in the top spot, doesn't mean other companies will die.

Michael Kormos's picture

+2 for proper use of “its”. Way to go!

Your sure its the correct way? Their are alot more ways then just one.

Jordan McChesney's picture

Look out guy, you’ve activated his trap card!

I'm not your guy, buddy!*

*To be read in Terrance and Phillip voice

Jordan McChesney's picture

*as I drift away on a block of ice*
I’m not your buddy, friend!

Rob Mitchell's picture

Oh here we go again. My tool brand is more popular than your tool brand.

Scott Hussey's picture

Meanwhile all of the Hassleblad users are ignoring these articles and spending their time and energy booking more jobs. Fools! Don't they know their preferred brand has limited market share?!?!

Rob Mitchell's picture

Plus.. they have no choice, they have to pay off the camera ;)

My Hassies been paid for since 1992.

Rob Mitchell's picture

I sure hope you have invested in your business in other ways then 😉

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