Dear Sony – Thank you for the success of mirrorless camera

 The mirrorless camera industry is about to blow up and we have Sony mirrorless to thank for this. This is how they achieved their massive success.

This is the story of how one company built an industry from the ground up leaving everyone else behind.

Sony’s mirrorless camera success is much like the success of Apple in the late 90’s. Apple had been focusing on the professionals, creating hardware and software for the top professionals in the world. They built the best computers and the most powerful software, a strategy that worked, but only partially. In 1997 few people were buying apple products, they were failing. At the same time microsoft created groundbreaking success by creating things for the masses. Apple sold tens of thousands of products, microsoft sold millions. But in 1997 things changed, apple launched their consumer computer and leapt feet first into the consumer world. Why sell 100,000 very expensive pro computers when you can sell 15 million fairly expensive almost pro computers. Apple’s new products were nearly all the things professionals wanted but packaged for consumers. And this changed the game.

Apple changed the game

In 2001 Apple dictated another industry. We stopped hearing about portable music devices, instead we just spoke about apples iPod. They dominated the industry and Sony’s infamous walkman, just disappeared into dust. 6 years later in 2007 they hit a home run with the iPhone.  Smartphones were around but only really used by business professionals, apple delivered to the consumer and they delivered fast. Later with the additions like the iPad and Apple watch, other companies struggled to keep up.

Apple had flipped the trend, they had learned that the consumer was king and they capitalized. 

Each product having almost yearly updates allowing for huge revenue growth which funded research and development and most importantly quick feature upgrades and releases. This put them on top. If your not an apple fan keep watching there’s more to come.

Its about the looks

Everything Apple put out looked cool and sleek, they created hype and desire. The products themselves looked so great people obsessed taking photos of their products. Apple created leaks and stories about what ‘might’ be coming next, they found out how to market within the world of social media. They innovated at every step creating products for the next generation by pushing boundaries creating new technologies and of course making mistakes along the way.

Through all of this Apple became the most profitable company in american history worth more than 1 trillion dollars. 

Now its Sonys turn and they chose Mirrorless Cameras

Well this is sony of the last 5 years. They took command of a new industry, the mirrorless camera world and focussed on the consumer first. Like apple, this world already existed but they dominated.

Like apple they created hype, launched products almost yearly and created a marketing storm every time. Their products looked good, no, their products looked incredible. Although they were cameras themselves they photographed well. They built a community of people who wanted to show off they they had a Sony mirrorless.  Sony focussed on the new world, their products were socially viable …. Search for a sony A7s camera on instagram and you see hundreds of photos of the camera itself. The perfect marketing. Companies like nikon and canon have not capitalized on this. When was the last time you saw a great photo of a Nikon camera. Nobody does it. Sony has beautiful sharp shiny, sleek edges. They look strong, angular and sexy. They look like the new shooter, the young, the hip the early adopters.

Search for a nikon camera like the D850 and you just see the photos taken on the camera not the camera itself. You might be thinking, well they are cameras and image quality is what matters. Wrong, nikon is a company, sales is what matters. Remember apple in 1997. You can sell 10,000 professional cameras to the top professionals or you can sell millions of slightly cheaper nearly pro cameras to millions of consumers. If you don’t bring in the money you can’t fund research and development, you wont stay relevant and your business fails.

In the past companies dictated to the consumer what they should want. Sony was different. People say to Sony we want better focusing, they do it, better batteries, done, 5 axes sensor stabilization done. Perfect first time? Not at all, but hey they were listening, trying and often delivering.

Just sitting back and saying we have done this for 100 years just isn’t good enough. We the consumer don’t care what you did, we care what you are doing. You can create the world’s best DSLR but mirrorless is what everyone is talking about. It’s like launching a sony walkman with all the latest tech when everyone is talking about the iPod. Cameras are going to go mirrorless and that’s why sony is currently winning.

The future Of Mirrorless Cameras

Apple doesn’t necessarily make the best smartphones but they are the company who drove the industry forward forcing innovation and creativity. Now we have Samsung, Google and Huawei and many others fighting to be on top of the smartphone industry. Who knows who is on top, and who really cares, we the consumer have won. No matter what company you by from our smartphones are more advanced today than we could have ever imaged 10 years ago.

 

The future is mirrorless

I think this is the next era for Mirrorless cameras, in fact cameras as a whole. More competition, driving innovation, pushing technological boundaries. The more players in the game the faster the innovation. Thanks to Sony we are going to see the fastest technological advancement in digital photography we have ever seen. With more companies bringing out mirrorless system we will start seeing features we never dreamt about. We will see companies fail, see products fail, BUT we will see the bar raised higher, leaps made larger and progress made faster.

So…. thank you to sony for starting the mirrorless revolution. Thank you to all the companies who will challenge you.

Who knows who will stay on top, for me, well I don’t care. I’m just thankful for the companies who fight amongst themselves,  so that we, the humble consumer can use the most technologically advanced camera systems the world has ever seen.

 

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