Sony Says Interchangeable-Lens Models Will Boost Its Market Share by 15%

Sony Says Interchangeable-Lens Models Will Boost Its Market Share by 15%


Tokyo, Japan—Sony Corporation forecasts it will increase its share of global shipments of interchangeable-lens cameras to a record level this fiscal year, according to Masashi Imamura, president of the Personal Imaging & Sound Business Group, as reported by Bloomberg News.

Sony could command about 15 percent of the global market for single-lens-reflex cameras by the end of March, Imamura said in an interview in Tokyo. In the previous four years, the company controlled about 10 percent of the market.

“We’re currently discussing our next target, and that will certainly be higher than 15 percent,” Imamura told Bloomberg News.

Sony was the No. 3 maker of digital SLR cameras with an 11 percent share of the 9.77 million units sold in 2009, research company IDC said last April. Canon controlled 45 percent of the market, followed by Nikon with 34 percent in the 12 months, according to IDC figures.

In an effort to close the gap with Canon and Nikon, Sony took a different track and introduced its NEX series of interchangeable-lens cameras. Not “true” SLRs, since they don’t have the reflex mirror that allows users of traditional SLRs to see the same image in the viewfinder as captured by the lens, they are lighter and more compact. Sony also unveiled Alpha series models in September that have a translucent mirror between the lens and the viewfinder—the Alpha SLT-A55 and A33. By eliminating the DSLR’s flipping mirror, these cameras and their lenses can also be made more compact and lighter (due to a shorter back focus than conventional DSLRs), achieve a similar level of performance with simpler lens designs, and offer continuous AF tracking to the instant of exposure, plus an impressive burst rate of 10 fps, formerly the province of pro models.

Sony, which also makes Cyber-shot compact cameras featuring GPS and 3D functionality, bought the high-end camera business of Konica Minolta Holdings in 2006, when Konica closed its 130-year-old camera business to focus on printers, and since then Sony has continued to focus on imaging innovation across its camera lines.