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Nikon’s 2019 Mirrorless Shipments Lag Behind Sony, Fujifilm, and Olympus

Nikon's 2019 mirrorless shipments

Last month, we reported on Nikon’s decreased 2019 market share (Nikon now sits behind both Canon and Sony, but ahead of Fujifilm, Panasonic, and Olympus).

And we can now follow that up with additional data that highlights Nikon’s struggles, recently published in Nikkei article.

In 2019, over eight million interchangeable lens cameras (ILCs) were shipped, and here’s the breakdown by camera manufacturer:

  1. Canon: 4.16 million ILCs
  2. Nikon: 1.73 million ILCs
  3. Sony: 1.66 million ILCs
  4. Fujifilm: 500,000 ILCs
  5. Olympus: 330,000 ILCs
  6. Other Manufacturers: 280,000 ILCs

These numbers are pretty much what you’d expect, with Canon leading the digital camera manufacturers by a large margin and Nikon in second place, closely followed by Sony. Fujifilm sits at the back half of the pack, then Olympus, while Panasonic and Ricoh/Pentax fail to make the top five.

Here, we can see that Nikon still remains competitive, even as Sony threatens its position. But bear in mind that these numbers include all interchangeable lens cameras, not just mirrorless models.

And when you look at mirrorless cameras (MILCs) alone, Nikon’s position becomes much more tenuous:

  1. Sony: 1.65 million MILCs
  2. Canon: 940,000 MILCs
  3. Fujifilm: 500,000 MILCs
  4. Olympus: 330,000 MILCs
  5. Nikon: 280,000 MILCs
  6. Others: 240,000 MILCs

As the data indicate, Sony is firmly on top, though I expect its lead will narrow over the next year or so. Canon’s dedication to its full-frame mirrorless system, as displayed in the EOS R5/EOS R6 release, will boost Canon’s numbers to at least become competitive with Sony.

But for Nikon, the future isn’t looking so rosy. It’s now been two years since the release of Nikon’s initial mirrorless offerings, the Z6 and the Z7. And while we’ve gotten two additional mirrorless cameras to show for it (the full-frame Z5 and the APS-C Z50), Nikon hasn’t even outperformed Olympus, a company in the process of selling its unprofitable camera division.

It’s clear that Nikon has big plans for the future (rumors of a Nikon Z8 abound), and Nikon recently announced several impressive Z-mount lenses. But right now, the company seems to be held up primarily by DSLR sales, which just doesn’t seem sustainable.

Let’s just hope that Nikon manages to turn things around in the coming years. For me (and, I imagine, for most photographers), more camera choice is pretty much always better.

Now over to you:

What do you think about Nikon’s recent camera sales? Do you think the company will make a comeback? What do you think Nikon needs to do to be successful? Share your thoughts in the comments!

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Jaymes Dempsey
Jaymes Dempsey

is the Managing Editor of Digital Photography School, as well as a macro and nature photographer from Ann Arbor, Michigan. To learn how to take stunning nature photos, check out his free eBook, Mastering Nature Photography: 7 Secrets For Incredible Nature Photos! And to see more of Jaymes’s work check out his website and his blog.

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