In the full frame: the mirrorless market hots up

Camera tech

Mirroring market share

Nikon’s first full-frame mirrorless cameras bring competition to the market. Z6 image: Nikon

DSLRs and mirrorless cameras made up 56 per cent of the pro video camera UK market in 2018, according to Futuresource Consulting, an industry research firm. But the headline figures tell only part of the story.

As the figures suggest, professionals are moving away from conventional camcorders in favour of “converged” photo and stills cameras. But drill down further, and Futuresource reports that mirrorless systems – including APS-C and Micro 4/3-based cameras as well as full frame – outsell DSLRs for pro video almost nine times over.

The trend towards mirrorless systems will only quicken, with manufacturers offering film makers and videographers more choice. Canon’s EOS R, Nikon’s Z series and Panasonic’s S series full-frame systems have not been on sale long enough to register in sales figures. Experts point out that these systems will need time to establish themselves: the choice of native lenses, in particular, is limited. But alternatives to Sony’s offerings can only expand the market, not least because Canon and Nikon are making it easy for buyers to use their existing, full-frame DSLR lenses on their mirrorless systems. 

“End users in pro video are favouring mirrorless cameras due to their small size and lighter weight as well as lower cost, particularly for full frame sensors,” says Futuresource analyst Arun Gill. “The pace of innovation and rate of product launches is also greater in mirrorless cameras.”

Owner operators are also being attracted by the new cameras’ versatility.

Cameras such as the GH4 and the A7s opened up new possibilities for video. But their relatively low pixel count limited their use for stills photography. Both Panasonic’s GH5 and Sony’s a7iii now have stills resolutions that rival mid-range professional DSLRs, without any great compromises in video recording ability.

Makers of full-frame mirrorless systems have also – cleverly – opted to segment their market. Nikon and Panasonic have higher resolution models in their line ups aimed more at stills photographers, and Canon have a more budget-focused mirrorless body.

Next: More sensors, more choices