2013 Photography Industry Reviewed

LensVid recently put out a really cool breakdown of the photography industry in 2013. They created a pretty detailed chart based on official numbers published by CIPA (the Camera and Imaging Products Association). This chart goes into details on camera sales for DSLR’s, Mirrorless, and even Non-Interchangeable lens cameras.

In the chart that they created, you can really get a visual reference of how the industry has been the last few years and anyone who has been involved with it during these time periods (2009-now) can probably relate to this. I personally got involved with photography in 2009 when I bought my first DSLR and I can definitely see how this chart shows what I feel has been happening.


One of the most astounding facts that I saw was the “40% drop in shipped cameras in 2013.” That seems like quite the surprise since every wedding I went to shoot in 2013 had about 25 other photographers there.  While I feel a lot of people own a camera or are sharing a ton of pictures online I have to think about the amount of average consumers choosing to buy smartphones with higher quality cameras since they only really plan to take the images and put them on Instagram or Facebook anyways. Losing 40% in any industry generally throws a huge red flag out that something isn’t going correct. The 40% is not even the only thing the industry should be worried about. There is also a 19% drop in DSLR shipments, 25% drop in mirrorless camera shipments, and a 20% drop in lens shipments.

The guys over at LensVid gave a few reasons that they felt this was all happening.

  1. The improvement of camera phones – as mentioned earlier, they play a huge role in the market now since good camera phones have started coming out around 2012.  For the most part though it seems as if they would only effect compact camera sales and have less damage to that of the DSLR, which does seem to be taking a drop as well.
  2. The global economic crisis – it seems that a lot of electronic sales have been very up and down. Though LensVid makes it clear “this can’t be the entire story, since the crisis has been around since 2008 and 2013 was not that much worse globally than 2012.”
  3. Americans don’t like mirrorless cameras – this statement may not be true for ALL Americans but “the numbers don’t lie.” Mirrorless camera sales have always been far more successful overseas in Japan and parts of Asia.  The U.S. and Europe just do not compare to the sale that they are seeing.

With the numbers in and the charts live, what can we expect for 2014?  Another drop, a recovery, who knows? So far this year, we have seen the release of quite a few awesome products from Nikon, Sony, and still awaiting something big from Canon as well in terms of camera bodies. The year is still young and I am crossing my fingers that the industry leading companies are aware of these HUGE drops and are putting their all into their new products.

Do you think the chart created by LensVid creates a good reference to what you have been noticing in the photography industry? Let us know in the comment section.

[via LensVid]

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I think the reasons Lens Vid provided are valid. I have one more to add, and that is that the prices of many of these products are somewhat overblown. Mirrorless Cameras for example (M/F), attempt to challenge the 'BIG & HEAVY' dslrs in terms of size and weight and they say Image Quality. They do in some instances but the difference in image quality is not really that visible to customers they are trying to woo away from the DSLR. The price point is in one or two cases almost as much as some mid-to high end DSLRs. This practice must change in order for the Mirrorless Camera(M/F) to catch on here and in Europe, areas (especially in US) that traditionally go for big bodies.

Even though camera phones can take pics, I do not think that I would give up a DSLR for a camera phone because the image quality of Camera phones stink....

Wow... Is that really a 20 minute video in which the commentator reads out loud his infographic? I think the purpose of an infographic is to convey a large amount of complex data in easy to understand and meaningful ways—which this infographic does. The video is completely unnecessary. Infographic, yes. 20-minute video, no.

Bruno Inácio's picture


I think this is only a test about how many time someone can stay listening bad sound quality!

The percentage of profession & hardcore amateurs (the only groups that constantly upgrade frequently) is very low. The general population has purchased "their good camera" with in the last 5 years or so. For the most part it's more camera then their usage requires and they have no need to purchase a new camera unless it breaks. Camera sales numbers will continue to fall back to a reasonable level since the bulk of buyers are no longer in the market.