Breaking: Sony Is Now Number One Overall in U.S. Full-Frame Camera Market, Celebrates With New 'Alpha Female' Program

Breaking: Sony Is Now Number One Overall in U.S. Full-Frame Camera Market, Celebrates With New 'Alpha Female' Program

Today, Sony has announced that they have overtaken Canon and held the number one overall position in the U.S. full-frame interchangeable lens camera market for the duration of the first half of 2018, in both dollars and units.

Back up to early 2017, Sony had then taken over the number two overall spot ahead of Nikon in the U.S. full-frame interchangeable lens camera (ILC) market. In December 2017, Nikon had briefly taken the number one overall position ahead of Canon and Sony in market share and revenue for full-frame ILCs thanks in part to the holiday rush for their new D850.

In the time since, Sony has released their latest, third-generation full-frame camera bodies, the a7R III and a7 III, to much fanfare. Shockingly, four out of every ten full-frame cameras sold in the first half of 2018 were Sony.

The market research was conducted by the NPD Group, Inc. This is the same company that Nikon used to proclaim them number one in December 2017 and has been used in the camera industry to monitor trends for many years.

In addition, Sony has claimed to have held the number one position in the overall mirrorless market for more than six years in both dollars and units.

The company attributed their landmark success to the popular reception and sales of their a7R III and a7 III camera, as well as the “rapid adoption” of the a9 amongst sports photographers and photojournalists. They also acknowledged their active and engaged communities playing a part across social media platforms. “It is our pleasure to create for you, the true creators,” said Neal Manowitz, vice president of Digital Imaging at Sony Electronics. “You pushed us to innovate, to change, to continually adapt, and your voice remains core to everything we do.”

In a show of support for these loyal creatives, Sony also announced the launch of a “Be Alpha” campaign which will host community events throughout North America in 2018. Furthermore, “Be Alpha” is spearheading new programs that “foster growth in both the current and next generations of imaging professionals.” This begins with their flagship program, “Alpha Female.” Sony called this “multi-tiered, female exclusive program” a “thoughtful response to the imaging industry’s well-documented diversity challenges.” The program will include grants and mentorship opportunities for female photographers and videographers.

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Corey Weberling's picture

that's because they're killing it. We shall see if Nikon or Canon can hold a candle with their offerings this year finally.....I honestly doubt they can though. Hopefully they'll put some pressure on Sony and force them to innovate EVEN FURTHER! :D

Bill Larkin's picture

Not surprised! Sony destroys Canon and Nikon in performance in every way. It makes sense to see these results.

Sean S.'s picture

In every way except battery life, ergonomics, menu system, telephoto lens lineup...

Patrick Hall's picture

There menu system and even worse....their memory card file structure! Come on guys, this shouldn't be hard to fix.

Dave Nunez-Delgado's picture

Battery life is fine on the 3rd gen bodies. Totally agree on the ergonomics & menu system. I'll add squishy and overly-sensitive buttons to the list, along with EVF weirdness when shooting with flash.
That said, I don't regret switching from Canon to Sony

Mr Hogwallop's picture

Patrick you are right, everytime I shoot video I panic for a couple seconds looking for the AVCHD files,,,then I remember they are like 3 sub folders down.

Burke Morris's picture

I'm not in the market for a full-frame camera but if I was I used to think I would buy the Sony. You know, the hype and all. All reports indicate it is a great camera. Best ever. If you read the reviews on Amazon just about all are saying they gave up their Canon or Nikon to make the switch. Seems to me, based on this article too, there is going to be some amazing equipment for sale cheap because everyone is switching to Sony. The more people switch the cheaper the used equipment will get. And I have a feeling that an incredible deal on a full-frame Canon will beat the expensive Sony gear in value. Especially for a hobbyist who has no desire to ever compete with the pros. I highly doubt I will ever notice or care about performance gains between a trio of modern full-frame cameras that pros find necessary. So yea, keep switching and selling. I may be able to afford a nice full-frame Canon that a pro or eager enthusiast discards for Sony sooner than I think.

Khürt Williams's picture

I agree. The hype and G.A.S is great for the pre-owned camera market.

Jared Gant's picture

This is something to be celebrated regardless of which brand you shoot! Sony's innovation is pushing the entire industry forward. Last November I dropped all Canon gear and jumped in with both feet, using all native glass, etc. After shooting 30+ weddings already this year I can confirm that it's a kick-ass system.

Andrew Morse's picture

To be fair, Sony has had 2 high-profile full-frame releases in since November 2017, where Canon and Nikon have had 0. Going back to May of 2017 Sony would have had 3 full frame cameras released where Canon and Nikon only had 1 each.

I think top sellers over short periods can always be a bit misleading on what it means for changes in marketshare. Didn't Canon just announce leadership in the mirrorless market in Japan linked directly to the release of the M50? I wouldn't say Canon is leading all things mirrorless, I would say that is a product of release timing.

Deleted Account's picture

To continue being fair, if Sony can continue coming out with new cameras, people want to buy, they'll stay on top, though this will be more of a challenge once Nikon and Canon come out with their FF mirrorless cameras. I can't imagine Canon or, especially, Nikon will be able to out-produce them. Nikon currently has a great camera it can't manage to keep in stock so it wouldn't matter what they release if they can't make enough of them. The other thing you didn't mention is Sony's marketing. They're quite good at it. Along with the fact, all these younger photographers who spend most of their down time playing Sony games on Sony systems; it's like another toy. Actually, it IS another toy! Couldn't resist. ;-)

Maximilian Sulzer's picture

Most traders here (Germany) also don't have the Alpha 7 iii in stock either. The biggest electronic retailer quotes a delivery time of 12 weeks.

It think it's just how camera production lines are set up.

Deleted Account's picture

I don't really follow such things and hadn't heard that about that.

Maximilian Sulzer's picture

I just discovered by coincidence because i wanted to hold an a7 iii, but couldn't find one anywhere.

Deleted Account's picture

So you still haven't held one? Years ago, I had a small DSLR and it was never comfortable to hold, and I have small hands! I like holding my D810 so don't think I'd like a mirrorless camera.

Maximilian Sulzer's picture

Nope, just an a7 i or ii, a6000 and Fuji XT-10. I did not like the grip or EVF on any of them, so I was curious about the a7 iii.

I on one page with you, i love the deep grip on my D5500 and also the D750. I can just leave it hanging on my fingers without it going anywhere.

michael andrew's picture

This probably has more to do with the amount of affordable priced and video centric versions of the camera.

For the last 3-6 years I have seen video guys with the a7s version 1/2 and a canon/Nikon setup for photos. Now that has changed to be that you can have just the A7riii or A7iii and canon Nikon have not answered with an all in one quite as good (although lots can be said for the D850).

If it were me right now, from scratch I would buy a D850(2), all Nikon glass and a Panasonic gh5(2) for video. I hate he way Sony feels in my hand so much I can’t stand it it’s so bad. I don’t care how much better the image can be, I want to be able to hold it.

David Pavlich's picture

The Sony fanbois will be insufferable. :-) I just wish they didn't feel like toys in my hand. A deal breaker for me. If you don't like how it feels, how will you be able to shoot with it? Subjective to be sure, but it's the very first thing when you pick it up and immediately want to put it back down tells me that the old dinosaur of mine was made for me.

Jerome Brill's picture

I think it's subjective. My old Canon t4i feels like a toy compared to my A7Riii. Although my A6000 feels like a toy compared to the Canon 70D it replaced. Obviously if you're used to a big chunk of metal, it's going to be hard to move to something else regardless of new features or tech. Personally I've never had a full frame camera from Canon or Nikon. I wanted one but by the time I could afford it, Sony had their offerings. At the end of the day though, it's all what comes off that sensor and no one can debate that.

David Pavlich's picture

For me, it's not what comes off the sensor since the sensors are the same size. It's what it feels like that makes the Sony a non-starter, not its results. If I had the money, I'd be shooting a Fuji as well as my Canon, but it would be the GFX 50, not Fuji's smallish cameras.

Besides, if you look at Sony's total package, it leaves a lot of us wanting in native lens choices AND service. I just came back from the Rogers Cup. I saw a lot of Canons, a lot of Nikons, but only one Sony (A9) in the hands of the credentialed photographers. And I know that the sports shooters aren't that big of a market, but what it shows is where the photographers' trust lies. Canon has the best support system and no one can debate that.

Carlos Teixeira's picture

Can someone explain to me how they got that conclusion from the numbers given? Only thing I can perceive from this chart is that they've grown more in a smaller timeframe than in the past complete year, and other brands grown less. Growth is an relative measure, not absolute. Or am I missing something? Just a photographer, not a economist.

Ryan Mense's picture

The graph and text are saying two independent things. The graph isn't referencing what the text is saying. Sorry for the confusion.

Carlos Teixeira's picture

hum, ok. Did they provide any data to backup what they're saying, besides that graph? Maybe a press release? I would appreciate it if you could find out.

Alan Mayert's picture

Hmmm maybe it means Sony sold as an example 1000 cameras and than 1600 ,so they look at that as a hi percentage increase?Where as Canon / Nikon just continue to sell 100,000 units and it stays relatively flat.You can make stats fit what you want to peddle as the message.When Nikon can't produce cameras to meet demand (D850) probably on purpose to create an illusion of how great it is and Canon can fill what ever they need too.
The race will continue and improvements will benefit us all,but maybe they all sit in a backroom and collaborate.They all own shares in each other and really only care if you buy a camera,then they all benefit.

Daniel Venter's picture

Does anyone want to buy my a7III? Yeah the eye-af is super great but beyond that, some of the flaws it had weren't something my Nikons had so it was a step back but luckily I kept my Nikon gear. So onto another point. The saving grace for Sony in their sales actually lies in the fact that Sigma was fortunate to have made an mc-11 adapter so that a huge bulk of canon folks could actually use their canon glass on the system and let's face it, Sony equivalent glass is way-way more expensive. You'd have seen a lot fewer folks switching from canon to sony if that little adaptor didn't exist. Good on them for a number 1 sales position but the qualities I look for in a system isnt something I found in at least the A7iii but I'll give it to them they actually got me to buy the camera unlike Fuji did when all the hype was around them.

Ben Perrin's picture

Good on Sony. Their systems aren't perfect but they've really shaken up the market with their mirrorless innovations. It's great for the photographer too. Sony's achievements don't stop Canon or Nikon camera's from being great either, so it's great for the consumer that we have such amazing choices.

Khürt Williams's picture

I wonder if more memorable, more soul moving, more human images, are being taken on smartphone cameras or Sony/Nikon/Canon?