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Mirrorless Cameras Represent a Small Portion of Camera Sales, but Consumer Interest Levels are High, according To NPD

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PORT WASHINGTON, NEW YORK, FEBRUARY 1, 2011 – The budding breed of mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras are still less than one percent of all cameras sold in the second half of 2010, but they command a significant level of interest, according to a new report by leading market research company The NPD Group. NPD's The Next Camera Study revealed that two-thirds of consumers interested in a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera and willing to spend $500 said it would replace the purchase of a point-and-shoot camera. Nearly a quarter said it would replace a DSLR purchase.

Initial interest in the new technology is high, but price will be a barrier that manufacturers and retailers will need to break through to win over consumers. More than half of consumers said they were "very or extremely interested" in owning a mirrorless camera, but that dropped to 29 percent when told the camera could cost $500.

"Those most interested in a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera are those who already own a Digital SLR or an advanced compact camera, which is the minority of camera owners," said Liz Cutting, executive director and senior imaging analyst at NPD. "Still, cameras with interchangeable lenses were desired among one-third of consumers intending to purchase a camera, which is a pretty strong figure considering only about one-in-ten cameras sold today have the capability."

For those consumers willing to entertain the $500 price point, some of the key features they are looking for in their new mirrorless camera are:

  • Higher image quality
  • Continuous shooting capability
  • Interchangeable lenses
  • Advanced features for greater image control

Even among those willing to pay a premium for a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera, there are some barriers to purchasing:

  • Potentially less features than on a DSLR
  • Not as many lenses or accessories as a DSLR
  • Limited model offerings
  • Not offered by a preferred brand/manufacturer

"To succeed with this new camera segment, marketers should focus on a targeted consumer – either a detachable lens camera owner who wants something sophisticated but small to kick around with, or a more novice photographer who's ready to step up from a point-and-shoot," said Cutting. "So far, the greater attraction is rooted in the enthusiast camp. For the mainstream consumer, the idea of an interchangeable lens camera must move from a factor of inhibition to one of inspiration."

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Sarah Bogaty
+1 516 625 2357

The NPD Group, Inc.
900 West Shore Road
Port Washington, NY 11050

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