Fujifilm says the rise of the smartphone era has been beneficial for the digital camera industry and has not destroyed it. In an interview with indianexpress.com, Arun Babu, General Manager Electronic Imaging and Optical Device, Fujifilm India, said the smartphone has introduced the “habit” of photography to vloggers and YouTubers and the company now wants those users to switch to more advanced but light-weight mirrorless cameras.
Babu pointed out that smartphones in a way have made the new age content creators more “cautious’ about photography, which he thinks is a golden opportunity for Fujifilm. “Vloggers want their content to be good and given the smartphone has a limitation due to the size of the sensor, they instead opt for an entry-level professional or mirrorless camera,” he said.
While Fujifilm is known for its old-school Instax range of cameras, the company wants to be a strong player in mirrorless cameras, where another Japanese company Sony is now the undisputed titan. But Babu thinks Fujifilm has a great chance to succeed in the mirrorless camera segment, which is growing rapidly in India. The company recently launched Vlogger-centric Fujifilm X-A7 mirrorless camera, which has a 24MP APS-C sensor, a large 3.5-inch flip-out touchscreen, ability to shoot 4K videos at up to 30 frames per second, built-in creative shooting modes, and compatibility with Fujifilm’s XF lens lineup. The classic-looking Fujifilm X-A7, which comes with a XC 15-45mm lens kit, is priced at Rs 59,999.
Over the past few years, mirrorless cameras have soared in popularity. “In 2018, the mirrorless to DSLR ratio was close to 40 per cent. This year, mirrorless cameras have already surpassed DSLRs. In India, we can already see a big trend happening towards mirrorless and by 2023, mirrorless cameras will surpass DSLRs,” he said.
As the name suggests, mirrorless cameras have no mirrors — and they are unlike digital single reflex cameras, better known as DSLRs. They give photographers full control over the camera’s settings and the ability to change lenses so that users can take professional-looking shots in every situation. Plus, mirrorless cameras are known for being compact and lighter than DSLRs.
“The DSLR is degrowing as a trend and mirrorless is growing,” Babu said, adding that “two years down the line a majority of camera brands will come to the mirrorless camera category in every segment”. Fujifilm only sells mirrorless cameras, ranging from Rs 34,999 and going up to Rs 7,86,999.
As the digital camera market shrinks with the influx of smartphones, major camera makers have started moving to mirrorless cameras to offer features a smartphone can’t. Canon and Nikon, two of the biggest names in the digital camera business, are gradually moving away from pricey digital single-reflex (DSLR) cameras to mirrorless cameras. However, industry experts say it would be tough for Canon and Nikon to catch up with Sony which produces the most advanced full-frame mirrorless cameras in the market today.
For Fujifilm, however, the growth opportunity lies in increasing sales of entry-level mirrorless cameras. The company is banking on a new crop of wedding photographers, amateur fashion photographers, vloggers, YouTubers, and Instagrammers to sell mirrorless cameras in India. “Last year, the quantity contribution of mirrorless cameras was close to 10 per cent of the total industry and we believe that this year, it will become close to 20 per cent,” Babu said.