Indian mirrorless camera market is at cusp of giant leap: Fujifilm MD

By Anuj Sharma - July 3, 2018
It is believed that serious photography needs a ‘proper high-end camera’ – a large, complicated DSLR and a bag of even larger lenses. But now there’s an alternative -- mirrorless cameras.  ....

Despite smartphones that pack high end camera specs are impacting the overall camera industry and sales, a quiet revolution has been happening in the Indian digital photography market, and will witness strong growth in mirrorless camera in the months to come surpassing DSLRs, a top Fujifilm executive has said.   

Mirrorless cameras (also known as compact system cameras or CSCs) pack the creativity and image quality of a DSLR into a smaller, lighter body that’s easier to use. They’re great for travel, blogging and capturing everyday memories, and ideal for creative projects on the move. What’s more, because most mirrorless cameras offer interchangeable lenses, you can change your perspective and see things differently which is considered as one of the major reasons why the segment holds huge opportunities in India as well.

“India is an important market for Fujifilm. As we continue to chart our business roadmap in India, we believe that in the coming years we will dominate customer’s minds with our robust pipeline of products while continuing to spearhead new trends that empower the imaging industry. We still have a long road ahead of us and we will continue to strive to achieve Innovative results swiftly,” Haruto Iwata, MD Fujifilm India, told Xite.

But, with social media on the high rise and millions of images being clicked every day, so what becomes the differentiator when it comes to use mirrorless cameras?

According to Iwata, while smart phone cameras have improved dramatically since the early days, still there are a lot of features that a professional photographer looks for in a camera. Sensor size is the biggest challenge for smartphone users which gives an edge to camera professionals.

Even though smart phones capture great pictures but still mirrorless offers more flexibility over white balance adjustment, metering modes, auto-focus modes, multiple exposures and shutter and aperture priority modes.

And it is not just about resolution, ISO performance or details– the tiny pixels on smartphones severely limit their dynamic range, which is quite evident when capturing high contrast scenes.

While you can use certain features like HDR in order to get around some situations, there is only so much that a small sensor system can capture and reproduce. Further, it is difficult to get the same amount of data from a smaller sensor. And while the phone camera might be able to shoot images in RAW format, but we know those won’t be the same 14-bit images we can get from large sensor cameras. There won’t be nearly enough headroom to be able to recover all the colours, let alone extreme highlights and shadows.

However, all this does not establish the fact that the smartphone industry is capable of competing against professional large sensor cameras.  For an average smartphone user, it doesn’t matter how the size of the physical sensor would correlate to pixel pitch, resolution, dynamic range and high ISO performance, or how the physical size and optical construction of a camera lens could influence the look of their images. 

These are features that a serious photographer relates to and a smartphone certainly does not have these capabilities as of now. In professional and advanced amateur photography, sensor size indeed matters to achieve great quality images and mirrorless cameras offer just that in a more compact body, Iwata emphasised.

In India, Fujifilm is focused on expanding its strategic key products in its Image Capturing Business by promoting the joy of photography through its X-Series Range of mirrorless cameras for professional photographers and Instax range of Instant Cameras for the selfie generation alongside its Photo Imaging Business which includes a range of customised Photo Album and print solutions especially for the Wedding Market.

The mirrorless camera market has a 40 per cent market share globally which is currently dominated by DSLR Cameras. The situation however is expected to change as the demand for DSLR is expected to decline and mirror-less is expected to exceed DSLR market within three years, Iwata said, adding that Fujifilm India’s goal is to capture 30 per cent market share in the mirrorless camera and lens market in India in the next four years.

“Our strategy is to expand the sales of our digital cameras (including GFX series), to achieve double digit annual sales growth in India,” Iwata emphasised.

During FY 2017-18, Fujifilm posted a turnover of Rs 1,100 crores, a 10 per cent growth from FY 2016-17.

While the Indian photography market is primarily ruled by wedding photographers followed by commercial, fashion and wildlife photography, in the last couple of years, amateur photography is witnessing a massive shift as photographers are graduating from the sub-30k cameras to a more high-end interchangeable lens camera. This again opens more doors for mirrorless camera penetration among amateur photographers as well.

“It is Fujifilm India’s constant endeavour to study and understand the needs of Indian Photographers and offer innovative products that best fit their usage. We met many photographers to understand their requirement. We investigated that introduction of ‘new film simulation’ like Fortia is very suitable for the Indian market. We also found that there are so many scenes of ‘brilliant colour’ in India and we would like to enable customers to enjoy more beautiful and emphasised colour reproduction with our new film simulation,” Iwata told Xite.

In February, Fujifilm launched mirrorless digital camera “X-H1” that comes with a newly-designed robust and durable body and incorporates a range of useful features that support shooting in various scenarios demanded by professional photographers and videographers.

The X-H1 is priced at Rs 1,49,999 (body only) and Rs 1,72,999 (body and battery grip). The X-H1 is the first X Series model to include the latest 5-axis in-body image stabilisation (IBIS), which has a maximum of 5.5 stops.

The camera is also mounted with the flicker reduction mode which enhances the quality of indoor sports photography. In addition, The X-H1 is the first camera in the X Series to include ETERNA mode, a new film simulation mode ideal for shooting movies.

The camera further has the quietest shutter sound of all cameras in the X Series, making it an ideal tool for environments where quietness is required such as when shooting animals in the wild, quiet performances or at weddings.

With customer experience as priority, the company also plans to expand its after sales service by adding 50 more service collection points by the end of 2018 taking it to a total of 100 service collection points. Additionally, the company is also looking at setting up Fujifilm Professional Service by the second half of this year.


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