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Liar liar? Canon and Sony both claim the #1 spot in America's mirrorless cameras

Best lenses for Sony A7iii
(Image credit: Sony)

Sony recently announced to the world that it held the spot of number one full-frame mirrorless camera and lens brand in the US in 2021, with its Sony A7 III model being the best selling full-frame interchangeable lens camera for the fourth consecutive year. 

Interestingly, Canon has just announced essentially the same thing, claiming to be America's leader in the digital camera industry with its findings based on the same research statistics as Sony – provided by a report from the reliable NPD (National Purchase Diary Panel Inc). 

• Read more: Best full frame mirrorless camera (opens in new tab)

So who is telling the truth here? Sony's announcement (opens in new tab) revealed that it had claimed to be the number one mirrorless camera and lens brand for 2021 in North America, based on Sony internal research as well as a report from the NPD Group. This past year is also said to mark the eighth consecutive year that Sony has held the number one position in full-frame mirrorless camera sales. 

Canon, however, simply took to Twitter (opens in new tab) to share that it is America's leader in the digital camera industry in four different areas. The image shared with the tweet (below) claims that the brand is first in lens sales, first in full frame camera sales,  first in mirrorless camera unit sales and that it is the number one US digital camera company.

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But how can both brands be the number one sellers of mirrorless cameras in 2021, while crediting the same data source? The one differentiating factor spotted is that Canon makes no reference to North America or Canada, but to being the leader in the American digital camera industry. 

Sony's announcement, just a week prior to Canon's statement, as reported by various news outlets states that the company sold the most mirrorless and full-frame mirrorless cameras in North America as well as the United States and Canada – yet the original statement from Alpha Universe with credited sources has no mention to any specific country . 

Sony Internal Research is a division of the company that uses raw data processed in ways a little differently to the NPD, yet Sony suggests the internal research refers to the analysts that compile, organize and verify the NPD data. In other words, Sony is acting as a middle-man in data processing while stating that the data comes from a third party. 

We may never get an answer as to which brand is the actual leader in US mirrorless camera and lens sales, yet both are within their right to be considered as so. Sony's mirrorless range of cameras, particularly its Alpha 7 series, are without a doubt one of the most popular. Canon's EOS R5 (opens in new tab) and Canon EOS R3 (opens in new tab) cameras are also big successes, with even its APS-C line of EF-M lenses rumored to be out-performing its EF and EF-S DSLR range. 

One thing is for sure; the competition is tighter than ever between the industry's "big two" camera companies, and looks like it will stay that way for some time. 

Read more:

Best Canon cameras (opens in new tab)
Best Sony cameras
(opens in new tab)
Best mirrorless camera (opens in new tab)
Best cheap mirrorless cameras (opens in new tab)

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A staff writer for Digital Camera World, Beth has an extensive background in various elements of technology with five years of experience working as a tester and sales assistant for CeX. After completing a degree in Music Journalism, followed by obtaining a Master's degree in Photography awarded by the University of Brighton, she spends her time outside of DCW as a freelance photographer specialising in live music events and band press shots under the alias 'bethshootsbands'.