There's a new "big three" in mirrorless cameras: Sony, Canon and… OM Digital

There's a new "big three" in mirrorless cameras: Sony, Canon and Olympus

The latest year-end report from Japan has revealed that OM Digital Solutions – new owner of the Olympus brand – has joined Sony and Canon as the "big three" in mirrorless cameras. 

Sony increased its first place share, with 32% of the market (up from 27.44% last year), while Canon likewise grew its second place position to 28.2% (from 23.78%). And making its debut, with the third-biggest share of the mirrorless camera market, was OM Digital Solutions with 12.7%.

• Read more: Best mirrorless cameras

There is, of course, more to this story than meets the eye. OM Digital purchase the struggling imaging division from Olympus, which last year held almost double the market share at 23.37%. So in that sense, OM Digital has seen an enormous drop.

However, the fact that the new ownership has maintained a lead over giants like Fujifilm and Nikon – despite a year that saw the turmoil of ownership transferral, negative speculation from the trade and press, and minimal product launches – is nonetheless a remarkable achievement. The question is, will the downward trend continue this year, or will the upcoming new OM System camera mark the dawn of a new era?

Canon is still (mostly) king

The rest of the report, from BCN Retail – which monitors point of sale data from some 40% of Japanese retailers, including the specialist camera chains – paints a mostly unsurprising picture with Canon at the top of the tree. 

When it comes to DSLRs, Canon firmly rules the roost with 59.8% market share (up from 51.91%), Nikon coming in second with 33.9% (down from 44.78%) and Ricoh (manufacturer of Pentax cameras) a very distant third, but with an increased 5.8% (up from 3% last year).

Canon also holds serve in the fixed lens camera category at 34.01% (down from 39.08%), followed by Sony at 23.1% (down from 19.65%) and Fujifilm at 11.6% (down from 11.41%).

Canon also sold more lenses than any other manufacturer, though its share dropped  slightly to 34.01% (from 39.08%), with Sony increasing its slice of the pie to 23.1% (up from 19.65%) and Fujifilm also making a minor gain at 11.6% (from 11.41%).

When it comes to video cameras, though, Canon is nowhere to be seen. The sector is ruled by the iron fist of Panasonic, which grew its already huge share from the previous year (32.17%) to an enormous 43.6%, eating into Sony's second-place space of 26.3% (down from 37.27%), while DJI claimed its first ever noted share of 11.2%.

No surprise?

Perhaps this all comes as little surprise, given the 10 best-selling cameras in Japan last year contained no full-frame cameras, no DSLRs and no Nikons – meaning that Sony and Canon's APS-C systems, and OM's Micro Four Thirds platform, had the field almost all to themselves.

And, to speak to the enduring popularity of the Olympus brand in Japan, the Olympus PEN E-PL10 continues to be a best-seller. 

1) Sony A6400 – Double Zoom Lens Kit, Black
2) Canon EOS Kiss M2 (Canon EOS M50 Mark II) – Double Zoom Kit, White
3) Canon EOS Kiss M (Canon EOS M50) – Double Zoom Kit, White
4) Sony A6400 – Double Zoom Lens Kit, Silver
5) Sony ZV-E10 – Power Zoom Lens Kit, Black
6) Canon EOS Kiss M2 (Canon EOS M50 Mark II) – Double Zoom Kit, Black
7) Canon EOS Kiss M (Canon EOS M50) – Double Zoom Kit, Black
8) Fujifilm X-A5 – Lens Kit, Silver
9) Olympus PEN E-PL10 – EZ Double Zoom Kit, White
10) Fujifilm X-A5 – Lens Kit, Brown

Read more: 

Best Olympus cameras
Best Canon cameras
Best Sony cameras
Best Fujifilm cameras
Best Panasonic cameras

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James Artaius

The editor of Digital Camera World, James has 21 years experience as a journalist and started working in the photographic industry in 2014 (as an assistant to Damian McGillicuddy, who succeeded David Bailey as Principal Photographer for Olympus). In this time he shot for clients like Aston Martin Racing, Elinchrom and L'Oréal, in addition to shooting campaigns and product testing for Olympus, and providing training for professionals. This has led him to being a go-to expert for camera and lens reviews, photo and lighting tutorials, as well as industry news, rumors and analysis for publications like Digital Camera MagazinePhotoPlus: The Canon MagazineN-Photo: The Nikon MagazineDigital Photographer and Professional Imagemaker, as well as hosting workshops and talks at The Photography Show. He also serves as a judge for the Red Bull Illume Photo Contest. An Olympus and Canon shooter, he has a wealth of knowledge on cameras of all makes – and a fondness for vintage lenses and instant cameras.