Interchangeable Lens Market

Discussion in 'Sony Alpha E-Mount Lenses' started by robbie36, Apr 17, 2016.

  1. robbie36

    robbie36 TalkEmount Top Veteran

    Nov 21, 2014
    Here on Talkemount, APSC E mount users are always slightly vexed by the lack of APSC E mount lenses being introduced by Sony. Things are so bad (well I think it has been over 2 years) that some people have even questioned Sony commitment to the mount. And of course the A7 FF and FE lenses are where all the action is.

    Anyway, I was looking through the latest CIPA annual report ( and was pretty struck by a couple of charts which could go a long way of explaining Sony's reasoning and actions.

    By way of introduction we have this chart....

    upload_2016-4-18_9-4-46.png shows the number of interchangeable lenses (IL) shipped (roughly = sells) relative to the number of interchangeable lens cameras (ILC) shipped. The number seems quite low (1.68) to us as we are enthusiasts (usually with an embarrassingly large collection of lenses). It also wont reflect the average number of lenses that ILC owners 'own' per camera. On our shelf we typically have all our lenses as well as our latest camera (but at the back of our cupboards there may well be a couple of older disused cameras).

    Next we have the 'value' of interchangeable lens shipped split between 'full frame' and 'crop sensor' ILCs....
    As we can see FF lenses account for around 50% of value. That is pretty good for FF (as crop sensors bodies out sell FF bodies at a ratio of at least 3:1. FF frame lenses are obviously a lot more expensive than crop sensor lenses but (at a guess) FF lens/body ratio is around 2.5 while crop lens/body sales are around 1.2.

    BUT here is the meat of the argument.....


    Looking at the crop sensor IL market (which obviously includes APSC E) we find that nearly 60% of sales are of 'standard zooms'. (I did always wonder why M43 has 13 different native standard zooms.) And another 30% is made up of telephoto zooms or all in one zooms (ie 18-200). That leaves 3% for wide angle zooms and just 6% for primes.

    The full frame lens market breaks down very differently. Standard zooms are just 14% of sales, telephoto zooms and all in one 38% of units, wide angle zooms 6% and primes 36% of units.

    So we can take away 3 things from this...

    1) There is demand for a much wider selection of lenses for FF bodies...
    2) A corollary of this is that if you manufacture FF cameras and do not provide a wide selection of lenses then there is a good chance consumers will not buy your FF bodies.
    3) The numbers are obviously skewed by the fact that Canon and Nikon dont make a lot of lenses specifically for crop sensor bodies and expect crop sensor owners to use FF lenses instead.

    And for crop sensor camera owners, the vast majority are happy with 1, 2, or possibly 3 zooms. A wide selection of lenses wouldnt seem to be needed for body sales. That '6%' prime figure remember also includes Fuji, M43, Q, Canon M and Nikon 1 lenses.

    So looking at these numbers Sony's actions clearly make a lot of sense. They have all the 'zooms' covered in the apsc 'E' mount (well apart from at 2.8) and they need a much wider selection of lenses on the FE mount. The lack of demand for 'primes' on crop sensors also probably explains why say Zeiss introduced the 'Touits' and then seemed to go 'cold' on them (meanwhile introducing 6 FE primes that they cant build enough of) and why Sigma seems to have also gone pretty quiet on the 2.8 art primes for crop sensors.
    • Informative Informative x 6
  2. bdbits

    bdbits TalkEmount All-Pro

    Sep 10, 2015
    Interesting information, thanks for sharing.
    • Agree Agree x 3