DSLR vs Mirrorless CSC

DSLR cameras (Digital Single Lens Reflex) have been the main tool of the professional and enthusiast photographer in the digital age, and before that the recent film era too (SLR). Over the last few years, a new style of camera the Mirrorless CSC (Compact System Camera) has made in-roads into the traditional DSLR market. Headlines such as ‘The Death of the DSLR’ have been seen in the photographic press for some years now. Many proclaim the Mirrorless is superior and the one you should buy. So we have some questions to answer.

  • What is the difference?
  • Which is better?
  • Which type is winning the market share battle?

Camera Shipments to Japan by Type in 2013

digital camera units shipped to japan 2013

The Compact camera held court in Japan during 2013 driving the seasonal swings and taking the largest part of the money. DSLR's and Mirrorless both showed steady growth with Mirrorless having a strong end to the year. Overall DSLR's had the bigger market than Mirrorless in total value.

Global Unit Shipments per Type in 2013 by Month

global digital camera unit shipments for type by month 2013

Looking at the Digital Camera Market in 2013 we can see the importance of the Compact Camera type in terms of unit sales. This was a world where the use of smart phone cameras was growing and starting to bite into the sales of more traditional stand alone cameras. Still the signature seasonal roller coaster ride especially for the compact camera. DSLR's were still king of quality whilst Mirrorless were slowing creeping up in sales.

Global Unit Shipments in 2013 by Month

global digital camera unit shipments by month 2013

The units shipped in 2013 show the distinct pattern of two main sales periods. Firstly the spring to summer peak (northern hemishpere) and the winter holiday period. The Americas and Asian markets have a more pronounced double peak whereas Europe also has a more traditional summer holiday peak that evens out the sales as a more progressive gradient up to Christmas.

In line with the varying holiday season the Americas market peaks sooner with Thanksgiving, Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Europe focuses more on Christmas whereas Asian markets peak into January with their main New Year holiday festivals. This must be very useful to the main Digital Camera manufacturers as they can schedule a more even production to cope with these peak periods and get their stocks made and shipped.

global camera shipments


Market report for Digital Cameras from Jan 2013 to-date. This report is compiled from data available in the public domain with regard to the production, shipment and sales of Digital Cameras of different types. It looks at the global position as well as different geographical zones and how each has developed since 2013. This report will identify the data for digital still cameras, specific video cameras will be considered separately.


The data that is currently available can be read in table form that contains all the information. The objective here is to present the data in different forms that give clarity to the current state as well as the longer term trends within the Digital Camera market. The intention is to keep this updated and produce a monthly update to identify any market changes.