Mirrorless Cameras With More Appealing Video Features Are Picking Up the Slack

The use of DSLRs by pro video shooters in Europe and the U.S. is on a steep decline, according to a new report from Luton, U.K.-based research firm Futuresource Consulting.

Analyst Nicky Price observes in the company's Convergence in Pro Video report that DSLRs are falling out of favor with DPs, who are turning more to traditional professional camcorders and, perhaps more notably, an emerging camera type Futuresource calls Compact System Cameras, or CSCs. This category includes 4K-capable mirrorless cameras such as the Panasonic Lumix GH4, the Sony a7S, and the Samsung NX1. 

"The fact that you're now seeing a full-frame sensor on the CSC means that you get all of the benefits of a large sensor — the pro video feel, with a shallow-depth-of-field look — in a smaller form factor," Price told StudioDaily.

In Europe, Futuresource says DSLR shipments for pro video applications dropped 41 percent in 2014. The company projects DSLRs will account for just 4 percent of sales to pro video users by 2019. At its peak, the company says, DSLRs were 31 percent of the overall market. Price declined to share specific figures for the U.S., but said the trend is similar. It's worth noting that high-end "digital cinema cameras" like the ARRI Alexa, the Red Dragon, and Canon's EOS C300 are excluded from Futuresource's "pro video" category.  



Source: © 2015 Futuresource Consulting

We asked Price how the move away from DSLRs would take hold among different types of shooters. He said feedback from broadcasters, particularly in the U.K., indicated that the image from DSLRs was not up to broadcast standards, considering the amount of compression that will be applied throughout the broadcast chain. "The lower end of the industry, especially with entry-level freelancers, is where we're going to find the bulk of these cameras," he said.

Meanwhile, advances in drone-based cinematography should be good for lightweight CSCs, as well as POV or action cameras, Price told us. "The volume of action cameras going into pro video is also very significant," he said. "The scrappage rate of these devices at the high end means that end users churn through these devices very quickly. At the lower end of the industry, we struggled to come across anyone who didn't at least own an action camera."