Cameras remain competitive against smartphones

by SHAZNI ONG / pic courtesy of Canon Malaysia

THE camera industry remains competitive in the photography world despite the increasing popularity of the smartphones that are equipped with similar visual recording technology which are ooding the market.

Canon Marketing (M) Sdn Bhd president and CEO Andrew Koh said while the digital compact cameras are one of the segments that is affected by the mobile-phone photography, the businesses in other areas are still seeing a positive uptake.

“For example, we are seeing more interest in the mirrorless market,” he told The Malaysian Reserve after the launch of the Canon EOS RP in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.

Koh said more people are also more interested in photography as a result of an improved perception that cameras need not be as bulky and heavy as during the time the digital single-lens reflex camera (digital SLR or DSLR) rule.

“Now, with mirrorless, it is so compact, small and lightweight especially with this EOS RP which is a full-frame camera. Yet, it is only less than 500g.

“It’s quite amazing. That is one less deterrence for people to take up photography,” he said.

Koh said the rise of high specification in mobile-phone cameras, such as Huawei’s P20 Pro, is not a threat but rather a positive turn for the camera and photography industry in Malaysia.

“I tend to see it from a more holistic perspective — from a more macro view. As long as people are still interested in photography, taking pictures, that’s a good sign for us because we are not selling cameras alone.

“We are in the photography business and hence, people must still be interested in photography. You may start using a mobile phone, but along the way you’ll realise that hey, I can get better pictures with the mirrorless, DSLRs.

“Then you want to upgrade your skills and develop further. That’s the opportunity for us to sell our cameras. If you look in terms of that, then actually the whole photography industry has expanded,” he said.

In 2018, the Canon held 32.2% of the total camera market share in Malaysia, with 34.8% for compact, 19.7 % for mirrorless and 52.2% for DSLR.

Koh said the EOS RP is expected to contribute bigger volume towards the company’s sales target.

“Since this is our second full-frame mirrorless camera, and that this is an entry level full-frame line-up, it would definitely contribute quite a bit because we are targeting the enthusiasts who are venturing into full-frame for the first time,” he said.

Koh said there is the need to reach out to the potential customers, especially now with people are into photography.

“They’re using different medium to express their photography. You can use a mobile phone for the camera, or use a compact camera or a DSLR or mirrorless. What we’re doing is to do more workshops to reach out to people to let them touch and try.

“This is so that they can see the benefits and understand the quality differences and that they can take good pictures with it. Then they will be convince of it. It’s not merely about specifications anymore but to hold it in your hands, to try it out and then you will understand,” he said.

Koh said Canon is also expected to introduce more lenses soon.

“That’s one area of focus. We just launched our first full-frame mirrorless last year and now this is our second one.

“We want to remain relevant, adapt to the changing taste of the market and as an industry leader, we always try to cater to the needs of our customers,” he said.

The EOS RP is the second addition to its new EOS R range of full-frame interchangeable-lens mirrorless cameras.

Apart from being the most compact and lightest model in the EOS fullframe series, the EOS RP features the new RF lens mount and the finest Canon proprietary technology, a DIGIC 8 image processor.

The Canon EOS RP will be available in the market in March, retailed at RM5,999 (body only) and RM10,999 for the body and the RF24-105mm f/4L IS USM kit lens.