Canon is Winning the Camera War?

I received an email today with the title “Canon is Winning the Camera War”. I opened the email immediately to see what it was about, because it had such a bold subject line. Canon winning the camera war… I have not seen any market share reports lately, so this was an interesting read. Apparently, a company called “Sortable” has recently conducted a massive survey with over 275,000 people over a period of 6 months, which showed that more than 33% of consumers favor Canon over other brands when making a camera purchase, including Nikon. Check out this interesting graph:

Popular Camera Brands

Here is some more information from this announcement:

In a brand war traditionally fought between Nikon and Canon, it appears that Canon now has the upper hand, with 33 percent of consumers indicating it as their preferred camera choice according to online consumer buying trends drawn from Sortable’s partner, Snapsort, a web site that allows people to analyze, compare, and recommend digital camera options. Nikon falls to second place with 26 percent, followed by Sony at 15 percent, Panasonic with 7 percent, Fujifilm at 5 percent, Olympus at 4 percent and Pentax at 3 percent. Other manufactures make up the final 7 percent.

With a range of camera options available, survey data shows consumers remain split in their preference between Point and Shoot and DSLR cameras. Data shows 36 percent of consumers are searching for both. Most surprising in the survey was the rising popularity of Mirrorless cameras, a relatively new technology in the camera market. Mirrorless cameras stuff a DSLR size sensor into a small portable package, with interchangeable lenses for greater flexibility. Sortable’s survey identified that 22 percent of consumers are searching for Mirrorless camera options, leaving the leading brands in a bit of a deficit position. Canon has yet to enter the Mirrorless market, and Nikon has just entered. Sortable believes this emerging trend gives Sony, Panasonic and Olympus the opportunity to take brand share.

That’s an interesting analysis, given the large number of respondents. Mirrorless is on the rise, and we know it. Canon historically has been dominating the DSLR market, so no surprises here, although Nikon has been catching up pretty quickly ever since the Nikon D3 came out.

I say that folks at Sortable are just trying to bring attention to their websites with such a headline. Canon winning camera war? I did not know there was one. With so many new innovative and wonderful products from all manufacturers, there is room for everyone. What do you say?


  1. 1) Vijay
    March 13, 2012 at 1:16 am

    I donno if this is a publicity stunt. But that site is just superb :)
    A must visit for camera buyers.. u will get to compare cameras in a very artistic way :D

    P.S. M not the promoter of that site…i just liked it.. he he

    • March 13, 2012 at 1:38 am

      Vijay, I agree, they do have some nice tools and comparisons.

  2. 2) Robert
    March 13, 2012 at 1:29 am

    I think you need to consider what the majority of people consider “cameras”.

    For most people, that meaning ends at a Best Buy, Target or Walmart counter with a 18 year old kid selling them a $100 point and shoot. I haven’t seen a breakdown by category, but I’d have to believe the market is still dominated by lower priced point and shoot models.

    • March 13, 2012 at 1:38 am

      I agree – Canon sells a lot of point and shoots. In fact, if I were to buy a point and shoot today, it would most likely be a Canon. Most Nikon P&S cameras are worse than what Canon has to offer.

      It would be interesting to look at DSLR-only market share during the last 12+ months. I believe some data was published last year, but I could not find it.

      • 2.1.1) Robert
        March 13, 2012 at 2:01 am

        I’ve searched too, Nasim, and best I could find was some data from 2010 on numbers (published in 2011), but couldn’t get the source information, which I need for a project. Maybe digging into individual company annual reports would yield more detailed information?

        Just to clarify, I wasn’t by any means belittling point and shoots. I’ve always liked Canon’s P&S features and ergonomics and picked up a new S95 a few months ago when the price dropped. Nikon has made some serious improvements, but nothing significant enough to pull me away from an S95/100.

        • Profile photo of Nasim Mansurov Nasim Mansurov
          March 13, 2012 at 11:22 am

          Robert, I do not think individual company performance will show the overall picture in terms of market share…we will have to wait for the real market share research I guess.

  3. 3) Nicolas
    March 13, 2012 at 1:53 am


    The war is over ! Canon is the new lord… I love at the moment polls about all subjects :)
    If you think to sell your old d3s, i would come quickly from France to buy it.

    Best regards

    • March 13, 2012 at 11:34 am

      Hahaha Nicolas, nice one :) I will never change from the dark side, no matter what the reports say! :)

  4. March 13, 2012 at 2:57 am

    i used a canon 40D before i got the nikon, i only switched to nikon cause a friend of my brother gave him a nikon D3 and a 70-200mm VR lens… he switched so i also swicthed so i can use his stuff as well, i love the C1,C1 and C3 functions of the prosumer canons, now nikon has it in the D7000….! i say they both have pros and cons….! recently i have sold the nikon D5100 inorder to get a D7000, but still no luck…its hard to get it in ASIA due to thailand flooding…! The Indians shops say they will get it bu end of march or beginning of April….So im waiting!

  5. March 13, 2012 at 3:30 am

    The DSLR market has been dominated by Canon and Nikon for quite while already. As a result these 2 giants release some junk from time to time holding the users hostage.

    I think it’s high time for a 3rd DSLR brand to come up. Whoever it is; they should first figure out the loopholes left by the big 2 and exploit those.

    Some hints: 1. None of them offers a good prosumer body at present.
    2. Super telephoto lenses are way out of reach of prosumers.

    Let’s wait and see the occurrences in 2012 – those should be interesting.

  6. 6) Peter
    March 13, 2012 at 6:40 am

    How about these headlines:




    • 6.1) Abhijith
      September 30, 2012 at 12:54 am

      Nice headlines. But where did you find it?? :D

      I never found such headlines. And cant see sony winning over canon in anything except sales in mirrorless segment. Canon is still somewhat a leader in DSLR segment sales. Just because pro customers dont jump to other brands like how consumer camera owners do.

  7. March 13, 2012 at 6:41 am

    Most photogs I know use Canon, my husband used them in the military photography school DINFOS and didn’t have a problem with them, but just on a whim we went with Nikon 4 years ago and have always been satisfied with them. Its kinda frustrating though that most of the training people like After Dark and the Photo Vision Video company mainly feature Canon shooters.

  8. 8) Hani Latif Zaloum
    March 13, 2012 at 6:44 am

    Renault sells more than Mercedes, but it doesn’t mean Renault is better. Anyway, as you mentioned in your article, there is pleanty of room for everybody. I stick to NIKON because I used Yashica, Pentax, Olympus and Canon in the past and I am simply happier with Nikon quality, response in the case of after sales service and handling.

  9. 9) MarkL
    March 13, 2012 at 7:48 am

    Without knowing the methodology used to conduct the study, it’s impossible to draw any conclusions.

    That said, from my personal observation it appears that Nikon has been rapidly bridging the gap that had existed since the Canon EOS 300D introduction in 2003. In fact, I see the yellow shoulder stripe much more frequently than I do the red. That’s obvious in Asian, in European (less so in Eastern Europen, including Russia) and North American countries.

  10. 10) William
    March 13, 2012 at 7:50 am

    If you want a camera, buy a Canon,
    If you want the real thing, buy a Nikon.

    • 10.1) Avirup
      September 11, 2012 at 11:05 am

      Well said. :)

    • 10.2) Jim
      July 5, 2013 at 9:27 am

      “Where ignorance is bliss…”
      Both companies make excellent cameras. ‘Nuff said.

  11. March 13, 2012 at 8:11 am

    I would take’s report with a very large grain of salt because of the Japan tsunami and then Thailand’s floods of 2011. Both disasters have crippled all the manufacturer’s ability to deliver product in time for most of 2011. We are just now starting to see stock slowly trickling back into stores across North America.

    If there is no local stock, how can you buy something and make the report numbers really count for something ?

    This is why’s report is at best a flawed article representing the results of disastrous events seen through the lens of an extremely narrow point of view but at worse, a so called sensationalistic piece of web “journalism”.

    But then again, we should not be surprised at this sort of “journalism” since is owned by Vocus. According to the Vocus website ( ), they are a Public Relation company…

    • 11.1) Brenden
      March 13, 2012 at 8:35 am

      The floods and tsunami really hurt Nikon, Canon was able to offer discounts on their DSLR line over the holiday’s and Nikon was not. Our results how ever are not based on retail sales, instead they are based on what cameras and features people are actually searching for.
      As for Vocus… I have never heard of them, we are a small startup, independently owned and operated. We published a press release though PRWEB (, which is an news wire service (they do not own us).

      • 11.1.1) Csaba Molnar
        March 13, 2012 at 9:15 am

        Thank you for clarification. I have no problem with those numbers. It would be interesting to see a price range attached to those figures, but I guess that would be a different survey. As some pointed out here, Canon has better p&s offers that might very well explain the Canon lead. From what I can tell, when it comes to DSLR sales, they seem to be pretty evenly matched – but I have no data to match this. And as I said, it doesn’t really matter as long as Nikon has good profits and good R&D and can continue to innovate like they did in the past 4-5 years.

        • Brenden
          March 13, 2012 at 9:33 am

          This survey was across all price ranges (point and shoot to pro DSLR), I will have to do some more data analysis to come up with the most popular DSLR, P&S and Mirrorless camera brand.

      • 11.1.2) Pascal Sauve
        March 13, 2012 at 11:54 am

        Thank You for your clarification about your affiliation and the purpose of the report Brenden.

        I still think that the data that really matters in the end is when people vote with their dollars at the sales counter not with their intentions however best they may be.

        If there had been no incidents like the Japanese tsunami and floods in Thailand and if the 2011 sales report would shown Canon crushing Nikon and other manufacturers then I feel your bold headline would have been fully justified.

        So let’s call this an editorial decision disagreement and leave it be :)

  12. 12) Steven Parks
    March 13, 2012 at 10:13 am

    In our household we have both Nikon and Canon and both are equally fantastic cameras. I find that Nikon is more reasonably priced, finding that Canon generally 20% more expensive for the equivalent equipment.
    I always thought that Canon had a larger market-share than 33% to be honest. With their current sale that should increase. Hoping Nikon follows suite soon so I get the lens I have been holding out for.

  13. 13) FM
    March 13, 2012 at 10:28 am


    I would think the gap of consumer choices for the DSLR between Cannon and Nikon may be wider if Nikon is not careful and thoughtful with it’s future new camera releases. The D5100 and D7000 was great, but the latest D800 & D800E release was not so great. It’s getting on the niche side in terms of it’s usage. The camera’s high resolution is suitable for studio portraiture and landscape use. But if a general user who wants an entry level full frame camera from Nikon, the D800 may not be a suitable buy. Just take for example a D7000 user who wants to up grade to an entry level full frame. Now, the choices are between D700 & D800/D800E. In my opinion, Nikon should have release a more general purpose full frame camera with 22/24mp that is 7fps. I would foresee Canon EOS 5D Mark III would cannibalize Nikon full-frame entry level market very fast. Also, Nikon lenses are limited and is not updating it’s lenses quick enough. This may hurt Nikon too. Just my 2 cents.

    • 13.1) Jorge Balarin
      March 13, 2012 at 2:11 pm

      FM, I think also that it would have been nice to have first a new D700 version with 16 or 18 megapixels, fast speed, super low light performance and high image quality; an then have something like the D800. However, I don’t see the Canon 5D Mark III canibalizing Nikon full-frame entry level. For the most people 36 megapixels sounds very appealing, to not talk about the 500 bucks price difference between the Nikon D800 and the Canon 5D Mark III.

      Another think in favor of the new Nikons is the expanded area to use teleconverters, that in Canon last cameras is going the opposite way. I would love to have VR in some prime lenses and zooms like the Nikon 24-70mm, but also in this land Canon is not taking the lead (just Tamron announced a new 24-70mm zoom with image stabilization. Best wishes, Jorge.

  14. 14) Michael G
    March 13, 2012 at 10:36 am

    Mark Twain popularized a phrase (albeit the original authorship is somewhat clouded) that seems rather appropriate right here. “There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.”

  15. 15) Peter
    March 13, 2012 at 10:41 am

    The consumer folks must love the PowerShots much more than CoolPixes. The DSLR consumer folks love the Rebels than the entry level Dxxxx. When they move up, they either discover that they’re stuck with so-so Canon glass, or sell them altogether and convert their “religion” to the dark side and be happy ever after with Nikon glass. Then they fall in love with Nikon AF, Dynamic Range, skin tone etc, and never look back.

    • 15.1) Peter
      March 13, 2012 at 10:43 am

      (not the D7000 of course)

  16. 16) Jorge Balarin
    March 13, 2012 at 1:27 pm

    My first DSRL was a Canon Rebel and it served me well. Then I changed to Nikon (D700) and I’m more than satisfied. I love Nikon stuff and I will stay with Nikon forever.

    March 13, 2012 at 2:02 pm

    I note that the people publishing the sample results do
    not tell the public that there is a statistically significant
    difference in sales performance between Canon &

  18. 18) Jorge Balarin
    March 13, 2012 at 3:52 pm

    Dear Nasim,

    I know what I’m going to ask has nothing to do with your post topic, but I’m very curious about it.
    ken Rockwell, talking about the Canon 7D wrote that the Nikon D3 has a sort of face recognition ability included in it’s autofocus system, that allows you to dig the focus right on the closest eye of your subject (“Unlike the Nikon D3, which really uses facial recognition acquired with its full-color three-dimensional 1,005 zone light meter to nail focus right on the closest eye of your subject, the relatively primitive 7D has no such ability. In its auto-AF select mode, the 7D merely focuses on whatever’s closest, which may or may not be your subject”).

    I have a Nikon D700 that I love, but I don’t think the D700 has an autofocus system like the one of the D3, and I would like very much to have a camera with such ability. Is the new D800 coming with this kind of autofocus system ? I’m waiting for your answer. Greetings, Jorge.
    I just bought the Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8 zoom and I love it !!

    • March 14, 2012 at 3:25 pm

      Jorge, Nikon D3 has no face recognition. Only the most recent Nikon cameras do. What he really means is the logic of the matrix metering sensor that can distinguish faces and set the correct exposure/skin tones. There is nothing on the D3 that automatically makes the camera focus on the closest eye :) And by the way, both D700 and D3 have exactly the same metering sensors and AF systems. If you do not believe me, try renting a D3 and see for yourself :)

    • March 15, 2012 at 8:03 am

      I think is a consumer oriented survey how about the pro Segment ?
      But indenpendent of numbers Nikon in that segment currently is unbeatable …

      D700 vs D3 are almost the same (whereas D800 and D4 are not!);
      – shutter of D3 is immproved (lifecycle)
      – built in grip (D3)
      – 100% Prisma (D3)

      but no sensor cleaning compared to D700

  19. 19) XGlite015
    March 14, 2012 at 8:35 am

    Market shares data showed that Canon is the dominant brand in the DSLR camera market with 44.5% of the market, Nikon has 29.8%, and Sony has 11.9%. As for the worldwide market share (both DSLR and P&S) Canon is on the top with 19%, Sony is 2nd with 17.9%, and Nikon 3rd with 12.6%. This was from a bloomber site with the article title ‘Sony, Nikon Narrow Gap to Canon With New Digital Camera Models.’ Some people seem to forget the threat of Sony to the big two. In a Nikon rumors article titled ‘It happened again: Sony replaced Nikon from the #2 spot in the UK,’ Sony grabbed the #2 spot with 25% of the interchangeable lens market with Nikon left with 20%. And before that, Nikon Rumors site also reported that Sony also took the #2 spot from Nikon in the Taiwan market. Canon is king, but Sony is the bigger threat to its kingdom than Nikon. Despite Nikon’s advantage in low light image quality with their previous DSLRs, more professionals seem to prefer Canon DSLRs over Nikon like Victoria’s Secret chief photographer Russell James, Lara Jade, Joey L, White house photographer Pete Souza, Vladimir Putin’s personal photographer Lapikova, Dragan effect inventor Andrzej Dragan, Dave Hill (tone-mapped HDR photographer), Dan Busta, Miss Aniela, Horror-themed photographer Joshua Hoffine, Chris Bray, Graham Monro, the list goes on…so, I don’t think saying that professionals prefer Nikon than Canon because there’s a lot of Canon pros out there and are more well-known.

    • 19.1) Brian Tanning
      April 21, 2012 at 8:54 am

      Wow, Victoria’s Secret chief photographer! Now that’s the definitive representation of pro photography. How about looking at National Geographic, Sports Illustrated, the most recent Olympics… If you look at the professional photographers here you will not see the Canon dominance of 10 or 15 years ago. Sure, perhaps fashion photography, but talk to cutting-edge sports photographers and ask them about Canon auto-focus and you will see a different perspective.

  20. 20) XGlite015
    March 14, 2012 at 8:52 am

    follow-up: The sales data I posted above was a 2010 sales data from a bloomberg site which was also reposted in 1001noisycameras site. IMO, canon SLRs sell hot because a lot of professionals uses them, therefore consumers think it is the best choice. Also, if you google it, you will find articles about 5D Mark II used in shooting the Panasonic G2’s commercial, 5D Mark II used for shooting Sony cybershot promo photos, and the very recent video made with a 5D Mark II included in the D800 promo video(some of you may have stumpbled upon or already read articles about this). And also news reports about 5D Mark II used to record a full episode of House M.D. and segments of the films Iron Man 2 and Capt. America: The First Avenger, 7D in the Black Swan, etc. increases Canon’s exposure. No wonder the Canon brand is so popular, pors use them and news articles are widely spread in the internet.

  21. April 21, 2012 at 9:22 am

    Quantitatively, Canon may still be the top seller when both P&S and DSLRs are combined and also in the DSLR market alone. However, it’s not easy to beat the top 2 DSLR makers so fast. That’s mainly due to their wide array of lenses.

    Having observed that reality; both of them must realize days are changing. They have fooled users with some real junks over the years. Their recent announcements might offer some good models to pros but again they seem to be maintaining the old habit of offering junks to prosumers and beginners. I guess this is their vulnerable spot. If they fail to wake up now; some real threat may be in the offing.

  22. 22) Antony
    June 6, 2012 at 3:30 pm

    Nikon is the future. Canon is the past. Canon is very decadent. Really, Canon is decadent.

  23. June 6, 2012 at 8:02 pm

    Canon is corrupt undoubtedly. However, watching some of Nikon’s junkie releases, I doubt whether Nikon has got the guts to be the future.

    I see only one maker that possesses both the technology and resources to be the future. Yes, that’s Sony provided they are intelligent enough to grab the opportunity.

    Let’s wait and see while using our old gears. Haven’t bought a new one for 2 years already as I didn’t find a good prosumer model offered by anyone of the 2 old haggards.

  24. 24) Abhijith
    September 30, 2012 at 12:56 am

    let there be wars. and let all brands fight with new tchnologies. so that we can buy better cameras :D

  25. July 5, 2013 at 10:17 am

    Both are crooks to the extreme. They just thrive on common people’s ignorance so, can’t blame them completely.

  26. 26) Hei Lung
    August 26, 2013 at 8:04 pm

    Nikon service sucks. I sent in my nice little Canon pocket camera from 2004 with 4mp per frame and they sent it back. Good As New!! I dropped my Nikon pocket camera in a little water, and they said they wouldnt touch it. TS. My D800 blows the pants off anything I have ever seen. Nikon rules anyway.
    Hei Lung

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