Sony pushed Nikon from the #2 spot in U.S. full-frame interchangeable lens camera market, according to Sony

Today Sony issued a press release called "Sony overtakes #2 position in U.S. full-frame interchangeable lens camera market". Without saying it directly, Sony basically claims to have pushed Nikon from the #2 spot in the US for that segment. This should not surprise anyone given the mess Nikon is currently in. Sony has achieved a huge success in the past few years and nobody is denying that, but you have to keep in mind that we are talking about a specific market (US) and about a specific segment (full-frame interchangeable lens cameras). If you check the three footnotes on the press release, you will find out that this data was accumulated in the US from January 2017 - February 2017.

Here is a list of full-frame interchangeable lens cameras announced by Sony and Nikon in the past 4 years:


  • 2016: 0
  • 2015: 2 (7S II, 7R II)
  • 2014: 2 (7 II, 7S)
  • 2013: 2 (7 R, 7)


  • 2016: 1 (D5)
  • 2015: 1 (D810A)
  • 2014: 3 (D750, D810, D4s)
  • 2013: 2 (Df, D610)

Nikon has not announced anything "for the masses" since 2014. The D5 and the D810A are very specialized cameras.

And also - Sony has a very good marketing department:

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  • Is it clear that full frame is for the “masses?” For both consumers and enthusiasts most photography can be done and done well with a crop. With a D7200 one can image for a magazine, and achieve more than adequate depth of field. So how many interchangeable lens cameras does Sony sell?

    • Michiel953

      The market says so. Full frame bodies get smaller and lighter, the prices more accessible. Fix a kit lens, which is enough for a large segment of the market.

      • Jumping Pearl

        Full frame prices are more accessible.

        what are you smoking, full frame have never been more expensive

        The market says so.

        the market is buying APS-C and rejecting full frame

        top 25 best selling ILC on amazon are APS-C

        first non-APS-C ILC on amazon is a micro 4/3 panasonic

        the first full frame ILC is position 35

        • BlueBomberTurbo

          I’m guessing some people are buying more expensive equipment from more trusted sources, like B&H and Adorama.

          • Jumping Pearl

            B&H sells used cameras as new, Amazon does not. B&H is a horrible niche market store. It’s the gamestop of camera stores.

            Not to mention B&H only operates in the US, it’s a small store chain compared to the worldwide market. Both Europe and Asia are way bigger markets than the US.

        • Michiel953

          I beg to differ. It’s all about trends and margins, not about absolute figures.

      • Jumping Pearl

        Full frame prices are more accessible.

        what the hell are you smoking, full frame have never been more expensive

        The market says so.

        the market is buying APS-C and rejecting full frame

        top 25 best selling ILC on amazon are APS-C

        first non-APS-C ILC on amazon is a micro 4/3 panasonic

        the first full frame ILC is position 35

    • Aldo

      You have to realize that this attitude of ‘could be done’ , ‘hard to tell the difference’, ‘ I’m so good I can take pictures with a toaster’ started because full frame was so expensive and we really had no choice but to make do with what we had. That is no longer the case. As someone already mentioned, full frame bodies are now accessible to most enthusiasts, some of them even cheaper than dx bodies. So now what you really have to ask yourself is: what’s the best tool for the job than I can afford?

  • Hans J

    Dude I’m not saying your photos are not great, but that d610 is lacking so many basic functions.
    Anyway even the new Fuji Xt-2 has a 15 minute exposure time all the nikons are limited to 30 seconds without a remote trigger. No weather seal cheaper and smaller view finder less durable shutter. Im not saying it does not work but wouldn’t you want a better product for the same money? Thats simple logic.

  • Tom Taubert

    I like Nikon, but I wonder if it can compete with Sony simply because Sony Corp. has so many technologies available more or less in house. Of course a mis-step could mean big trouble fast for Sony. Their camera and gaming business may be doing quite well, but they haven’t made inroads into Adobe’s business as far as I can tell. Nor are their smart-phones as popular as Samsung/Apple. And they have had huge scandals.

    Few here seem to have faith in Nikon’s management. But if they can pare down to their core strengths, they may get back to the Nikon that many say seems to have lost its way.

    It would be interesting to see what comments people would have about Nikon in the 1970s, 1980s as other camera companies were further ahead with electronics and AF technology (Minolta).

    Sony Corporation is a Japanese multinational conglomerate corporation that is headquartered in Kōnan, …Its diversified business includes consumer and professional electronics (AV, IT & communication products, semiconductors, video games, network services and medical business), motion pictures (movies and TV shows), music (record labels and music publishing) and financial services (banking and insurance). These make Sony one of the most comprehensive entertainment companies in the world. The group consists of Sony Corporation, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Sony Interactive Entertainment, Sony Music Entertainment, Sony Financial Holdings and others.

    BTW Buydig has Nikon Refurbished D7200s for $749

  • Sandy Bartlett

    So reading that they base that on 2 months of sales, Jan and Feb? Twp normally slow month’s? They going to print a retraction when Nikon releases the 820 this year?

    • RC Jenkins

      It’s also based on a subset of retailers–primarily NPD’s (the research group’s) customers who use their proprietary tracking systems.

      This is not by any means a comprehensive data set. It’s cherry picking data.

  • MB

    And rightfully so … US maybe specific but is also the most important market so this is huge for Nikon (not so for Sony because they have other incomes as well) …
    Nikon is over sized, inefficient, obsolete company managed by people who only care about their own incompetent asses without any clue of what to do next … it is destined to fade away and disappear and soon enough too …

    • Antonio

      It is a rare privilege to have the opportunity to benefit from such a comprehensive analysis of a company as it covers not only its management but the various departments, including R&D and technical capabilities at all levels…and as you are so affirmative I take for granted that behind it there is a lot of information research and field work instead of the “tarot style” game of so many other things we read and listen to. 🙂 🙂

      • Tom Taubert

        My white paper is based on 15 minutes skimming wikipedia.

  • goolink

    What other thing is important? after sales. I’m not bashing brand but sony’s horrible customer support is a fact that keeps me away from jumping into their brand.

  • T.I.M

    Look like the Nikon Df (made in Japan) is not in production anymore, I guess we can expect the D820/850/900 announcement in the next few weeks or months.
    Maybe not in time for my 50th birthday (05/25) but hopefully before I turn 51!

    • Luis F. Vidal

      What do you need from a D820 that you don’t have in the D810 (besides more fps)? I don’t know, it seems to me like a very capable camera for what is targeted for (portrait and landscapes) to be refreshed this year. I think that camera will be refreshed every 4/5 years.

  • Dmitry Anisimov


    • T N Args

      Yes, why didn’t you list this under Sony for 2016?

  • Sandy Bartlett

    This is a fluff opinion piece. The D750 and the D810 would have probably been updated if not for the earthquake. And are only nominally late. The D820 will outsell any SOny counterpart, as it did the 810 when released. So will the 760. The biggest problem, it the January/Feb time frame. If Nikon did release the D760 and the D820 this year, they would kick that supposed chair right out from under Sony.

  • Sawyerspadre

    This does seem to be a timing thing, right after Nikon did a big holiday push and then discontinued promotions in Jan/Feb. That said, it shows that Sony is doing something right, and there may he something to the Mirrorless trend, that Sony can outsell Nikon in full-frame sales dollars in any month, even if it is an outlier.

    • 24×36

      No, they’re trying to make you THINK there is “something to the mirrorless trend” by torturing data in a way that tells the tale Sony likes.

  • Robert King

    What a joke 🙂

    Here is why…..

    At the following link, have a look at the complete listing of Sony lenses AND their ratings. The list is short and the lenses are of mediocre quality. Ok?

    Now have a look at Nikon’s and Canon’s:

    The two highest rated, complete DSLR systems on the planet are Nikon and Canon.

    Sigma is doing a great job with the lenses, which they tool for other brand DSLR’s. And Sony has those two very top shelf DSLR bodies.

    But for Sony to say they knocked off Nikon simply causes those of us who know to lose respect for Sony. I know I have. Sony, you have a long, long way to go before there is any credibility to the statement that you have surpassed Nikon. You have lost credibility with this preposterous claim.

  • The data is based on one month? Or that’s a typo and it’s one year?

  • T N Args

    Dear admin: why don’t you, as the reporter, add some value and change these weird percentages to absolute numbers? And why not add some understanding by posting the absolute numbers for the 12-month total of 2016?

    As others have pointed out below, 2-month totals are almost ridiculous and can represent minor glitches like sales offers or stock running out.

    If the 12-month totals show Nikon above Sony then they are above Sony, and we wait for the 12-month 2017 totals so see if that changes.

    • Sawyerspadre

      Like anything in statistics, you can slice the numbers to suit your conclusion.

      1 Short sample period
      2 A single market, the US, but not likely all retailers.
      3.A period when Nikon had just ended its promos over the holidays.

      Objective sales numbers are hard to get, when you want to focus on a category or a specific market.

      Next we will hear Sony proclaim that they are #1 in full frame, Mirrorless, Interchangeable lens cameras.

  • thundrrd

    Thom Hogan has an article addressing this in more detail on his ByThom site. Article is named “Sony Throws Some Smack.”

  • Marius Ardereanu

    sony : good cameras , bad lenses .not competitive lenses , much under nikon`s and canon`s : 24-70 f/2.8 and 70-200 f/2.8 .so ….

    • Zainb

      Funny then how many Sony lenses are top rated on dxomark

      • Marius Ardereanu

        agree , only zeiss it is not a sony trademark . zeiss lenses are top rated on dxomark. there are sony lenses, too

  • Nikon is in between major updates right now, so this position could definitely still be reversed if Nikon plays their cards right in 2017 / 2018. Unfortunately, I’m not sure it’ll happen.

  • Pixyst

    There really is no excuse for Nikon’s abysmal marketing.

  • m1hoff

    Sony counted a 1-2 month period of sales. Call me when they have a few years data.

  • framedrelay

    Nikon’s dependency over Sony has to come to an end.
    An Example, When I compare this to F1 cars (where there are only handful of team who supplies Engines & Rest of the team has to use these Engines). I haven’t heard of a team who has beaten the supplier of the engine when both supplier & buyer compete in the same race.

    Till this point, Sony wasnt there in the race. They were just selling their sensors. Now Sony has upper hand. Their Cameras are mirrorless (future proof) & they make their own sensor. What do Nikon have? They have glass. I am sure there would not be an immediate switch from Nikon Pros, because it’s an expensive affair & Sony do not have these pro glasses.

    If Ziess up their game, I believe Sony would be a serious contentor in future; & a real threat to Nikon. Canon? not really, they are quite big;

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