D-SLR Market: Version Three
I just started using Google+ and its a great place to show your work and find great photographers, here's an invite.
Since it had been about six months since I did the second collage, I thought to make an update. Move your cursor over the cameras to see their model name.
Just like the last collage, the figure is divided into different market segments. From the top of the figure to the first line is where I feel the entry-level part of the camera market is. From the first line to the second is where I feel the mid-range part of the camera market is. From the second line to the third line is where I feel the high-end part of the camera market is. Below the third line is the "ultra high-end" part of the camera market. Some cameras overlap because they are trying to target the market differently, for example I put the Nikon D90 inbetween entry-level and mid-range because it has some higer-end features like its pentaprism but doesn't quite make the full cut because of its feature list.
Not every camera in my figure is a D-SLR, but I included them because they are targeting buyers in the same market. These cameras are; Leica M9, Leica X1, Olympus PEN E-PL1, Olympus PEN E-P2, Samsung GX10, Sigma DP1x, Sigma DP2s, Panasonic Lumix DMC-G10, Panasonic Lumix DMC-G2, Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF1, and the Ricoh GXR A12. The Leica M9 is a rangefinder, the Leica X1, Sigma DP1x, and Sigma DP2s and fixed lens cameras. The Panasonic Lumix DMC-G10, Panasonic Lumix DMC-G2, Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF1, Sony Alpha NEX-5, Sony Alpha NEX-3, Olympus PEN E-P2, and the Olympus PEN E-PL1 are mirror-less, interchangable lens 4/3 sensor cameras. The Samsung NX10, Samsung NX5, Sony NEX-3, and Sony NEX-5 are also a mirror-less cameras with interchangble lenses but they have a larger APS-C sized sensor. The Ricoh GXR A12 is a completely new breed of camera offering interchangable lens + sensor units. All of these cameras have an optional accessory shoe, RAW file format, and a sensor of atleast 2.43cm in area, therefore indicating that they are targeting a more "Professional" market.
Main Changes Since "D-SLR Market Version Two": Since I made the last collage a few things have happened. Sony has expanded their already massive offering of consumer market D-SLRs, they have added two new lineups of mirror-less Alpha cameras, one series with an EVF and one series without an EVF. The new series without an EVF is called the NEX series and is
has very few missing some features some serious photographers would want and is constructed to be simple and unintimidating. The other series of new Sony mirror-less cameras is called the SLT series, SLT stands for "single lens translucent" and contains a translucent mirror that dirrects some light onto a sensor to provide phase detection autofocus, this is a first in the market, and is very notable because you can now use live view to shoot or make videos while using phase detection autofocusing which is standard to all normal D-SLRs. Another big change in the market is the introduction of the Pentax 645D which has made me shift Pentax's position on the graph, since I placed this new camera in the "ultra high-end" section of the graph. This camera is very notable because it undercuts the compitition's price by $10,000 USD. This new D-SLR system camera from Pentax already has a very established lineup of lenses, some of which are cheap to buy second hand. The only specification that the new Pentax loses out on is it's 14 bit AD converter, since 16 bits is the standard in this category, but the Pentax does come weather sealed. Nikon has also added a new camera to battle in the entry-level part of the market as well, the Nikon D3100.
Entry-Level: $500-$950 USD (Body Only)
The cameras that I classified as entry-level are available to the consumer market for "affordable" prices. These cameras usually have bodies made of strong engineering plastic and have very basic environmental sealing, with the exception of the Pentax K-x which has weather sealing as good as a mid-range camera. The lowest of the entry-level cameras usually have a few missing features which are usually considered standard across the market, this is to entice new photographers to upgrade eventually. For example, Canon does not offer spot metering in their Rebel XS (1000D) and Nikon does not offer exposure bracketing in their D3000. The more pricey cameras in this entry-level segment usually have some features of their mid-range siblings, for example, the Canon Rebel T2i has 18.0 megapixels and 14 bit files, the Nikon D90 has a pentaprism, the Pentax K-x has weather sealing, the Sony A550 has 7 frames per second continuous shooting. It is standard of the entry-level cameras to offer a shutter life of 100,000 actuations.
Mid-Range: $1,100-$2,700 USD (Body Only)
The mid-range market is characterized by better build quality and longer shutter life. These cameras are made from magnesium alloy and usually have a shutter life of 150,000 actuations (the original EOS 1D of 2001 had a shutter life of only 150,000 actuations). These cameras also have brighter viewfinder images thanks to the use of a proper pentaprism instead of a pentamirror used in the entry level models. Many of these mid-range models now offer 100% viewfinder coverage; Nikon D300s, Canon EOS 7D, Olympus E-3, Pentax K7, and the Sony Alpha D-SLR A900. Cameras at this level begin to differentiate a bit more as to what purpose they would be used for, for example, the Canon EOS 7D might be used more for sports and wildlife (8fps and crop factor) while the Canon EOS 5D Mark II might be used more for studio work, weddings, products, and landscapes (lenses give wider feild of view, larger pixels, higher resolution). Autofocus is also better with these models, because they usually have more cross type autofocus points than the entry-level cameras. These cameras also tend to have a high continuous shooting speed of 5-8 frames per second. Overall this group of cameras is best suited to enthusiasts and working professionals.
High-End: $5,000-$13,000 USD (Body Only)
These cameras have shutter lives of 300,000 actuations and have the highest degree of weather sealing available. They utilize the best autofocus systems available on the Canon and Nikon bodies. The new Canon EOS 1D Mark IV has 39 cross type autofocus sensors and a total of 45 autofocus sensors. It may seem strange at first to see that I included the Mamiya DM22 and Hasselblad 503CWD in this class, but they are at a similar price point and resolution. The Mamiya has an MSRP of $9,999 USD and the Nikon D3X has an MSRP of $7,999 USD, so they are fairly close and they might be used for similar purposes; high-end portraiture and studio work. The Hasselblad 503CWD is very interesting as it is the only "old" body I include here, it is an old "V-system" camera and uses its lenses, but Hasselblad still offers it with a 16 megapixel digital back. The Leica M9 is also listed here because of its price point of $6,999 USD which is pretty well in line with this group. The Canon EOS 5D Mark II is nudged into this section a bit because it offers nearly the same sensor as the Canon EOS 1Ds Mark III, which makes it a bargain.
"Ultra High-End:" $10,000-$42,000 USD (Body Only)
These cameras are very expensive mainly because of their digital backs which offer as much as 60.5 megapixels. None of these cameras are actually "true" medium format cameras because they don't offer a sensor size of atleast 27cm squared, which would be equivalent to 6X4.5cm film size. The largest sensor available for these bodies (as far as I know) is Phase One's P65+ digital back which has a sensor size of 21.8 cm squared. Many Mamiyas and Hasselblads have the same sensor size of 17.28cm squared which (ironaically) is exactly 2X the size of a full frame sensor of 8.64cm squared. The Leica S2 has a much smaller sensor of only 13.5cm squared. The Hasselblad H4D-40, Mamiya DM40, and Pentax 645D have a sensor of about 14.5cm squared. In reality this group of cameras is only affordable to large companies, studios, and people with extreamly deep pockets.
The Idea for this collage was originally from Derek K. Miller