This is a great analysis of the camera industry today by Michael Reichmann over at The luminous-landscape.com.
“Canon has apparently not yet received the memo. Or, if they have, they have chosen thus far to ignore it. As a market leader in DSLRs they clearly have turf to protect. Those cameras and lenses carry higher margins than CSCs, though top of the line CSCs, like the NEX-7, clearly can be quite profitable if they become successes. The lesson that if someone is going to eat your lunch it may as well be you, seems not to resonate with Canon. But as all of the other companies scramble for position in the new CSC marketplace it is highly unlikely that can will sit on their hands for too much longer. The real question will be whether Canon decides to play it safe and follow Nikon with a very small sensor, or attack Sony, potentially Fujifilm, and to a lesser extent Panasonic and Olympus with a 2X or larger sensor.
But there is no question that the traditional DSLRs segment has lots of life left in it. It's a big “but” though, and its my belief that while pros and advanced amateurs in various fields (fashion, advertising, sports, wildlife, landscape) will continue to appreciate and demand the advantages that DSLRs have to offer, consumers and prosumers looking for versatility and image quality will increasingly be turning to CSCs. Smaller size, lighter weight and lower cost are the ingredients that appeal. And if a camera can also offer a large sensor (APS-C or MFT) than there is no serious compromise in image quality or availability of shallow DOF.
I'll close this out with a personal anecdote. Because of this web site, my workshops, seminars, writing and teaching, I meet and communicate with a lot of pros and advanced amateurs. We chat about photography, the industry, gear, and related topics. A year ago I hardly knew any that owned or even stated an interest in owning a CSC. But this is changing at a very fast clip. A great many are now saying that they've bought a Panasonic, Olympus or Sony Compact System Camera, and with the success and appeal of the Fujifilm X100 are hoping that an interchangeable lens version is under consideration from that company as well. I even know some serious photographers who are selling their DSLRs, and who are looking at advanced CSCs like the Panasonic GH2 and Sony NEX-7. Those that own legacy lenses also find these very appealing, since they can take virtually any lens ever made via adaptors.
Are we at the beginning of a new revolution? The entire world of photographic technology has been in a state of revolution for the past decade. The emergence of the CLC is simply another step in this evolutionary process. And with products like the Sony NEX-7, the category isn't going to remain an under-appreciated one for much longer.”
Yes we are at the beginning of a new revolution. I chose with my pocketbook by switching systems.