Why Sony’s A7III just made your camera gear less valuable
And what Canon & Nikon will do to compete
- If you’re in the market for an A7III, expect lower than expected pricing for your current gear, because the market is about to get flooded. The 6D Mark II and newer Sony bodies will probably see the most price erosion early on.
- The D750 is due for a refresh, and this is where we expect to see the first market reaction to the A7III from Canon/Nikon in spite of rumored mirrorless efforts
Last week, Sony announced the A7III launch, and it is a game changer. In packing this many features into a $2000 body, Sony put the rest of the industry on notice. Not only are they coming after the main players, but they’re also willing to cannibalize themselves.
In addition to Sony forcing Nikon and Canon to reevaluate new product direction (mirrorless, prioritizing video, etc), the A7III announcement will also have a ripple effect across the industry for both used and new pricing. This means your current gear just became less valuable in the used market.
Before the A7III announcement, Sony’s features that competed with or bested Canon, Nikon, and Fuji lived in different product offerings (video: A7SII, low light: A7SII, autofocus: A9, battery: A9/A7RIII). And except for the video-centric A7SII, the features professionals and prosumers needed were in specialized or very expensive bodies. If a professional wanted fast autofocus in a good stills camera without breaking the bank, Sony wasn’t likely the best option.
The A7III changes all that. Combining an otherworldly AF system with great battery life and low light performance, all in a $2000 body, Sony is telling the market leaders they’re willing to cut themselves off at the knees to take market share.
What’s the competition look like?
Canon – 6D Mark II:$1899 new $1500 used (view market data)
Let’s face it, the 6D Mark II launch was a disappointment. After ignoring customers’ requests for good 4k in an affordable full frame body, Canon launched the 6D Mark II. Yes, the “flippy” screen was a nice addition, but concerns about dynamic range and the lack of improvements in video left people wondering whether or not it was even a good value over the original.
At its current price, very few people are going to consider the 6D Mark II over the A7III. Significantly better video, better autofocus, dynamic range, and low light performance…while still being able to use Canon glass? The A7III is a much better bang for your buck.
Canon’s intentional protectionism of their higher end products through crippling the video features of their lower ones (6D Mark II, M50, etc) means that the A7III laps them in every conceivable way for video. DPAF is no longer an advantage to swing people their way.
Nikon – D750:$1800/$1225, D7500:$1200/$954, D500:$1900/$1397 (view market data)
The Sony A7III is drawing initial comparisons to the D750 as a potential wedding shooter workhorse. The D750 is a very capable camera in this regard. And certainly, a better option than the older A7II. The D7500 and D500 both shoot 4K video, and the D500 has the tremendous AF system borrowed from the D5.
But the issue plaguing Nikon is a problem in all their cameras: horrible live view autofocus. For hybrid shooters, the A7III will absolutely wipe the mat with Nikon here.
So, if you’re not invested in a lot of expensive Nikon glass, would you really consider a D750 over an A7III? I doubt it. Especially if you do any video work. For the same reason, the D850 isn’t as good a value right now as the A7RIII.
Until Nikon figures out live view autofocus, their products will continue to struggle in holding their value. Sure, many are still not interested in video features on a DSLR, but that group of people is growing smaller by the day.
The D750 is due for a refresh, and this is where I expect to see the first market reaction to the A7III from Canon/Nikon. Either the D750 replacement will launch with a significant feature set beyond what Nikon would normally deliver, or they’ll price it aggressively.Jakob Owens
Canon 6D Mark II may see severe price erosion
Fuji – X-H1:$1900 (view market data)
Before the A7III was announced, the X-H1 seemed like a really good value. Incredible video features, same great stills and jpg performance from the X-T2, all for under $2000.
But for basically the same price, you can have an A7III and a full frame sensor, with a wider selection of glass.
Why will this erode pricing?
Since Sony is willing to undercut its own products to gain market share, it’s going to force Nikon and Canon’s hand. Either they are going to have to offer rebates on their existing lineup to combat Sony on price (since they can’t combat them on features), or they will be forced to offer newer, more feature rich products at the same price point. Either move will force significant downward pressure on the existing secondary market – across all products, including lenses.
Speaking of lenses
The A7III announcement came as a second part of a one-two punch for other brands. One of the long time issues plaguing Sony is the lack of affordable good glass. Their G Master lenses, while wonderful, are very expensive.
The first part of the one-two punch were announcements from Sigma and Tamron that they’re getting into the native E-mount game. With Tamron releasing a 28-75mm f/2.8 zoom that they say is on par with G Master glass, and Sigma retrofitting their entire Canon full frame lineup for Sony, this will do two things:
First, people who were hesitant to jump on the Sony train because they didn’t want to shell out $2200 for a G Master lens ($1860 used WOW) now have affordable quality alternatives.
Second, these quality alternatives will force downward pressure on Sony’s own offerings. If the Tamron is as good as they say, I doubt Sony can reasonably have their GM 24-70 at $2200 sit alongside an $1100 lens and expect the same sales.
And if prices drop for new, they’re obviously going to drop for used.
Canon & Nikon Mirrorless
It's been widely reported that Canon and Nikon are working on mirrorless full frame products. This will certainly bolster their brand among current Canon/Nikon users who are looking for a smaller option. But there are concerns surrounding what the lens adaptation process will be and when these products will come to market.
One could argue, however, that size and weight of mirrored bodies aren’t the reason so many have adopted Sony mirrorless, however. The biggest driving factor in adoption of mirrorless tech is that this is where innovation is happening. Panasonic, Fuji, Olympus, and Sony continue to move beyond incremental improvements and push the rest of the industry. The bigger issue for mirrorless is not the weight, but rather if Canon and Nikon use them as platforms to include the things they’ve avoided giving customers to this point.
If you’re a Canon or Sony shooter wanting to jump to the A7III, you probably want to sell sooner rather than later. Yes, there will be a glut of product in the market (especially if you’re selling a 6D Mark II), but it’s better to sell now before the market price resets for good.
- Sony introducing a body that fixes the issues where Canon and Nikon have an advantage (autofocus, low light, operating speed, buffer) in a $2000 body will force both of them to either lower pricing of existing products or introduce new ones that render the previous products obsolete
- Tamron and Sigma getting involved with their own native E-mount lenses will both create affordable options for people previously hesitant to get involved with Sony and force downward price pressure on existing expensive Sony glass
- Sony’s undercutting itself will cause price erosion with Sony bodies in the secondary market as well