Canon Promotes Olympic Results

55%. 

That's Canon's claim of market share of professional photographers at the Tokyo Olympics. That number is predicated on 14 events at the games, and is an average counted by Canon themselves, so be a little careful about putting too much weight on the specific value. Also, Canon is a Gold Sponsor for the Olympics, so there is other mostly unseen marketing going on in the background, though this tends to get concentrated on the video side, not the stills side.

As the Internet is wont, that little data nugget is already being taken all sorts of different ways and generating plenty of arguments debate. I'm not sure that Olympic market share is a good indicator of anything other than agency buying predilection and Professional Services support. Moreover, I'm not sure a pandemic-plagued games would be 100% indicative of any true balance among professional photographers. I know quite a few sports pros who decided not to go to Tokyo, due to the logistics of Japan's COVID protocols.

But, let's go there. 

Two things stood out to me in what I saw (while viewing events) and from what I've heard from a couple of colleagues that were there:

  1. Canon's presence seemed down a bit (which may be why they're trumpeting it in marketing; 55% is still an awful good number in a competition of three). At London and Rio it seemed like the breakdown was closer to 70% Canon, 25% Nikon in the official photo pool areas. 
  2. Tokyo was the first Olympics where we saw a clear and obvious presence from mirrorless, primarily Canon R5/R6s and Sony A9/A1s.  

That said, I'm not sure there's anything we can conclude other than that this might have been the last Summer Olympics at which DSLRs held the majority. With the Nikon Z9 and Canon R3 getting formally added to the fray soon, the Beijing Winter Olympics in February are likely to show even more of a move to mirrorless.  By the time Paris rolls around in 2024, I'm sure that mirrorless will have the top share over DSLR among the Olympics-covering pro.

In other words: nothing to see here; just the same general trend we've been following for the last several years. 

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