Sony is the Most Popular Camera Brand Among Average Japanese Users

BCN Awards 2024

The annual BCN Awards provide a reasonably good indication of what cameras and lenses proved popular in the year past, and the BCN Awards 2024 show that some familiar faces sold a lot of photography equipment last year.

Before diving into the numbers, contextualization is critical. The BCN Awards exclusively account for the Japanese market, and only for Japanese retailers inside BCN’s network, who account for 40-60% of total sales in the country. It is not necessarily a perfect cross-section, either, as BCN tends to capture consumer and prosumer sales at a higher rate than higher-end purchasers, like professional or commercial buyers, who are more likely to shop at dedicated photography retailers rather than the general electronics stores BCN monitors. All that aside, the data is still interesting and worth investigating as they reflect general consumer behavior in Japan.

The most exciting camera category these days is interchangeable lens mirrorless cameras; most customers purchase mirrorless cameras rather than DSLRs, with some exceptions, of course. In 2023, within BCN’s Japanese retailer network, Sony performed the best, capturing 34% of the market share. Canon finished in second at 28.3%, and OM Digital Solutions rounded out the top three with a 12.5% share.

BCN Awards 2024
Sony a7 IV

Sony took the crown back from Canon, which prevented a Sony three-peat by two percentage points last year. In the previous six BCN Awards, the winner has always been Sony or Canon, with each winning three times. Whoever didn’t win finished second, save for 2019 when Olympus took second. Olympus, now OM Digital Solutions, was in the third spot the rest of the time.

It is surprising not to see Fujifilm or Nikon in the mix here — especially Nikon, given that the company’s Z8 and Zf cameras performed extremely well at some other Japanese retailers last year. At one point, the Z8 was the top-selling camera at all five of Japan’s biggest retailers, and the Z8 and Zf both sold extremely well in 2023 overall at Map Camera.

BCN Awards 2024
The retro-inspired Nikon Zf has been a very popular camera at some Japanese retailers.

Nikon does appear in the DSLR category of the BCN Awards, though, finishing a very distant second (17.1%) to Canon (77.1%). Ricoh Imaging, the only company still actively developing DSLR cameras and lenses — including some cool ones, like the Pentax K-3 III Monochrome — finished third at 5.8%. Ricoh Imaging has been steady in the BCN Awards, finishing with 5.8%, 5.7%, and 5.8% in the last three years.

BCN Awards 2024
Pentax K-3 III Monochrome

The BCN Awards also has categories for integrated lens cameras, which Canon won this time, and awards for digital video cameras, action cameras, and binoculars. The complete breakdown, including past results, is available on the BCN Awards website.

Image credits: Header photo licensed via Depositphotos.