A few thoughts on the direction of the photo industry.

Started Sep 8, 2012 | Discussions thread
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GeraldW
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A few thoughts on the direction of the photo industry.
Sep 8, 2012

Before I start expounding my ideas, let me make it clear I'm looking for discussion on this topic; so please chime in.

I first looked at who's out there - the major companies in the camera industry; and came up with Canon, Nikon, Sony, Pentax/Ricoh, Olympus, Panasonic, Leica, Samsung, and Fuji.

I then thought about categories of cameras and came up with Full frame DSLR, Crop frame DSLR, SLT (Sony's translucent mirror cameras), Mirrorless Interchangeable lens (ILC), Prosumer fixed lens, Fixed lens, and Cell phone cameras.

Next, I put all the manufacturers and camera types into a matrix, and then assigned relative strengths of each company in each category.

Adding up the totals in each company gave a product score, and then adding a score for the relative financial strength of the company to get a weighted overall score of the company's strength. Olympus, for example has a good product total; but a weak financial score because of their recent coverup of big losses.

The results rank the companies as Canon, Nikon, Sony, Panasonic, Samsung, Pentax/Ricoh, Olympus, Fuji, and Leica. I did not consider cameras larger than full frame (35 mm size) DSLRs.

What I didn't evaluate was determination. As even a large, powerful company can decide to throw in the towel; and a smaller more feisty one can decide to stick it out. Also, the larger company may decide that a product line that is not gaining market share and is a small percentage of the business is not worth keeping. In the last few years, we've lost Konica, Minolta, Yashica/Contax, Bronica, H-P, and Kodak. And Casio has withdrawn from North America.

I figure Canon, Nikon, and Sony will be around for a while. Panasonic and Samsung seem to be serious about competing in ILC's and fixed lens cameras, and Samsung is in the cell phone business - big time.

The other factor is who the sensor and processor manufacturers are. Canon makes sensors in DSLR and ILC sizes; but buys smaller ones. Nikon now makes some DSLR sensors. Sony is the big gun in sensors and processors. Samsung makes sensors and probably processors, as does Panasonic. So does Fuji. Olympus and Leica do not; putting them at a disadvantage. Something that Konica and Minolta said forced them to quit.

And I suppose we have to consider some other factors. Such as who makes displays, who has the better lens design and manufacturing, including glass. And who is the best at image processing algorithms including JPEG engines, RAW conversion, and noise reduction.

Any thoughts or comments?
--
Jerry

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