As a huge Panasonic fan, I am quite disheartened by this interview:

Started Feb 12, 2013 | Discussions thread
mgd43
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Re: As a huge Panasonic fan, I am quite disheartened by this interview:
In reply to tedandtricia, Feb 13, 2013

tedandtricia wrote:

mgd43 wrote:

I've been into photography for 45 years and some things haven't changed as much as some people think they have. When I was shooting with my Canon FTb 35mm SLR the vast majority of people were using Kodak Instamatics. They were cheap, easy to use, and had lousey image quality compared to a 35mm SLR or consumer grade rangefinder camera like a Canonet. They didn't care about image quality any more than they do today.

Very interesting to get the historical perspective on image quality. Though my guess is it's not that image quality was not important. My guess it had more to do with the price point as well as the fact that you're never going to have a mass market consumer product where people need to learn how to stack RAW files in PP and stuff like that. Those are things enthusiast do, but enthusiasts do not buy tens of millions of cameras. Only consumers in the mass market do that.

If anything people in general seem to care more about image quality today than they did then. I live in NYC and I see bus loads of tourists when I'm in Manhattan. I see very few of them shooting with their phones. I see lots of DSLR's and bridge cameras. It seems that their phones are fine for everyday snapshots, when they come to NYC, or any tourist spot (I imagine), they do want quality photos.

Agreed that a lot of people have DSLRs and bridges today still, but how representative of the mass market is that? Maybe those are all people with 15 posts in their dpreview accounts, and they're on an nyc trip so they can break out their new enthusiast camera.

The mass market that I read about is all the new young would-be buyers who are posting fuzzy low res motion blurred shots of themselves standing in front of the bathroom mirror to facebook. In the past they would have bought a cheap compact, but why bother now that they can use their iphone.

Sales for any product consist of additions to the market and replacements. The market for P&S cameras is now pretty much saturated with fewer additions to the market than in years past.

True, though as you mentioned compact cameras have been around since Kodak Instamatics. Even compact buyers upgrade their cameras (or we'd all still have Instamatics). And from what I have read, the improvement curve for larger cameras has slowed, while compact cameras have really rapidly improved even in the last few years. So the reasons to upgrade and replace are there, in terms of IQ.

Replacments for existing cameras is slowing, at least in part, because casual photographers who make up the vast majority of the market are satisfiied with the camera they own and do not rush out and buy ever new model that comes out.

Maybe this has to do with a failed mass market consumer strategy on the part of camera manufacturers. Because I do see people rushing out to buy every new model of iPhone that comes out. And enthusiasts still rush out to buy every new model (like the LX7 and RX100).

I see camera phones as a new sector of the camera market. It will not replace other sectors. I will exist alongside them.

Read some camera manufacturer reports. This new sector is cannibalizing the small compact P&S market. So in that sense yes it is replacing a sector. The small compact sector. Not the upper end of the market but the bottom end of the market. It may not be visible to us because people still have cameras. But maybe those pocket cameras are older models that would have been replaced now if not for smartphones.

My point is that there have always been serious, for lack of a better word, and casual photographers. Casual photographers have always tended to emphasize easy and convenient over image quality in their cameras. For them the camera phone is ideal as a carry always snapshot camera. It's today's Pocket Instamatic. Still, I see loads of tourists shooting with DSLR's and bridge cameras even though I'm sure that many if not most have camera phones with them.

On the other hand, serious photographers, like most of us on the forum, place a heavy premium on image quality in our compact cameras as well as in our DSLR's. I, for example, carry my LX5 or ZS15 even though I have a camera phone. That's why I feel that there will be a market for both camera phones and cameras, including compacts. I also believe that enthusiasts replace their cameras more often than casual photographers. iPhone enthusiasts replace their iPhones often for the same reason camera enthusiasts often replace their cameras.

You are right that camera phones are eating away some camera sales, especially lower end P&S's.

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