latest and greatest, NO!

Started Apr 18, 2013 | Discussions thread
Sergey Borachev
Senior MemberPosts: 2,404Gear list
Re: latest and greatest, NO!
In reply to Jere Landis, Apr 20, 2013

Some thoughts and wild guesses:

Until about a year ago, M43 cameras are simply not up to scratch in their IQ.  The E-M5's release was important as that was when we can draw a line and say there is now enough IQ and there is no great need to upgrade for the sake of getting better IQ unless for special requirements.  Due to the inadequate IQ in the past, it should not be a surprise if people who want such compact system cameras have kept upgrading to the "latest and greatest". Even at this time, some of the older models still have IQ that are not coping well with demanding situations, like the G5, the GX1.

Very soon, perhaps in another 2 generations, I think we will have a similar situation to what we have seen a few years ago with PC hardware and software.  People used to upgrade fairly quickly in order to get more functionality from software, try to get work done easier using the latest Windows and Office, or to have an advantage in PC games.  That trend started to change with Windows XP, when people found that they were still struggling to use most of the features in their software when new versions appeared.  And of course Windows Vista helped to change people's thinking because Vista was so bad. Upgrading software means also a need to get better hardware, and also retraining - all disincentives to upgrade.  Owning a very fast PC or laptop was no longer necessary, nor an image booster, or provide much pride, not for long anyway.  They became just work tools for most people.  After a few more years, we found that we had a case of too much power in PC applications and hardware, or unnecessary power for most needs.  People found that they could continue to use their existing software and hardware, hence the downturn of Microsoft.  They lost interest in getting a really fast PC, lost interest in spending to get the fastest graphics card, overclocking, etc as getting faster computers are not fun or cool since whatever they could achieve would be wiped out by the next generation of even faster CPUs, graphics cheaps, quick response LCDs, which were often cheaper.  That is how technology works.

Now, we are approach that same turning point in cameras.  We are already there with P&S cameras doing more than many casual shooters will ever need in a P&S.  Many just use their mobile phones for most traditional P&S snaps.  Soon, M43 and APS-C cameras will also have more than enough IQ and features for most hobbyists' needs.  Then, the upgrading will slow.  And the downgrading from FF and APS-C camera (DSLRs as well as MILCs) will gather pace.  Enthusiasts will continue to upgrade and get high-end equipment but a large percentage of consumers that are responsible for the bulk of sales will slow down and use their equipment for longer.  Technology won't stop and will continue to provide better and better cameras, but more and more people will soon lose interest in newer products when they laready have more than enough IQ and features for what they need to do.

My guess is that lens sales will become more and more important for manufacturers.  Some "good enough" camera bodies will start to be sold cheap, like printers nowadays, to try to lock in buyers so as to sell lenses to them, while the high end cameras like FF DSLRs will get more and more expensive. It is very unclear what will happen but I think there will be big changes. There may have to be some sort of convergence and standardisation in camera lines, models, mounts to achieve cost reduction so as to be able to make cameras cheaper and achieve higher volume sales to make a buck and to sell lenses, rather than trying to sell like previously through higher and higher specs that not many people will care about.  So, there will be an end to the madness, I think.

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