Camera industry in crisis? Thought provoking article.

Started 8 months ago | Discussions
sderdiarian
Veteran MemberPosts: 3,262Gear list
Like?
Camera industry in crisis? Thought provoking article.
8 months ago

This was placed a week or so ago and reposted today on 43Rumors. Going by the number of comments on that site, it clearly grabbed attention:

http://www.43rumors.com/the-camera-industry-crisis-in-easy-numbers/

Is this is a temporary downward blip for interchangeable lens (IL) cameras, or more permanent as the author speculates. Some possible contributors to the downturn:

  • market saturation with a shrinking group of enthusiasts
  • the IL camera fad is fading
  • prices are trending too low to justify rising manufacturing numbers
  • malaise bred by sharing low-res images on 5" camera phones/7" tablets rather than printing
  • current cameras already produce image quality exceeding what's discernible on these devices as well as larger screens without pixel peeping
  • today's smart phones (pocketable with 5" touch screens, phones, internet connectivity, 16MP cameras, wifi) cause increasing numbers of under-40's to scratch their heads why they should buy a camera
  • Why settle for a 3" screen to view and share photos as you take them when 5" screens are now so prevalent on devices perceived as essentially "free" (cost buried in cellphone contracts)?

Likely all of the above are contributors to some degree.

I'm guessing specialized compacts (tough cameras, superzooms, and enthusiast grade fixed-lens cameras) and IL cameras will continue to sell, but in reduced numbers as the market settles. The field of manufacturers may thin out, and improvements slacken as R&D funds shrink, leading to a smaller pool of available products.

Or maybe China, India and other emerging economic players will pick up the slack and drive the industry forward. Camera manufacturers I'm sure are all watching age demographics, emerging markets and personality traits that drive sales. Time will tell where things land.

-- hide signature --

Sailin' Steve

 sderdiarian's gear list:sderdiarian's gear list
Olympus OM-D E-M5 Panasonic Lumix G 20mm F1.7 ASPH Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-50mm 1:3.5-6.3 EZ Olympus M.Zuiko ED 75-300mm 1:4.8-6.7 II
digitallollygag
Regular MemberPosts: 275Gear list
Like?
Re: Camera industry in crisis? Thought provoking article.
In reply to sderdiarian, 8 months ago

There are probably a lot of factors for this, many of which you already mentioned.  I suspect one reason sales are off is because many cameras either have limited, crippled, or no wi-fi connectivity. The concept of squeezing shutter button, turning off camera, pulling SD card, putting SD card in computer, and downloading images is becoming increasingly foreign to people under 25-years old.  Young people especially want connectivity to FB, etc.  The stodgy coats-and-ties leadership at Canon and Nikon are finally figuring this out, a little late.  They should have been all over the social networking phenomenon back in 2008.  It is more than just "the images from my iPhone are good enough".  What its really about is getting those images to the cloud. Most traditional digital cameras just don't do this seamlessly, if at all.  But that's changing.

Another thing is, the average person is probably keeping his/her digital camera longer because the IQ of their current camera is "good enough".

 digitallollygag's gear list:digitallollygag's gear list
Canon PowerShot S95 Nikon D100 Olympus E-410 Nikon D5100 Pentax Q +18 more
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
sderdiarian
Veteran MemberPosts: 3,262Gear list
Like?
Re: Camera industry in crisis? Thought provoking article.
In reply to digitallollygag, 8 months ago

digitallollygag wrote:

I suspect one reason sales are off is because many cameras either have limited, crippled, or no wi-fi connectivity. The concept of squeezing shutter button, turning off camera, pulling SD card, putting SD card in computer, and downloading images is becoming increasingly foreign to people under 25-years old. Young people especially want connectivity to FB, etc. The stodgy coats-and-ties leadership at Canon and Nikon are finally figuring this out, a little late. They should have been all over the social networking phenomenon back in 2008. It is more than just "the images from my iPhone are good enough". What its really about is getting those images to the cloud. Most traditional digital cameras just don't do this seamlessly, if at all. But that's changing.

Maybe being behind the curve relates to aging senior management, as at Canon: CEO is 78, CFO is 73, Chief Technology Officer age 72, Chief Director of Planning age 68, average age of board members is 70.

Another thing is, the average person is probably keeping his/her digital camera longer because the IQ of their current camera is "good enough".

Improvements, especially to DSLR's, have become predictably minor and incremental in nature, being a mature design. The sensor MP race is over when the everyperson DSLR has a 24MP sensor still housed in thick black bodies with bulky lenses and yielding minimal improvement over the 16MP sensors that preceded them. When it takes pixel peeping to see the difference, you've lost a lot of your audience.

I myself have "slimmed down" to an E-M5 with 4 lenses taking me from 18-600mm (35mm equivalent). And I now only even use this for intentional photography like landscapes, portraits and for travel. The rest of the time, it's now an iPhone for my construction record photography.

It hit me tonight while looking over our company program's cellphone upgrade options. I can now get a 5.2" screen LG G2 with 13MP camera and a whole gamut of apps, yet weighing the same as my older 3.5" screened iPhone 4S. Or I can wait 2 months and the G3 will be released with a further improved camera with OIS and a 5.5" hi-res touch screen. Always with me and allows for instant photo downloads, surfing the web, checking emails and, oh yes, it's a phone too.

The camera phone tsunami has hit and we may well now be witnessing the tide of traditional cameras receding. I wonder if one is already perceived as being "old" walking around with a black DSLR strapped around one's neck. A pity if so, but then, how much of marketing is about fashion in the first place?

-- hide signature --

Sailin' Steve

 sderdiarian's gear list:sderdiarian's gear list
Olympus OM-D E-M5 Panasonic Lumix G 20mm F1.7 ASPH Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-50mm 1:3.5-6.3 EZ Olympus M.Zuiko ED 75-300mm 1:4.8-6.7 II
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Mike_PEAT
Forum ProPosts: 10,618Gear list
Like?
More like returning to pre-digital sales levels!
In reply to sderdiarian, 8 months ago

Everyone keeps talking about dropping camera sales, but what people forget is before digital there was a LOT more competition, and people kept their cameras for decades instead of months...we are just starting to return to that trend where people kept their cameras longer, and camera companies will have to get used to the BLOATED sales returning to NORMAL levels!

Since you mentioned M4/3 the E-M5 I bought is the first camera I bought that I could see myself still using in more than five years from when I bought it.

 Mike_PEAT's gear list:Mike_PEAT's gear list
Lytro Light Field 16GB
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
micronean
Regular MemberPosts: 302Gear list
Like?
Re: More like returning to pre-digital sales levels!
In reply to Mike_PEAT, 8 months ago

Mike_PEAT wrote:

Everyone keeps talking about dropping camera sales, but what people forget is before digital there was a LOT more competition, and people kept their cameras for decades instead of months...we are just starting to return to that trend where people kept their cameras longer, and camera companies will have to get used to the BLOATED sales returning to NORMAL levels!

Since you mentioned M4/3 the E-M5 I bought is the first camera I bought that I could see myself still using in more than five years from when I bought it.

That is correct. The last decade in photography was the equivalent of the "baby boom": a massive, abrupt, generational change. Sales numbers were just unnaturally high--and nobody knew this because digital imaging was such an unprecedented technology. Who the heck would have predicted a cellular phone was all you ever needed to take a quality, high resolution, snapshot?

The big losers are all the ones who put all their money on the old way of taking photos, and that seems to be everyone in the photo industry. Only apple and GoPro seem to have hit the jackpot.

 micronean's gear list:micronean's gear list
Olympus OM-D E-M5 Olympus E-M1 Panasonic Lumix G 14mm F2.5 ASPH Panasonic Lumix G Vario 100-300mm F4-5.6 OIS Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-50mm 1:3.5-6.3 EZ +2 more
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
D Cox
Senior MemberPosts: 8,398
Like?
Re: Camera industry in crisis? Thought provoking article.
In reply to sderdiarian, 8 months ago

A camera in a phone is still a camera, and the image quality is at least as good as that from the typical 35mm fixed-lens rangefinder camera of the 1970s. It is much better than from any Instamatic.

Sales of sensors, lenses, processing chips and LCDs for phones are very healthy, I think. These are the components of any digital camera.

What people are complaining about is low sales of large camera bodies, lens mounts, and so on. But if you look again at the 1970s, only a tiny proportion of the population had 35mm SLRs or medium format cameras. We may be going back to the normal state of business, except that the market is now much bigger because of the growth of a middle class in China and India.

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
meland
Senior MemberPosts: 3,904
Like?
Re: Camera industry in crisis? Thought provoking article.
In reply to digitallollygag, 8 months ago

digitallollygag wrote:

There are probably a lot of factors for this, many of which you already mentioned. I suspect one reason sales are off is because many cameras either have limited, crippled, or no wi-fi connectivity. The concept of squeezing shutter button, turning off camera, pulling SD card, putting SD card in computer, and downloading images is becoming increasingly foreign to people under 25-years old. Young people especially want connectivity to FB, etc. The stodgy coats-and-ties leadership at Canon and Nikon are finally figuring this out, a little late. They should have been all over the social networking phenomenon back in 2008.

Come on!  You can of course say this with the benefit of 6 years hindsight but I am prepared to bet that if you had been in charge of a photo manufacturer's planning, hurtling into a major world financial crash, you wouldn't have done any different.

It is more than just "the images from my iPhone are good enough". What its really about is getting those images to the cloud. Most traditional digital cameras just don't do this seamlessly, if at all. But that's changing.

Another thing is, the average person is probably keeping his/her digital camera longer because the IQ of their current camera is "good enough".

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
meland
Senior MemberPosts: 3,904
Like?
Re: Camera industry in crisis? Thought provoking article.
In reply to sderdiarian, 8 months ago

sderdiarian wrote:

digitallollygag wrote:

I suspect one reason sales are off is because many cameras either have limited, crippled, or no wi-fi connectivity. The concept of squeezing shutter button, turning off camera, pulling SD card, putting SD card in computer, and downloading images is becoming increasingly foreign to people under 25-years old. Young people especially want connectivity to FB, etc. The stodgy coats-and-ties leadership at Canon and Nikon are finally figuring this out, a little late. They should have been all over the social networking phenomenon back in 2008. It is more than just "the images from my iPhone are good enough". What its really about is getting those images to the cloud. Most traditional digital cameras just don't do this seamlessly, if at all. But that's changing.

Maybe being behind the curve relates to aging senior management, as at Canon: CEO is 78, CFO is 73, Chief Technology Officer age 72, Chief Director of Planning age 68, average age of board members is 70.

You're assuming that those individuals mentioned have anything to do with the detail of camera product planning.  They don't and the people who actually drive that product planning are aged between 30 and 40.

Another thing is, the average person is probably keeping his/her digital camera longer because the IQ of their current camera is "good enough".

Improvements, especially to DSLR's, have become predictably minor and incremental in nature, being a mature design. The sensor MP race is over when the everyperson DSLR has a 24MP sensor still housed in thick black bodies with bulky lenses and yielding minimal improvement over the 16MP sensors that preceded them. When it takes pixel peeping to see the difference, you've lost a lot of your audience.

I myself have "slimmed down" to an E-M5 with 4 lenses taking me from 18-600mm (35mm equivalent). And I now only even use this for intentional photography like landscapes, portraits and for travel. The rest of the time, it's now an iPhone for my construction record photography.

It hit me tonight while looking over our company program's cellphone upgrade options. I can now get a 5.2" screen LG G2 with 13MP camera and a whole gamut of apps, yet weighing the same as my older 3.5" screened iPhone 4S. Or I can wait 2 months and the G3 will be released with a further improved camera with OIS and a 5.5" hi-res touch screen. Always with me and allows for instant photo downloads, surfing the web, checking emails and, oh yes, it's a phone too.

The camera phone tsunami has hit and we may well now be witnessing the tide of traditional cameras receding. I wonder if one is already perceived as being "old" walking around with a black DSLR strapped around one's neck. A pity if so, but then, how much of marketing is about fashion in the first place?

I'd agree with that.  Unfortunately many of the younger generation are really turned off by the stereotypical image of the enthusiast photographer.

-- hide signature --

Sailin' Steve

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
TrapperJohn
Forum ProPosts: 10,752
Like?
Quite true
In reply to Mike_PEAT, 8 months ago

Now that sensors have hit a point where further improvement isn't necessarily translating into noticable improvements, the 'upgrade body every two years' cycle will die down.

The current situation isn't out of the ordinary, it's the last 10 years that were out of the ordinary.

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
D Cox
Senior MemberPosts: 8,398
Like?
Re: Quite true
In reply to TrapperJohn, 8 months ago

TrapperJohn wrote:

Now that sensors have hit a point where further improvement isn't necessarily translating into noticable improvements, the 'upgrade body every two years' cycle will die down.

The current situation isn't out of the ordinary, it's the last 10 years that were out of the ordinary.

There were similar rapid advances in colour films in the 1960s, but you didn't have to buy a new camera to use the new films.

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
mgd43
Senior MemberPosts: 3,386Gear list
Like?
Re: Camera industry in crisis? Thought provoking article.
In reply to D Cox, 8 months ago

D Cox wrote:

A camera in a phone is still a camera, and the image quality is at least as good as that from the typical 35mm fixed-lens rangefinder camera of the 1970s. It is much better than from any Instamatic.

Sales of sensors, lenses, processing chips and LCDs for phones are very healthy, I think. These are the components of any digital camera.

What people are complaining about is low sales of large camera bodies, lens mounts, and so on. But if you look again at the 1970s, only a tiny proportion of the population had 35mm SLRs or medium format cameras. We may be going back to the normal state of business, except that the market is now much bigger because of the growth of a middle class in China and India.

I bought my first 35mm SLR in 1967 so I've been following the industry for a long time. I think that D Cox is right that SLR users were always a small percentage of the population. SLR's were the cameras of choice for most pros and serious amateurs, but the vast majority of the general public used Instamatics or 35mm P&S's. I think that we are returning to that pattern only now the camera of choice for the general public is the camera phone. Serious amateurs will continue to use DSLR's, ILC's, and high end compacts. Pros will continue to use DSLR's and maybe ILC's. So I think that rather than being in crisis, the industry is returning to normal. Some manufacturers my leave the industry, but that's happened before and the industry survived.

 mgd43's gear list:mgd43's gear list
Panasonic Lumix DMC-LF1 Nikon Coolpix P7800 Nikon D5200 Nikon AF DX Fisheye-Nikkor 10.5mm f/2.8G ED Sigma 10-20mm F4-5.6 EX DC HSM +4 more
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
MichaelKJ
Veteran MemberPosts: 3,123Gear list
Like?
Re: More like returning to pre-digital sales levels!
In reply to Mike_PEAT, 8 months ago

Mike_PEAT wrote:

Everyone keeps talking about dropping camera sales, but what people forget is before digital there was a LOT more competition, and people kept their cameras for decades instead of months...we are just starting to return to that trend where people kept their cameras longer, and camera companies will have to get used to the BLOATED sales returning to NORMAL levels!

Since you mentioned M4/3 the E-M5 I bought is the first camera I bought that I could see myself still using in more than five years from when I bought it.

I tend to agree with you to some extent, although I did hang on to my D70 for 5 years. After buying three m4/3 cameras over a relatively short time period, I see little reason to replace my E-M5.

What your pre-digital sales levels argument fails to take into account is that there are many more people in the world than there were before digital camera era began. The world's population is currently increasing by about 80 million/year and, despite the recent recession, economic development has made cameras affordable to a larger percentage of the world's population.

This raises the question of why sales are decreasing at a time when more people can afford to own a camera. Asia (outside of Japan) is one of the fast growing parts of the world both in terms of population and GDP. I think it is reasonable to assume that a much greater percentage of the Asia population is able to afford a camera today than was the case in the pre-digital era. Nevertheless, shipments of ILCs to Asia (excluding Japan) were down 18.3% in 2013, which was slightly greater than the 16.2% decrease in shipments to the Americas and somewhat less than the 22.3% drop in shipments to Europe.

http://www.cipa.jp/stats/documents/e/d-2013_e.pdf

 MichaelKJ's gear list:MichaelKJ's gear list
Fujifilm FinePix F31fd Olympus PEN E-PL1 Olympus OM-D E-M5 +1 more
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Morris Sullivan
Senior MemberPosts: 5,064
Like?
Re: More like returning to pre-digital sales levels!
In reply to MichaelKJ, 8 months ago

MichaelKJ wrote:

Mike_PEAT wrote:

Everyone keeps talking about dropping camera sales, but what people forget is before digital there was a LOT more competition, and people kept their cameras for decades instead of months...we are just starting to return to that trend where people kept their cameras longer, and camera companies will have to get used to the BLOATED sales returning to NORMAL levels!

Since you mentioned M4/3 the E-M5 I bought is the first camera I bought that I could see myself still using in more than five years from when I bought it.

I tend to agree with you to some extent, although I did hang on to my D70 for 5 years. After buying three m4/3 cameras over a relatively short time period, I see little reason to replace my E-M5.

What your pre-digital sales levels argument fails to take into account is that there are many more people in the world than there were before digital camera era began. The world's population is currently increasing by about 80 million/year and, despite the recent recession, economic development has made cameras affordable to a larger percentage of the world's population.

The key here which you touch on below is where these increases are taking place. The areas where populations are increasing are typically the areas where far fewer people can afford expensive cameras.

This raises the question of why sales are decreasing at a time when more people can afford to own a camera. Asia (outside of Japan) is one of the fast growing parts of the world both in terms of population and GDP. I think it is reasonable to assume that a much greater percentage of the Asia population is able to afford a camera today than was the case in the pre-digital era. Nevertheless, shipments of ILCs to Asia (excluding Japan) were down 18.3% in 2013, which was slightly greater than the 16.2% decrease in shipments to the Americas and somewhat less than the 22.3% drop in shipments to Europe.

You are discussing two different time periods "pre-digital era" and "down 18.3% in 2013". Sales of cameras are surely far greater than the pre-digital era. That they are down in 2013 just means that they sold less than they did in 2012. I doubt the increase in the number of the Chinese population that was able to purchase expensive cameras was not that large during 2013, at least not enough to offset the other reasons for sales falling which were already mentioned.

http://www.cipa.jp/stats/documents/e/d-2013_e.pdf

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
TMK1971
Junior MemberPosts: 27Gear list
Like?
Re: Camera industry in crisis? Thought provoking article.
In reply to sderdiarian, 8 months ago

Well it is always easy to look back and say what should of been done instead of trying to figure out the future now.

For example, how many wedding photogs are trying to figure out how to be ready for this younger gerneration. Maybe in the future they will still be getting married and you should assume they will want their wedding photos immediately on social networks.

 TMK1971's gear list:TMK1971's gear list
Canon EOS 7D Canon EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 USM Canon EF-S 60mm f/2.8 Macro USM Canon Extender EF 2x II Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM +1 more
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
MichaelKJ
Veteran MemberPosts: 3,123Gear list
Like?
Re: More like returning to pre-digital sales levels!
In reply to Morris Sullivan, 8 months ago

Morris Sullivan wrote:

MichaelKJ wrote:

Mike_PEAT wrote:

Everyone keeps talking about dropping camera sales, but what people forget is before digital there was a LOT more competition, and people kept their cameras for decades instead of months...we are just starting to return to that trend where people kept their cameras longer, and camera companies will have to get used to the BLOATED sales returning to NORMAL levels!

Since you mentioned M4/3 the E-M5 I bought is the first camera I bought that I could see myself still using in more than five years from when I bought it.

I tend to agree with you to some extent, although I did hang on to my D70 for 5 years. After buying three m4/3 cameras over a relatively short time period, I see little reason to replace my E-M5.

What your pre-digital sales levels argument fails to take into account is that there are many more people in the world than there were before digital camera era began. The world's population is currently increasing by about 80 million/year and, despite the recent recession, economic development has made cameras affordable to a larger percentage of the world's population.

The key here which you touch on below is where these increases are taking place. The areas where populations are increasing are typically the areas where far fewer people can afford expensive cameras.

Although a much smaller percentage of people can afford ILCs in Asia, the number of people who can afford them has increased significantly since the pre-digital era.

This raises the question of why sales are decreasing at a time when more people can afford to own a camera. Asia (outside of Japan) is one of the fast growing parts of the world both in terms of population and GDP. I think it is reasonable to assume that a much greater percentage of the Asia population is able to afford a camera today than was the case in the pre-digital era. Nevertheless, shipments of ILCs to Asia (excluding Japan) were down 18.3% in 2013, which was slightly greater than the 16.2% decrease in shipments to the Americas and somewhat less than the 22.3% drop in shipments to Europe.

You are discussing two different time periods "pre-digital era" and "down 18.3% in 2013". Sales of cameras are surely far greater than the pre-digital era.

Glad you agree with me that ILC sales aren't returning to pre-digital levels, which was the point I was trying to make in my response to a comment titled More like returning to pre-digital sales levels!

That they are down in 2013 just means that they sold less than they did in 2012.

As I noted, I was responding to the argument that the reason for the decrease in sales is that we are seeing a return to pre-digital levels because the market is saturated and people are holding on to their cameras longer.  In criticizing this argument, I pointed out that the fact that the decrease in shipments to Asia (excluding Japan) was similar to the drop in Europe & the Americas.  It is obviously more difficult to argue that the drop in sales in Asia can be attributed to market saturation.

I doubt the increase in the number of the Chinese population that was able to purchase expensive cameras was not that large during 2013, at least not enough to offset the other reasons for sales falling which were already mentioned.

What other reasons that were previously mentioned apply to China, where GDP grew 7.7% in 2013?

http://www.cipa.jp/stats/documents/e/d-2013_e.pdf

 MichaelKJ's gear list:MichaelKJ's gear list
Fujifilm FinePix F31fd Olympus PEN E-PL1 Olympus OM-D E-M5 +1 more
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
David Hull
Veteran MemberPosts: 5,492Gear list
Like?
Aren't Intel and Microsoft having the same issue?
In reply to Mike_PEAT, 8 months ago

Mike_PEAT wrote:

Everyone keeps talking about dropping camera sales, but what people forget is before digital there was a LOT more competition, and people kept their cameras for decades instead of months...we are just starting to return to that trend where people kept their cameras longer, and camera companies will have to get used to the BLOATED sales returning to NORMAL levels!

Since you mentioned M4/3 the E-M5 I bought is the first camera I bought that I could see myself still using in more than five years from when I bought it.

It seems to me that this is a bit like PC's initially, nobody had them and they sold like caned beer.  Now, everyone that want's one, has one and the sales are leveling off.  Not everyone routinely replaces their 2 year old body -- the darn things have gotten so darn good that there is no need to any longer (if there ever was).  I am thinking, what could Canon do to the 5DIV that would make me trade up.  Maybe put a higher DR sensor in the next one but that is about it (for me anyway) and that might not make me switch it out either.

Long story short -- market saturated (IMO)

-- hide signature --
 David Hull's gear list:David Hull's gear list
Canon EOS 50D Canon EOS 5D Mark III
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
003tvd
Contributing MemberPosts: 811
Like?
Re: Camera industry in crisis? Thought provoking article.
In reply to TMK1971, 8 months ago

most of us can agree the cellphone has supplanted the need for a camera for many (most?) people. Fifteen or twenty years ago, emerging economies were just getting 35mm and APS film cameras. This was good for the camera, film, & processing equipment manufacturers. More affluent countries were saturated with film, and the R&D expenditures had long ago been recouped. Ship the film-based products to Mexico and Africa and access a new consumer base. Prices can be kept low, thanks to the recycled technology.

More affluent countries make the transition to digital (new monetary stream for manufacturers), less affluent keep buying lower cost film-based products (the old stream is still flowing through to Kodak, Fuji, Canon & Nikon).

Enter the cell phone. Emerging ecomomies lack the hard-wired infrastructure required for conventional phone communications (the land-line, if you will). It's too late to dig up every neighbourhood and city in Guatamala, so, stick a cell tower on a hill. Is it affordable? Yes, thanks to high population density. One tower can serve many at minimal cost. Make the phones and plans affordable (populaton density), and you have the recipe for huge growth in phones, and few who need, or can afford a camera.

End result? No growth for traditional photo industry in emerging markets, and a drying-up of camera purchasers in the once lucrative, wealthier countries. Camera biz disaster on two fronts.

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Camley
Regular MemberPosts: 468Gear list
Like?
Re: Camera industry in crisis? Thought provoking article.
In reply to sderdiarian, 8 months ago

sderdiarian wrote:

This was placed a week or so ago and reposted today on 43Rumors. Going by the number of comments on that site, it clearly grabbed attention:

http://www.43rumors.com/the-camera-industry-crisis-in-easy-numbers/

Is this is a temporary downward blip for interchangeable lens (IL) cameras, or more permanent as the author speculates. Some possible contributors to the downturn:

  • market saturation with a shrinking group of enthusiasts
  • the IL camera fad is fading
  • prices are trending too low to justify rising manufacturing numbers
  • malaise bred by sharing low-res images on 5" camera phones/7" tablets rather than printing
  • current cameras already produce image quality exceeding what's discernible on these devices as well as larger screens without pixel peeping
  • today's smart phones (pocketable with 5" touch screens, phones, internet connectivity, 16MP cameras, wifi) cause increasing numbers of under-40's to scratch their heads why they should buy a camera
  • Why settle for a 3" screen to view and share photos as you take them when 5" screens are now so prevalent on devices perceived as essentially "free" (cost buried in cellphone contracts)?

Likely all of the above are contributors to some degree.

I'm guessing specialized compacts (tough cameras, superzooms, and enthusiast grade fixed-lens cameras) and IL cameras will continue to sell, but in reduced numbers as the market settles. The field of manufacturers may thin out, and improvements slacken as R&D funds shrink, leading to a smaller pool of available products.

Or maybe China, India and other emerging economic players will pick up the slack and drive the industry forward. Camera manufacturers I'm sure are all watching age demographics, emerging markets and personality traits that drive sales. Time will tell where things land.

-- hide signature --

Sailin' Steve

My kids and some friends have now switched from point and shoots to cell phones/tablets for day to day photography of their kids, friends etc.. The main reason is that they always have their phones/tablets with them and the images are good enough. Short video clips seem to be taking over from still images.

The image quality from these devices will improve over time. The TV is the central imaging device in the home and cell phone images will either be wirelessly shown on TV or sent to others wirelessly via the Internet. The use of prints will significantly decrease. Users will favour wider formats which show better on TV.

It's interesting to note that Sony, for example, is integrating their TVs with their cameras for easy wireless display.

The future for camera sales could be a small market for high performance cameras for photo enthusiasts who demand the best image quality and make prints, and cell phones for the rest.

Sales of all cameras will decrease. Unfortunately, sales of some mirrorless cameras could be hit more because they are neither fish nor fowl! They generally don't produce the highest image quality and they are not small enough to keep in your pocket. Why buy a PEN F when you can buy an OM2 (I have one!) and get better photographs?

When I go to my camera shop, I see the serious guys picking up the 5D III and 800E cameras. To a true enthusiast, camera/lens size is less important than IQ. I don't see too many even looking at the mirrorless cameras on display.

 Camley's gear list:Camley's gear list
Canon EOS 7D Sony Alpha 7 Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L USM Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM +6 more
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Graham Hill
Senior MemberPosts: 1,355Gear list
Like?
Re: Camera industry in crisis? Thought provoking article.
In reply to Camley, 8 months ago

Camley wrote:

Sales of all cameras will decrease.

Absolutely.  Camera sales are falling hard and there will be casualties.  Too many makers for too few customers now.

Unfortunately, sales of some mirrorless cameras could be hit more because they are neither fish nor fowl! They generally don't produce the highest image quality and they are not small enough to keep in your pocket. Why buy a PEN F when you can buy an OM2 (I have one!) and get better photographs?

The smaller size of mirrorless cameras is a dramatically overstated benefit.

When I go to my camera shop, I see the serious guys picking up the 5D III and 800E cameras. To a true enthusiast, camera/lens size is less important than IQ. I don't see too many even looking at the mirrorless cameras on display.

That's because most stores dont even have a mirrorless display.  Here in China, we still have plenty of good ol' fashion camera stores.  A few years ago, mirrorless was all the rage and relatively easy to find.  Today, there has been a severe reduction in mirrorless camera displays and now it is much, much harder to find.   Mirrorless cameras definitely did not maintain their early momentum.

-- hide signature --

"Film is not a means to the end of "looking like film"... Making film-based photographs is an end in itself for me, not some kind of elaborate photoshop plugin. If I can't put Tri-X in the goddamn thing, I don't want it."
Anonymous

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Sangster
Regular MemberPosts: 287Gear list
Like?
Re: Camera industry in crisis? Thought provoking article.
In reply to Graham Hill, 8 months ago

My 2 cents on why mirrorless cameras aren't catching on is price for bodies, lenses are too high for the market.

 Sangster's gear list:Sangster's gear list
Nikon 1 V1 Nikon 1 Nikkor VR 10-30mm f/3.5-5.6 Nikon 1 Nikkor VR 30-110mm f/3.8-5.6 Nikon 1 Nikkor 18.5mm f/1.8 +1 more
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Keyboard shortcuts:
FForum MMy threads