Where is the industry heading - some thoughts.

Started 6 months ago | Discussions
GeraldW
Veteran MemberPosts: 6,006Gear list
Like?
Where is the industry heading - some thoughts.
6 months ago

This is an attempt to throw out some ideas for discussion.  I have divided the industry products into five categories.

1) Smartphones, Tablets, PDA's and the like:  There's no question that use of these for taking pictures is a big thing and is affecting the camera industry.  All the camera companies acknowledge it.  THeir use has eaten away around 50% of the low end fixed lens camera sales and that is having an effect on other categories as companies strive to offset the losses in sales.  This area is the province of peaple from preteens to folks in their 60's.

2) Lower end fixed lens cameras (FLC's), AKA Point and Shoot cameras.  Sales loss here is around 50% and is the segment most affected by camera phones.  However, the sales are not zero - there are still millions being sold.  What it does mean is fewer models and longer times between new models to minimize costs, amortize tooling and start up costs, and maintain profitability.  I think that some more basic and less "feature laden" models might work here.  Something like a return of the Canon A series with AA power.  People who want all the "features" will gravitate to phones or more upscale FLC's.  Older folks and the non-technological would be targets.

3) Premium FLC's: This seems to be a growing segment.  It encompasses cameras like the Canon G & S series, Sony RX models, Fuji  X-20, and so forth.  I'd include the so-called "bridge" cameras here, small sensors or not.  For the camera companies it's a refuge from cell phones.  For the serious photographers, it's a lighter and smaller (in most cases) alternative to DSLR's and mirrorless.  A lot of DSLR users that I know have one of these as a second camera.  sensors range from tiny to FF.  The better ones have very good image quality, rivaling or even exceeding DSLR's and Mirrorless.

4) Mirrorless:  These cover sensor sizes from 1/1.7" to Full Frame.  They seem to have gotten past the "look how small the body is" marketing approach to a more mainstream emphasis on image quality and ergonomics, and bodies have subtly increased in size with better grips.  Lens inventory has been a real issue and still is for some brands; but most lines, and particularly Olympus and Panasonic are now quite broad for amateur use.  Olympus, Panasonic, Fuji, and Sony appear quite focused in their lines now.  Samsung and Nikon are looking less focused, Pentax has the Q line, and Canon has only token presence.

5) DSLR's:  Only Canon, Nikon, and Pentax are still reliant on the DSLR.  Sony says no more SLT's.  I think the entry level DSLR is vulnerable to Mirrorless; but much less so in the upper-middle and top lines.  Focus tracking of fast action is still a strong suit here, so the camera bays at ball games will still be mostly Canon and Nikon.  They have the rugged cameras, the lens inventory, and both have a strong professional photographer support organization.  I don't think DSLR's will go away; but I do see some erosion from Premium FLC's and Mirrorless as the Mirrorless lens inventory grows.  You do need some size and weight to balance and control large, heavy lenses.  Recently Canon celebrated their 65 millionth DSLR and 100 millionth lens.  That's 1.5 lenses per camera sold on the average.  What that tells me is that only a small percentage buy extra lenses, and that most DSLR buyers only ever use the kit lens.  Those who only use the kit lens might as well have a Premium FLC.  And I'd bet most of them only shoot in Auto.  They bought the camera in the expectation of "better" pictures, and have found they look a lot like the shots they get from their P&S.  You're not going to get a lot of repeat DSLR sales from those people.  That logic also applies to a lot of Mirrorless buyers.

As has been pointed out in several other posts on this forum, all of the camera companies, except Nikon, get the majority of their income and profits from something other than cameras.  Nikon is 74% camera derived, Canon 26%, Olympus 14%, and Fuji 3%.  So if they bleed red ink too long, there is a real possibility that their Board and shareholders will shut it down or sell it off.

As I said in the beginning, I posted this as a discussion topic.  So have at it.

-- hide signature --

Jerry

 GeraldW's gear list:GeraldW's gear list
Canon PowerShot A710 IS Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ200 Canon PowerShot G15
steelhead3
Veteran MemberPosts: 4,224Gear list
Like?
Re: Where is the industry heading - some thoughts.
In reply to GeraldW, 6 months ago

Would you show me where Sony says no more DSLTs?

 steelhead3's gear list:steelhead3's gear list
Sony a77 II
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
meland
Senior MemberPosts: 3,646
Like?
Re: Where is the industry heading - some thoughts.
In reply to GeraldW, 6 months ago

GeraldW wrote:

As has been pointed out in several other posts on this forum, all of the camera companies, except Nikon, get the majority of their income and profits from something other than cameras. Nikon is 74% camera derived, Canon 26%, Olympus 14%, and Fuji 3%. So if they bleed red ink too long, there is a real possibility that their Board and shareholders will shut it down or sell it off.

Pointed out many times perhaps. But several of the companies you mentioned started out in the Photographic business - Nikon, Canon, Olympus, Fuji. As such this is part of their heritage and being Japanese, with a slightly different corporate mindset to that of some Western companies, they are very reluctant to let that go even if their photo divisions are not very profitable. In the case of Canon their photo video division is actually very profitable so that does not apply in any case - but it did in the late '80s when Business Equipment was going gangbusters and photo was in the doldrums and there were calls from some to dump it. Despite this the Canon Board kept faith with photo and their long term vision was probably rewarded.

The thing that many ignore though is the halo effect of cameras on other parts of the business. Arguably copiers, chemicals and steppers are not particularly sexy and so the image of a company to the general public can be considerably influenced by a division producing attractive consumer products with prominent visibility. Even if those products do not produce much or indeed any profit. Think of it as a marketing expense.

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Bill Robb
Senior MemberPosts: 3,332
Like?
Re: Where is the industry heading - some thoughts.
In reply to GeraldW, 6 months ago

GeraldW wrote:

This is an attempt to throw out some ideas for discussion. I have divided the industry products into five categories.

1) Smartphones, Tablets, PDA's and the like: There's no question that use of these for taking pictures is a big thing and is affecting the camera industry. All the camera companies acknowledge it. THeir use has eaten away around 50% of the low end fixed lens camera sales and that is having an effect on other categories as companies strive to offset the losses in sales. This area is the province of peaple from preteens to folks in their 60's.

2) Lower end fixed lens cameras (FLC's), AKA Point and Shoot cameras. Sales loss here is around 50% and is the segment most affected by camera phones. However, the sales are not zero - there are still millions being sold. What it does mean is fewer models and longer times between new models to minimize costs, amortize tooling and start up costs, and maintain profitability. I think that some more basic and less "feature laden" models might work here. Something like a return of the Canon A series with AA power. People who want all the "features" will gravitate to phones or more upscale FLC's. Older folks and the non-technological would be targets.

There is no doubt that the old single use film camera user has switched over to smart phones. This was a huge market which temporarily moved to cheap digital cameras as a tech bridge between film and cell phone camera.

3) Premium FLC's: This seems to be a growing segment. It encompasses cameras like the Canon G & S series, Sony RX models, Fuji X-20, and so forth. I'd include the so-called "bridge" cameras here, small sensors or not. For the camera companies it's a refuge from cell phones. For the serious photographers, it's a lighter and smaller (in most cases) alternative to DSLR's and mirrorless. A lot of DSLR users that I know have one of these as a second camera. sensors range from tiny to FF. The better ones have very good image quality, rivaling or even exceeding DSLR's and Mirrorless.

This segment may well also be at risk, depending on how smart the smart phones get. Don't put too much attention on ultimate image quality, that is something that is not really all that important to most users.

Good enough is all they look for. In this, they actually share philosophy with real working pros.

4) Mirrorless: These cover sensor sizes from 1/1.7" to Full Frame. They seem to have gotten past the "look how small the body is" marketing approach to a more mainstream emphasis on image quality and ergonomics, and bodies have subtly increased in size with better grips. Lens inventory has been a real issue and still is for some brands; but most lines, and particularly Olympus and Panasonic are now quite broad for amateur use. Olympus, Panasonic, Fuji, and Sony appear quite focused in their lines now. Samsung and Nikon are looking less focused, Pentax has the Q line, and Canon has only token presence.

This is where the industry is moving, like it or not.

5) DSLR's: Only Canon, Nikon, and Pentax are still reliant on the DSLR. Sony says no more SLT's. I think the entry level DSLR is vulnerable to Mirrorless; but much less so in the upper-middle and top lines. Focus tracking of fast action is still a strong suit here, so the camera bays at ball games will still be mostly Canon and Nikon. They have the rugged cameras, the lens inventory, and both have a strong professional photographer support organization. I don't think DSLR's will go away; but I do see some erosion from Premium FLC's and Mirrorless as the Mirrorless lens inventory grows. You do need some size and weight to balance and control large, heavy lenses. Recently Canon celebrated their 65 millionth DSLR and 100 millionth lens. That's 1.5 lenses per camera sold on the average. What that tells me is that only a small percentage buy extra lenses, and that most DSLR buyers only ever use the kit lens. Those who only use the kit lens might as well have a Premium FLC. And I'd bet most of them only shoot in Auto. They bought the camera in the expectation of "better" pictures, and have found they look a lot like the shots they get from their P&S. You're not going to get a lot of repeat DSLR sales from those people. That logic also applies to a lot of Mirrorless buyers.

I think you are operating under a mis conception. High end DSLRs may be better at some things than others, but lower end DSLRs are easily eclipsed by mirrorless in features and often in speed. More and more people are discovering that it is much nicer to carry a more compact camera that gives them the same quality as their larger DSLRs.

The DSLR is in serious peril from mirrorless, and will more and more find itself maginalized as mirrorless cameras start to really hit their stride.

As has been pointed out in several other posts on this forum, all of the camera companies, except Nikon, get the majority of their income and profits from something other than cameras. Nikon is 74% camera derived, Canon 26%, Olympus 14%, and Fuji 3%. So if they bleed red ink too long, there is a real possibility that their Board and shareholders will shut it down or sell it off.

Were I a Canon or Nikon user, I would be concerned, simply because if those camera divisions bleed for too long they will be shut down. Sony is the same way. They are on record as saying they are going to throw money at every possible camera niche and then concentrate on where it sticks. If it doesn't stick anywhere, they are out. Pentax is actually in good shape, Ricoh bought the name with the intention of growing an imaging division. The fact that everything Pentax is now plastered with the Ricoh name is telling about how they view their new division. They seem quite pleased with themselves. Of course, the K3 gives them ample reason to be pleased. Fuji has always been all about imaging. It is all they have ever done, and they see their camera division as a way to drive sales towards the rest of their imaging products. They are in it for the long haul. Olympus has, for me, always been a wild card, but I don't see them going anywhere. Panasonic is another wild card, and they may or may not stick it out.

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Alphoid
Senior MemberPosts: 2,511
Like?
Mostly rumours
In reply to steelhead3, 6 months ago

But well-founded ones. A lot of information coming out of Sony suggests that dSLT was a stop-gap until fast on-sensor autofocus comes out. There are strong indications that Sony will not release any more dSLTs, but will rather shift to a technology like on the A6000 or 70D.

It makes sense. In the long term, it's cheaper and works better. You have autofocus all over the sensor. You have no microfocus errors or calibration issues with distance to image sensor vs. distance to AF sensor. Depending on how it's done, AF sensor gets 100% of the light. Plus, you get light-field for free. This will revolutionize photoediting.

Once the technology is in place, there are no downsides over dSLT.

Information coming out of Sony also suggests a long-term commitment to A-mount. Whether this actually happens, or whether NEX will take over, only time will tell. There are a lot of advantages to shorter flange distance. For now, Sony has not released any large E-mount lenses -- they rely on adapting A-mount lenses for bigger ones. If this were combined with better marketing, this might be a winning strategy. As is, people don't realize A-mount lenses work on E-mount, so E-mount is perceived to lack lens selection.

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Alphoid
Senior MemberPosts: 2,511
Like?
Re: Where is the industry heading - some thoughts.
In reply to GeraldW, 6 months ago

The core problem with the point-and-shoot market is that, at this point, by-and-large, cell phones are better. Equivalent image quality. Much better feature-set. Smaller. A lot of money going into cell phone cameras. P&S have stagnated -- the RX100 was the first bit of significant progress in about a decade.

I suspect cell phones will eventually get camera arrays, at which point, they'll start to eat into dSLR and mirrorless sales. 16 small sensors are arguably better than one sensor 16x as large, and the imaging system is much, much smaller.

For cameras to remain competitive, they'll need to do the same thing as the iPhone did to the feature phone -- open up and allow apps and innovation from outside. They'll also need wifi, GSM, etc.

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Richard Weisgrau
Veteran MemberPosts: 3,106
Like?
Re: Where is the industry heading - some thoughts.
In reply to GeraldW, 6 months ago

Personally, I think the fact that Apple has hired camera designers in the iPhone division and has applied for several related patents is a predictor of the future of smart phones. Cell phones have put a dent in P&S sales. The newest (good) smart phones are pounding that dent deeper and deeper and will continue to do so. As I often remark about my iPhone: "I have a camera that has a phone built into it." I have no doubts that smart phones will squeeze the P&S makers harder and harder over the next decade.  I do not think that the top end FLCs will be as affected during that decade.  That will come later when the smart phone cameras reach a state of sensor technology to enable switching.

That said, I think sensor and EVF technology will be the determining factor in what ILCs take top billing. Right now the SLR optical finder can't be matched with an EVF. But in 2005 I had a Panasonic Lumix 5mp Lc1 with a crude EVF. Today I have a Lumix G6, and its EVF is many times better than  that of the Lc1. The introduction of hybrid VFs as in some Fuji models offers a glimpse of the kind of innovation that could be a game changer when it comes to preferred VF systems. It remains to be seen, but the SLR optical has pretty much reached its pinnacle, so if an EVF can ever match it, look out DSLRs.

When it comes to the popular camera companies I don't see any of them dropping out. They will adapt, stop selling some configurations, and add others. But this digital camera market (worldwide - and that is an important word) is in its infancy, and big players do not lay down and roll over when the going gets tough. They tend more to adapt to changing markets. Years (1960s) ago Leica and Nikon each made one camera. As the market changed they changed with it. Except Leica Camera almost went out of business because it was slow to give up its old strategy. Who would have ever thought that Leica would design and set the QC standard for some Panasonic lenses? No one!

I have seen so many changes in the photography marketplace over the past 5 decades that I just take them in stride and wait to se how they turn out.  In the meantime, I buy the gear I think will work best for me and what I want to do with it. My Nikons (47 year user) are gone and Panny Lumix G gear is growing.

-- hide signature --

Richard Weisgrau
www.drawnwithlight.com
www.show-my-house.com

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
CFynn
Senior MemberPosts: 5,223Gear list
Like?
Re: Where is the industry heading - some stats
In reply to GeraldW, 6 months ago
 CFynn's gear list:CFynn's gear list
Fujifilm X10 Nikon D800E Nikon AF Nikkor 50mm f/1.4D Nikon AF Nikkor 105mm f/2D DC Nikon AF Nikkor 180mm f/2.8D ED-IF +14 more
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Bill Robb
Senior MemberPosts: 3,332
Like?
Re: Where is the industry heading - some stats
In reply to CFynn, 6 months ago

CFynn wrote:

source: http://lensvid.com/gear/lensvid-exclusive-what-happened-to-the-photography-industry-in-2013/

Are you taking a rather large world wide recession into account or just thinking this is happening in a vacuum?

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
GeraldW
Veteran MemberPosts: 6,006Gear list
Like?
Re: Where is the industry heading - some thoughts.
In reply to steelhead3, 6 months ago

Look in the news on the home page of this web site.  It was back in 2013.  or you could search the Sony DSLR forum.  There was quite a lot of discussion about it.  They have not released anything since the SLT A58 and A99.  Since then, you may have noticed that they dropped the NEX label and everything coming out is A something - but they are all mirrorless designs.  Nothing new for the Alpha lens mount.  It caused me to sell my A57 and lenses.

-- hide signature --

Jerry

 GeraldW's gear list:GeraldW's gear list
Canon PowerShot A710 IS Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ200 Canon PowerShot G15
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Alphoid
Senior MemberPosts: 2,511
Like?
Re: Where is the industry heading - some thoughts.
In reply to Richard Weisgrau, 6 months ago

Richard Weisgrau wrote:

The introduction of hybrid VFs as in some Fuji models offers a glimpse of the kind of innovation that could be a game changer when it comes to preferred VF systems.

Perhaps. IBIS allows for fast stabilized lenses. That is a gamechanger to me, introduced over a decade ago. Canon and Nikon are still selling cameras without it, and conservative photographer aren't changing.

Sony had a half-dozen game-changer. Tri-navi (NEX7). Bridge automatic mode with manual overrides (A700). So did Panasonic, Olympus, and Pentax. All of them make a big improvement in camera usability. All of them come and go. The new Sony cameras lost tri-navi, and lock out controls in automatic modes just like Canikon.

The more time passes, the more I'm convinced that the serious photographers are ultraconservative, and will buy Canon and Nikon dSLRs no matter how good or bad. Beginners will buy the same brands as professionals -- if your wedding photographer uses a D3S, how can you go wrong buying a D3100?

The optimist in me says we'll have fast on-sensor PDAF, EVF, wifi, appstores, open source OSes, ... The cynic says we'll still be stuck with Canikon dSLRs in a decade, with gradually declining marketshare to rapidly improving cell phone photography.

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
EinsteinsGhost
Forum ProPosts: 11,332Gear list
Like?
Re: Where is the industry heading - some thoughts.
In reply to GeraldW, 6 months ago

Look in the news on the home page of this web site.  It was back in 2013.  or you could search the Sony DSLR forum.  There was quite a lot of discussion about it.  They have not released anything since the SLT A58 and A99.  Since then, you may have noticed that they dropped the NEX label and everything coming out is A something - but they are all mirrorless designs.  Nothing new for the Alpha lens mount.  It caused me to sell my A57 and lenses.

-- hide signature --

Jerry

Only because Sony is consolidating its Alpha line. They didn't replace "NEX" with "Alpha", rather dropped the acronym NEX in favor of a numerical convention. NEX-6 is now replaced with 6000. The "alpha" always was a part of NEX stills cameras but nobody bothered to call Sony Alpha NEX-6, just Sony NEX-6. Much of it has to do with Sony itself though.

That being said, we haven't seen a new A-mount body since a58 in 2013 for a few reasons:
- incremental updates being avoided.
- development of new technologies.

Sony is expected to announce a77 replacement in about a month. They could have announced one a few months ago but by now it would be ready for another update. This does not bode well with the bottomline. Higher models can be expected to have staying power and minimal updates won't do it.

Sony also had to be planning around FIFA 2014 of which it is a sponsor. Also note that Sony has launched and updated lenses over last couple of years. There is a potential that Sony goes with (at least partial) mirrorless body as well.

 EinsteinsGhost's gear list:EinsteinsGhost's gear list
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-F828 Sony SLT-A55 Sony Alpha NEX-6 Sigma 18-250mm F3.5-6.3 DC OS HSM Sony 135mm F2.8 (T4.5) STF +12 more
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
GeraldW
Veteran MemberPosts: 6,006Gear list
Like?
Re: Where is the industry heading - some thoughts.
In reply to meland, 6 months ago

meland wrote:

GeraldW wrote:

As has been pointed out in several other posts on this forum, all of the camera companies, except Nikon, get the majority of their income and profits from something other than cameras. Nikon is 74% camera derived, Canon 26%, Olympus 14%, and Fuji 3%. So if they bleed red ink too long, there is a real possibility that their Board and shareholders will shut it down or sell it off.

Pointed out many times perhaps. But several of the companies you mentioned started out in the Photographic business - Nikon, Canon, Olympus, Fuji. As such this is part of their heritage and being Japanese, with a slightly different corporate mindset to that of some Western companies, they are very reluctant to let that go even if their photo divisions are not very profitable. In the case of Canon their photo video division is actually very profitable so that does not apply in any case - but it did in the late '80s when Business Equipment was going gangbusters and photo was in the doldrums and there were calls from some to dump it. Despite this the Canon Board kept faith with photo and their long term vision was probably rewarded.

I realize that; but first Konica and then Minolta threw in the towel.  KM seems to be doing OK in business equipment.  Panasonic has been bleeding red ink, and they have little long term commitment to photography, unlike Canon and Nikon.  I have no idea if Samsung is profitable in cameras; but again, no heritage in the business, Sony either.  I don't know where they are today; but in 2011 or 2012, the situation for Olympus was that the other portions of the company made some 31 Byn, and the total company made 6 BYn.  That a 25 BYn loss in photo.  It's a measure of their commitment; but another 2 or 3 years like that would probably have meant the end of Olympus cameras, as that kind of drain severely inhibits development in other business areas by depleting working capital.

The thing that many ignore though is the halo effect of cameras on other parts of the business. Arguably copiers, chemicals and steppers are not particularly sexy and so the image of a company to the general public can be considerably influenced by a division producing attractive consumer products with prominent visibility. Even if those products do not produce much or indeed any profit. Think of it as a marketing expense.

A good point for the most recognized companies.  Canon and Nikon for sure.  But now that Pentax is part of Ricoh, I doubt if Ricoh copiers get much halo from Pentax DSLR's.  In Panasonic's case, their TV's probably cast a halo over their cameras, and I'd guess that is true for Samsung and Sony as well.  Sony, Samsung, and Panasonic entered digital photography based on their expertise in chips and CCDs, and video products.  They had no heritage in still photography before that.  Canon, Nikon, Ricoh/Pentax, Leica, and Olympus have a long history in film photography and a corporate tradition.

-- hide signature --

Jerry

 GeraldW's gear list:GeraldW's gear list
Canon PowerShot A710 IS Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ200 Canon PowerShot G15
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
EinsteinsGhost
Forum ProPosts: 11,332Gear list
Like?
Re: Where is the industry heading - some thoughts.
In reply to GeraldW, 6 months ago

Olympus as a brand is unlikely to go anywhere. Sony appears to have a serious interest in both, digital imaging and Olympus. A possible scenario if it comes to that is that Sony takes over Olympus.

 EinsteinsGhost's gear list:EinsteinsGhost's gear list
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-F828 Sony SLT-A55 Sony Alpha NEX-6 Sigma 18-250mm F3.5-6.3 DC OS HSM Sony 135mm F2.8 (T4.5) STF +12 more
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
GeraldW
Veteran MemberPosts: 6,006Gear list
Like?
Re: Where is the industry heading - some thoughts.
In reply to EinsteinsGhost, 6 months ago

Note that the only place I used "Alpha" was in reverence to the lens mount and back flange distance.  The NEX and A series cameras use the E mount.  With the Sony mount adapters, you can use Alpha mount lenses on E mount cameras.

There has been very little activity in the Alpha mount lens line since the announcement.  Almost all the activity has been in the E mount or the FF version of E mount lenses for the A7 and A7R.

If the A77 replacement is an APS-C body with E mount, that will be very interesting.

Thanks for chiming in.

-- hide signature --

Jerry

 GeraldW's gear list:GeraldW's gear list
Canon PowerShot A710 IS Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ200 Canon PowerShot G15
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
GeraldW
Veteran MemberPosts: 6,006Gear list
Like?
Re: Where is the industry heading - some thoughts.
In reply to EinsteinsGhost, 6 months ago

At present Olympus OM-D line seems to be making some good sales figures.  I never warmed to the PEN line; but the OM-D's caught my interest, especiallythe latest E-M10.  If Sony's cash infusion, and a working relationship with Olympus in lens design are enough, Olympus will probably remain independent.  I really wouldn't want to see them merged into Sony.  Think of poor Pentax.  First bought up by Hoya, stripped of its medical instrument business and then sold to Ricoh, who have kept the Ricoh name for the P&S lines.

-- hide signature --

Jerry

 GeraldW's gear list:GeraldW's gear list
Canon PowerShot A710 IS Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ200 Canon PowerShot G15
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
GeraldW
Veteran MemberPosts: 6,006Gear list
Like?
Re: Where is the industry heading - some thoughts.
In reply to Bill Robb, 6 months ago

Bill Robb wrote:

3) Premium FLC's: This seems to be a growing segment. It encompasses cameras like the Canon G & S series, Sony RX models, Fuji X-20, and so forth. I'd include the so-called "bridge" cameras here, small sensors or not. For the camera companies it's a refuge from cell phones. For the serious photographers, it's a lighter and smaller (in most cases) alternative to DSLR's and mirrorless. A lot of DSLR users that I know have one of these as a second camera. sensors range from tiny to FF. The better ones have very good image quality, rivaling or even exceeding DSLR's and Mirrorless.

This segment may well also be at risk, depending on how smart the smart phones get. Don't put too much attention on ultimate image quality, that is something that is not really all that important to most users.

Good enough is all they look for. In this, they actually share philosophy with real working pros.

Maybe it's because I'm an engineer and "good enough" was when you stopped developing and cut the product loose to manufacturing and sales.  Too many folks want to sharpen their pencils to an infinitely fine point.

4) Mirrorless: These cover sensor sizes from 1/1.7" to Full Frame. They seem to have gotten past the "look how small the body is" marketing approach to a more mainstream emphasis on image quality and ergonomics, and bodies have subtly increased in size with better grips. Lens inventory has been a real issue and still is for some brands; but most lines, and particularly Olympus and Panasonic are now quite broad for amateur use. Olympus, Panasonic, Fuji, and Sony appear quite focused in their lines now. Samsung and Nikon are looking less focused, Pentax has the Q line, and Canon has only token presence.

This is where the industry is moving, like it or not.

I wrote an earlier post on this.  My feeling is that they started off with the wrong marketing approach and too many issues.  I think that now, the products are mostly aimed in the right direction and most issues are behind them.  To sell against DSLRs they really needed to have caught up in fuction and technology to a moving target.  I feel they are now on even terms.

5) DSLR's: Only Canon, Nikon, and Pentax are still reliant on the DSLR. Sony says no more SLT's. I think the entry level DSLR is vulnerable to Mirrorless; but much less so in the upper-middle and top lines. Focus tracking of fast action is still a strong suit here, so the camera bays at ball games will still be mostly Canon and Nikon. They have the rugged cameras, the lens inventory, and both have a strong professional photographer support organization. I don't think DSLR's will go away; but I do see some erosion from Premium FLC's and Mirrorless as the Mirrorless lens inventory grows. You do need some size and weight to balance and control large, heavy lenses. Recently Canon celebrated their 65 millionth DSLR and 100 millionth lens. That's 1.5 lenses per camera sold on the average. What that tells me is that only a small percentage buy extra lenses, and that most DSLR buyers only ever use the kit lens. Those who only use the kit lens might as well have a Premium FLC. And I'd bet most of them only shoot in Auto. They bought the camera in the expectation of "better" pictures, and have found they look a lot like the shots they get from their P&S. You're not going to get a lot of repeat DSLR sales from those people. That logic also applies to a lot of Mirrorless buyers.

I think you are operating under a mis conception. High end DSLRs may be better at some things than others, but lower end DSLRs are easily eclipsed by mirrorless in features and often in speed. More and more people are discovering that it is much nicer to carry a more compact camera that gives them the same quality as their larger DSLRs.

Please reread my section on DSLR's - I think I said that.

The DSLR is in serious peril from mirrorless, and will more and more find itself maginalized as mirrorless cameras start to really hit their stride.

As has been pointed out in several other posts on this forum, all of the camera companies, except Nikon, get the majority of their income and profits from something other than cameras. Nikon is 74% camera derived, Canon 26%, Olympus 14%, and Fuji 3%. So if they bleed red ink too long, there is a real possibility that their Board and shareholders will shut it down or sell it off.

Were I a Canon or Nikon user, I would be concerned, simply because if those camera divisions bleed for too long they will be shut down. Sony is the same way. They are on record as saying they are going to throw money at every possible camera niche and then concentrate on where it sticks. If it doesn't stick anywhere, they are out. Pentax is actually in good shape, Ricoh bought the name with the intention of growing an imaging division. The fact that everything Pentax is now plastered with the Ricoh name is telling about how they view their new division. They seem quite pleased with themselves. Of course, the K3 gives them ample reason to be pleased. Fuji has always been all about imaging. It is all they have ever done, and they see their camera division as a way to drive sales towards the rest of their imaging products. They are in it for the long haul. Olympus has, for me, always been a wild card, but I don't see them going anywhere. Panasonic is another wild card, and they may or may not stick it out.

I don't think Canon is losing money, just market volume.  Their press releases said they were making money.  Sony isn't basically a camera company and doesn't have the genetic link to photography in the same way Canon, Nikon, and Olympus do.  Samsung and Panasonic are the same as Sony - large conglomerates.  I'd like to see Olympus flourish.

-- hide signature --

Jerry

 GeraldW's gear list:GeraldW's gear list
Canon PowerShot A710 IS Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ200 Canon PowerShot G15
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
GeraldW
Veteran MemberPosts: 6,006Gear list
Like?
Re: Where is the industry heading - some thoughts.
In reply to Alphoid, 6 months ago

Alphoid wrote:

The core problem with the point-and-shoot market is that, at this point, by-and-large, cell phones are better. Equivalent image quality. Much better feature-set. Smaller. A lot of money going into cell phone cameras. P&S have stagnated -- the RX100 was the first bit of significant progress in about a decade.

A decade?  I think that's a bit too harsh.  I'd also put the RX100 up in the premium FLC category - it's hardly a mindless point and shoot.  Much more like a second small camera for the serious hobbyist.

I suspect cell phones will eventually get camera arrays, at which point, they'll start to eat into dSLR and mirrorless sales. 16 small sensors are arguably better than one sensor 16x as large, and the imaging system is much, much smaller.

Canon Rumors just showed a dual sensor, twin lens cell phone.  They are not sure if it's real or not; but it looks good.  Anyway, the concept is out there.

For cameras to remain competitive, they'll need to do the same thing as the iPhone did to the feature phone -- open up and allow apps and innovation from outside. They'll also need wifi, GSM, etc.

I'd be all for that.  IBM destroyed they leading market share in PC's by keeping it closed.  The parade didn't follow, and when they looked around, there was nobdy there.  I'd have liked to be able to download third party firmware directly into the camera to modify behavior and work around frustrations.  It would have significantly reduced model turnover for me.  It would also be a profit center for the camera companies if they got with it themselves.

-- hide signature --

Jerry

 GeraldW's gear list:GeraldW's gear list
Canon PowerShot A710 IS Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ200 Canon PowerShot G15
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Bill Robb
Senior MemberPosts: 3,332
Like?
Re: Where is the industry heading - some thoughts.
In reply to GeraldW, 6 months ago

GeraldW wrote:

Think of poor Pentax. First bought up by Hoya, stripped of its medical instrument business and then sold to Ricoh, who have kept the Ricoh name for the P&S lines.

Pentax is doing very well indeed under Ricoh. When Hoya bought Pentax they made no pretense at all about the camera division. They wanted the medical instruments division and nothing else. I suspect that at this juncture, Pentax has more R&D resources than they have ever had in the entire history of the brand.

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
EinsteinsGhost
Forum ProPosts: 11,332Gear list
Like?
Re: Where is the industry heading - some thoughts.
In reply to GeraldW, 6 months ago

Note that the only place I used "Alpha" was in reverence to the lens mount and back flange distance.  The NEX and A series cameras use the E mount.  With the Sony mount adapters, you can use Alpha mount lenses on E mount cameras.

There has been very little activity in the Alpha mount lens line since the announcement.  Almost all the activity has been in the E mount or the FF version of E mount lenses for the A7 and A7R.

If the A77 replacement is an APS-C body with E mount, that will be very interesting.

Thanks for chiming in.

-- hide signature --

Jerry

Minolta brought the "Alpha" line with A-mount in 1985 but I believe "Maxxum" was the preferred choice in North America.

Sony took over the A-mouny in 2006 and has marketed it under Alpha brand. The E-mount was added to Sony Alpha in 2010 (however, that applied only to stills cameras, the E-mount video cameras were not marketed as Alpha).

Every E-mount stills camera has been a Sony Alpha division (Sony's ILC division as opposed to fixed lens Sony Cybershot division). Every NEX camera has the big alpha logo on the front for that reason.

The a6000, for example, is Alpha 6000. I have seen some reviewers mention: Sony Alpha a6000, but that is wrong.

Sony Alpha was previously DSLR- line (Sony Alpha DSLR-580, or shortened to a580), DSLT line (Sony Alpha SLT-55 or a55) and NEX line ( Sony Alpha NEX-5, people usually dropped Alpha).

Right now, it is Alpha 7 (or a7) with single digit implying E-mount FF body, Alpha 6000 (a6000) with four digits implying APSc E-mount) and Alpha 77 (a77) with two digits for A-mount. Whether Sony keeps the same standard for A-mount remains to be seen.

In other words, Sony appears to be in the process of dropping the extra acronyms (SLT and NEX and previously also DSLR). It is likely to market the entire ILC line under a unified brand "Alpha", also as mirrorless is destined to be the convergence approach.

The a77 replacement will be A-mount and may be called a77 II (rumors suggest that). I still expect it to have SLT, potentially one that allows a mirrorless approach as well.

As for lenses, Sony has mostly updated its A-mount lenses (although Sony Zeiss 50/1.4 Planar SSM was added a few months ago). I see the updates as potentially preparing to go mirrorless on A-mount, keeping the mirror only to support older lenses.

It is likely this transition that has Sony slow down A-mount launches. The E-mount has seen aggressive lens introductions because it is needed and the mount is already designed for mirrorless.

 EinsteinsGhost's gear list:EinsteinsGhost's gear list
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-F828 Sony SLT-A55 Sony Alpha NEX-6 Sigma 18-250mm F3.5-6.3 DC OS HSM Sony 135mm F2.8 (T4.5) STF +12 more
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Keyboard shortcuts:
FForum MMy threads