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Camera shipments continue to fall

By dpreview staff on Aug 1, 2013 at 07:04 GMT

The Japanese imaging manufacturers association, CIPA, has just released its global production and shipments report for the first half of the year, and there's not a lot of good news in it. Between January and June 2013 Japanese manufacturers shipped just short of 30 million digital cameras - that's a 43% drop in a single year.

According to the CIPA (Camera and Imaging Products Association) report, production of compact ('built-in lens') cameras fell by almost half in the first six months of 2013 compared to the same period last year, and total camera shipments fell by 42.7% in the same period.

It's no surprise to see mass-market point and shoot cameras bearing the brunt of the decline. In volume terms they dominate the market, and sales are falling fast - not helped by the rapid rise of the smartphone as the camera of choice for casual snapshooters.

A little more surprising, though, are the year-on-year declines in shipments of DSLR and mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras, both down around 18.5% in the first half of 2013 compared to last year. The DSLR market has grown steadily since 2003, and it's going to be an uphill struggle to continue that growth in 2013 without some blockbuster autumn launches to drive the all-important peak buying season in Q4.

These numbers don't tell the whole story - shipments are not the same as sales, and CIPA reports don't include non-Japanese manufacturers such as Samsung (though they do include all overseas manufacturing done for and by Japanese companies). But the drop in production levels does suggest that the industry is not expecting a big surge in demand for the rest of the year. Average selling prices (specifically on fixed lenses) are also on the rise as manufacturers abandon the entry-level to concentrate their efforts on high-end cameras.

 
CIPA Global numbersProduction Prodution
vs 2012
 Shipments Shipments
vs 2012
Total cameras 29.6 million  - 45% 29.7 million   - 43%

Built-in Lens

22.4 million  - 49% 22.2 million  - 48%
Interchangeable Lens 7.2 million  - 24% 7.6 million - 18%
   - DSLR 6 million  - 23% 6.3 million - 18%
  - Mirrorless 1.2 million  - 29%  1.3 million - 18%

Comments

Total comments: 136
12
lightnfast
By lightnfast (8 months ago)

My young nephew was watching me struggle with a Galaxy tablet to take a picture in sun light. I had left my camera home. He made a statement that kind of made sense. He said, why don't they just put a view finder somewhere convenient on those tablets, they are big enough and that would help eliminate that 'I can't see the picture on the tablet in bright light issue'.
I said they do not put view finders on that smart phone you have. He said I guess it doesn't have enough room , but Uncle that table sure does. And I think they would sell a boat load of them.

0 upvotes
T3
By T3 (8 months ago)

A viewfinder on a tablet would be pretty silly. Its one thing to use a tablet to take a photo, but it's another thing to hold it up to your eye to look through a peep-hole to take a photo. Besides, I'd say most people who are taking photos with a tablet are not shooting outside in bright sunlight anyways. And of those who are taking photos with a tablet in bright sunlight, critical framing isn't really necessary. Just point the tablet in the general direction of what you want to capture, and take the freakin' photo! And if the framing isn't perfect, just crop it it in the tablet's photo app (something you can't do with a regular digital camera).

If any company ever did put a viewfinder on a tablet, they wouldn't sell a boat load of them. It'd be laughed right out of the market.

1 upvote
bcalkins
By bcalkins (5 months ago)

Here you go - the world is yours for $29.95! http://www.daylightviewfinder.com/

0 upvotes
Timmbits
By Timmbits (8 months ago)

The CIPA figures don't give a complete, global picture - only Japanese makers' shipments.

Their market erosion is coming from all directions:
smartphones with better than before image quality, Korean and chinese manufacturers (especially Samsung with it's NX line - surely they are putting a dent into the Japanese market share, something the Japs wouldn't like to envision).

Nikon-1 line takes customers for fools. MFT ast on their laurels, and didn't prepare for the future with new innovations.

However, we all start out with small sensor cameras, learn about photography and cameras, then want better, with larger sensors. While the smartphone is destroying sales of small sensor cameras, it's only a matter of time before people who use a smartphone for taking pictures want better, and start buying cameras again, to get that better image quality. (larger sensors, larger optics, cannot be crammed into a phone).

Comment edited 4 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
20vanda12
By 20vanda12 (8 months ago)

Of course this is expected.
It doesn't take a genius to know this.

Imagine if a Nikon or Canon will produce a camera that has a feature of data or call connectivity.

Consumer is about canmera and sharing connectivity. Consumer don't decide to buy a phone because it can make a call or text. They decide to buy a phone because it has a camera.

1 upvote
Timmbits
By Timmbits (8 months ago)

you are posting in the wrong space. you want to post these comments in the CONNECT section where they talk about camera phones with shitty tiny sensors and crappy image quality.

1 upvote
T3
By T3 (8 months ago)

@Timmbits - you're living in the past,. The notion that only a camera phone should have connectivity is really outdated. "Serious" cameras of the future deserve to be connected, too. Photojournalists of the near future aren't going to want to wait to download their images to a laptop so that they can edit and process them, then send them off to their news agencies via snail mail. That's the past. We live in a connected world where anyone with a smart phone can transmit an image to the world, so why shouldn't someone with a higher-quality camera be able to do the same?

People like yourself just reflexively dismiss such technology, in the same way that many DSLR users used to disparage video capability as some lousy feature that should only exist in point-n-shoot cameras. Where are those naysayers now? People like yourself used to say, "If you want to talk about using a camera for video, post those comments in the sh*tty P&S camera section because video don't belong in DSLR!"

2 upvotes
Scottelly
By Scottelly (8 months ago)

The sales volumes will continue to decline as people switch to smart phones with 8 megapixel and higher digital cameras built in. There is even a new smart phone with a 41megapixel camera!

http://www.nokia.com/global/products/phone/lumia1020/

Most people who have an old point-and-shoot digital camera will see phones like this as a solution to two problems: 1) their old phone needs upgrading, 2) their old camera needs upgrading.

How is the compact camera market to compete? They need to build cell phone cameras . . . cameras that are thin, but have a real zoom lens, and incorporate a cell phone with the latest technology, such as Android and wifi. It will have to be like a smart phone with a better, faster camera, which has an optical zoom lens with a 25-150mm equivalent with image stabilization. It will have to be small enough to use as a phone, but it will have to have a viewfinder, powerful interchangeable batteries, a built-in 256 GB solid state hard drive, SD card slot, etc.

1 upvote
Roland Karlsson
By Roland Karlsson (6 months ago)

The market might also go down because those that are interested in getting a camera already have got one they are satisfied with.

0 upvotes
ephotody
By ephotody (8 months ago)

The only thing the manufacturers need to do is to give more discount. Simple economic law, more supply lower the price. I don't believe innovative products will bring any difference in mass market competition (not to mention a declining economy)

0 upvotes
Timmbits
By Timmbits (8 months ago)

discounts don't translate into profits. they don't produce things to drive themselves out of business. that having been said, Olympus STILL has a glut of old cameras in the channel that resellers can't get rid of, despite really low prices (for example, Olympus EPL3 kit for $250 - we've been seeing promos like this for a while now - since over a year).

1 upvote
ephotody
By ephotody (8 months ago)

the only thing the manufacturers need to do is to give more discount. Simple economic law, more supply lower the price.

0 upvotes
al_in_philly
By al_in_philly (8 months ago)

Much of this can be attributed to basic economics. When we enter the marketplace we are confronted with (1) our existing situation without making a purchse, (2) the perceived benefit/cost of all availabe alternatives, and (3) our available cash to make a purchase.

In this case, most consumers in the developed world already have some photographic device, be it an existing digital camera, a film camera, or increasingly a digital camera built into one's cell phone. As such many consumers do not register any sort of salient need to purchase another camera.

Even if a camera made better pictures, what qualities might a camera offer which are beyond their existing devices, and how much would those improvements cost? In a world where our photographic offerings are displayed on smart phone screens, there's not much need for better quality.

Last, in a tight economy, there's just not s much money left for non-essential photographic upgrades.

Digital cameras are a matured technology.

0 upvotes
Timmbits
By Timmbits (8 months ago)

this isn't just recession... they keep on launching new tiny-sensor crap...
a suicide-mission against chinese competition
no wonder things are so badly in decline!

they should be introducing gradually better products, incorporating higher-end features - like a larger sensor, for example.

MFT wants to survive? introduce a large sensor - one that sits between APS and FF, for example. now they can compete. compete on price against APS with the MFT, and compete against APS on sensor size (but not price) with the larger sensor. that's just an example of something that can be done.

but everyone is just sitting idle - introducing non-innovations like 10% better sensitivity over a model from 3 years ago.

2 upvotes
al_in_philly
By al_in_philly (8 months ago)

That's all well and fine. . .except big sensor=big lens. What you're describing isn't an evolution of MFT, but rather a whole new format, which is not only a very expensive proposition, but also incredibly difficult to establish if the size/weight/IQ would fall right between APS and FF, as you want.

0 upvotes
20vanda12
By 20vanda12 (8 months ago)

With all what you said PLUS a connectivity or phone function of a camera.

0 upvotes
Timmbits
By Timmbits (8 months ago)

@al: yet they launched MFT, which was totally unneeded in face of the fact that APSC mirrorless cameras are just as small as the MFT cameras. they did that in an attempt to introduce something new, to set themselves apart from the competition. it worked for a while... but that is getting old. now MFT is just a smaller sensor than APSC. look at Panasonic's enormous GH3, still with a smaller MFT sensor - if the MFT guys want to have high end products they bigger sensors. another option is, of course, to offer APSC and Full Frame on the higher end, but that would be sending a message that MFT was a mistake.
If they had a sensor larger than APSC but smaller than FF, it would allow them to compete with both APSC and FF on the high end: offer something better than APSC, but with lenses not as large as FF. Sort of a FF for the poor, or a FF for enthusiasts (versus professionals, which have Nikon and Canon entrenched in that space).

Comment edited 3 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
Peter Vancoillie
By Peter Vancoillie (8 months ago)

Strange as it is: while most people are happy with whatever their phone will capture (it was great to see how many people tried to pictures of a lightning storm at sea tonight with their flashes turned on :)), I'm desperately awaiting a camera that can deliver to my needs: ultra high quality raw images at ISO 102400 or more. I need to make multiple exposures with extreme dynamic range in almost total darkness for the project I want to do. It's sad: for me, technology lags way behind my needs and ideas, while for most, they just make flat instagrams/hipstamatics etc reducing the detail and dynamic range. Yes it makes a dreamy image, and if the photographer has a good eye, it makes great photography too, but that's not what I'm doing or after.

1 upvote
Timmbits
By Timmbits (8 months ago)

if you think you need iso over 100K, you've got a different problem!

0 upvotes
copajaus
By copajaus (8 months ago)

I have been playing with cameras since late 60's. After all these years and many different cameras this is what I think:
- Digital cameras have matured into a product which in most cases deliver a satisfying to excellent image quality. Mobile phones are evoluting into portable do everything computers with a basic camera function producing an image quality which is improving all the time.
- Time have changed, most people could not care less about quality and are carrying a mobile phone not a camera.
- Manufacturers are trying to create a need to upgrade by emphasizing the technological aspect of the new equipment so you can take "better pictures " which for most people is irrelevant as they don't really comprehend the basic principles of Photography but they understand technology.
- Current times are hard times financially and competition is fierce, there are very few reasons to justify a camera upgrade for most of us.
- Photography is reaching a turning point.

0 upvotes
beautNZphoto
By beautNZphoto (8 months ago)

The problem is nothing to do with smart phone sales or declining p&s or dslr sales. ...its basic photographic math. ....photography is all.about LIGHT the small lenses on the smartphone or p&s CANNOT REPLICATE THE LEVEL OF LIGHT of a dslr...period.....and second.....the sensors are physically smaller.....regardless of megapixel count....to get a three quarter size or full frame sensor in a phone or compact means drastic redesign.....as the sensors are LARGER.....they take up more real estate so LESS room for the other components.....yes you can argue mount adapters for the NEX or similar that allow LARGER DSLR LENSES.....but again.....the size of
the sensor is physically smaller...its oike trying to fit a v8 into a mini you might have the grunt (megapixels) but you dont have the handling (performance)......

0 upvotes
joeybob
By joeybob (8 months ago)

...as others here have posted; The soccer mom's, the folks at their kids classroom events, the little league baseball coaches, the grandparents, etc are all using smartphones nowadays.

They are convenient. They fit in a pocket or a purse. They are always connected to the internet facebook, twitter and instagram. DSLRs are large, bulky and heavy (and expensive). There is also the added benefit of buying into a DSLR system and watching the value of your thousand dollar camera decline as newer models come out year after year.

Yes - you are correct DSLRs capture more light however, Verizon, Sprint, AT&T (and others) are all capturing more (potential camera) users.

IMHO, that math trumps the photographic math that you mention above.

0 upvotes
JKSde
By JKSde (8 months ago)

Acter readings your coment I have to add one thing. That is weight of a dslr and lens. I am an avid photographer and I am now 68 years old and I find my dr and tele lens getting a little heavy. I recently purchased a new smart phone and for close photos its great. 8 megapixels and the pictures are clear as a bell. I still use my dslr tele for all my other pics. Weight definitely has become important
JKSde

0 upvotes
beautNZphoto
By beautNZphoto (8 months ago)

The problem is nothing to do with smart phone sales or declining p&s or dslr sales. ...its basic photographic math. ....photography is all.about LIGHT the small lenses on the smartphone or p&s CANNOT REPLICATE THE LEVEL OF LIGHT of a dslr...period.....and second.....the sensors are physically smaller.....regardless of megapixel count....to get a three quarter size or full frame sensor in a phone or compact means drastic redesign.....as the sensors are LARGER.....they take up more real estate so LESS room for the other components.....yes you can argue mount adapters for the NEX or similar that allow LARGER DSLR LENSES.....but again.....the size of
the sensor is physically smaller...its oike trying to fit a v8 into a mini you might have the grunt (megapixels) but you dont have the handling (performance)......

0 upvotes
beautNZphoto
By beautNZphoto (8 months ago)

The problem is nothing to do with smart phone sales or declining p&s or dslr sales. ...its basic photographic math. ....photography is all.about LIGHT the small lenses on the smartphone or p&s CANNOT REPLICATE THE LEVEL OF LIGHT of a dslr...period.....and second.....the sensors are physically smaller.....regardless of megapixel count....to get a three quarter size or full frame sensor in a phone or compact means drastic redesign.....as the sensors are LARGER.....they take up more real estate so LESS room for the other components.....yes you can argue mount adapters for the NEX or similar that allow LARGER DSLR LENSES.....but again.....the size of
the sensor is physically smaller...its oike trying to fit a v8 into a mini you might have the grunt (megapixels) but you dont have the handling (performance)......

0 upvotes
beautNZphoto
By beautNZphoto (8 months ago)

The problem is nothing to do with smart phone sales or declining p&s or dslr sales. ...its basic photographic math. ....photography is all.about LIGHT the small lenses on the smartphone or p&s CANNOT REPLICATE THE LEVEL OF LIGHT of a dslr...period.....and second.....the sensors are physically smaller.....regardless of megapixel count....to get a three quarter size or full frame sensor in a phone or compact means drastic redesign.....as the sensors are LARGER.....they take up more real estate so LESS room for the other components.....yes you can argue mount adapters for the NEX or similar that allow LARGER DSLR LENSES.....but again.....the size of
the sensor is physically smaller...its oike trying to fit a v8 into a mini you might have the grunt (megapixels) but you dont have the handling (performance)......

0 upvotes
beautNZphoto
By beautNZphoto (8 months ago)

The problem is nothing to do with smart phone sales or declining p&s or dslr sales. ...its basic photographic math. ....photography is all.about LIGHT the small lenses on the smartphone or p&s CANNOT REPLICATE THE LEVEL OF LIGHT of a dslr...period.....and second.....the sensors are physically smaller.....regardless of megapixel count....to get a three quarter size or full frame sensor in a phone or compact means drastic redesign.....as the sensors are LARGER.....they take up more real estate so LESS room for the other components.....yes you can argue mount adapters for the NEX or similar that allow LARGER DSLR LENSES.....but again.....the size of
the sensor is physically smaller...its oike trying to fit a v8 into a mini you might have the grunt (megapixels) but you dont have the handling (performance)......

0 upvotes
beautNZphoto
By beautNZphoto (8 months ago)

The problem is nothing to do with smart phone sales or declining p&s or dslr sales. ...its basic photographic math. ....photography is all.about LIGHT the small lenses on the smartphone or p&s CANNOT REPLICATE THE LEVEL OF LIGHT of a dslr...period.....and second.....the sensors are physically smaller.....regardless of megapixel count....to get a three quarter size or full frame sensor in a phone or compact means drastic redesign.....as the sensors are LARGER.....they take up more real estate so LESS room for the other components.....yes you can argue mount adapters for the NEX or similar that allow LARGER DSLR LENSES.....but again.....the size of
the sensor is physically smaller...its oike trying to fit a v8 into a mini you might have the grunt (megapixels) but you dont have the handling (performance)......

0 upvotes
beautNZphoto
By beautNZphoto (8 months ago)

The problem is nothing to do with smart phone sales or declining p&s or dslr sales. ...its basic photographic math. ....photography is all.about LIGHT the small lenses on the smartphone or p&s CANNOT REPLICATE THE LEVEL OF LIGHT of a dslr...period.....and second.....the sensors are physically smaller.....regardless of megapixel count....to get a three quarter size or full frame sensor in a phone or compact means drastic redesign.....as the sensors are LARGER.....they take up more real estate so LESS room for the other components.....yes you can argue mount adapters for the NEX or similar that allow LARGER DSLR LENSES.....but again.....the size of
the sensor is physically smaller...its oike trying to fit a v8 into a mini you might have the grunt (megapixels) but you dont have the handling (performance)......

0 upvotes
harold1968
By harold1968 (8 months ago)

The funny thing is that the only manufacturer who will be around in 20 years doing pretty much the same is Leica. It doesn't matter how much folk who can't afford their products pour out bile, there is a waiting list of at least 3-6 months for a M240 and there is no sign of any abatement.

I think that the best new kids on the block are Fuji and Sony, but both of them have loss making camera divisions ? how long can it go on

Canon turns out the same stuff but is at least profitable. It has a cash cow at the moment and lets see if it can pull out innovation before the cow dies.

The thing is to buy what you want and not worry about what others are doing. In some ways this is the best market ever for cameras. I never remember so much choice, and most of it extremely high quality.

Go around any tourist site and yes, you will see the ipads and iphones, but you also see loads of DSLRs and CSCs. There are those that will always want quality !!!

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
HawaiiVolcanoes
By HawaiiVolcanoes (8 months ago)

Some of you people are missing the point. Understand this: Increased Cell Phone Camera use = HIGHER prices for cameras...NOT lower. Thank You

0 upvotes
Mahmoud Mousef
By Mahmoud Mousef (8 months ago)

I've seen nothing but copious discounts on both compacts and mirrorless in the last 2 years, despite a massive drop in demand for traditional cameras.

Maybe in the longer-term what you can be true. In the short-term, my experience has been the opposite. If they have too much inventory, it will be discounted heavily.

If we look at VHS VCRs; they were being sold 'for a song' for so many years before their eventual 'demise'. Prices actually came down on these so much while demand dropped.

Same with MiniDV camcorders. Demand dropping badly and manufacturers dropping prices like crazy (for years).

The only downside to both of these is that manufacturers starting taking out the more enthusiast features from these models.

Anyway, those are just 2 examples of where peak demand meant peak prices and lower demand meant far lower prices.

0 upvotes
justmeMN
By justmeMN (8 months ago)

I don't see how "smaller players" can stay in the camera business.

0 upvotes
Mahmoud Mousef
By Mahmoud Mousef (8 months ago)

Excellent. More discounts.

2 upvotes
igor_s
By igor_s (8 months ago)

So, DSLR sales are 5 times higher than mirrorless ILCs. It's definitely not the near future when DSLRs disappear).

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
0 upvotes
felix from the suburbs
By felix from the suburbs (8 months ago)

Sometimes I wonder whether there is a correlation between age and DSLR purchases. When I was younger, in the days of film, I and many of my friends just assumed that you needed a Single Lens Reflex camera to get good photos. I remember going to take photos at our kids' swim meets and baseball games and it wasn't unusual to see parents with SLR's snapping away. Now when I go to my grandchildren's events, the young parents in the crowd are using mostly smart phones and point and shoots. None of my kids or nieces and nephews own a DSLR and when I offered to lend my daughter my camera for a family trip she politely declined the offer saying it was too much hassle to lug a heavy camera around when on holidays when her smart phone took almost as good photos. Maybe I and my DSLR are part of an aging and vanishing breed.

1 upvote
Paullubbock
By Paullubbock (8 months ago)

Don't forget, smartphone cameras are now hitting 10 to 13 megapixels and people think that just because their smartphone can hit high megapixels that it makes their smartphone camera as good as a regular camera so why bother buying a PS, let alone a DSLR. The only smartphone manufacture bucking the trend is HTC. I bought their HTC One which is a beautiful and fast all metal feature packed wonder but only 4 megapixel camera with a sensor that is bigger than most any other smartphone, image stabilizing and F2 lens. It isn't fantastic in all conditions and could use a few more megapixels but low light capabilities are pretty impressive. Some phone companies are catching on and are just eating the camera companies for lunch. The best thing they could do is find a phone vendor and design like a Canon or Nikon labeled phone with good camera feature set at a reasonable price.

0 upvotes
vroger1
By vroger1 (8 months ago)

The market has been "super saturated"- Those who can produce really better and innovative will survive. Others will re-direct their efforts in other directions. Cell phones will never truly take the place of a good digicam...didn't I say that before about film and digital???

0 upvotes
Deleted pending purge
By Deleted pending purge (8 months ago)

That's probably because the manufacturers feel the daily pressure of the obligation to deliver something "new" rather than something "better".
Not that "better" isn't possible, but "new" seems to be more important.
Thus, whatever sells is declared "good", which is wrong.
"We don't want it good, we want it by Tuesday..." sort of attitude will surely cost them... so, it will also cost us. In the end, I hope quality regains its importance.

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
0 upvotes
dresner
By dresner (8 months ago)

The times, they are a changing

0 upvotes
TWIZEEL
By TWIZEEL (8 months ago)

I know the way - OVERPRICED product never sells. Even 600 bucks for conveyor style of production for lens still expencive. 20 years ago hand-adjusted on optical bench Carl Zeiss was cheaper.

1 upvote
urix
By urix (8 months ago)

But 20 years ago the Buck has been much more valuable ;)

0 upvotes
Stanchung
By Stanchung (8 months ago)

Actually, lenses are still handmade.

0 upvotes
TWIZEEL
By TWIZEEL (8 months ago)

the Buck has been much more valuable... yes they've been more but I charged the same money like today for my job.

0 upvotes
Tee1up
By Tee1up (8 months ago)

I think the non-enthusiast market is sticking completely with their smart phones. They are willing to mash and smash away with whatever their Samsung/iPhone gives them and spank it up on Facebook.

At our last family reunion, out of 50 people, I was the only one using a DSLR and only one other person was shooting with a P&S. Everyone else...smart phone.

With few exceptions, their photography is breathtakingly bad - and none of them really care. The moment was captured...guddenough....

Makes me sad really.

5 upvotes
haliskig
By haliskig (8 months ago)

I used to worry about how perfect my photos were until an oldtimer told me most people just want the shot. I still cringe at the notion, but he has proven to be correct. Now a cell phone can capture just about anything except motion in low light. When cell phones are able to capture telephoto action shots in low light situations, DSLRs are dead. It will happen

0 upvotes
Picturenaut
By Picturenaut (8 months ago)

But that's normal, Tee1up, most people are no skilled photographers - and they don't care! When I was a child, every family made bad snapshots with primitive film P&S's, but they were happy with their family albums. Later, they got digital P&S's since there was no real alternative. Nowadays they get "all in one" in their smartphones, and that's great! It's logical that small sensor compacts are getting extinct soon.

Camera manufacturers will have to face two options: they can concentrate on the higher-end amateur and prosumer markets, even with big sensor compacts. That was the situation with the enthusiast's SLR market in the 70s, 80s,... Or if they want to stick to mass markets they have to get into the smartphone/tabloid business (with low margins per unit).

This one about Canon's sales in UK fits into this picture (only demand for high-end cameras grows):
http://www.amateurphotographer.co.uk/photo-news/539870/canon-uk-boasts-number-one-spot-but-demand-dips-worldwide

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
0 upvotes
Paullubbock
By Paullubbock (8 months ago)

I have to agree. I was at a car show a couple of weekends ago with my Canon 5D MKII just doing some shooting and everywhere I look there are cell phones clicking and worse, this one woman with her Apple Tablet?!!! in the bright sunlight where she couldn't even see the screen trying to take pictures like she was cool or something. It was painful and sad to see at the same time.

1 upvote
meland
By meland (8 months ago)

Ah, but she probably looked at you with your DSLR and thought you were pretty sad too.

2 upvotes
DustSpeck
By DustSpeck (8 months ago)

Give me a break, are the manufacturers really that stupid? New Olympus EP-5: $999 for the body; New Panasonic Lumix GX7: $999 for the body. Do they really think these are going to sell? Right price is $599-$699. I'd like an Olympus 12mm wide angle for my EP-1... at say $499, not $799. Do they think everyone works for Goldman Sachs?

For the several thousand "Pros" that earn a living with their work, perhaps $6 or $7 grand is a reasonable investment. But the mass market is the hobbiest and as their paychecks continue to shrink, so will camera sales. Just like the disaster in the PC industry, a tablet computer is "good enough" to browse the internet, just like a cell phone camera is "good enough" for pictures because I can't afford a new EP-5, GX1, or 70D.

9 upvotes
crisotunity
By crisotunity (8 months ago)

I think this is exactly the issue - camera price-points have remained where they were 20 years ago (in relative terms of course), but there are a lot more products out there competing for our disposable income. Which has shrunk by around 9% in real terms since 2008.
Also, why price something at $800-$1000 knowing full well that it'll only start to sell at $400 (say hi to Nikon 1). This sort of thing devalues the whole product sector in the eyes of consumers.

1 upvote
peevee1
By peevee1 (8 months ago)

"New Olympus EP-5: $999 for the body; New Panasonic Lumix GX7: $999 for the body. Do they really think these are going to sell? Right price is $599-$699."

You got the great examples of stupidly overpriced introductions (and how about $1400 X-Pro1 body?)

Consider that NEX-6 sells for less than $600 now:
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/891514-REG/Sony_nex6_Alpha_NEX_6_Digital_Camera.html
$648-$50 gift card, and includes lots of extras.

0 upvotes
jkoch2
By jkoch2 (8 months ago)

Cut prices? How to do that if products already sell at a loss?

There are high fixed costs associated with advanced cameras. The sales volumes are too low to make any profit, unless the prices are rather high. People who buy newly announced models do pay a premium. But that's their affair. 2011 or 2012 models sell quite cheaply. Meanwhile, to cut a lens price by half might prompt unit sales to rise by 30%, but entail a loss on each unit sold.

0 upvotes
zapatista
By zapatista (8 months ago)

@peevee1 The Nex6 was $300 HIGHER in price at introduction. The GX1 sells for $199 often now, your example is arbitrary. Manufacturers are going to charge maximum $$ for the next big thing for the 1st sheep who "need" the latest.

Comment edited 3 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
jjl
By jjl (8 months ago)

This is pretty simple, actually... the DSLR market is saturated. The new DSLRs are "better" than the previous generation, but not significantly better for existing DSLR owners to spend the $2-3K for an upgrade.

It used to be that each generation of new DSLR was a "must have". Not any more. You can take amazing images with a 4-5 year old DSLR.

8 upvotes
new boyz
By new boyz (8 months ago)

True. There was a DSLR boom... now everybody has one.

1 upvote
Stanchung
By Stanchung (8 months ago)

I still dream of having a pro one though. Just like when I had an FM2, I dreamed of having an F4.

0 upvotes
Paullubbock
By Paullubbock (8 months ago)

I bought my 5D MKII during the boom and quite frankly, there is no real need to upgrade beyond that for a long time. I have plenty of headroom to do whatever I please and the newer models don't justify the cost over an existing good camera.

0 upvotes
W5JCK
By W5JCK (8 months ago)

Interchangeable lens cameras (the prosumer category) are for those of use who want a camera that is considerably better than the typical consumer P&S or smartphone cameras (the consumer category). The prosumer category sales dropped way less than in the consumer category. The dSLR group did the best. I personally think that the consumer category took a huge hit because most buyers for that category only want or need something to create social media photos, and every smartphone can do that now. Why pay for a P&S if you only have social media needs? It would be just one more device to carry around and not much better than the smartphone camera. Besides, smartphones make it extremely easy to take a photo and quickly add it to a social media site, whereas P&S cameras or a PITA at this. I think we will see the consumer category quickly transition into smartphones in the next few years leaving the prosumer category for Canon, Nikon, and the other big boys.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 5 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
Digitall
By Digitall (8 months ago)

45% drop in a single year. I'm not surprised, with the proliferation of mobile devices and the exorbitant prices for new camera, no wonder they are in crisis. The cameras are no longer an object for years, decades and have become a fashion, trend and disposable object. Unfortunately. Let's see the prices of newer cameras and here we have an idea of the absurd that manufacturers want to extort customers. Especially the most unwary. Mainly M43 and APS-C cameras models.

Comment edited 3 minutes after posting
2 upvotes
John Miles
By John Miles (8 months ago)

So at some point the manufacturers just might, perhaps, oh I don't know, in a fit of random panic, possibly just sit at a computer and actually..........

READ THE FORUMS!

Then they will learn what to manufacture. Because I don't know what's guiding the designs at the moment, but it sure isn't the people using 'em.

Get movies the heck out of some cameras and start optimising for stills. A one touch movie button is a proper waste of space of wherever it is. Get manual lenses onto small sensor cameras. Supply 28-400mm lenses across all formats. Launch lens change 2/3" with proper bodies. Bring back the hand grip. Dpreview. Please create a museum of the best all time digital cameras, by vote. Include their image quality in available comparison results. Show the manufacturers that IQ is going nowhere in small sensor cameras. Just recently my daughters Casio S-500 smacked my new Lumix FT-20 for six. How is that remotely possible! We need timeless benchmark quality for each camera type.

2 upvotes
jjl
By jjl (8 months ago)

Your suggestions are mostly the opposite of what I want in a DSLR. I want video options. I don't want manual lenses. A 28-400 lens will most likely suck in IQ...

1 upvote
jkoch2
By jkoch2 (8 months ago)

Grumpy Old Men IV?

The forums are full of rants by people who might fit in museums themselves. They want to roll back the clock 40 years. They dream of a camera equivalent to a 1970 Pontiac Firebird, at 1970 prices, but with the reliability of a 2013 Camry and the mileage of a hybrid.

The notion that video has impaired cameras is rubbish. The RX1 is a still photo camera with a second-rate video function that does not detract from the photo performance. Most DSLRs remain primarily photographic, not video, tools.

Phones will soon feature 2/3" sensors or small tele-adapters. There is no money to be made by ramping up production of "quality compact" cameras, if most of the market will prefer phones anyway.

1 upvote
AbrasiveReducer
By AbrasiveReducer (8 months ago)

Perhaps it's just a coincidence but Trey Ratcliff, aka Mr. Extreme HDR has declared goodbye Nikon and hello Sony. I find his photos painful but the fact is, he's a great example of a highly successful young photographer who has no memory of struggling in the darkroom or messing with slide duping to produce a novel "special effect". His photography is not tied to traditional "realism" and he has no special attachment to SLRs. If he can get a blue sky to turn red using a cell phone, that's what he'll use.

0 upvotes
peevee1
By peevee1 (8 months ago)

"A little more surprising, though, are the year-on-year declines in shipments of DSLR and mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras, both down around 18.5% in the first half of 2013 compared to last year. "

It should be understood that about half of the DSLR market (more in many countries) is Canon Rebel of verious generations. The latest generation in T5i and SL1 brought NOTHING worth upgrading over the previous 3 or so generations. Almost all of the rest of the market consists of Nikon D3xxx, Nikon D5x00 and Canon 60D, none of which was updated in the first half of 2013, so their sales taper off also. Basically, it is a very boring market, the rest of the DSLR cameras being in the noise in terms of shipments.

0 upvotes
peevee1
By peevee1 (8 months ago)

Although specifically the last year had an obvious - and obviously temporary - uptick in FF sales due to the release of 1D X, D4, D800 and 5D3, and 6D/D600/A99 later in the year. So compared to those, sales measured in yen (as opposed to bodies) probably fell even more, as FF cameras command much higher margins.

Mirrorless had NO interesting (in terms of mass sales) releases in the beginning of 2013 at all, so I expected even bigger fall. Probably Pana G6 and GF6 released in April saved the day, relatively speaking. Well, NEX3n might have helped too.

0 upvotes
Martin_PTA
By Martin_PTA (8 months ago)

I agree! I've had a T1i for a few years and to date I cannot justify the cost of upgrading within the Rebel series. On paper the EOS 70D really appeals to me, but if there isn't a more significant improvement in low light performance, I cannot justify the cost of a system upgrade as a hobby photographer. At this point, I'd rather just buy the new Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8 lens in stead.

1 upvote
peevee1
By peevee1 (8 months ago)

Absolutely, the sigma would be a bigger increase in low light ability over previous f/2.8 zooms (not even mentioning kit lenses) than about 10 last years of Canon sensor development.

0 upvotes
Biological_Viewfinder
By Biological_Viewfinder (8 months ago)

We are at a turning point in photography history:

The truth is that technology is making leaps and bounds. We now have a smart phone with more MP than any consumer camera currently made. The truth is that smaller is better. And in the future children will grow up to mock us and our backpacks of camera gear, as if we were Bill Cosby walking to school in 3 feet of snow, uphill, both ways.

The truth is that it just no longer makes sense for the average consumer to go out and buy a dSLR. Once shutter-delay is resolved, there won't really be any reason at all for an average consumer to buy anything big and bulky, ever again.

Comment edited 3 times, last edit 1 minute after posting
1 upvote
jjl
By jjl (8 months ago)

Perhaps in-phone cameras are "good enough" for the masses (which is why point & shoot cameras are declining), but the quality of DSLRs is miles ahead of smart phone cameras, and always will be - it's just a matter of physics & lenses... "more MP" is a silly, meaningless bit of marketing.

2 upvotes
Biological_Viewfinder
By Biological_Viewfinder (8 months ago)

I'm not so sure. I mean, yes, given today's standards, yes you're right. But I'm willing to bet that people would be hard-pressed to tell the difference between a smart-phone picture taken today and a photograph taken with a Fuji S2 Pro from just ten years ago.

On top of that, a smart-phone is really a computer with GPS maps, a phone, the internet, etc, etc.

Most people don't print, so all they really need is good enough. And you can show people a thousand crystal clear technically perfect picture from a DSLR, but they'll always pick the blurry, dark, terrible Dynamic range, awful ISO noise, craptastic depth of field, Smart-phone pic if its of a cute cat, kid, or candid. People could care less about the technical aspects of photography, they want to "feel".

0 upvotes
Paullubbock
By Paullubbock (8 months ago)

It is all relative I suppose because I remember my first DSLR of 10 years ago a Canon Rebel, like 6 Megapixels. I still have images from that camera and they still look amazing. There is no current smartphone that can match the quality of those pictures.

2 upvotes
Captain Picard
By Captain Picard (8 months ago)

My first foray into prosumer digital photography was back in 2002 with the 3MP Sony DSC S75, which I still own. Images still look better from it than from my new smartphone, 11 years later!

1 upvote
skysi
By skysi (8 months ago)

Yes, Bill's way to school was hard. But that gave value to the process of obtaining knowledge.

1 upvote
Clint009
By Clint009 (8 months ago)

I'm sure the big guys (Nikon, Canon, ...) are working for the next generation of camera.
I see the next major improvement could be:
The sensor; it could be smaller but higher quality then the actual full size sensor. If per example the DVD changed to Blue Ray with multi-coating, a similar technology development could be applied to sensors!

Now in HD movies is move to Ultra-High-Definition 4D, cinemas, and telivisions will follow. And, could be in photography UHD photography!?

Consumers, get ready, compagnies are looking for your money... They won't die.

0 upvotes
larrytusaz
By larrytusaz (8 months ago)

I've never given a rip what the masses do as far as camera choice, because I'm smarter than they are with regards to this stuff & while I'm no professional I want photographs that look at least decent.

I would NEVER use a camera phone for anything other than, say, taking a photo of my leaky pipe so the hardware store knows what I need as a replacement. But for REAL images that matter, I'd rather not even take a photograph at all than to say I used a freaking PHONE to take it. You have got to be kidding me.

Even for snapshots, you've got to be kidding me. People act like toting a small camera is like packing a mule to haul off the camping gear for a week in the Grand Canyon or something. Good grief some people are just so lazy. If a Sony RX100 breaks your back, you might as well just move into a nursing home & start crocheting while watching "Mayberry R.F.D" while snoozing in your rocking chair.

6 upvotes
pande
By pande (8 months ago)

I am just sooo agree with you. Y.N.W.A

0 upvotes
munchmeister
By munchmeister (8 months ago)

Sound like a film guy. "They will NEVER make a digital that has the resolution of film" yada yada. While I, too, will hold on to my DSLRs until they pry my old dead fingers from the grip, the numbers don't lie. I still find it amazing that NikCanPan, et al won't put WiFi transmitters in DSLRs. The thing is, all these photos STILL end up in dusty bins. In the film days it was old shoe boxes. Today, they are all in the "cloud" or some hard drive and NEVER get viewed more than a few times.

But I don't think it is about size. It is the fact that the populus is carrying their camera with them, disguised as a smart phone. If they did not have it with them at all times, they would not be taking so many photos. And as long as they are happy with them, posted up on Facebook and Instagram, they don't need anything else and won't be buyers. And that, I am afraid, will not change in the glorious future.

1 upvote
TurboElephant
By TurboElephant (8 months ago)

Well technology keeps evolving as do sensor sizes in (some) mobile phones: my Panasonic DMC TZ-30 P & S camera has worse IQ than the Nokia Lumia 1020 for instance. Maybe also worse than the upcoming Sony "Honami", so I will ditch my P & S and get a high end mobile phone in a few months. It's progress for me :)

I'm looking into m/4 or DSLR for holidays etc. but the prices seem high to me for what you get. They are much more luxury items than a smartphone which is a necessity for me (and most people I guess).

Well good luck camera industry...

0 upvotes
netudiant
By netudiant (8 months ago)

The audio industry has learned, belatedly, that for consumers, portability and convenience are far more important than quality.
So MP3 players are now the norm, despite their poor fidelity and CD's are disappearing.
The photography industry is in the process of experiencing the same reality, that convenience and portability trump quality in the mass market.
The big audio players include Sony and Panasonic, so it is surprising that they did not adapt more quickly to the shift in the photography market, even though they had seen the movie before.
If the audio example holds, there will be a bifurcation in the industry. The mass market in phone and action cameras will be supplemented by a smaller enthusiasts/pros segment, at the expense of the large mid range sector existing today.

0 upvotes
Just a Photographer
By Just a Photographer (8 months ago)

Three things play part here:
1st. A major economic downturn that is still ongoing.

2nd. A mature market for DSLR's and low end digital camera's

3rd. The rise of the smartphone that has taken the complete point and shoot market by storm.

3 upvotes
oselimg
By oselimg (8 months ago)

I wonder what the mirrorless fanboys think of these numbers. They've happily been trumpeting the demise of "cumbersome", "heavy" and "needless" DSLR's for the last couple of years.

2 upvotes
palinode
By palinode (8 months ago)

They would probably point out that DSLR production and shipments have also fallen? And then they'd go out and enjoy shooting with their mirrorless cameras? And not care that other people enjoy shooting with DSLRs? That's my guess.

8 upvotes
AbrasiveReducer
By AbrasiveReducer (8 months ago)

An excellent guess. Why not leave the market statistics to Thom Hogan and stick with the cameras and what you can do with them. It's not as if anyone here is going to reverse the trend.

1 upvote
hea
By hea (8 months ago)

I remenber my uncles back in the late 60s, 70s, most people who bougth SLR/Rangefinders, both pro's and amateurs, expected to stay with the camera and lenses for 10-15 years, have no need to be upgrading every year or two.
I bougth my first DSLR a D40 6 or 7 years ago, still is functioning well, I made an upgrading only recently, a D7100, in the mean time I had no need to upgrade, and I think I will maintain my D7100 for years, If not is broken accidentally.

2 upvotes
Octane
By Octane (8 months ago)

Yeah that was 50 years ago. The world has changed.

1 upvote
oselimg
By oselimg (8 months ago)

well...world hasn't changed neither has laws of physics but the neo-liberalism/freemarket slaves with less than satisfactory levels of comprehension have been created.

5 upvotes
AbrasiveReducer
By AbrasiveReducer (8 months ago)

A lot of people haven't changed. There are still old codgers who want value for money. Not everybody cares what their camera looks like or if it makes a timely fashion statement. It's starting to happen with phones, too.

0 upvotes
Just a Photographer
By Just a Photographer (8 months ago)

I fully agree, there is nearly no need anymore to change your DSLR every two years. DSLR's have become mature. Canon's 5D MKIII is a good example of how Canon was forced to upgrade the crippled 5D MKI and MKII to a fully advanced professional camera that is now nearly as good as the 1D series.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 3 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
sfphotoarts
By sfphotoarts (8 months ago)

I'm still using my Nikon F3 I bought in '82.

0 upvotes
AbrasiveReducer
By AbrasiveReducer (8 months ago)

People reach a point where what they have does what they need and there is no reason to buy again and again. What passes for innovation these days is pretty thin. Cameras with fixed 35mm lenses. Cameras with AA filters removed (that probably shouldn't have been there in the first place). Cameras with 36 megapixels. Today, I see Sigma is re-inventing the interchangeable lens mount. Nothing wrong with any of this but it will be tough getting large numbers of people to open their wallets for this stuff.

0 upvotes
GPW
By GPW (8 months ago)

The market is swamped with to many DSLR in a manufactures lineup. Nikon for example has the D3100,D5100, D7000,D7100, in DX lineup. If Nikon had ONE enthusiast DX and ONE pro DX that satisfied the two classes, that would save a crap load of money right there. The technology is there to make ONE excellent enthusiast camera to satisfy everyone from the beginner(auto settings) to the advanced user(manual settings), eliminating the unnecessary saturation of the market. Same goes for pro DX.

4 upvotes
Octane
By Octane (8 months ago)

Expert right here! LOL I'm sure you know better how to do business than Nikon.

1 upvote
audijam
By audijam (8 months ago)

different lines are targeting different markets that is people with different budgets.....

if Canon, Sony, Pentax/Ricoh, Olympus, Leica, Panasonic, Casio are alllllll dead then your business model might work but too bad you are wrong. sorry to say that but YOU ARE WRONG!

0 upvotes
Just a Photographer
By Just a Photographer (8 months ago)

Your business model wouldn't work.
People want choice not suppression....

0 upvotes
Mahmoud Mousef
By Mahmoud Mousef (8 months ago)

D3100 and D5100 are last generation items: they have been replaced with D3200 and D5200. If they made one product that satisfied everyone they'd be making less money since it would be selling at a fixed price that wouldn't fit everyone's budget. D7100 is the new one that replaces the D7000, which is the normal course of things. Of course it will take a little while for the older stock to be sold out completely. So in reality they have 3 models appealing to different users and different price-points that vary significantly in design & features.

0 upvotes
nathanleebush
By nathanleebush (8 months ago)

Besides the fact that most smartphones now take totally decent pictures, it probably also has to do with market saturation and a "good enough" mentality most consumers now have. The digital revolution created a period of explosive change. The difference in quality between 2002 and 2004 was more substantial than 2011 and 2013, just because it was so abysmal at the start. I don't think the pace of improvement in quality is slowing down necessarily, but that to the average consumer, what they have is more than adequate for their needs (web use/vacation pics). The new bells and whistles: slight improvements in already great AF speeds and high ISO abilities are pretty irrelevant to the general public. It's the same thing as the maturing of the PC market, both reaching saturation point and new competition to the inferior but still decent tablets paralleling iphoneography.

3 upvotes
Rational
By Rational (8 months ago)

(part 3)

Digital camera used by non-pros will take off only after they have been endowed with enough software smarts to:
a) Have true auto-color-balance; today's cameras that claim to do so, don't.
b) Are idiot-proof and use just the fight amount of fill-in-flash to salvage backlit photos.
c) Have much better motion-compensation to offset novices' jerking the camera every time they press the shutter,
d) Have smarter autofocus (e.g. to focus on automatically identified faces regardless where they are in a frame),
e) Make it unnecessary to have to use Photoshop except extremely rarely.
f) Automate a lot of the typical photographer's judgment calls

When the word gets around that such a camera that makes every novice's photos look like those of a pro, is available for no more than $200, users will buy it.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 4 minutes after posting
1 upvote
Rational
By Rational (8 months ago)

(Part 2)

The cost of a decent DSLR and lens package is a significant consideration, too. On top of it, one usually has to spend a pretty penny to get Photoshop (legally) so as to fix the many problems that photographer inexperience leaves in a typical digital photo. In today's economy, one cannot justify spending all this money more than once every many years (or just once, period) unless one uses a camera to make a living with it.

(continued to part 3 of 3)

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 4 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
Rational
By Rational (8 months ago)

Most upscale smartphones do quite well when there is good lighting that does not require much skill (no contrasty light, no strong backlight, no dim light), and a smartphone is so much easier to carry around that a 1Ds Mark III with an upscale L zoom lens.

(continued to part 2 or 3)

Comment edited 4 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
seri_art
By seri_art (8 months ago)

After I got my first digital camera in 2002, I upgreaded often as new cameras arrived with much-improved ability, especially image quality. But now, I've had my XSi for five years and see no reason to spend the money to replace it, because it's so good. Same with my S100 pocket camera I've had for almost two years.

2 upvotes
gerard boulanger
By gerard boulanger (8 months ago)

I hate to say this but "smart" phones and their integrated camera devices are eating some of the market share of the entry level digital cameras.
Anywhere you might go in the world, most people take souvenir/family/vacation pictures with their telephones.
Now, how to explain the drastic drop in shipment re DSLRs and even on the relatively new concept of mirrorless cameras? Economy, lack of new technology, prices?

1 upvote
mike earussi
By mike earussi (8 months ago)

Saturation, there are only so many people in the world who actually want dslrs. And since the product has pretty much matured feature and IQ wise there's no real reason for present owners to update. This is a cycle all products go through, for example the PC market with its declining sales.

6 upvotes
seri_art
By seri_art (8 months ago)

> since the product has pretty much matured feature and IQ wise there's no real reason for present owners to update<

I couldn't have said it better myself :-) I said the same thing differently above.

0 upvotes
Jeffa4444
By Jeffa4444 (8 months ago)

Cameras go in cycles they have at the DSLR end been on a steep rise the fall although high doesnt bring product back to pre-rise numbers its still high. DSLRs have a lot of development still to come go look at your photographs and tell me everyone is sharp, camera shake can be improved. Lenses have not kept up with sensors especially kit lenses and the more magapixels and smaller photosites the worse it gets its called nyquist theorm.
Camera phones have better sensors but very poor lenses, in fact try blowing the pictures up to even A4 they suck. But camera phones are immediate and always with you and suitable for facebook etc.
DSLRs will recover, compacts are dying.

0 upvotes
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