As an enthusiast the camera market is depressing.

Started Aug 13, 2013 | Discussions thread
Dennis Forum Pro • Posts: 18,216
Better than it's been

John Miles wrote:

It appears to me now that the only viable equipment route is DSLR. Beyond that the often truly pathetic camera designs that are released offer no redeeming qualities that might tempt the enthusiast.

I disagree. I do think that it's a bit of a shame - and the camera companies are shooting themselves in the foot to a degree - that they're so focused on the mythical "point and shoot upgrader" when designing entire new product lines (like '1', NEX, early micro 4/3) with the result being that in 2013, we finally have a selection of mirrorless models with built in viewfinders, but they're pricey and only the Panasonic G series offers something that I think consumers upgrading from a point & shoot want. (Manufacturers seem to think they want the cr*ppy point & shoot experience with a bigger sensor). But that gripe aside, I see loads of stuff to attract the enthusiast. In fact, it's the rise of the cell phone (and corresponding decline in digicam sales) that I think is driving manufacturers to produce more high end products.

Why do camera designers fail so comprehensively to create and maintain a check list of camera features that build into a competent camera? It is infuriating when a design is released with 5 of 6 of the major points you were looking for. For a market so diverse you would think that options beyond the DSLR would be available.

Mirrorless systems are new and lack comprehensive lens lineups. Additionally, I think Panasonic, Olympus and Sony have all put resources into lenses that don't really make their platforms more attractive. So taking that into account, I see no reason why many enthusiasts would not find those platforms, along with the Fuji 'X' system, attractive.  (What I mean to say there is that it's not unreasonable that the lens lineups are incomplete - it's to be expected and something to live with while waiting for more).

The small in the hands, small focal range camera abounds, with countless options available.

Gotta love the RX100 ... talk about something that's livened up the market !

Where are the superzoom 4/3's? Where are the full frame compacts? Where is the wealth of 2/3" cameras.

What is a "superzoom 4/3" ? FF compact - there's one and it's $3000 ... that's a serious niche market. 2/3" ? Who cares - there's 1/1.6" and 1" ... all close enough.

Why did Olympus make in body IS and Panasonic in lens IS? Why did they bother agreeing the 4/3" format and then cock that bit up? Somewhere along the line error is building on error to make long term camera ownership a shambles. Who is prepared to commit to a camera system that might not be there next year? How many of us can actually genuinely afford to change entire systems THAT often.

Panasonic is more interested in video and Olympus is more interested in still image making ? If you find that dichotomy problematic, choose & stick to one brand or the other.

The more I look at it the more I can see the poor state the camera market is in. From inclusion of movie potential in camera designto the wasteland that is the manual zoom superzoom market, I have many personal reasons to consider the camera choice before me ZERO. But I am certain that, for whatever reasons, I am not alone in considering the market flooded yet optionless.

I think a lot of photographers might be a little frustrated because their ideal camera hasn't been built yet, and I'm sure we all think we're so sensible that it's ridiculous that no manufacturer is as logical as we are ... but optionless ? You might be more alone than you think.

I'm shooting a Nikon DSLR system with an RX100. Aside from my need for a fast focusing 70-200/2.8 for some subjects (pretty much necessitating a DSLR) I could be very happy with a NEX kit, m43 kit (GX7 or OMD), a Fuji kit, the Sony RX100 and RX1, or a number of other 'premium' compacts. At the same time, entry level full frame DSLRs are intriguing. If anything, there's temptation to buy gear I don't need, when what I have is more than sufficient.

- Dennis

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