Camera industry in crisis? Thought provoking article.

Started Mar 13, 2014 | Discussions thread
Camley Senior Member • Posts: 1,737
Re: Camera industry in crisis? Thought provoking article.

sderdiarian wrote:

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

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

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

Likely all of the above are contributors to some degree.

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

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

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Sailin' Steve

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

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

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

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

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

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

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