for all FF BS, fuji told the real story, 1/3 market by value, by unit much lower Locked

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bobn2 Forum Pro • Posts: 61,074
Re: for all FF BS, fuji told the real story, 1/3 market by value, by unit much lower

Tom Caldwell wrote:

bobn2 wrote:

Jefftan wrote:

TI: Yes, yes. I think the customers should have different options. We don't believe that all of the customers will go to full-frame. At the moment, I think the proportion of full-frame is probably one-third of the market by value.

DE: Oh, by value actually. So in terms of unit sales, it would be much lower.

TI: Yes, so two-thirds of the market is non-full frame, which is predominantly APS-C, Micro Four Thirds, and some medium-format as well.

TI: We really just cannot believe that projection of Canon's.

DE: Yeah. What are your projections, what do you think the market will do overall?

TI: I think it all depends on what innovation and what influence comes from the manufacturers. It's our mission to make the market viable. So I think our projection is there's a lot of room even to grow further in the camera market.

DE: It might even grow? (!)

TI: Yeah, yeah, yeah. If we look at the Asian market, there's a huge population over there. Some countries may decline, but some countries soon will change to growth. I think overall, the global camera market, you know...

DE: actually going to grow as well. Wow, that's interesting. Yeah, certainly I hear from everyone that China is a huge market, and it's got to be pretty low penetration for cameras there still, so there's a lot of opportunity there.

TI: Yes.

I'm not sure what this thread has to do with micro Four Thirds, or why it's on this forum, but here goes anyway.

The specialist photographic market is on the cusp of a major change. The market is declining. The compact cameras which formed the huge majority a few years ago have been wiped out. In another few years the market will look very different from what it does now. The bet that most camera manufacturers seem to be making is that there will still be profits in the market, but with higher value, lower volume products. So, that is where the action is. The question is, not what will dominate in today's market, but what will in this new market. Simplistically, it is the lower end that get wiped out first. It's probably unlikely that the size of that 30% will change much, but in a few years it could be closer to 70-90%. Which is also not to say that there is not still potential life in the remaining 30-10%.

In that context, you can understand the game Panasonic is playing.

My thoughts exactly.

But I think that there is room for high performing compact cameras as well.

Mobile phones are a basic camera device that are more than good enough for more casual users and appears free. No basic capability compact camera can compete with this.

But I that it is a mistake for manufacturers to effective retreat into larger camera bodies.

The only benefit is the “pricing by kilogram weight” theory where larger cameras and larger lenses can be sold for higher prices. This theory flows from the adulation of the dslr as a “proper camera” and all this stems from perceived status whereby most will pay more for a camera that reeks of status.

Not that smaller camera bodies cannot be very capable - the GM5 is a good example of what can be done. It will be criticised for lack of features but the reality is that the GM5 can actually do all the basic things that are expected of a camera - gee-whizz misses out.

The GM5 was not a success - in my mind it was simply because it was classified as “a toy” by much of the market on the basis: small compact cameras are not capable and therefore they are cheap - the GM5 hit the market at a price where it was not cheap enough. It did sell reasonably well at prices that were less than Panasonic had obviously intended. So what did Panasonic do - thinking that this was a price point at which they could still sell entry level compact cameras if they rolled much of the technology form the GM series into a cheaper to make body and marketed it as a fun camera for newbies. Of course they end up downgrading a very serious attempt to make a very small fully functional M4/3 camera body into “the toy” that “everyone” expected it to be.

So there is a bit of love-hate going on in M4/3 system - it has been proved that the 4/3 sensor can be used quite well as a systems camera in a body the size of a Pentax Q or Nikon J1 and yet M4/3 buyers prefer more “features” whether they use them or not in larger camera bodies. Whilst the industry continues to shun smaller cameras as larger camera gear can elicit both higher prices and the higher margins that flow from this.

To be sure I am not saying all M4/3 cameras have to be smaller - just that M4/3 can make fully functional cameras smaller than FF cameras could ever be. The camera body size diversity that M4/3 is capable of achieving is a big plus for M4/3 and to ignore the capable tiny size is a mistake as the system needs a full range of (very capable) camera body sizes to difference it from other sensor size mount systems.

The issue in my book is the theory widely held that “compact” cameras are “entry level toys” and that they should not be expensive. So the only ones that are marketed are dumbed down to the price that the market will pay. As a result mobile phone cameras (being “free”) can likely out-perform the compact camera for “basic duty” - so what is the point?

The GM series are fully functional state of the art cameras (somwhat lacking in the gee-whizz department but not in the image capture area) which can use <<all>> the lenses that can be mounted on the M4/3 mount and it is self restriction of their use to entry level “toys” that made them look expensive.

Until the general thinking of the camera user market can appreciate that compact cameras <<can>> be made to out-perform mobile phone cameras by being “systems cameras” then we are doomed to being given ever larger and more feature laden camera bodies as the manufacturers thrash around trying to out-status their full frame sensor cousins.

This theory came to a head with me when I first made a truly good dslr/EF-lens kit and realised that this great kit was not suited to be packed for airline travel.

The one camera body - many lenses theory still reigns supreme so a single larger camera body and multiple small lenses might still seem a good idea. But consider that the GM5 is only “a pack of cards” larger than a lens it is attached to then a series of GM5 bodies each attached to a lens can be pro-like used and also easily fit inot one carry on bag that might struggle with one “large” camera body and just a couple of spare lenses.

... and so multiple expensive tiny camera bodies get to be a $ hill to climb over - so they might become “pro-level” tinies and a joke for anyone to use if they have any appreciation of status-value. The very public preception of “toy camera” will assuredly kill off the use of multiple GM5 size bodies except for the fringe area of photography - even a large expensive lens on a GM5 cannot change perceived opinion that the dslr size/shape is king.

Anyway - “won’t work” as long as “compact cameras” are considered “toys” and large cameras still radiate “status” and reflect the “professional intent” of the user.

Maybe “one day” the very small camera body will be sold as a premium product but I am not holding my breath

Meanwhile if mobile phone cameras somehow came free in a compact car body it might make things tough for compact BMW and Audi cars where you had to actually buy your own camera.

I think the problem in this kind of market is maintaining the volume that the lower end needs to be profitable. I think you're quite right, there will continue to be demand for compact cameras, the question is whether there is sufficient demand at a price which will make money. These compact cameras will be expensive by today's standards, which is,why they'll get squeezed by FF cameras. However, if they find a niche which justifies the purchase for enough people to make money, they'll work. My own view is,that mFT already has such a niche, so long as,they don't make it so big it doesn't fit in there any more.

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Ride easy, William.

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