Some thoughts on a better future camera market.

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ZilverHaylide Regular Member • Posts: 425
Some thoughts on a better future camera market.
1

Sales of cameras are down, even Canon is feeling the pinch. What is to be done? (And yes, I'm aware of the historical allusions for that last phrase. Purely coincidental).

The pros' upgrade is based on ROI, so nowadays with cameras so good, competition for jobs up, and opportunities and fees in many photographic sectors down, an equipment upgrade is even less likely than for the advanced amateur, unless something that is a real game-changer for his/her uses were to come along -- such as a global shutter.

And the average non-pro "prosumer" can't or won't invest -- in either cameras or lenses. Maybe he's already using full frame. In that case, he probably knows he doesn't need more camera than he already has, and anyway, his wallet is probably already tapped-out from purchase of those behemoth f/1.4 primes and f/2.8 zooms he was told he "needed", and his shoulder is sore. Or maybe he's still using smaller sensors, been told he "needs" full frame, but for the most part, his cameras are actually good enough. He still might be convinced to go full-frame, either for that last bit of quality or simply for the novelty/GAS factor, but if he's halfway rational, when he takes a look at the lenses he'd need, he's put off by the size/weight/cost. Manufacturers have focused on the behemoths, in order to boost past and current sales and profits -- but in the process made using "serious" photographic equipment costly and unpleasant, so fewer new "recruits" to that seriousness.

Meanwhile, more and more people are simply using cellphones, and nothing more.

I think the sweet spot for most is APS-C, though with the sensor improvements of the past few years, that might now for many people include MFT. Those sensors are large enough to produce a significant improvement over cellphone photography, yet permit the production of "serious" cameras that are still pleasant enough to carry and use. Put those sensor formats into two lines, both mirrorless:

1) very good and better cameras and lenses that are nevertheless small enough to be pleasantly and easily carried, to attract -- and keep -- the serious non-professional. Think X-T3, an improved OM-D E-M5ii and Pen-F, with the category maybe stretchable to include something as large as the OM-D E-M1ii or G9.

2) something different, edgier and exciting to attract new, often young, recruits (with potentially a whole lifetime of camera purchases ahead of them!). Nikon actually had the right idea years ago with the Nikon 1 system, just the wrong sensor size, a bit too small, as also were the cameras, which kept them from being taken seriously enough. Pentax had the right idea with multiple bright colors and color customization on some bodies and even lenses, but as DSLRs, the cameras were too big. For this group, think something about the size of the X-T30 or A6400 is what's needed. Needless to say, selfie/vlogging screens, EVFs, video capability, face and eye recognition, good user interface including novice and learner modes (yet significant additional capability if desired, including perhaps even computational photography, both autonomous and user-directed), and connectivity (bluetooth/wi-fi/cellphone network) are all essential. You want to convince this group of users that rather than a $1000 cellphone, it makes more sense to buy a $200-400 phone and a $600-800 actual camera, for example. Or rather than a $1500 cellphone, a $300-500 phone and a $1000-1200 camera.

Thoughts?

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