Putting the "if only they spent more on crop" myth to rest once and for all.

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sportyaccordy Forum Pro • Posts: 19,037
Putting the "if only they spent more on crop" myth to rest once and for all.
6

Warning- if you don't like industry talk, leave now!!!!!

Every year, when CIPA's annual numbers come out, articles always talk about body data. But there's nothing really interesting there IMO. That is a broken record. The real story is in the lens data, which is broken out by FF or larger and crop. IMO, these can be used as a proxy for body sales as well as I'm certain these numbers include kit lenses. Plus generally lens to body unit ratios are low, like around 2 or so pretty consistently.

I summarized the annual data into 3 charts:

What are the big takeaways IMO?

They did spend more. It didn't matter. By 2012- the peak of overall and crop units- everyone was in. M43, Samsung NX, Sony A/E, EF-M, Fuji X and the regular DSLRs (I'm prob forgetting someone). The global economy was healthy. But lens sales immediately started falling, and the losses were all from crop. FF kind of hit a plateau in 2013, despite units going down.

The reason why is shown in the next chart- FF lens values nearly doubled from 2004 to 2020, while crop lens values stayed flat (I'm being generous). I think the 2 FF jumps corresponded with big release onslaughts- the 5D came out in 2005 and Canon released a bunch of new FF glass to go with it. 2012 was also a big year for FF lenses, and bodies too- I think that was the year the 6D and D600 came out, bringing legit consumer priced FF bodies to the market.

Last chart shows the market share of FF lenses in the whole pot. They dipped during crop's peak, but are back up to 2004 levels and climbing. I'd wager bodies would show a similar trajectory, if not worse.

This isn't a crop bashing thread. I just have seen so many posts over the years talking about how "if only if only". Thom Hogan too. But manufacturers really poured a ton of money and effort into crop, yet the money stopped flowing pretty much as soon as everyone was up and running. If you were a camera exec and you saw double digit declines in crop sales in your brand and brand new offerings from others, but steady growth in FF, even without the new tech we were seeing in crop (i.e. MILCs), where would you put your capital?

And yes I'm sure some of those FF sales went to FF lenses that were used on crop bodies. But that raises another point. If FF is a safe bet for sales growth, why make lenses that can't be used on that format? So maybe that prompted manufacturers to do the bare minimum for crop, right or wrong. Personally I cannot fault them for that; a 50mm lens for APS-C won't be any smaller or cheaper than one for FF for example. The only real gap is with wide angle lenses.

Thanks for coming to my Ted Talk.

 sportyaccordy's gear list:sportyaccordy's gear list
Sony a7 III Sony FE 24-70mm F4 OSS Sony FE 85mm F1.8 Samyang AF 35mm F1.8 FE Samyang AF 45mm F1.8 FE
Canon EOS 6D Nikon D600
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