peripheralfocus

Lives in United States WA, United States
Joined on Mar 22, 2001

Comments

Total: 157, showing: 1 – 20
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In reply to:

entoman: Nikon did well to acquire MRMC - these robotic control systems will have wide application in film-making, but perhaps more importantly for Nikon in sports coverage. I wonder if we'll see these in use at the next Olympics?

@ Ebrahim

That would give them a bad "all your eggs in one basket" problem—i.e. they would be 100% vulnerable to a downturn in the camera business. Such downturns have happened. Nikon's camera division lost money for 5 straight years from 1992 to 1997. In several years in the first half of the 1990s, all camera businesses posted losses, except for Canon's. Those were very bad years in the camera business. But Nikon was helped in that time by its chip lithography business, which was larger than cameras and generally profitable then. In the same way, Olympus was helped by its (extremely profitable) endoscope business and Minolta by its photocopiers. (Other camera companies from that time are a bit harder to summarize quickly.)

But you're right that the chip lithography business was a bad drag on Nikon over the past 10 years — that's why they finally excised nearly all of it. Diversification is very important, but of course it only works if the various businesses are able to make money.

Link | Posted on Apr 12, 2018 at 16:12 UTC
In reply to:

entoman: Nikon did well to acquire MRMC - these robotic control systems will have wide application in film-making, but perhaps more importantly for Nikon in sports coverage. I wonder if we'll see these in use at the next Olympics?

Ebrahim: yes, Nikon once had a huge chip lithography business, but it has not been a cash cow since the 1990s. It got shaky around 2000, and over the past 10 years or so it has been a money-loser overall. (That's chip lithography, specifically; LCD lithography has been profitable.) As a result of chip lithography's 10 years of poor performance, Nikon has drastically curtailed that division, as mandm pointed out above. That's why the company is looking for a new business pillar.

mgblack74: yes, Nikon has many high-precision optical business lines, including microscopes (which they began manufacturing in the 1920s, long before they ever made cameras). That said, those businesses are all relatively small and inconsistently profitable. The company does need to find another large, predictably profitable business. There's no immediate danger, but long-term, they need to find one.

Link | Posted on Apr 11, 2018 at 16:16 UTC
In reply to:

entoman: Nikon did well to acquire MRMC - these robotic control systems will have wide application in film-making, but perhaps more importantly for Nikon in sports coverage. I wonder if we'll see these in use at the next Olympics?

entoman, Nikon has a strong balance sheet, with billions of dollars more assets than debts (this is easy to check on their website). They have enough money to do the research and development on 20 different mirrorless camera systems.

Cameras gave them that money; not the other way around. Cameras have been their cash cow for 20 years. They used some of that cash to recently buy the robotics company whose products are shown in this video.

As a company, Nikon's big issue is not mirrorless cameras; it's diversification. They need to find at least one more non-camera business that's reasonably big, with good profit potential over the medium to long-term future (next decade, let's say) to go along with their quite profitable camera business and their usually quite profitable flat-panel (LCD) display machinery business.

So, you'll probably see them use some, or much, of their cash to make more acquisitions like they did with this robotics firm.

Link | Posted on Apr 11, 2018 at 12:47 UTC
In reply to:

rrccad: There's a large assumption here that mirrorless mounts mean short registration mounts and that both Canon and nikon will decide to orphan a quarter of a billion lenses in the F and EF mounts.

Both canon and nikon have full electronic mounts now, even the older F mount with the G lenses is fully electronic.

There's nothing stopping both Canon and Nikon from using their existing mounts.

In a way, they should look at what happened to Sony and the A mount and how sony has faired overall in moving their customer base and growing it over time. It really hasn't happened.

There's alot of internet hype, but Sony hasn't really moved the needle anymore with the FE mount and they literally killed off their A mount business.

that would be a huge risk to Canon and NIkon, killing off their massive mount marketshares for the sake of 20mm of registration distance savings that matter to just a few.

There are significant risks and opportunities associated with either direction (new mount or existing mount).

Which is why the answer is obvious: do both. Unlike every other camera company, both Canon and Nikon have the built-in user base and brand strength to make good profits pursuing both options, when the time is right (i.e. they likely won't introduce both types at the same time, or even necessarily in the same year).

This isn't that hard a question. The business imperatives dictate the answer, as they do 99% of the time in these matters.

Link | Posted on Apr 8, 2018 at 16:59 UTC
In reply to:

tex: Well, one thing I think is missing from this article and mostly the comments as well is something that many of us know from personal observations: the entire camera market's main target audience is rapidly aging. That means a several things. One is a certain entrenched mindset among the main buyers, which may support DSLR's for a while. Another is that an older market may be less interested in continual upgrades. Together these may (may!) combine to suppress sales a tad, and any "switching" between systems. Then throw in the general excellence of so many cameras today which just increases the impetus to "stand pat". I've been buying cameras at a near breakneck speed since 2001, but now that I have a pair of top end cameras (for what I do) that's slowing way, way down. I could easily use these cameras for years and years and not upgrade or switch.

So, there's some demographics to consider, and maybe a need to better understand how and why younger generations use imaging generally.

Tex, I'm not sure how true your observation is globally. In the U.S. and many parts of Europe, the whole population is aging, not just camera buyers, so I wonder if that skews one's perceptions?

China, for example, is a very rapidly growing market for cameras, and one that all the camera companies are intensely interested in. It wouldn't surprise me if camera buyers there (indeed, throughout Asia) are younger, on average, than in the U.S.

Also, in the U.S. at least (the market I've been very familiar with since the 1980s) camera buyers have always skewed old-ish. It seems likely that a big part of that is simply that most cameras are purchased with disposable income (as opposed to, say, business funds), which tends to grow as one gets older. It's one of the few (very few) compensations of aging.

Link | Posted on Apr 8, 2018 at 16:53 UTC

Hey, DL, hate to sound like a noodge, but since you write news, this is an important little detail:

Your write-up uses the words "revenue" and "earnings" as if they are synonymous. They aren't, in business communications.

Revenues = total money received over the specified period
Earnings = profits (so it's revenues minus costs) over the specified period. Also called 'income' in financial reports. And there are sub-categories here, such as net earnings/income and earnings-before-interest-taxes-amortization etc.

If you read Adobe's press release carefully, you'll see that they are meticulous about this distinction, as are all publicly-traded companies. They'd get in legal trouble if they weren't.

Link | Posted on Mar 16, 2018 at 21:33 UTC as 102nd comment

Wish he had told us some other details, like the lens he used and the scanner used. Drum scanning is also a real art; so operator skill can affect the results. Not casting any aspersions on the video, just highlighting some variables.

Link | Posted on Mar 16, 2018 at 18:47 UTC as 41st comment | 6 replies
In reply to:

J A C S: Why not post a crop? The video could be misleading. It still looks very good though.

What do you do with 8x10 slides (vs. film)? It is an honest question.

Scan them, mostly, for the last 30 years or so.

It's also possible to make optical prints (i.e. using an enlarger) from positive (a.k.a. 'transparency' or 'slide') sheet film. You can (or could) do it in what's called a 'direct positive' process (e.g. Ilfochrome). I'm honestly not sure if the materials for that are still available.

Or you can make an internegative (a negative of the positive original) and then print that using a standard negative process (e.g. type C). I generally preferred this in the long-ago days when I made prints from positive film.

Why do folks still use positive film in sheet sizes like the guy in the video does? For the particular qualities of sharpness, color, and tonality that these films offer, which the photographer may prefer to the qualities offered by negative films.

Also, scanners generally do a decent job of faithfully reproducing the color and tones of positive film, and a much worse job of that with (color) negative film.

Link | Posted on Mar 16, 2018 at 18:34 UTC
In reply to:

Bowlomatic: Can we not call an 8 x 10 transparency a "slide"? And, it might interest you that everyone was drum scanning large format film back in the "olden" days. We'd hitch up the buckboard and head on into town for supplies, and drop film off at the dry goods store "fer processin"...

Yeah, the word "slide" is a bit weird for sheet film — it certainly wasn't a common way to refer to it in olden days. That said, I'm not sure it's technically wrong?

I guess a slide, properly defined, is probably something in a mount that you can put in a projector. Never really thought it through before ...

Link | Posted on Mar 16, 2018 at 18:24 UTC
In reply to:

wetsleet: I wonder what -ist our future selves will accuse us of for today. And is it just that today we willfully ignore it, or has it yet to impinge on our collective consciousness?

@wetsleet

I know you were making a rhetorical point, but I'll give it a real answer:

My own suspicion is that our ancestors will view our treatment of animals as unbelievably cruel and inexcusable. I am not an animal rights activist or even a vegetarian, but there is part of me that feels I am probably a passive participant in a tragic moral crime.

On your second point, there have always been people who are ahead of the rest of us on these kinds of questions. There were people in the 19th and 20th century who knew what racism was and argued against it—the excuse that nobody was conscious of it is just factually inaccurate.

In the same vein, regarding the example I gave: there are animal rights activists now. Plenty of them. And they are loud. We can't say that nobody is calling on us to examine our behavior.

Link | Posted on Mar 16, 2018 at 13:28 UTC
In reply to:

sirhawkeye64: "50% of the interchangable camera marketshare..."? In what, 200 years. Yeah Canon has gained some steam at the loss of NIkon and others, but I doubt them hitting 50% anytime soon, especially if it sounds like they want to focus solely on mirrorless. Now, add back in DSLRs and their current mirrorless, and potentially a FF mirrorless, then maybe that could happen in a few years... But even as they had said, they would be willing to cannibalize their DSLR market, which right now I think that's the only market really holding them up.

CIPA (Camera and Imaging Products Association) publishes global total units shipped by all Japanese manufacturers. For calendar 2017, total ILC shipments were 11,675,689 units. (The tiny volumes of Leica and other European manufacturers are not included in that figure.)

Canon publishes its annual unit shipments (as does Nikon, but, unfortunately, not anyone else). For 2017, Canon shipped 5,510,000 ILC cameras.

5.51 divided by 11.675 is 47.2%. I said "about 47%" to account for the very small error introduced by the fact that CIPA does not provide numbers for non-Japanese manufacturers and Canon's figure is slightly rounded.

BCN numbers, which get bandied about here a lot, don't tell us very much because they are for the Japanese market only. The Japanese market has always behaved quite a bit differently than other markets. BCN's numbers are also estimates (based on a sample that is opaque to us). CIPA's numbers are not estimates; they are provided by the manufacturers themselves.

Link | Posted on Mar 15, 2018 at 13:31 UTC
In reply to:

sirhawkeye64: "50% of the interchangable camera marketshare..."? In what, 200 years. Yeah Canon has gained some steam at the loss of NIkon and others, but I doubt them hitting 50% anytime soon, especially if it sounds like they want to focus solely on mirrorless. Now, add back in DSLRs and their current mirrorless, and potentially a FF mirrorless, then maybe that could happen in a few years... But even as they had said, they would be willing to cannibalize their DSLR market, which right now I think that's the only market really holding them up.

Last year, Canon captured about 47% of the global interchangeable-lens camera market (mirrorless and DSLR combined). So ticking that up to 50% is not a big step for them.

Really, when serious businesspeople like Fujio Mitarai (and he's as serious as it gets) make public statements about the businesses they run—especially when those are publicly traded businesses—they don't just pull stuff out of a hat (or any other dark cranny).

It's curious to me when Internet commenters think they are better judges of a business than the guy who's been running it, very profitably, for 20 years. It's really a strange human quality.

Link | Posted on Mar 14, 2018 at 21:49 UTC
In reply to:

Clyde Thomas: Go Canon!

The joy of Sony is watching them shake the perch of the big birds... enough to wake them up.

Now lets see how you answer.

As a fully invested Sony EMount and AMount user, I watched Minolta lead innovation in the early 1990's. Not long after that Canon released EOS-1 with similar tech but in a more refined manner, and better suited to professional usage. Took Nikon far longer to match Minolta enough to challenge Canon. But they ended up taking the same innovations and improving them as well.

I suspect we'll see a familiar repeat soon enough. It's Deja vu all over again.

Don't mean to be a noodge, but your history is a little off. The Minolta AF SLRs you are referencing were indeed a big step forward, but they came in the mid 1980s (and they were big sellers). Minolta had already fallen behind by 1990.

Canon introduced the EOS system in 1987; it was easily the best AF system available at that time, and the cameras were very innovative in design and control, as well. The EOS-1, which completely flipped the professional photographer marketplace, was introduced in 1990.

Nikon's AF SLRs were also already notably ahead of Minolta's offerings, in both technology and sales, by 1988. Beginning with the 8008/F-801 (introduced in 1988), they also had modern control systems and Nikon's very innovative flash and exposure technologies. Minolta had to scramble to regain lost ground with a monumental effort in the early 1990s (the XI/SI models), which ultimately weren't very successful for them.

Link | Posted on Mar 14, 2018 at 17:31 UTC
In reply to:

peripheralfocus: It's certain that this gentleman has more sources of information than just his personal opinion generator.

@ Doug

Indeed, a formidable team of industry experts on these forums, and so many of them have invested in aftermarket turbochargers for their personal opinion generators. We are rich in their wisdom indeed!

More seriously, in the camera industry very few product announcements come as a surprise to any company's competitors. There are certainly hundreds, maybe thousands, of people outside of Canon and Nikon who have some knowledge of the company's future products plans. Journalists, well-known photographers, securities analysts (especially securities analysts and bankers), professors at the universities all the engineers went to, accessory manufacturers, advertising agencies, brochure printing companies, and dozens more. It's a small community and word gets around. Not nitty-gritty details, I don't think, but general directions, for sure.

Link | Posted on Mar 13, 2018 at 15:46 UTC

It's certain that this gentleman has more sources of information than just his personal opinion generator.

Link | Posted on Mar 13, 2018 at 13:42 UTC as 99th comment | 3 replies
On article Why brand market share shouldn't matter to you (552 comments in total)
In reply to:

Chris Dodkin: Market share is a clear indicator of how willing manufacturers are to innovate and re-invent themselves.

The more market share, they higher the inertia to keep the cash cow alive, and not change anything.

Low market share allows new manufacturers to innovate, as they have no huge base of users to keep happy, and no existing product series to protect.

These smaller companies innovate and leap frog the larger established companies, with new technologies and new products, which change the market.

So looking at market share my inversely tell you which companies to back, and which will survive.

Because lack of innovation kills big companies, just think of Kodak, Polaroid, Blackberry, Blockbuster Video, etc etc.

If I were Canon and Nikon shareholders, I'd be dumping my stock ASAP.

In the 42 years since Canon introduced the AE-1, the company has been the #1 consumer still camera manufacturer (all types aggregated) in the world by market share for somewhere around 35 of those years, including about 27 or 28 consecutive years since 1990/91. They've also been by far the most profitable camera company in that time.

At what point in those years of market share leadership would it have been smart to dump Canon's stock ASAP in anticipation of the inevitable triumph of the smaller, more innovative companies?

Link | Posted on Mar 11, 2018 at 15:39 UTC
On article Why brand market share shouldn't matter to you (552 comments in total)

Both Richard and some commenters have mentioned the idea that keeping an eye on market share might help you predict whether a brand will be around for the long term.

But that correlation is pretty loose indeed. Just taking interchangeable-lens cameras as an example, there are several brands still alive and marketing products aggressively today that have not had any kind of strong market share since around 1990. So, almost 30 years. Those include Pentax, Olympus, Fujifilm (with some gaps), and Minolta/Sony.

Now, it's true that there have also been some withdrawals from the market: Samsung, most recently, but also Kyocera (Contax) and even Kodak (the original leader in DSLRs).

Anyway, it's a mixed story. As a fairly close observer of the camera business since the 1990s, this is one of the things I've been most surprised about over time: a large number of brands hang on for years without much market share and, often, despite losing money year-after-year.

Link | Posted on Mar 11, 2018 at 14:34 UTC as 118th comment
In reply to:

ZurichPhoto: Interesting ... but you have to be a tiny bit skeptical of a company whose first move is to visually brand its product to be confused with the Lexar brand the owners once worked for. Reminds me of ... the classic McDowell's/ McDonalds move from Coming to America.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=djI_ret3S9g

@Marty4650

Technically, the issue is trademark — specifically a concept called "trade dress" — not copyright. In U.S. commercial law, you can trademark a visual style which may include such factors as the way you use colors and typography in your packaging.

Judging whether there is a trade dress infringement is a different matter altogether; I have no idea if this particular case would qualify.

Link | Posted on Feb 25, 2018 at 14:47 UTC
In reply to:

photoMEETING: Has somebody spottet the Sony Pro support crew also? 🤔

No?

Hmmmm.

Here is Nikon:
https://www.dpreview.com/articles/3807540845/pyeongchang-2018-behind-the-scenes-with-nikon-professional-services

@ STS2

I think there's a slight terminology confusion here. "Social photographers" is a common phrase in Commonwealth countries (and, relatedly, Europe) that is equivalent to what we call "Wedding and Portrait" photographers in the U.S. It is, in fact, one of the largest categories of professional photographers.

And it's true that it has also been, historically, the category where brands other than Nikon and Canon have had some small (typically very small) level of market share, whereas those other brands have, historically, had no measurable success among sports photographers and photojournalists.

Link | Posted on Feb 14, 2018 at 17:44 UTC
In reply to:

peripheralfocus: Two lessons here:

1 (for all companies): Don't leave your social media marketing solely in the hands of 25-year-olds who graduated three years ago with marketing degrees (whether they work directly for you or for an agency you hire to do your social media.)

You need at least one person with real expertise in your field and who knows your audience, and at least one person with real experience in marketing/public relations, to oversee your social media.

In this case, a subject matter expert would have prevented Canon Italy/Spain from making themselves look like they know nothing about photography or about the strong concern many of their customers have about image theft. And an experienced marketer would have said, "We regret this mistake and are sending Elia Locardi a check."

2. (for camera companies, especially those who sell a lot to pros): Implement a global policy of refusing to use free images in any marketing. Set a meaningful minimum payment: $250 would be my suggestion.

Indeed, sts2. Just to avoid droning on forever, I didn't go into the ideas you outlined, but I agree 100%. Senior marketing management at many (most?) companies don't put much serious management thought (or resources) into social media. I agree with you on the reasons why they make this mistake. And it is a terrible mistake, as you noted.

Link | Posted on Jan 12, 2018 at 22:17 UTC
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