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Author Topic: "No Guts, No Glory" rantatorial  (Read 66671 times)

Slobodan Blagojevic

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Re: "No Guts, No Glory" rantatorial
« Reply #80 on: May 24, 2015, 03:42:24 pm »

Slobodan,

Thom Hogan considers that there are too many models within Nikon's lineup of camera bodies.

Rob,

That is tautology.

Slobodan Blagojevic

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Re: "No Guts, No Glory" rantatorial
« Reply #81 on: May 24, 2015, 04:12:32 pm »

If you want to equate 'run the now smaller business unit' with 'curl up and cry', Slobodan, far be it from me to deny you the opportunity.

Companies shrink and expand business units all the time to fit market needs. It is absolutely strategic. The strategy is 'right-size business units to fit the markets' the tactic is 'shrink/grow this one over the next so and so years'

When your market drops and you adapt to it, short-term, by downsizing, that is, in common parlance, a no-brainer, not strategy. Simplifying your product line in order to get rid of the less profitable and concentrate resources on the more profitable is a no-brainer, a tactical move, not strategy. Once you are done with (hopefully) soft-landing, what is next? "What is next" needs to be a vision for the way up, not just how to land your ass softly when you fall. I have not heard from you what is next. At least Michael and Thom offered some way out. Your "strategy" seems to be "less of the same" (or "curl up and cry") after downsizing. What's next, Andrew?

AreBee

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Re: "No Guts, No Glory" rantatorial
« Reply #82 on: May 24, 2015, 04:16:00 pm »

Slobodan,

Quote
That is tautology.

"simplify its product line" could have referred to a range of options - all bodies to share the same battery type, all bodies FX only etc. I later confirmed the simplification advocated by Thom Hogan that I had in mind to be a reduction in the number of camera bodies.
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amolitor

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Re: "No Guts, No Glory" rantatorial
« Reply #83 on: May 24, 2015, 04:19:35 pm »

What's next is really hard to see in this kind of wildly dynamic situation. I'm pretty sure 'more of the same' is no better an answer that 'less of the same'. Less of the same is better in the short term.

I did write something a few days back. It's a bit far afield from this thread. Whether it represents an actionable course for Nikon is a good question.

http://photothunk.blogspot.com/2015/05/the-future-of-imaging.html
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mezzoduomo

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Re: "No Guts, No Glory" rantatorial
« Reply #84 on: May 24, 2015, 05:09:18 pm »

I did write something a few days back.....

http://photothunk.blogspot.com/2015/05/the-future-of-imaging.html


Thx, Andrew. Your blog post was quite interesting and definitely worth the time.
This thread, on the other hand..... ::)

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Slobodan Blagojevic

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Re: "No Guts, No Glory" rantatorial
« Reply #85 on: May 24, 2015, 05:11:22 pm »

Shrinkage of the consumer segment for camera makers is not that really new. What follows is not a deep analysis, but rather sharing some anecdotal evidence.

Back in 70s-80s, where I grew up, it was quite popular to flaunt an SLR, Canikon if possible (i.e., not Practicas or Zenits). Then consumer video cameras became the talk of the town and everybody who is anybody had to have one. Then it was Hi-Fi. But my friends and I did not abandon SLRs. We instead sifted through classifieds, looking for bargains, created by those who were selling their cameras and lenses to make room for the latest fad.

I guess what I am getting at is that there has always been a core of photographers that are the loyal clientele for camera makers. Just as Canikons of the world survived the surge and fall of consumers chasing the latest fad in the 70s and 80s, counting on their loyal core (i.e., enthusiasts and pros), they will do it again. Smaller perhaps, consolidated, etc. But even back then, they did not survive by just shrinking, but by innovating along the way. Auto exposure, micro-processors, eye-focus, auto-focus, etc. If you can't expand the customer base, you can at least entice existing customers into upgrading more frequently. But you have to excite them, not just offer a bit more chrome here and there. And that is the gist of what Michael is saying.

amolitor

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Re: "No Guts, No Glory" rantatorial
« Reply #86 on: May 24, 2015, 08:38:42 pm »

I absolutely believe that there is a core of "serious photographers" who will provide a stable market for Canon, Nikon, etc. It may even be larger than it was in, say, the 1980s or so, now that we have China and India as populations with more disposable income. It might be smaller, though, for.. some reasons.

And, I agree that this market will drive innovation, eventually.

My sense is that the coming contraction is going to be pretty dramatic, which suggests a fairly dramatic approach to right-sizing, which suggests that a slowdown in innovation may be a smart business move in the coming years. 2 years? Plus or minus a few.

I do think you are misreading the pundits, Slobodan. I don't think they are suggesting that camera makers innovate to dominate the remaining smaller market. I think they are suggesting the camera makers innovate to capture the cell-phone photographers. I suspect that the pundits don't actually distinguish between these markets, they're lumping them all together, and taking the opportunity to say "Nikon/Canon/Etc are a bunch of dummies and I am smart!" which is a fairly arrogant position to take.

But we've been over that, and I am fully prepared to agree to disagree on this point, Slobodan, and you may have the last word on it if you like!
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Slobodan Blagojevic

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Re: "No Guts, No Glory" rantatorial
« Reply #87 on: May 24, 2015, 09:41:54 pm »

... "Nikon/Canon/Etc are a bunch of dummies and I am smart!" which is a fairly arrogant position to take...

Hard to believe that such huge companies could be dummies, right? But... having worked for one of them (Kodak) in their final years, I can tell you that even I was smarter than them ;)

Linking to something else that has been said in these threads, I was, surprisingly, the only photographer among the senior management (well, at least in that affiliate). I told my boss, the general manager, who happened to be quite close to the corporate honchos, that film has about five more years. He laughed it off, saying that the developing word (i.e., India, China) would provide markets for film for years to come. Incidentally, I bought my first digital camera exactly five years later and never ever used film again.

Speaking of India and China, you seem to be saying that's a lost market, as they will jump over DSLR phase straight to smartphones. Hmmm... I've been following international competitions for quite some time... there is a visible uptick in winners from those countries, and they are not winning with their cellphones, but by latest and greatest Canikons.

EDIT: This isn't about the "last word." It is an interesting debate and I am just trying to provoke you into brainstorming, rather than just poking holes in pundits' theories  ;)
« Last Edit: May 24, 2015, 09:47:21 pm by Slobodan Blagojevic »
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amolitor

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Re: "No Guts, No Glory" rantatorial
« Reply #88 on: May 24, 2015, 09:46:32 pm »

I actually have no idea about India and China. They were far less of a factor last time camera makers were reduced to 'merely' the enthusiasts.

Whether they change the situation or not I have literally no idea, but I think it's clear you gotta go look.
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rmyers

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Re: "No Guts, No Glory" rantatorial
« Reply #89 on: May 24, 2015, 09:57:42 pm »

So if Sony made the camera Michael described, would you ditch your current gear and buy it?  I am an enthusiast, and I am not sure what it would take to get me to upgrade from my current camera, but I do know I haven't seen it yet.

What would it take in a new camera to get you to

a) upgrade your current camera within your current brand / lens collection?
b) buy into a new camera system altogether?

« Last Edit: May 25, 2015, 01:53:01 am by rmyers »
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bokehcambodia

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Re: "No Guts, No Glory" rantatorial
« Reply #90 on: May 25, 2015, 04:09:59 am »

What i want to add to this conversation:

The LENS LINEUP of CaNikon has so far always been the trump card, keeping users in their ecosystem (upgrading bodies), investing in a new first-party lens, etc.
But now what we see is that Sony has Zeiss branded lenses (very smart move to add another respected branding) and Sigma/Tamron churn out lenses better/cheaper than CaNikon's equivalents. (One might see a future where CaNikon licenses their designs for others, too, if they keep their heads in the sand any longer).

And Canon thinks pricing their new lenses 'premium only' (they are great, but Sigma ART is just a much better value e.g.) is the way to keep the profits with falling DSLR sales?
Is this a deliberate move saying they have given up the camera market profits and hope for lenses to carry them financially in the future? Dangerous.

jjj

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Re: "No Guts, No Glory" rantatorial
« Reply #91 on: May 25, 2015, 08:25:16 am »

But the problem isn't that prices are going down. That's a symptom. The problem is that demand for cameras is going down. Way down. Precipitously down. This means that there is something fundamentally wrong with the product definition as it is currently being practiced.
I'd take a slightly different tack on that part of your post which is otherwise pretty spot on.
Most people do not want or need a 'fancy' camera and never have done. The recent massive boom in cameras when digital arrived was simply a blip that is now over for two reasons - all cameras are pretty darn good now, so very little need for enthusiasts or pros to upgrade anymore and secondly smartphones for the rest.
A P+S in whatever form be it simple camera or smartphone is the ideal tool for the vast majority of people even if a percentage of them bought ILCs because they are 'better cameras', even if not appropriate for them. Now most people have a smartphone, the P+S market has collapsed along with the extra sales that fancier cameras got from those folk. What I thought was most interesting about the recent camera boom is that people who previously wouldn't have dreamt of purchasing a film camera over £70-80 were not only buying digital cameras costing hundreds of pounds, but replacing them every few years.



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jjj

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Re: "No Guts, No Glory" rantatorial
« Reply #92 on: May 25, 2015, 08:42:02 am »

Hard to believe that such huge companies could be dummies, right? But... having worked for one of them (Kodak) in their final years, I can tell you that even I was smarter than them ;)

Linking to something else that has been said in these threads, I was, surprisingly, the only photographer among the senior management (well, at least in that affiliate). I told my boss, the general manager, who happened to be quite close to the corporate honchos, that film has about five more years. He laughed it off, saying that the developing word (i.e., India, China) would provide markets for film for years to come. Incidentally, I bought my first digital camera exactly five years later and never ever used film again.
Someone from that useless bunch now gives talks on how not to run a company. My girlfriend went to a marketing seminar he presented as part of work related training.

Quote
Speaking of India and China, you seem to be saying that's a lost market, as they will jump over DSLR phase straight to smartphones. Hmmm... I've been following international competitions for quite some time... there is a visible uptick in winners from those countries, and they are not winning with their cellphones, but by latest and greatest Canikons.
Indeed, keen photographers will buy serious/ILCs of whatever style and the rest will use their phones, exactly like other nations do.
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amolitor

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Re: "No Guts, No Glory" rantatorial
« Reply #93 on: May 25, 2015, 09:51:57 am »

It is an article is faith that Kodak was destroyed by management stupidity.

But, was there a sequence of decisions which, if made at the proper times, would have led to success? Or even survival?

If so, that would surely have been the most epic pivot in the history of history.

And a follow-up question, how much of the new Kodak's business would come from p&s cameras?
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Bernard ODonovan

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Re: "No Guts, No Glory" rantatorial
« Reply #94 on: May 25, 2015, 12:25:52 pm »

Edited quote from: No Guts, No Glory

“It’s no secret that the camera industry is in poor health…

What to do then? I would realize that the smartphone has won, and that salvation for my company and product line lies with specialization and differentiation, and with offering those photographers who are seeking a superior picture-taking experience truly differentiated and therefore desirable products.”


Michael gets it… Other pundits seem to error by suggesting the disruptive effect of smartphones and or their usability can be reversed by adding usability gimmicks to traditional cameras…

Edited quote from: No Guts, No Glory

“Which brings us to the two companies that look like they know what they’re doing – Sony and Fuji.”


I would argue that Canon and Nikon are still getting it right for their core DSLR users…

Smartphones freed non enthusiasts from the burden of carrying a real camera…

Mirrorless has freed some enthusiasts and pro’s from the burden of a DSLR where their photography does not need that system…

High resolution full frame has freed some Medium format users from their burden of heavy gear where full frame does what they need…

The market is just adjusting as technology and product availability allows it… In every user group there will be users waiting for better alternatives…

Edited quote from: No Guts, No Glory

“I want to focus on Sony, because the rumour mill has been rife all spring with the expectation of a new camera to augment the A7 series. Will this be a 50+ megapixel model? Will it have in-body stabilization like the A7 MKII? Will it have 4K video like the A7s, but with in-camera recording this time.

Thinking what I would do if I were Sony – seeing that Nikon and Canon are on the metaphorical ropes, and that my (Sony’s) sales and market share is increasing steadily, is that I would blow the entire wad on a new super-high-end model. Hit the marketplace with the whole enchilada – 36-50MP, in-body sensor stabilization, and 4K video with in-body recording. Kick the competition hard while they’re down with an updated 7 series body. Mirrorless is now 50% of the interchangeable lens camera market in Asia, and growing steadily elsewhere. Sony is in a position of strength in this segment. Capitalize on it, now!”


The high end is already safe regardless of volumes going up or down so SONY may still keep the three lines of 7 series separate, “Sensitivity” (A7S), “Resolution” (A7R) and “All round” (A7). Hard to say if the IBSS gets added to all of these… People who need 4K may also need a real video camera, so SONY will not waste effort if they need to wait a few generations making it a standard feature with in body recording…

Edited quote from: No Guts, No Glory

“With some recent new G series and Zeiss branded FE glass from Sony, along with Zeiss’ own exciting new Batis lens line, Sony is primed. Introduce a no-holds-bared high-end FE mount model and the community of serious (non-smartphone) photographers will reach into their wallets.”

This is another area that will keep some Canon users with Canon and some Nikon users with Nikon, “glass”… Add to that style and street cred. No matter what SONY does their camera products lack design, they really did buy the old Minolta body division…

In a humorous video, a 1DX sports user advised upcoming 7D2 users to keep the booster on with their longest lens when walking into the sports photographers area, and to stay away for their own safety if they had a puny A7 SONY… You will not find these photographers discussing Dynamic range either…  ;D

Edited quote from: No Guts, No Glory

“Take half measures and dole out the features slowly over time, and Sony will give Nikon and Canon time to breath (if they still are doing so). In other words – wearing my marketing hat, I’d say – hit them hard with all barrels – now.”

It may be counterproductive to try to compete directly in areas where Canon and Nikon are strong. Better they continue to create the alternatives that some Canon and Nikon users will prefer and gain their own market as they have done…

The Smartphone has disrupted the mass market. The burden of supplying zillions cameras to non photographers has been lifted, this means all Camera makers can focus on enthusiast and pro’s… Good news for real photographers if those manufacturers can all manage to stay in business…

As affordable Large sensors become more readily available it should put some meat back into medium format market. I suspect we will see some range finder style cameras in these larger formats soon… It is starting to get like the film days all over again, and those past “gear” market models will be the future albeit with some users changing formats up or down for different reasons…

With regard to the Kodak school of business, Film was disrupted by digital eventually across all its market segments, it is very different to the disruption of smartphones which are limited to the mass market segment of camera users, albeit it a painful loss to bear. Kodak were supplying physical/chemical media in their home market which was one thing that allowed them to survive with good basic and aging business skills against competition until the digital era. The digital camera makers still have other market segments that are unaffected by smartphones. They will never grow them enough to replace the mass market, so they need to diversify and strengthen what they do have or adjust in size…

Canon had expanded overseas production for low end products in the boom days and have now already closed those factories and moved efforts home. They must have made hay while the sun was shinning as they are now buying up other companies (security Cameras) to diversify…

SONY is a major sensor maker for everything, not just handheld cameras. I would be more worried if I was a SONY user that they get bored of the camera market are start focusing on the pure sensors and other electronics… They have a bigger company to feed and a history of pulling out of markets they entered…

Fuji is playing it safe going for the retro rangefinder style APS C segment and a rumored medium format version in the future…
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jjj

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Re: "No Guts, No Glory" rantatorial
« Reply #95 on: May 25, 2015, 01:28:14 pm »

So if Sony made the camera Michael described, would you ditch your current gear and buy it?  I am an enthusiast, and I am not sure what it would take to get me to upgrade from my current camera, but I do know I haven't seen it yet.

What would it take in a new camera to get you to

a) upgrade your current camera within your current brand / lens collection?
b) buy into a new camera system altogether?
Make my life as a photographer easier. Now what makes my life easier is not the same as what makes someone else's and hence why cameras have a multitude of features.
Sadly some people ignorantly and selfishly refer to features they do not want as bloat.

An Olympus m4/3 system with a 14-450mm lens range that's about the same size as a Canon DSLR body and a single zoom f2.8 lens will do that if I want travel light for example.
I'm not a big user of tele lenses [at all] but after playing with the OM 40-150mm [80-300mm FF] f2.8 I really want one. And with long lenses, a smaller sensor with it's bigger DoF is an advantage in my eyes.
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PeterAit

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Re: "No Guts, No Glory" rantatorial
« Reply #96 on: May 25, 2015, 05:06:31 pm »

The best thing that could happen to the Lula website is for the rantatorials to go away. They are hubris on a stick. Yes, I can (and do) ignore them, but really - what value do they bring?
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jjj

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Re: "No Guts, No Glory" rantatorial
« Reply #97 on: May 25, 2015, 05:12:21 pm »

The best thing that could happen to the Lula website is for the rantatorials to go away. They are hubris on a stick. Yes, I can (and do) ignore them, but really - what value do they bring?
Says Peter ranting in the LuLa forum.
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Telecaster

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Re: "No Guts, No Glory" rantatorial
« Reply #98 on: May 25, 2015, 05:28:45 pm »

I like the rants. You have to take 'em for what they are…part prognosticating, part wishlisting, part letting off steam. There's a proper place for all those things, and here it is.  :)

-Dave-
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BJL

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mass-market non-phone cameras must just a bit too big to go everywhere
« Reply #99 on: May 25, 2015, 05:40:58 pm »

Some key problems for current camera makers (other than Apple, Samsung and maybe Sony) to deal with are:

1. The great majority of photographic needs formerly handled by dedicated consumer-level cameras will henceforth be handled by go-almost-everywhere multi-function devices that also handle communication, computation and other entertainment; call them "smart phones" if you will.

2. Any innovation that fits into a small enough device will be offered in those multi-function devices.

3. Most or all traditional camera makers have little hope of succeeding as makers of such devices: even the biggest and most electronics-savvy of the makers of traditional cameras, Sony and Panasonic, have tried and mostly failed with smart phones; Canon, Nikon et al can forget about it.

The only way forward I see is to offer differentiated products which address limitations that smart-phone photographers most often experience and which can only be overcome by technology that cannot be squeezed into an "every pocket, every purse" device by giants like Apple and Samsung. The "dedicated camera" must involve some upsizing, becoming the tool that people carry just some times, for the tough cases where the phone is not enough, and the most fundamental need for upsizing is the lens, not anything electronic (Also, computer fanciness is best handled by pairing to the phone that is going to be in the pocket anyway).  The most appealing "step-up" cameras must offer lenses with the ability to handle faster action, lower light and/or more telephoto reach than a phone, without the excessive image quality loss to heavy crops ("digital zoom") from an already small sensor.

After lenses, next big question is how large the sensor must be, bearing in mind that a larger sensor without a larger lens does nothing to help with any of the above limitations, while phone camera lenses cannot get much brighter, so some sensor upsizing is needed.  I suspect that the answer is "not much bigger"; not more than about two stops, so a linear doubling, which is still only about Type 2/3" (11mm diagonal)  So even the now fashionable Type 1" (16mm diagonal) might be a bit too large for the base level of cameras that appeal as overcoming the limitations of phone-cameras, and APS-C (28mm diagonal) and its lens sizes is almost certainly far too much of a jump.

The through-the-lens optical viewfinder of an SLR is hopeless at this format size, so SLR's are doomed for the bottom part of the "non-phone camera" sector -- thus, camera companies that want the business benefits of an interchangeable lens system (brand lock-in, follow-up lens sales) will have to get serious about having a compact mirrorless system as part of their portfolio.  Not to knock SLRs as a smaller but profitable higher end sector, or just as halo products.
« Last Edit: May 25, 2015, 05:43:50 pm by BJL »
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