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Author Topic: A mature market?  (Read 2323 times)

BernardLanguillier

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Re: A mature market?
« Reply #40 on: November 30, 2019, 05:06:48 am »

The one factor you;re missing is that more of the world is beginning to afford cameras.  So the slack will be picked up by the "new" rich.  Billions of people in China, India and elsewhere.

Certainly but cameras, be it the latest Sony mirrorless wondergirls, are poor at performing the most important task these new customers carve, which is social media sharing for immediate thumb up rewards.

That’s an order of magnitude more important than resolution or the sweetest lens look.

It’s not that phones are catching up, it’s that they are by far the better tool.

Cheers,
Bernard

Martin Kristiansen

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Re: A mature market?
« Reply #41 on: November 30, 2019, 06:24:59 am »

Certainly but cameras, be it the latest Sony mirrorless wondergirls, are poor at performing the most important task these new customers carve, which is social media sharing for immediate thumb up rewards.

That’s an order of magnitude more important than resolution or the sweetest lens look.

It’s not that phones are catching up, it’s that they are by far the better tool.

Cheers,
Bernard

Far better tool yes. But for what exactly? For quickly putting up an image of yourself in front of a stunning view and getting likes from friends perhaps and if that is what photography is for you then all is good. What if that is not what photography is for you?

A mobile phone is certainly a superior device for sending a quick message to a partner asking them to pick up milk than a dedicated computer running software like scrivener that is generally used for creating novels and literature. Writers however are not having an existential crisis about the masses taking over their field and they are not throwing out their computers and buying the latest iPhone because of its great predictive text features and it’s ability to work so easily with emoticons.

The big problem I believe is most enthusiast photographers have never given a thought to what they are trying to say any more than the person asking their partner to pick up milk. Far too many photographers are no more thoughtful about their message than the non photographer desperately shooting for likes on insta. Generally photographers are saying not much more than look it’s pretty on one hand and look how technically accomplished on the other. Now technically accomplished is constantly being eroded by technology and three billion people a day are competing with the look it’s pretty message. A dead end road.

If a writer can create literature with the same tools that politicians use to spew out their garbage then surely a real photographer, for want of a better term, can create something a bit more interesting than what arrives daily on the social media sites despite the democratization of the tools. Same rules apply I would think.

I can think of many examples of photographers doing just that. People like Delgado for example. On this site we have people exploring saying a bit more. Like Ivo despite the repeated beatings he takes. As another example how about the lovely thread on the daily walk with it’s quite experimental techniques. Of course their are others as well.

Who cares what a mobile phone can and can’t do, it’s irrelevant. It’s not equipment that makes photographers special. It’s not access to the equipment or the knowledge of how it works either. We all have legs, few of us can dance.

If the pleasure went of photography for you because everyone can now do it then perhaps you need to look at why you wanted to take photos in the first place. Yes it’s a mature market, and perhaps finally a mature art form
« Last Edit: November 30, 2019, 06:49:10 am by Martin Kristiansen »
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petermfiore

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Re: A mature market?
« Reply #42 on: November 30, 2019, 07:16:59 am »

The people who care what we shoot, are we the photographers. Maybe...

Peter

Alan Klein

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Re: A mature market?
« Reply #43 on: November 30, 2019, 12:25:54 pm »

I don't think photography has declined.   It's just that camera phones have taken over and resultant electronic display rather than slide shows or photo albums.

hogloff

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Re: A mature market?
« Reply #44 on: November 30, 2019, 12:53:02 pm »

The people who care what we shoot, are we the photographers. Maybe...

Peter

I agree, maybe. I personally don't care what a vast majority of photographers shoot...I follow a few and just ignore the rest.
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Two23

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Re: A mature market?
« Reply #45 on: November 30, 2019, 01:45:51 pm »

I don't think photography has declined.   It's just that camera phones have taken over and resultant electronic display rather than slide shows or photo albums.


I think that might be the case.  What I was getting at is I think the purchase of dedicated cameras will continue to decline.  Again, I think it's a generational thing.  I'm aware that people who like to hunt and fish is declining, but there are more people than ever who like to hike and ride mountain bikes.  Harley Davidson recently had to shut down a factory because young people aren't buying motorcycles, but many of them are buying Jeeps etc. and taking their road trips with those.  I just think buying cameras are going to decline as generational shifts continue to take hold.  I don't think adding internet access to cameras is going to stop that as the smaller device (cell phone) will almost  always win out.


Kent in SD
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Alan Klein

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Re: A mature market?
« Reply #46 on: November 30, 2019, 02:05:36 pm »

My point is that it's not photography that has changed.  90% of people still want to record memories of their lives and share it with people.  Vacations, get togethers, parties, graduations, etc.  Instead of home movies, slideshows and photo albums, they share using facebook, internet, presentation on computers, ipads, and TV's or digital slide panels, email or just showing the pictures on their phones.  What's changed is the method of recording the light.  The hobby really hasn't changed.  It's like airplanes.  People go on vacation using planes today.  Years ago it was either car, bus or train.  Of course people sill use the older forms of transportation as well.

The rest of the photographers are pros who need better cameras to earn a living and will continue to buy them.  Also, photographers who to them see photography itself as a dedicated and more serious hobby and will continue to buy special equipment like pros. 

Some people above have expressed that it's just an ego trip for the phone people who show off their "snaps" to others on Facebook.  But that was the same years ago when we showed our slideshows and photo albums.  Any different than we more experienced photographers who produce large prints to hang and show off to visitors to our homes?  Nothing wrong with everyone getting "atta boys" for our "art".  We have an innate need to express ourselves and to show our value to the world, regardless if we shoot with an iphone or a Nikon D850. 

If you want to take it out of the self gratification ego realm alone, use your art to produce for others to appreciate.  Take a nice blow up, frame it, and give it as a gift to friend or family so they can appreciate it as well.  Maybe a shot of their kid or dog would make it better and more appreciated.  Use you skills to make others happy and you'll get the best appreciation and "atta boys" than just showing your work for bragging rights.   PLus other won't be overly concerned with rules of thirds, resolution, dynamic range, and other pixel peeper stuff like that that we tend to habituate on endlessly.   These recipients will be ecstatic over the gift, hang them on their walls, so everytime you visit you'll see your work hanging in someone else's home.  What could be better than that? :)

Rob C

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Re: A mature market?
« Reply #47 on: November 30, 2019, 03:15:22 pm »

I think cameras are largely obsolete at this point and the market will continue to shrink.  I have several reasons for thinking that.  First, I'll give an estimate based on my own experience that about 95% of all photos taken are of a family member, pet, new car, or deep snow on the patio deck.  I once worked for Fuji TruColor which would process something like 10.000 to 20,000 35mm rolls per night and that's about all I saw.  Often photos of the summer vacation and Christmas were on the same roll.  People needed a camera to take those photos but ALL of that is now done with a cell phone.  That leaves only niche photography for dedicated cameras--kids' sports, "serious" vacation photos, and "arty' stuff.  I'll add to that a hand full of professionals, also a rapidly declining market.  It seems to be the older generations that are interested in cameras, and that group is declining daily.  Younger people seem to have little interest in photography other than a quick photo to post on Facebook etc., and nothing fancy.  Neither of my sons has any interest at all in photography and neither do any of their friends.  It seems to be a generational thing.  I don't see any advancements in gear changing any of that.  Photography seems to be returning to the state it was in around 1880, with photography mainly done by professionals, artists, and upper middle class & wealthy people who had money and leisure time/travel.

As for me, I have not bought any new gear in over five years.  I always buy used, a couple of years after introduction.  Because of the rapid decline in value I buy digital stuff for about half to two thirds what it cost when it first came out.  I now have a D850 which I paid a little less than $2,000 for.  OTOH, I mostly buy historical camera gear and prices on that have been going up over the past 10 years.  My last purchase was a Horne, Thornwaite & Wood FL=10 inch Petzval made about 1844.  You used to be able to buy those for a hundred bucks on ebay.  I'm looking for a good FL=14 inch Petzval that will cover 8x10 and those are now over $2,000.  I've heard reports from distributors that "craft photography" is making a solid come back in the past few years, such as albumin and cyanotype printing.  For the first time in decades there are commercially made dry plates available.  I shoot those and have also been shooting wet plate since August.  The future of photography is starting to look a lot like the past. :)


Kent in SD


That's a beautiful photograph, Kent.

Rob

Rob C

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Re: A mature market?
« Reply #48 on: November 30, 2019, 03:49:50 pm »

I do think that photography is shrinking away. I have no figures by which to back that up, other than the numbers thrown around for camera sales.

However, it strikes me that it was always an older generation thing; even when I was a teen back on the 50s, it was a bit of a lonely interest. For sure, nobody else I knew in school was interested in it. There's no doubt that only having the blessing/curse of a so-called artistic nature made me interested; it was key to a world of glamorous girls and making pictures of them. Without that combination of art and sex apoeal, I can't imagine anything else that would have made me want to own a camera other than, perhaps, music photography and movie stars, but hey, at best, that's taking us straight back to art.

Only later did I pick up on the art of people like Leiter and his way of seeing the physical world around him; before him, it was all fashion magazines and similarly impossible ambitions. Now most folks don't give a monkey's about that stuff, so what is there that the cellphone can't cut just as well?

As Nick Knight says in interviews, holding up his iPhone, photography is the past. Imaging is the present, and that is a combination of many disciplines such as design, graphics, motion and sound. In one interview he challenges the host about why she teaches analogue in her college as it has no more relevance for anyone seeking employment in the new mixed medium that has replaced what was known as photography.

In one of his last interviews, the late Peter Lindbergh holds out little hope for future photographers either, but more from the point of view that who wants to work in an environment where twenty people huddle around a monitor and interrupt the poor old photographer after every click? That kills the development of chemistry between photographer and model, and leads to the design of camels.

So yeah, not only a mature market, but a dying one.

Rob

Slobodan Blagojevic

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Re: A mature market?
« Reply #49 on: November 30, 2019, 04:26:01 pm »

Quote
On this site we have people exploring saying a bit more. Like Ivo ...

Ivo could have taken those pics just as easily with a phone. For that type of photography (and I am not being judgmental here) you do not really need a camera. Especially not a fancy one.

Jonathan Cross

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Re: A mature market?
« Reply #50 on: November 30, 2019, 04:30:00 pm »

When I started this thread, I asked the question, 'What is the future for camera manufacturers?'. I do not think that photography as defined in a dictionary as "the skill or activity of taking or processing photographs" will disappear, rather the opposite.  The balance between stills and video may change, indeed is changing now, and it may become called image making, to use Nick Knight's phrase.  What is and will change is the kit.  Will camera manufacturers as we know them today become fewer and restricted to a smaller market catering for professionals and maybe very keen amateurs, while the main market will be satisfied by smartphone companies, who are even now satisfying more and more demand?

The smartphone certainly appeals to those who believe that the best camera is the one you have with you!

Best wishes,

Jonathan


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Two23

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Re: A mature market?
« Reply #51 on: November 30, 2019, 10:18:48 pm »

  Will camera manufacturers as we know them today become fewer and restricted to a smaller market catering for professionals and maybe very keen amateurs, while the main market will be satisfied by smartphone companies, who are even now satisfying more and more demand?


Yes, in a nutshell that's what I'm saying.  The number of people doing photography as a hobby/art/business has historically been very small.  In the past most people (I'll give a guess of 90%) who owned cameras weren't really interested in photography, and those people now skip over cameras and just use the cellphone in they already have in their pocket.  OTOH, a truly creative person with vision can create interesting photos with anything they are handed. :)


Kent in SD
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BernardLanguillier

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Re: A mature market?
« Reply #52 on: December 01, 2019, 10:49:35 pm »

Yes, in a nutshell that's what I'm saying.  The number of people doing photography as a hobby/art/business has historically been very small.  In the past most people (I'll give a guess of 90%) who owned cameras weren't really interested in photography, and those people now skip over cameras and just use the cellphone in they already have in their pocket.  OTOH, a truly creative person with vision can create interesting photos with anything they are handed. :)

Exactly!

Cheers,
Bernard

Rob C

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Re: A mature market?
« Reply #53 on: December 02, 2019, 05:42:08 am »

Regarding the manufacture of top-notch cameras - will that continue?

It demands both amateur and professional buyers to generate a critical base worth supplying. Even the movie industry may find itself slimming down its production methods. I have no knowledge of movie-making, but looking at it from the perspective of the consumer - us - the fact that so many tv outlets exist for movie watching, that so many towns no longer even boast a cinema, why would foks want to gravitate towards distant cinemas today? Sure, big screens etc. but is the viewer really aware of that when in the middle of watching something? For example: I have a tv and an iPad on which I can watch various shows -news, films etc. From the most comfortable viewing place in my sitting room, the size of image on the large tv is no bigger than on the iPad on my lap, and using earphones reduces the possibly annoying sound level for other people to zero. I have no need to travel to a cinema nor go out into the cold. I can't be alone in this experience. Convenience. Especially when you can freeze screening, go for a pee or get yourself a drink, all without missing anything.

I do accept that for established, specialised photographers, particular lens requirements may perhaps always rule the choice of capture device: I can't imagine Hans Feurer using a cellphone to make his brand of characteristic image! But are there enough guys of his type? And can genuine, lens-based shallow DOF be replicated well enough in post? Probably. New photographers could easily find that a more attractive option, especially since we are all, oldies included, becoming used to the idea of "shoot it first, and then see where you can take it".

And I bet the car companies are just as worried.

petermfiore

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Re: A mature market?
« Reply #54 on: December 02, 2019, 08:34:16 am »

I can't imagine Hans Feurer using a cellphone to make his brand of characteristic image! But are there enough guys of his type?

"He" will be when a cell phone can perfect differential focus...it's getting closer.

Peter

BJL

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Role for “casual photography” ILCs in a mature market?
« Reply #55 on: December 02, 2019, 01:17:19 pm »

While not disputing the obvious and substantial decline in the fraction of picture takers that want more than a phone-camera, I dispute the false dichotomy that only a small cohort professionals and very keen hobbyists desire more than the tiny lenses and very short focal lengths (under 10mm even for “telephoto”) that any truly pocketable device can offer. As I have said before (and no-one has tried to refute AFAIK), even casual photographers interested in significant telephoto reach and freezing subject motion will get vastly better results from a modest ILC kit than from anything that will ever be as pocketable as a mobile phone—that is simply the physical limits on the photon-gathering speed and angular resolution of tiny aperture diameters. A lot of people interested in the popular zoom on lens options reaching “100mm to 300mm equivalent FOV” are going to see a huge image quality advantage over cropping from an 8mm “50mm equivalent” phone-camera.

Maybe “jacket pocketable” camera and lens combos with a healthy zoom range will be the highest volume sector after “pants pocketable” phone-cameras — if they are not already.

And as I also mentioned before, the numerous recently introduced camera and lens options for “less serious ILC users” from Canon, Nikon , etc. fit my modest optimism better than the excessive pessimism and cynicism of many comments here!
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Rob C

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Re: Role for “casual photography” ILCs in a mature market?
« Reply #56 on: December 02, 2019, 03:46:59 pm »

While not disputing the obvious and substantial decline in the fraction of picture takers that want more than a phone-camera, I dispute the false dichotomy that only a small cohort professionals and very keen hobbyists desire more than the tiny lenses and very short focal lengths (under 10mm even for “telephoto”) that any truly pocketable device can offer. As I have said before (and no-one has tried to refute AFAIK), even casual photographers interested in significant telephoto reach and freezing subject motion will get vastly better results from a modest ILC kit than from anything that will ever be as pocketable as a mobile phone—that is simply the physical limits on the photon-gathering speed and angular resolution of tiny aperture diameters. A lot of people interested in the popular zoom on lens options reaching “100mm to 300mm equivalent FOV” are going to see a huge image quality advantage over cropping from an 8mm “50mm equivalent” phone-camera.

Maybe “jacket pocketable” camera and lens combos with a healthy zoom range will be the highest volume sector after “pants pocketable” phone-cameras — if they are not already.

And as I also mentioned before, the numerous recently introduced camera and lens options for “less serious ILC users” from Canon, Nikon , etc. fit my modest optimism better than the excessive pessimism and cynicism of many comments here!


I don't think anyone completely disputes the better - always? - performance of "modest ILC kits" but more that the few who really want them at the price point they are, may not be volume enough to make production viable in the long term.

There seems to me to be anything but excessive pessimism and certainly little cynicism surrounding this topic; rather do I think the reality points to a continuation of that fall in volume and its inevitable consequences. After all, hasn't it been the policy to try to raise the return per flagship item rather than seek the lower return from volume sales? There is little point in churning out cheap volume if it loses money.

BJL

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Re: A mature market?
« Reply #57 on: December 02, 2019, 04:05:45 pm »

Rob, look at the numerous sub-US$1000 (and of course sub-35mm format) ILCs launched over the last year to see that the camera companies themselves are not _as_ pessimistic as a lot of posters here. Maybe also note that from what I have read, it is the lower priced models that lead in not just unit sales but also in revenues, with formats APS-C and smaller outselling formats 35mm and up by a factor of 8 or more, and even Canon’s sobering prediction of a drop to about 5 million ILCs per year only makes sense if a substantial majority of those will be in the lower price range; 35mm format has no hope of getting close to even half that volume.

Maybe hanging out in this forum (or any enthusiast forum) gives us a very upwardly skewed image of what typical _current_ mainstream ILC buyers looks like.
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