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Author Topic: Why the camera industry is in decline?  (Read 19601 times)

Doug Peterson

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Re: Why the camera industry is in decline?
« Reply #20 on: November 04, 2013, 05:14:43 pm »

As an interesting counter point to the decline of the consumer/prosumer camera industry...

Medium format the last several years is up-up-up.

It's a VERY small part of the overall world camera industry, but perhaps enlightens some of these conversations.

ErikKaffehr

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Re: Why the camera industry is in decline?
« Reply #21 on: November 04, 2013, 05:26:23 pm »

Hi,

The problem for the camera industry is saturation. Once cameras are good enough there is little reason to buy a new one, unless you have a feature you want badly.

Clearly, there is a push from more and more capable phone cameras. There are opportunities in todays markets, like making smaller cameras. I guess many photographers may want to downsize. Small systems like the Sony A7 make a lot of sense, specially if optics are also kept small. Reducing aperture may be a good idea, but quality should not be compromised.

Best regards
Erik


Thanks, I'd seen that October blog post but not the one from August.

This --

-- but also this from a comment to the October post --

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ErikKaffehr

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Re: Why the camera industry is in decline?
« Reply #22 on: November 04, 2013, 05:30:16 pm »

Hi Doug,

You should know the state of MFD ;-)

A question, the growth you see, where does it come from?

New users (like me)?
Existing customer base upgrading?
New markets (like repro and aerieal)?
Do you see shifts between different makes? Like HB owners shifting to Phase?

Best regards
Erik

As an interesting counter point to the decline of the consumer/prosumer camera industry...

Medium format the last several years is up-up-up.

It's a VERY small part of the overall world camera industry, but perhaps enlightens some of these conversations.
« Last Edit: November 04, 2013, 11:47:26 pm by ErikKaffehr »
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JohnBrew

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Re: Why the camera industry is in decline?
« Reply #24 on: November 06, 2013, 08:00:43 am »

Aloha,

Maybe all the guys like me that were shooting film have finished chasing the IQ improvements as they transitioned to/through early digital to finally get a system they feel offers them equal/better IQ than what they were using in film. Now we are just shooting again. Not buying, Thank god! Its been a very expensive journey
Amen.

barryfitzgerald

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Re: Why the camera industry is in decline?
« Reply #25 on: November 06, 2013, 08:11:24 am »

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Isaac

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Re: Why the camera industry is in decline?
« Reply #26 on: November 06, 2013, 11:48:41 am »

I ran across this interesting article...

Already mentioned in this discussion thread, twice.
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PierreVandevenne

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Re: Why the camera industry is in decline?
« Reply #27 on: November 06, 2013, 12:38:28 pm »

AFAIC

In the context of DSLRs, I am perfectly happy with my setup (5DMKII and 6-7 L lenses). It's 5 years old. Sure I could gain a bit of resolution, a stop or so of dynamic range by upgrading the body, but I have stopped caring. While I did upgrade systematically from the D30 to the MKII and followed the same path for my backup body, it's been at least three years I haven't even looked at the new releases. You'd stick a gun to my head and I'd be unable to name any recent release except for the 5D MKIII (not enough of an improvement) or the D800 (wrong line of lenses for me).

Does that mean I am fully satisfied? Nope. While this 5 yo hardware capabilities exceed my photographic abilities, in terms of usability, the interface and connectivity feel pre-historic.

I'd gladly upgrade to a 5D MKII bis if it behaved like my smartphone. Autosync with dropbox, gdrive, easy sharing and sync over wifi or mobile data, configurable touchscreen controls, etc... It's not only the picture taking process that is more convenient with the phone, it's all the rest. Why can't I go to a tennis game with my DSLR setup, shoot and then get back home and just sit at my computer to edit, or pick up any tablet around to browse? Well, you get the idea.

I would also welcome controlling flashes on a screen, specifying the exact behavior I want. Call me an idiot, but I am still unable to reliably use my set of Canon flashes in varying situations. Yeah, I know, there is a longish ASCII FAQ about them ;-)

In fact, I feel the DSLR market is stuck in a bygone era in terms of user interfaces, just like the advanced MP3 players were before the iPhone came in.

Edit - fixed a couple of typos
« Last Edit: November 06, 2013, 04:43:38 pm by PierreVandevenne »
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jjj

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Re: Why the camera industry is in decline?
« Reply #28 on: November 06, 2013, 03:19:35 pm »

In the context of DSLRs, I am perfectly happy with my setup (5DMKII and 6-7 L lenses). It's 5 years old. Sure I could gain a bit of resolution, a stop or so of dynamic range by upgrading the body, but I have stopped caring.
5D to 5DII was a no brainer upgrade, wheras I know people who'd rather a II than a III, as they prefer the look over the minor ergonomic improvements which seemed to be all there was to a lot of people. 

Quote
I would also welcome controlling flashes on a screen, specifying the exact behaviour I want. Call me an idiot, but I am still unable to reliably use my set of Canon flashes in varying situations. Yeah, I know, there is a longish ASCII FAQ about them ;-)
Yes, yes and yes. I have a 580 mark I and Mark II, both are awful to control and to make it worse it's a different combo of buttons on each to hold and pray something happens.
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ErikKaffehr

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Re: Why the camera industry is in decline?
« Reply #29 on: November 06, 2013, 05:27:48 pm »

Hi,

I am shooting Sony and I have no problems at all. I don't know if it is me or the camera. Also, I don't have problems with the flash. It may depend on me not using it for two years. I use some studio flash. As I said, I have no experience with Canon, but the DSLRs I had, I had little problems to learn.

I did many upgrades, tough.

Konica-Minolta Dimage 7D to Sony Alpha 100 (Megapixels)
Sony Alpha 100 to Sony Alpha 700 (CMOS sensor)
Sony Alpha 700 to Sony Alpha 900 (Full frame)
Sony Alpha 900 to Sony Alpha 55 SLT (Live View, most important feature!)
Sony Alpha 55 to Sony Alpha 77 SLT (More solid body, more presets, better viewfinder)
Sony Alpha 77 to Sony Alpha 99 SLT (Full frame, better presets)
Hasselblad 555ELD/P45+ (I still don't know what I think)

My friend, he bought lenses for full frame Canon in 2005 and waited for the Canon 5DIII when it arrived. Totally happy, right now.

Another point: I guess that some of my best pictures were taken with the Sony Alpha 700. That camera was good enough. The later developments may increased the technical quality, but they not turned me into a better photographer.

Best regards
Erik


AFAIC

In the context of DSLRs, I am perfectly happy with my setup (5DMKII and 6-7 L lenses). It's 5 years old. Sure I could gain a bit of resolution, a stop or so of dynamic range by upgrading the body, but I have stopped caring. While I did upgrade systematically from the D30 to the MKII and followed the same path for my backup body, it's been at least three years I haven't even looked at the new releases. You'd stick a gun to my head and I'd be unable to name any recent release except for the 5D MKIII (not enough of an improvement) or the D800 (wrong line of lenses for me).

Does that mean I am fully satisfied? Nope. While this 5 yo hardware capabilities exceed my photographic abilities, in terms of usability, the interface and connectivity feel pre-historic.

I'd gladly upgrade to a 5D MKII bis if it behaved like my smartphone. Autosync with dropbox, gdrive, easy sharing and sync over wifi or mobile data, configurable touchscreen controls, etc... It's not only the picture taking process that is more convenient with the phone, it's all the rest. Why can't I go to a tennis game with my DSLR setup, shoot and then get back home and just sit at my computer to edit, or pick up any tablet around to browse? Well, you get the idea.

I would also welcome controlling flashes on a screen, specifying the exact behavior I want. Call me an idiot, but I am still unable to reliably use my set of Canon flashes in varying situations. Yeah, I know, there is a longish ASCII FAQ about them ;-)

In fact, I feel the DSLR market is stuck in a bygone era in terms of user interfaces, just like the advanced MP3 players were before the iPhone came in.

Edit - fixed a couple of typos
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Doug Peterson

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Re: Why the camera industry is in decline?
« Reply #30 on: November 06, 2013, 05:53:43 pm »

A question, the growth you see, where does it come from?

New users (like me)?
Existing customer base upgrading?
New markets (like repro and aerieal)?
Do you see shifts between different makes? Like HB owners shifting to Phase?

Yes, yes, yes, and yes.

2013 has been a good year.

The product mix has been quite good. IQ260 has been very successful in the architecture/landscape/interior category which had slumped since the P45+ was still the best-thing-going for many years until the IQ260. IQ180/160 refurbs have offered high res with a great interface at a lower price than the cutting-edge pricing of original entry into the market. Refurb [P40+ and DF+] kits have offered flash sync of 1/1600th for fashion/portrait guys that previously couldn't afford it previously and are usually tethering so the so-so LCD isn't a major issue. Lower end backs like the P30+ and P25+ have offered the entry into medium format for many fence-sitters we had been talking to for years that always wanted medium format (e.g. to put on their hassy 500 they love shooting with despite it's lack of features - or often specifically because of it's lack of features).

Overall demand from those wanting to distinguish themselves from competitors (I'm not agreeing or disagreeing with this thought process just reporting on it) has driven up a good segment of our commercial business. From our vantage point the recession seems to be in the rear-view mirror (i.e. still present on the mind, but no longer stretched out into the future view) in the high-end and middle-high-end commercial market which we most often serve. And digital backs really don't compete with camera phones or point and shoots so the trends there have no really effected anything.

Also I have to say the number of photographers that have come in that had purchased D800/E (specifically) because they had been waiting, often for many years, for a high-res dSLR, and found it wanting in many other areas (lens selection, quality of wides, color, sync speed, body build quality etc) was tremendous.

And for the first time in a while I'm seeing a surge in demand from the fine-art market among guys who previously only shot 4x5 film. The appropriate curves of film becoming more of a hassle (especially outside of primary markets), age catching up to shooters such that the thought of carrying a 4x5/tripod/film around is motivational, and the cost coming down for the 40-80mp backs which are appropriate 4x5 substitutes. I was on a roof in Harlem with two such shooters this week doing a comparison to their 4x5 camera and it's a very satisfying part of the job as, generally speaking, the fine art guys have tremendous passion and appreciation for the process of creating an image and the gear being used to achieve their vision - that excitement is contagious.

A bit of a bump in Hy6 interest with the intro of the Credo-for-hy6 and the news that Eric Hiss is now US Rep (giving a lot more confidence to US buyers for whom Rollei no longer seems as far away) has been a nice add-on towards the end of the year. We don't expect to sell dozens of these

Other backs also selling alright and adding at the peripheral, but above backs have really been great for us this year.

In my opinion this thread makes a vital mistake of grouping all cameras into the "camera industry". I think the "camera industry" as a whole is doing exceptionally well. It's just that the winners are the high-end (Phase/Leaf/Leica) and low-end (camera phones) and everything in the middle is getting squeezed. Sounds a lot like most things the last several years no?
« Last Edit: November 06, 2013, 05:56:29 pm by Doug Peterson »
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Justinr

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Re: Why the camera industry is in decline?
« Reply #31 on: November 12, 2013, 11:33:39 am »

Why the camera industry is in decline?

There might be a clue in the 'For sale' section where used items appear to be hanging around without buyers and so tying up capital that could be invested in new kit. It's the same story on the other sales sites I visit.
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aragdog

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Re: Why the camera industry is in decline?
« Reply #32 on: November 16, 2013, 11:46:05 am »

i have some thoughts on the camera industry.  I did a presentation to the Mac User group on Lightroom and Photoshop CC.  I asked, holding up my Iphone, "how many of you take photos with something other than this?"  Most did not raise their hands.  It is the camera phones that are killing the camera business.  Go to any local camera store and see what is selling there.  A local group returned from a photo trip to Iceland, they took photos with their phones and returned with postcards of the "northern lights."

Just crazy!!!
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barryfitzgerald

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Re: Why the camera industry is in decline?
« Reply #33 on: November 17, 2013, 07:16:23 am »

For many phones will replace "compacts" or the need to have one (not all but quite a lot)
Hence the massive decline in that segment

It is up to the industry to give people a reason to look at compacts again, in many ways they were very complacent.
The connection aspect is a major thing for some with camera-phones (ie ability to share media instantly)

There will always be a market for cameras though no question, just a smaller one.
As said I'm not buying the higher end market decline based on camera phones, this market is enthusiast based and a very different type of user.
Combination of a number of factors..very much so

On the other hand the market for camera phones will likely saturate at some point, as it will tablets. You can only sell people the same thing so many times  :P
« Last Edit: November 17, 2013, 07:18:59 am by barryfitzgerald »
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dreed

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Re: Why the camera industry is in decline?
« Reply #34 on: November 17, 2013, 07:48:23 am »

i have some thoughts on the camera industry.  I did a presentation to the Mac User group on Lightroom and Photoshop CC.  I asked, holding up my Iphone, "how many of you take photos with something other than this?"  Most did not raise their hands.  It is the camera phones that are killing the camera business.  Go to any local camera store and see what is selling there.  A local group returned from a photo trip to Iceland, they took photos with their phones and returned with postcards of the "northern lights."

Just crazy!!!

If it works for them, why is it crazy?

...
On the other hand the market for camera phones will likely saturate at some point, as it will tablets. You can only sell people the same thing so many times  :P

Do you mean cameras with inbuilt GSM or phones that are capable to function as cameras? If it is the latter and in case you haven't noticed, people replace their phones with increasing regularity.
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barryfitzgerald

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Re: Why the camera industry is in decline?
« Reply #35 on: November 17, 2013, 09:06:51 am »

With regard to phone replacement, yes some do replace frequently..on the other hand the huge surge in smart phones can't be sustained indefinitely. They will hit a wall where they can't do a lot with the technology, screen sizes can only get so big, resolution again big jumps but we reach the point of "good enough"

Some users will replace a broken phone, some upgrade but it's not sustainable long term.
A similar thing will happen to tablets, screen res has improved, lighter and thinner designs but there is only so much that can be done.
It's actually quite close to the camera market, big surge when the technology was coming onto the market (circa late 90's 2000 odd), technology improved so did resolution/DR, bigger screens, more features.

Now we have a situation where there are not a lot of improvements happening, fairly incremental in many ways. I do expect new sensor technology..but still we have that wonderful thing called "good enough", people I know are upgrading a lot less bodies wise then they used to 6-7 years ago, once you've bought the lenses you need purchases tend to slow down, you might sell the odd one or try a new one.

Market saturation is an issue that can hit any product. PC industry (classic example), TV's (a sore point for some makers who are struggling)
Sometimes a product turns into a multi use one, such as the ipod, they still sell them..but nowhere near the huge numbers they used to. The phones do all that now for many people.

I'm not sure where the camera industry is going to go, it's not going away likely never will. But some makers are going to have to quit the market (there are too many out there), less models, longer updates. I think they will have a big full frame push as one last gasp and it might do fairly well. Already there has been a huge reduction in compact camera models, and makers moving to more enthusiast/premium ones for those who are actually interested in photography.

Will be interesting to see how things pan out over the years. It might actually be good for the consumer as makers are forced to try harder, make more meaningful updates, and probably better prices.
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Rob C

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Re: Why the camera industry is in decline?
« Reply #36 on: November 17, 2013, 10:54:12 am »

In my own case, photography falls into two easy-to-identify zones: serious; trivial.

For the serious, itís the D700; for the trivial itís the cellphone.

There is little or no confusion in my mind about which is which. The camera requires/deserves a bit of imaging forethought, whereas the cellphone is the ideal opportunist.

Upgrades? Even the current photo-capable cellphone exists for me only because the batteries in my previous two Ďnormalí cellphones were irreplaceable when they died Ė or so the Telefonica store told me.

As for upgrading the camera, well, had Nikon not blown the opportunity presented by its latest faux-retro offering, provided instead a machine with a real, manual focussing-dedicated set of screens, with the picture quality levels of my D700, I would have considered it as an alternative/addition to what I have. As it is, whereís the incentive? I donít need more pixels. I need better ergonomics, especially with the screens because my eyes are not getting any smarter. A nice split-image screen would be cool.

Rob C

dreed

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Re: Why the camera industry is in decline?
« Reply #37 on: November 17, 2013, 06:24:52 pm »

With regard to phone replacement, yes some do replace frequently..on the other hand the huge surge in smart phones can't be sustained indefinitely. They will hit a wall where they can't do a lot with the technology, screen sizes can only get so big, resolution again big jumps but we reach the point of "good enough"

I think maybe it can - or at least for quite some time.

For every person that has a phone under contract, a renewal of that contract typically means a new phone. That counts as a new phone sale.

Thus the phone industry has delivered a product that is paid off over time and developed a pricing model where people don't often realise this.

So if you imagine that say 20 million phones are sold to Americans over the course of a year with a 2 year contract then in 2 years time, the phone industry is probably going to realise another 20 million sales of new phones as contracts end and people get a new contract with a new phone "for about the same amount of money" per month as they've already been paying for 2 years.

Note that the mobile phone industry doesn't have to sell new phones to a whole swath of people rather just offer them something newer for the same amount of money that they've paid for the last 2 years. Who's going to say no to that?

Personally, I wouldn't want to be selling any electronic function that could reasonably be swallowed up by the mobile phone because there's just no longevity there.
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Alan Klein

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Re: Why the camera industry is in decline?
« Reply #38 on: November 17, 2013, 10:12:52 pm »

It's not only my P&S that sits in the drawer. My Garmin NUVI navigator GPS sits in the car's glove compartment. 

Now where did I put my saddle?

barryfitzgerald

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Re: Why the camera industry is in decline?
« Reply #39 on: November 18, 2013, 03:46:11 am »

I have a Garmin GPS.
There are a lot of industries that are under threat, that's one of them (they fear the built in GPS smartphones for obvious reasons)
The print industry is scared silly now that people read news on-line and actual paper sales have dropped significantly over time.

The way people make, share and produce media has changed.
Though I think we can expect smaller markets for all three.

The question is how much damage smartphones do..and where.
If you have a smart phone with GPS you might not buy a Garmin GPS, but not everyone has a smartphone..and some like a dedicated device for their car.
A lot of people do read news online, but strangely the radio industry seems to be doing ok. Some people still like newspapers. I don't watch terrestrial tv much aka Netflix has to a point made it redundant (for me)

A smart phone is basically a mini pc device with connectivity, it can do things and for some people replace multiple devices.
I did read something from Nokia a few years ago saying they would wipe out DSLR's

Until Nokia produce photographic products that can match the requirements of larger sensor users (be they ILC or DSLR or whatever) I can't see that playing out.
Remember most of the people here have a serious interest in photography, our needs are quite different to average Joe who might use their iphone and nothing else for recording moments.

From what I see the biggest losers are low to mid end compacts where people with decent camera capable phones are unlikely to purchase a separate camera as they have one with them already. The premium compact market seems to be doing ok. All I can see is less lower to mid level compact products out there.
But they could change things if they wanted to. Start shoving much bigger sensors in there and the industry could tempt people with "better quality" at decent prices.



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