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Author Topic: Why the camera industry is in decline?  (Read 19602 times)

Jim Pascoe

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Re: Why the camera industry is in decline?
« Reply #40 on: November 18, 2013, 04:33:05 am »

If we are talking global photography then it's because a phone camera is good enough for 95% of people 99% of the time.

If we mean enthusiast or pro photographers it could be because even for us, 99% of the time, the current cameras we own meet or exceed our visual and technical skill anyway.  My six year old 1DS mk 3 just goes on doing the business time and time again. There is a newer model, but will it really take better pictures?  Except for video, the whole camera market is in slow evolution mode - at least as far as image quality is concerned.  I did just buy a Ricoh GR (which is great), but haven't bought any other serious camera for three years now - mainly because I don't make enough money anymore to replace equipment that already does the job.

Jim
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Rob C

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Re: Why the camera industry is in decline?
« Reply #41 on: November 18, 2013, 05:18:19 am »

If we are talking global photography then it's because a phone camera is good enough for 95% of people 99% of the time.

If we mean enthusiast or pro photographers it could be because even for us, 99% of the time, the current cameras we own meet or exceed our visual and technical skill anyway.  My six year old 1DS mk 3 just goes on doing the business time and time again. There is a newer model, but will it really take better pictures?  Except for video, the whole camera market is in slow evolution mode - at least as far as image quality is concerned.  I did just buy a Ricoh GR (which is great), but haven't bought any other serious camera for three years now - mainly because I don't make enough money anymore to replace equipment that already does the job.Jim


Refreshingly honest, Jim, and I suspect the same holds for most folks still in the business. I realised I had to drop out years ago or blow what I'd earned in the business just by trying to stay afloat.

There used to be/still is(?) a model agency in Palma; I am no longer sure, because when I tried to get to the website again last week, I was confronted with a notice advising that the page might have been removed, changed etc. etc. It seems odd that any agency would surrender a well-known name and web address - but who knows? Cooter, somewhere within LuLa, has claimed that over 80% of advertising managers are no longer employed, that many previously busy photographers that he knows are now doing the lectures and workshops route instead of professional practice...

I sometimes blame the electronic age, and then I wonder if that's correct; perhaps it's more the marketing realisation that the great unwashed really doesn't care a fig about seeing nice and attractive publicity, never did, and so why spend the money making prize-winning adverts and promotions? Now that I think about it, the only folks I ever heard raving about some magazine shoot or advert were other snappers and models. My wife used to claim repeatedly that she was absolutely not influenced in her shopping habits by adverts; however she sure was when we did fashion shoots, and we often ended up back at the factory buying some of what I'd shot! That exposure to product was really nothing more than the equivalent of going to a real shop.

Anyway, its a grim period for the business in general, though like always, some will do well.

Rob C

jjj

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Re: Why the camera industry is in decline?
« Reply #42 on: November 18, 2013, 08:06:26 am »

I sometimes blame the electronic age, and then I wonder if that's correct; perhaps it's more the marketing realisation that the great unwashed really doesn't care a fig about seeing nice and attractive publicity, never did, and so why spend the money making prize-winning adverts and promotions? Now that I think about it, the only folks I ever heard raving about some magazine shoot or advert were other snappers and models. My wife used to claim repeatedly that she was absolutely not influenced in her shopping habits by adverts; however she sure was when we did fashion shoots, and we often ended up back at the factory buying some of what I'd shot! That exposure to product was really nothing more than the equivalent of going to a real shop.
Good advertising certainly works. Unless the product is in itself unwanted.
People wouldn't spend that much on something, for so long without getting data that demonstrated its effectiveness.

And as for the only people raving about an magazine shoot or advert, in one sense that doesn't necessarily matter. They are there to influence, sometimes in quite subtle ways or to simply let people know something exists. However making ads that people talk about has been a successful staple for a longtime too. Currently a Volvo truck ad is interesting enough to get even quite sensible people to post to it on Facebook, which is why it has probably racked up 23millions views in 5 days. Not to mention all the other versions of the ad that people are posting on their own youtube channel and that most of the the World's media seem to be talking about it too.
Then there's the current John Lewis Christmas ad that got everyone excited last week and the music used in it to the top of the charts.

And the weirdest thing, nowadays you may have to watch an ad before getting to see an film which is an….ad.
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dreed

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Re: Why the camera industry is in decline?
« Reply #43 on: November 18, 2013, 08:07:52 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 only advantage the GPS has now is battery life for those that are going hiking on long day or multi day hikes where a phone will just die.

Quote
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.

But are there enough of those people to sustain the industry at the levels we've come to expect given the competition?

As a case in point, Michael's kit started off being quite an extensive range of Canon equipment (~10 years ago) after he switched over from Nikon some time earlier. After ditching that and moving to Sony plus MFDB, he's ditched Sony and moved on to Fuji plus MFDB. At the transition from Canon to Sony, the amount of gear he had reduced substantially.

Now I don't know if everyone is like Michael but my current thoughts are around moving from DSLR to m4/3 and replacing half a dozen lenses with half that so as to have enough capability that doesn't weigh a ton. The pixel peeper in me will probably be satisfied by whatever succeeds the OM-D E-M1 (so long as it produces at least similar quality images.)

How long before the DSLR of today becomes a curiosity like the Rolleiflex is today?

Don't mistake a serious interest in photography to mean that people will have a closed mind to technological improvements in camera design.
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jjj

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Re: Why the camera industry is in decline?
« Reply #44 on: November 18, 2013, 09:15:33 am »

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.
Actually after using a smartphone for GPS logging, I am now thinking of buying a proper GPS unit as job specific items tend to do….specific jobs much better.
A GPS that doesn't record as long as one's outing lasts, is about as much use as a chocolate teapot.
Much like a Swiss Army knife is really handy for little tasks, but if if you want to do say some carpentry get the proper tool.

Heck, if you do anything radical like decide to take some photos on your iPhone or record your bike ride/run with GPS, expect your battery to die even quicker than the already annoyingly short time it normally takes.
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jjj

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Re: Why the camera industry is in decline?
« Reply #45 on: November 18, 2013, 09:19:40 am »

The only advantage the GPS has now is battery life for those that are going hiking on long day or multi day hikes where a phone will just die.
Doesn't need to be anywhere near that long. A few hours can kill your phone.
I don't expect to go on short bike rides and get a complete Strava recording unless phone is fully charged.
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Dave (Isle of Skye)

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Re: Why the camera industry is in decline?
« Reply #46 on: November 18, 2013, 07:01:28 pm »

Interesting thread, have you heard about the latest 41 megapixel camera phone? Reviewed here and here and for only £600?

Don't suppose it shoots raw though  :(

Dave
« Last Edit: November 18, 2013, 07:05:01 pm by Dave (Isle of Skye) »
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jjj

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Re: Why the camera industry is in decline?
« Reply #47 on: November 19, 2013, 06:46:08 am »

I believe it can do raw after a recent update and Google are working on letting all Android users shoot raw due to the enthusiasm for that option.

I saw someone compare it to his D800E and....well check link out.
« Last Edit: November 19, 2013, 06:50:13 am by jjj »
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MarkL

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Re: Why the camera industry is in decline?
« Reply #48 on: November 19, 2013, 08:04:32 am »

From another forum

Quote
People are realizing that they don't give a hoot about quality and are happy with mediocre junk as long as that makes their life more convenient (see trend to "social camera" rather than "better picture" camera. The same happened in the video world when youtube came around at about the same time Blue Ray was starting. People were happy with fuzzy junk on their computers and the urge to go HD and collect plastic discs just faded away. Netflix then put the nail in that coffin (even though their "HD" is lightyears away from what Blue Ray is, it is accepted by users as good enough - message matters more than format). Music went the same way with MP3 over a decade ago. Hi-Fi only exists on the very high end now, while the mainstream listens to digital garbage, because it is convenient and entertains them, which is what it is all about. There's a fringe who knows about FLAC files and has heard what real high end audio can sound like, but the masses don't even know such a thing exists - they equate a high end audio system with a big subwoofer.
 
It appears the DSLR world has reached a level where only professionals and enthusiasts really feel the gain the latest imaging advances deliver are worth the purchase of a new body or system.
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jjj

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Re: Why the camera industry is in decline?
« Reply #49 on: November 19, 2013, 08:44:05 am »

Only a few have ever been that bothered about high quality in anything. Hi-Fi was always a minority interest, mp3s are probably no worse than music on vinyl or CDs played through bottom end systems.
Photography was just the same, few dabbled with SLRs or TLRs the rest were happy with 110 or pocket 35mm p+S cameras.
Nowadays people buy flatscreen TVs despite the fact that the picture they produce is unlikely to be anywhere near as good as their old CRT.

Having said that, people will always be suckered into buying something if it has a 'better' number. An amp with 80W must be better than one with 20W, a camera with 16Mp must better than one with 10MP and a 50" TV must be better than a 42" TV. In fact why even bother with meaningful numbers, just adopt ones that people already buy into such as YouTube with it's 720p and HD settings which are nowhere near that good.
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barryfitzgerald

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Re: Why the camera industry is in decline?
« Reply #50 on: November 19, 2013, 06:31:06 pm »

The industry survived before digital, with a more considered and slower progression but it was still able to meet the needs of users.
We'll go back to what is was back then, mostly enthusiast driven whilst mass market can enjoy their smart phones etc etc.

I'm sure camcorder makers hate smart phones just as much, they've dived hugely in sales too. Though no doubt they will push 4k.

Good comment above in that whilst a smart phone can do many things, a dedicated device might be better suited to some users. One thing stands out though, some makers are going to have to pull out of the industry (too many of them) and these yearly/2 yearly updates probably can't be sustained longer term. I'd expect a few ILC makers to call it quits (Samsung at some point), not sure how Pentax will fare longer term for DSLR's. Less makers, less products is fine by me. I think it's overkill currently
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John Camp

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Re: Why the camera industry is in decline?
« Reply #51 on: November 19, 2013, 07:49:56 pm »

I wonder how medium format will do? Are there enough people who really need MF to sustain even one maker? It doesn't seem to me that enough MF sensors are sold to really benefit from economies of scale...Hasselblad seems to be thrashing around, some bad choices (IMHO) being made, like the bling cameras.It also seems to me that MF technology is falling behind. Not that I really know much about it.
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telyt

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Re: Why the camera industry is in decline?
« Reply #52 on: November 19, 2013, 09:31:11 pm »

I wonder how medium format will do? Are there enough people who really need MF to sustain even one maker?

What's more important is how many people want medium format and are willing to pay for it.
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MarkL

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Re: Why the camera industry is in decline?
« Reply #53 on: November 20, 2013, 08:03:52 am »

The industry survived before digital, with a more considered and slower progression but it was still able to meet the needs of users.
We'll go back to what is was back then, mostly enthusiast driven whilst mass market can enjoy their smart phones etc etc

With the ‘just surviving’ message from camera manufacturers I wonder how we had so many players in the game doing OK pre-digital.

I wonder how medium format will do? Are there enough people who really need MF to sustain even one maker? It doesn't seem to me that enough MF sensors are sold to really benefit from economies of scale...Hasselblad seems to be thrashing around, some bad choices (IMHO) being made, like the bling cameras.It also seems to me that MF technology is falling behind. Not that I really know much about it.

Somehow MF seems to be the only market that is up despite the D800 being around
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jjj

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Re: Why the camera industry is in decline?
« Reply #54 on: November 20, 2013, 08:36:32 am »

With the ‘just surviving’ message from camera manufacturers I wonder how we had so many players in the game doing OK pre-digital.
Well it was far less expensive to produce cameras then as they were not being replaced every couple of years, so you had more time to recoup investment. A camera could be on sale for 15 years with minor tweaks. Also if you wanted a 'decent' camera an SLR was the first choice for many people. I had friends who bought one, yet now are quite happy with a cellphone and wouldn't even consider a DSLR camera.
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amolitor

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Re: Why the camera industry is in decline?
« Reply #55 on: November 20, 2013, 08:37:36 pm »

Most people don't want a camera. Most people want pictures. Those people bought polaroid cameras, or 110 cameras, or in fact most of them didn't buy cameras at all, they got a few pictures made at Sears or at the school every year, and that, together with Uncle Bob and his Nikon FE2 (Bob was an enthusiast) suited them ok.

For a brief shining moment the DSLR was the right place to go if you just wanted pictures, and more generally digital cameras of all sorts were. There was a MASSIVE spike in camera sales with the advent of digital. Everyone got a camera, because it was cheap and easy and the simplest way to Get Pictures. Sales went up by a full order of magnitude in units shipped. That's winding down now. People who just want pictures can get pictures from their cell phones.

It was an astonishingly short era, but a shocking amount of money got made.
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ErikKaffehr

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Re: Why the camera industry is in decline?
« Reply #56 on: November 20, 2013, 09:59:53 pm »

Hi,

I don't disagree. I would just add that most of the people buying DSLRs have already bought DSLRs. Making those people buy a new DSLR takes to make a DSLR that is attractive enough.

I had a Sony Alpha 900 I was perfectly happy with, except it didn't have live view. When the first Sony Alpha with real live view arrived I bought it within weeks. Next year I ought the next "semi pro" model. Finally I bought the top of the line model. So Sony sold me three cameras, because I desperately wanted a feature. On the other hand, it was very close I switched to Nikon.

Had the Sony Alpha 900 LV when it was released, I would probably not have upgraded.

Best regards
Erik


Most people don't want a camera. Most people want pictures. Those people bought polaroid cameras, or 110 cameras, or in fact most of them didn't buy cameras at all, they got a few pictures made at Sears or at the school every year, and that, together with Uncle Bob and his Nikon FE2 (Bob was an enthusiast) suited them ok.

For a brief shining moment the DSLR was the right place to go if you just wanted pictures, and more generally digital cameras of all sorts were. There was a MASSIVE spike in camera sales with the advent of digital. Everyone got a camera, because it was cheap and easy and the simplest way to Get Pictures. Sales went up by a full order of magnitude in units shipped. That's winding down now. People who just want pictures can get pictures from their cell phones.

It was an astonishingly short era, but a shocking amount of money got made.

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jjj

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Re: Why the camera industry is in decline?
« Reply #57 on: November 21, 2013, 07:43:36 am »

There was a MASSIVE spike in camera sales with the advent of digital. Everyone got a camera, because it was cheap and easy and the simplest way to Get Pictures. Sales went up by a full order of magnitude in units shipped. That's winding down now. People who just want pictures can get pictures from their cell phones.

It was an astonishingly short era, but a shocking amount of money got made.
And lost. Just look at how many photographic companies went out of business.
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Isaac

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Re: Why the camera industry is in decline?
« Reply #58 on: November 21, 2013, 11:09:09 am »

I don't disagree. I would just add that most of the people buying DSLRs have already bought DSLRs. Making those people buy a new DSLR takes to make a DSLR that is attractive enough.

We're back to the first comment -- 4: "Good enough" related to upgrade fever.

The 2 year-old bottom-of-the-range α35 I have is still good enough for me to continue learning. The camera really isn't the problem, I am ;-)
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Justinr

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Re: Why the camera industry is in decline?
« Reply #59 on: November 22, 2013, 05:12:21 pm »

Good advertising certainly works. Unless the product is in itself unwanted.
People wouldn't spend that much on something, for so long without getting data that demonstrated its effectiveness.

And as for the only people raving about an magazine shoot or advert, in one sense that doesn't necessarily matter. They are there to influence, sometimes in quite subtle ways or to simply let people know something exists. However making ads that people talk about has been a successful staple for a longtime too. Currently a Volvo truck ad is interesting enough to get even quite sensible people to post to it on Facebook, which is why it has probably racked up 23millions views in 5 days. Not to mention all the other versions of the ad that people are posting on their own youtube channel and that most of the the World's media seem to be talking about it too.
Then there's the current John Lewis Christmas ad that got everyone excited last week and the music used in it to the top of the charts.

And the weirdest thing, nowadays you may have to watch an ad before getting to see an film which is an….ad.

Increasingly we can include photography in that category.

As for camera sales then perhaps people are just getting bored with them. When digitals were being pushed they were marketed as producing results as splendid as the pros and image quality could indeed be as good as 35mm even if the other requisites were absent. Freed from the necessity of having to  develop film the world rushed into buying cameras if only so that they might have something sensible to do with their shiny new PC's. Now the novelty has worn off and the attention of the great unwashed has shifted to gossiping on Idiotbook or playing war games/watching porn.
« Last Edit: November 22, 2013, 05:14:03 pm by Justinr »
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