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Author Topic: Camera industry in the dumpster - article  (Read 42916 times)

laughingbear

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Re: Camera industry in the dumpster - article
« Reply #20 on: March 16, 2014, 04:29:55 am »

No it wasn't a joke. It was meant to specifically annoy you and make you nauseous.  I'm glad to see that it succeeded.  ::)

Michael


I'm glad to see you've kept your sense of humor and an overall balanced view of the industry Michael!  ;)

Best
Georg
« Last Edit: March 16, 2014, 04:39:59 am by laughingbear »
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Paulo Bizarro

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Re: Camera industry in the dumpster - article
« Reply #21 on: March 16, 2014, 06:40:32 am »

Very good points in this thread. I also think, and wonder, if prices are just too high in some segments? Coupled with the economic crisis, it makes for difficult times for people to keep changing cameras as often as they did.

I have seen several examples of cameras being introduced at expensive prices (for example, in Portugal hardly anybody has money to buy a EOS M or EP-5 at close to 1000 euros when they were introduced); but after 1 year, at discount price, they were being sold in good numbers.

When price comes down, people see that some products are worth buying.

BJL

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camera industry --- doing as well as in the 70s and 80s?
« Reply #22 on: March 16, 2014, 10:22:09 am »

In the 1970s, Japan was shifting about 2.5 million SLRs a year. In 2012 they shifted 16 million DSLRs.

Figures approximate.

http://photothunk.blogspot.com/2013/10/pictures-and-cameras.html

EDIT: According to Nikon at http://imaging.nikon.com/history/chronicle/history-f3/
Quote
Production of single-lens reflex (SLR) cameras in Japan reached the 7.56 million mark in 1980 from the 2.76 million mark in 1974, having reached the peak of its popularity. (Fig. 6-5).
This can be compared to the latest CIPA figures for 2013 Japanese production of DSLRs [13.6 million] and for all interchangeable lens cameras [16.8 million] at http://www.cipa.jp/stats/documents/e/d-2013_e.pdf
Only 2012 was better, with all previous years well below this "dumpster" level of 2013! Back in 2007 and 2008, before the "great recession", the numbers were 7.5M and 9.8M. See Japanese digital camera production and shipments for all years since 1999 at http://www.cipa.jp/stats/dc_e.html, with interchangeable lens digital cameras broken out for the first time in 2003.

So that 2.5 million is correct for the mid-70's, but not the all-time high (which I think was driven by affordable 35mm SLR favorites of that era like the Nikon FM and Pentax K1000.)

If these numbers are roughly right, most of what we are seeing is just the end of a decade-long "digital transition bubble", not a state any worse than in the 70's and 80's, but painfully coinciding with recent economic downturns.  I submit that in the longer term, smart phones have not so much replaced film SLR's as they have replaced Kodak's Instamatics (and disc film cameras) and Polaroid's instant picture cameras.


On the other hand, pocket-computer-phone-cameras probably are consigning dedicated consumer-level video cameras (other than waterproof specials like Go Pro) to the dumpster of history: I cannot remember the last time I saw one of those in public!
« Last Edit: March 16, 2014, 01:18:55 pm by BJL »
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ErikKaffehr

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Re: Camera industry in the dumpster - article
« Reply #23 on: March 16, 2014, 11:41:10 am »

Hi,

I actually think that phone cams are doing the job, perfectly good photos for many applications.


http://echophoto.smugmug.com/Travel/Sextener-Dolomiten/i-TMkHf3R/0/O/20130818-_DSC2421.jpg

This image, which may not be very, I like very much. It was shot with a DSLR. Behind my back was an MFD camera sitting on  tripod making this picture:
http://echophoto.smugmug.com/Travel/Sextener-Dolomiten/i-PBnjFz6/0/O/20130818-CF043796.jpg

I guess all cameras in the picture and behind the picture made a decent job and give their owners nice pictures that work perfectly well on a 24" computer screen.

Ah, and yes, you can use a DSLR like a phone cam:


GPS: 46°37'57" N 12°13'48" E

Best regards
Erik
« Last Edit: March 16, 2014, 11:50:11 am by ErikKaffehr »
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Erik Kaffehr
 

LKaven

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Re: Camera industry in the dumpster - article
« Reply #24 on: March 16, 2014, 03:24:06 pm »

A friend of mine wrote yesterday and said he was selling his 50D.  I asked "oh, so are you upgrading?"  And he said "no, I don't have the time to do it anymore."  He's keeping his lenses for the day when he will have time again.  Interesting, I thought, that he'd rather sell his body and not have any camera (other than a cell phone) than keep it while it depreciates.

Hidden in this sample-of-one is a story that I think multiplies out.  A glut of new technology drove people into buying expensive ensembles.  And for a time, they had their fun; some even thought they could make a go out of it.  But the pressure of maintaining a time/tech/cash-intensive hobby at that level of ambition is only sustainable in some cases (especially in a challenging economy).  Many of those people will not see a need to upgrade for quite a while.  But some of them will be back later.  Meanwhile, the last-generation gear available on the used market is pretty darned good for most people's needs, and it's affordable.

eyedias

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Re: Camera industry in the dumpster - article
« Reply #25 on: March 16, 2014, 09:48:57 pm »

If camera sales are down in Hungary this summer, this could be one reason:

http://petapixel.com/2014/03/15/taking-photos-without-permission-now-illegal-hungary-photographers-outraged/#more-131573

Such a photogenic country, too.
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Victor Kapas

Jonathan Cross

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Re: Camera industry in the dumpster - article
« Reply #26 on: March 17, 2014, 05:11:59 am »

The point about lenses and bodies is well made.  My local camera store (in the UK) has a good selection of trade-ins.  The pries of camera bodies is well below what they cost originally, the price of good spec glass in good condition does not drop much.  H
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Jonathan in UK

hjulenissen

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Re: Camera industry in the dumpster - article
« Reply #27 on: March 17, 2014, 06:13:15 am »

Some of the points in the article are unconvincing.

"Yes, we now have cameras with OK image quality at ISO 25,000, but who really cares?"

I'd say that many people cares. First you have the group that Michael dismiss as "camera nerds". Be that as it may, those people probably contribute to the bottom line, and affect prospective buyers outside of their own kind.

Secondly (and more importantly, in my view), using a camera in low light is an important usage for many regular people. They may not carry a stand at all times, and their subject may not be a (slow moving) golden sunset. For these people, being able to shoot passable images of their kids at some school event without the horrible built-in flash, is a great feature, and one that cell-phones does not do very well. If there is movement in the scene, and you want some DOF, and flash is unavailable, good ISO performance is a great feature.

"A high quality lens will always trump the sensor when it comes to producing superior image quality"
Like most bold statements, one is bound to found exceptions to this "rule".

Many have speculated that once digital camera development slows down, we will return to 70s/80s DSLR sales figures (number of units? number of dollars?). My question is what the complexity of digital design does to "system/enthusiast camera market of 2020" vs "system/enthusiast camera market of 1982". Because it seems that we will never return to the situation where there were umpteen manufacturers each covering their own small niche. Rather, it seems that we will have 2-3 giants and the rest will (more or less) disappear.

I agree with Michael that a lot could be done to make camera use more of a joy. Much like how Apple did not invent the mp3 player or the cell phone but sure made the experience into one that the masses appreciated. Not saying that mp3 players and cameras are the same thing. Perhaps this is an area that will get more attention once the image quality stops improving.

I believe that an "enthusiast" today have access to decent tools with a consumer system camera, a consumer laptop, aa A3 photo printer and Lightroom/Aperture/... It does take some patience to get everything working "close to optimal". I.e. color management is still way beyond most people. I think that if the industry was ever capable of agreeing on some supported standards for how these things connect, behave etc, a lot more people would have better results. Non-proprietary raw camera file formats, automated download/matching of printer/paper profiles, working OS/computer/display exchange of (pre-recorded) display response, sensible printing menus,... Without resorting to least-common-denominator sRGB / manufacturer-proprietary quality/progress-limiting tactics.

-h
« Last Edit: March 17, 2014, 06:17:04 am by hjulenissen »
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amolitor

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Re: Camera industry in the dumpster - article
« Reply #28 on: March 17, 2014, 09:18:28 am »

BJL and I are in agreement one hundred percent. I think the analysis of the current state of things as the end of a digital bubble is inescapable, correct, and obvious.

What is irritating is that very few pundits can be bothered to do more than copy one another's dumb camera-phone are ruining everything bleating. The research is not hard, it takes ten minutes on the web.

To be clear, BJL and I agree on the situation. whether we agree about the pundits is less clear!
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BJL

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Camera industry: some interchangeable lens systems will be in the dumpster
« Reply #29 on: March 17, 2014, 10:45:46 am »

Another thought: regardless of debate about the causes, it seems very likely that digital cameras are not going to be purchased and replaced at the rate they were over the last decade, and that the market will not sustain the unusually large number of interchangeable lens camera systems it has now.  In the film era, there were about five mainstream interchangeable lens camera systems (Canon, Nikon, Minolta, Pentax, with Olympus and Konica a bit more fringe) and Thom Hogan has said that only about three were consistently profitable (Canon, Nikon, and maybe Minolta and/or Pentax). Currently we have nine brands (Canon, Fujifilm, Nikon, Olympus, Panasonic, Pentax, Sigma, Sony and Samsung) with eleven or more lens systems.  Even if one or two of these take up profitable fringe roles akin to the Leica and Contax rangefinder systems, that looks like too many to be sustainable.
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image66

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Re: Camera industry in the dumpster - article
« Reply #30 on: March 17, 2014, 01:07:11 pm »

I can't understand why the camera manufacturers failed to pair up with the cellphone manufacturers right away. Why do we not have iPhones with "Canon Inside" placards stuck on them? It's another "Kodak Moment." Kodak misread digital, Canon, et al, misread cellphones.

It's not like this snuck up on us.
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LKaven

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Re: Camera industry in the dumpster - article
« Reply #31 on: March 17, 2014, 02:15:54 pm »

I can't understand why the camera manufacturers failed to pair up with the cellphone manufacturers right away. Why do we not have iPhones with "Canon Inside" placards stuck on them? It's another "Kodak Moment." Kodak misread digital, Canon, et al, misread cellphones.

It's not like this snuck up on us.


In a way it did.  Phone makers drove large-scale manufacturing of the camera-on-a-chip concept in a way that was foreign to the camera makers.  Then what use were the camera makers to them?  I don't see people clamoring for a Nikon "experience" with their cellphone cameras.  Not to say that cellphone cameras couldn't use some improvements.  But what incentive did cellphone makers have to sign expensive deals with camera makers?

BJL

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Re: Camera industry in the dumpster - article
« Reply #32 on: March 17, 2014, 02:55:36 pm »

Why do we not have iPhones with "Canon Inside" placards stuck on them?
iPhones are currently "Sony inside" for sensor and lens modules (which is probably more prestigious than Canon for sensors right now), but Apple markets its own brand prestige, not anyone else's. There are no "Intel Inside" stickers on Mac's, even though that is true these days.

Likewise, Samsung is set on building its own brand prestige, such as with its new ISOCELL sensor technology.

P. S. It could be that those two companies are each earning more on photography (through the value that the camera part adds to the hundreds of millions of phones they sell) than any traditional camera maker, and are in a position to invest more in photographic technology than any one camera maker.
« Last Edit: March 18, 2014, 11:16:41 am by BJL »
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LKaven

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Re: Camera industry in the dumpster - article
« Reply #33 on: March 17, 2014, 04:37:17 pm »

iPhones are currently "Sony inside" for sensor and lens modules (which is probably more prestigious that Canon for sensors right now), but Apple markets its own brand prestige, not anyone else's. There are no "Intel Inside" stickers on Mac's, even though that is true these days.

Likewise, Samsung is set on building its own brand prestige, such as with its new ISOCELL sensor technology.

P. S. It could be that those two companies are each earning more on photography (through the value that the camera part adds to the hundreds of millions of phones they sell) than any traditional camera maker, and are in a position to invest more in photographic technology than any one camera maker.

Interesting that none of the cellphone makers are after delivering a "Sony Experience" when they put Sony sensors and camera assemblies into their phones.  But HTC was touting its "Beatz" licensing.  I suppose it's more consistent with cellphone being lifestyle accessories.  [Does Beatz even make a decent headphone, or are they just pretty?]

I have a feeling that it isn't for a lack of trying that the camera makers have not succeeded in getting their brand names on the outside of the cellphone.

werner from aurora

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Re: camera industry --- doing as well as in the 70s and 80s?
« Reply #34 on: March 17, 2014, 05:13:56 pm »

EDIT: According to Nikon at http://imaging.nikon.com/history/chronicle/history-f3/This can be compared to the latest CIPA figures for 2013 Japanese production of DSLRs [13.6 million] and for all interchangeable lens cameras [16.8 million] at http://www.cipa.jp/stats/documents/e/d-2013_e.pdf
Only 2012 was better, with all previous years well below this "dumpster" level of 2013! Back in 2007 and 2008, before the "great recession", the numbers were 7.5M and 9.8M. See Japanese digital camera production and shipments for all years since 1999 at http://www.cipa.jp/stats/dc_e.html, with interchangeable lens digital cameras broken out for the first time in 2003.

So that 2.5 million is correct for the mid-70's, but not the all-time high (which I think was driven by affordable 35mm SLR favorites of that era like the Nikon FM and Pentax K1000.)

If these numbers are roughly right, most of what we are seeing is just the end of a decade-long "digital transition bubble", not a state any worse than in the 70's and 80's, but painfully coinciding with recent economic downturns.  I submit that in the longer term, smart phones have not so much replaced film SLR's as they have replaced Kodak's Instamatics (and disc film cameras) and Polaroid's instant picture cameras.


On the other hand, pocket-computer-phone-cameras probably are consigning dedicated consumer-level video cameras (other than waterproof specials like Go Pro) to the dumpster of history: I cannot remember the last time I saw one of those in public!

  Well said, and I agree! At the beginning of the digital wave it was inevitable that we all wanted a new camera every 12-16 months. In the end I think that not only are more pictures being taken than ever before but more people are taking them. The market is still strong and vital. The tide is simply receding from the "golden years", and what will be left in it's wake is a restructuring. Some camera formats will be left behind as well as some manufactures who will decide to pull out.
  Until the next revolution, the pie is simply getting smaller.
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markd61

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Re: Camera industry in the dumpster - article
« Reply #35 on: March 17, 2014, 05:56:49 pm »

Most people don't want a camera. They want pictures. The digital revolution meant, for a couple of reasons, that for a time the way to obtain pictures was to buy an entry level DSLR with the kit lens. Now the right answer is your phone.

First DSLRs wrecked the market for low end portrait studios, and now phones are wrecking that same market - people who want pictures - again

The market is currently contracting to its pre-digital size, and we can expect it to be made up of  enthusiasts again. There are a bunch of implications. Some good, some bad.


You took the words out of my mouth. The DSLR/mirrorless market will contract to comprise only those enthusiasts and pros that are really fascinated or need those cameras.The millions captivated by the digital revolution have become bored and cannot be bothered to carry about a clunky camera they don't understand.

They DO like pictures and thus billions more photos are being taken.

The real issue is the price increases necessary to support meaningful R&D for a shrinking enthusiast market.
Moreover, any innovations will almost certainly migrate to phones thus negating the momentary advantage of a DSLR. AND phones won't be standing still either.
« Last Edit: March 17, 2014, 06:05:51 pm by markd61 »
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Christoph C. Feldhaim

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Re: Camera industry in the dumpster - article
« Reply #36 on: March 17, 2014, 06:05:20 pm »

With the deflation of the digital bubble it seems film decrease has also come to a constant and low baseline.
Which is good - I don't want it to die.
And yes - planning to buy a 4x5 monorail in the not too far future.
Cheers
~Chris

LKaven

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Re: Camera industry in the dumpster - article
« Reply #37 on: March 17, 2014, 06:18:14 pm »

Meanwhile, I think there will be a fairly steady supply of incoming college students who want DSLRs and high-end mirrorless cameras to do creative work.  Being a kind of polymath is more standard fare these days.

barryfitzgerald

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Re: Camera industry in the dumpster - article
« Reply #38 on: March 18, 2014, 08:38:04 am »

Interesting article and some valid points.
Right now though I feel the tech side is getting rather tedious, reality of modern day is that there are a lot of devices that can capture images, you pick your weapon of choice and use what you want.

For system users (like myself) there are only so many lenses, bodies, flashes one will buy..and after some time you will find yourself with most of what you want and only the odd purchase here and there. You can't keep selling the same stuff over and over again..even new users may be more reluctant to invest.
In fact still annoying me to this day is one of the better photos I've ever taken was with some beaten up old 35mm compact, which now lives in the boot of the car (and still works) not the sharpest lens, very basic camera. Sometimes I wonder if I should dump the entire SLR range and just shoot with a really basic camera at times.

Reality is I have to keep some kind of system camera for work I do, but for many people they now have the choice to capture images in many ways. I see the market settling down and system cameras (be they SLR/ILC etc) are what they always were..mostly for enthusiast shooters. The only difference now is people don't buy a lot or compacts, they use their phone

Use what you want I'm really only interested in being able to capture images, and that's all that really matters.
Honestly couldn't care less if half the makers went out of business tomorrow, as long as I can take pictures that's all that bothers me.
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markd61

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Re: Camera industry in the dumpster - article
« Reply #39 on: March 18, 2014, 10:36:07 am »

Honestly couldn't care less if half the makers went out of business tomorrow, as long as I can take pictures that's all that bothers me.

With the old film cameras we could take that position. Today, electronic devices just don't have that long  a life.
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