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Author Topic: Gloomy Camera Sales News  (Read 5885 times)

Gary Ferguson

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Gloomy Camera Sales News
« on: December 03, 2014, 02:12:33 pm »

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SZRitter

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Re: Gloomy Camera Sales News
« Reply #1 on: December 03, 2014, 02:26:56 pm »

Yes and no. I think they are accurately seeing that we have reached a saturation point. The switch from film to digital is pretty much universal, at least to the point it will be, and sensor tech has matured to the point where you don't need to upgrade with each generation. What it means is that most likely, we have reached a point where you will see a slump for a few years, then static levels. Much like computers saw (you know, when everyone was claiming tablets were going to kill the PC market....).

So, personally, I find your doom and gloom a little overblown. The only thing that may happen is a slow down in R&D and lengthened product cycles. Not really all that bad.
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Doug Peterson

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Re: Gloomy Camera Sales News
« Reply #2 on: December 03, 2014, 02:39:53 pm »

If you look at Phase One's financials revenue and profit are up year over year every year since the Great Recession.

Likewise if you look at iPhone (aka the camera of most of your non-photo friends) sales they are strong and growing.

So the low-end and the high-end (at least Phase One) are not just fine - they are booming. It's the world of the middling that is suffering.

Telecaster

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Re: Gloomy Camera Sales News
« Reply #3 on: December 03, 2014, 05:28:25 pm »

A potential plus of a slowing or stalled camera market would be greater specialization as sales-hungry makers look for more niches to fill. I'd love for someone to take on Leica with a 35mm-format EVF M mount camera at a non-luxury price. Sony could easily do this with an A7 variant using a sensor & filter stack friendlier to oblique angles of incidence. I'd also love more monochrome-only cameras, with EVFs so you can see what you're getting tonally as you frame & click. (Samsung is rumored to have one of these in the works.) Fixed-lens cameras using Sony's 44x33mm sensor. Some genuine innovation from CaNikon. And so on…more cool, slightly weird stuff.  :)

-Dave-
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dwswager

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Re: Gloomy Camera Sales News
« Reply #4 on: December 03, 2014, 06:02:12 pm »

Yes and no. I think they are accurately seeing that we have reached a saturation point. The switch from film to digital is pretty much universal, at least to the point it will be, and sensor tech has matured to the point where you don't need to upgrade with each generation. What it means is that most likely, we have reached a point where you will see a slump for a few years, then static levels. Much like computers saw (you know, when everyone was claiming tablets were going to kill the PC market....).

The switch to digital ended about 5-7 years ago.  But I agree, we are hitting a plateau point in the sensors (except for Canon who is still trying to climb the hill on their own).  I recently purchased a Nikon D810 precisely because it was at a price point I could live with and is a camera I'm willing to have around for awhile.  Everything before that was nothing more than a transitional digital camera from the Coolpix 950, 990, D70, D300 and D7100 to get to something like the D810 or D750.

Going forward, we will likely see a weeding out of lesser manufacturers.  Digital saved some old names that would have died if film was still the game, but some die now.  Cell phone (Android, IOS, WindowsPhone, etc.) cameras will keep going strong for awhile due to inovation.  That is what will help DSLR sales.  Makes can quit chasing image quality and MP to some extent and focus on functionality.

Some cool features that should be on camera already:

Named settings - Since all camera functions are set electronically, even if there is a mechanical switch, We should be able to save the complete state of a camera, be able to give it a name and be able to recall it from a menu.  I'd have 8 or nine in my 'settings' menu.  Expensive cameras might have 2-4 small buttons on the camera that you could program to 2-4 of those options.  Wedding photographers would go bonkers.

Dynamic Range Exposure Bracketing - You set the EV Steps and choose between ISO or Shutter speed and hit go.  It determines the number of shots necessary and executes them to capture the entire DR seen by the sensor.  Cameras computer will read either the RAW file or JPG converted file (based on current settings) and change either ISO or Shutter Speed and take shots until the shadows come off the noise floor and highlights no longer saturate the sensor.

DOF - Since both cameras and lenses have computers, why in the world will a camera not report the DOF at the current Apeture, Focal Length and Focus Distance?  You set a specific Circle of Confusion in your custom settings and away it goes calculating for you.  You might have different CoCs set in your NAMED Settings!

Ability to run 3rd party apps on the Camera - Thinking stuff like focus stacking.  Instead of tethering my android phone to the camera, I run Helicon Remote on camera and just freaking do it.


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Telecaster

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Re: Gloomy Camera Sales News
« Reply #5 on: December 03, 2014, 10:17:28 pm »

Named settings - Since all camera functions are set electronically, even if there is a mechanical switch, We should be able to save the complete state of a camera, be able to give it a name and be able to recall it from a menu. 

We should also be able to dump this stuff to a card, insert the card into any other same-model camera & load it to that camera.

I should also be able to set up my cameras to copy all my new select photos to my phone/tablet/other-WiFi-device(s) when in range, and from then on it should just happen.

-Dave-
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MoreOrLess

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Re: Gloomy Camera Sales News
« Reply #6 on: December 04, 2014, 02:01:46 am »

If you look at Phase One's financials revenue and profit are up year over year every year since the Great Recession.

Likewise if you look at iPhone (aka the camera of most of your non-photo friends) sales they are strong and growing.

So the low-end and the high-end (at least Phase One) are not just fine - they are booming. It's the world of the middling that is suffering.

Sadly I think this probably tells you a lot about the direction society as a whole has gone post recession, the rich getting richer, most of the rest getting poorer.

Leaving aside any politics though it is an interesting issue that very high end products seem to be doing well in todays market. You could argue that theres been a general shifting up to the market from the more mainstream companies but even there its really more gear aimed as professionals that's gone the "price is no object" route. Leica have always been talked about in rather dismissive terms when it comes to business success but these days they are actually looking like one of the most stable companies.

I won't actually be THAT shocked if we see Nikon especially look to follow up the Df(which still had one foot in the "normal" market) with something that targets the high end market to an even greater degree. Most obviously I think a digital version of an S-series rangefinder could potentially sell at a significant(if perhaps not quite Leica) premium.
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Paulo Bizarro

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Re: Gloomy Camera Sales News
« Reply #7 on: December 04, 2014, 04:48:33 am »

It's interesting that in the linked article, from Thom Hogan, he is able to list the things that people do not perceive as critical right now (no need for more dynamic range, no need for more pixels, etc); but he is not able to tell what new features would make people bite and change to buy new cameras. This is the difficult thing.

Technology is changing so fast, that it is impossible to predict what is the next "thing" to be put in cameras so that the sales decline might be arrested.

Personally, I think it is fine that people go back to changing their cameras every 5 years or so, just like in the film days. It is just more normal.

SZRitter

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Re: Gloomy Camera Sales News
« Reply #8 on: December 04, 2014, 06:54:23 am »

I am actually surprised you can't dump camera configurations and then export them to another camera. For people that rent cameras or own multiple of the same body it seems like a no brainer.

My guess is unique features or some new awesome sensor tech are what will make future sales. Usability, miniaturization, and lenses are other areas that can probably be improved.

But this is all just my opinions, and not based on anything concrete.
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Rhossydd

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Re: Gloomy Camera Sales News
« Reply #9 on: December 04, 2014, 08:26:00 am »

I am actually surprised you can't dump camera configurations and then export them to another camera.
You can do this with the Canon 1Dnn series cameras. It's a good idea to have back ups of your settings so when you lend/hire the camera to someone else you can quickly reload your defaults again on return.

In this particular case it's worth noting that loading one camera's settings can have some curious implications. I found that the shutter count was moved from camera to camera with the settings too. Moral: Never trust a simple shutter count on an EOS1Dnn series camera unless it's supplied by an official Canon service centre.
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SZRitter

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Re: Gloomy Camera Sales News
« Reply #10 on: December 04, 2014, 10:25:14 am »

Huh, never knew that (nor have I owned a Canon). The shutter count is interesting. On one hand, I could see how it could be useful, on the other, I could see where it could be a problem. I would think, at least this would make sense, is to keep a "series"  shutter count, that transfers with the configuration, and a system shutter count that stays exclusive to the camera. When you do the Canon one, are you offloading the entire firmware, or is it just the configuration?
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Alan Smallbone

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Re: Gloomy Camera Sales News
« Reply #11 on: December 04, 2014, 10:48:56 am »

I think it is just a market correction. People have what they need and it will settle down to steady pace instead of the rampant consumerism. Innovation is what is going to move things forward no matter what the platform is currently.

Alan
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Alan Smallbone
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Rhossydd

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Re: Gloomy Camera Sales News
« Reply #12 on: December 04, 2014, 11:00:33 am »

When you do the Canon one, are you offloading the entire firmware, or is it just the configuration?
Sorry, can't answer that. I think it's just the configuration files, but without cameras with different firmwares available I can't test it.
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BJL

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Re: Gloomy Camera Sales News
« Reply #13 on: December 04, 2014, 10:20:10 pm »

I think it is just a market correction. People have what they need and it will settle down to steady pace instead of the rampant consumerism. Innovation is what is going to move things forward no matter what the platform is currently.

Alan

Agreed, at least for "system cameras". Sales are about as high now as they were for SLRs, which is impressive given that I am sure that far fewer people use DSLRs than used to use FSLRs.

And compact camera sales are booming, once you drop the artificial exclusion of compact cameras that are also phones.
« Last Edit: December 05, 2014, 10:06:43 pm by BJL »
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MoreOrLess

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Re: Gloomy Camera Sales News
« Reply #14 on: December 05, 2014, 06:05:42 am »

Agreed, at least for "system cameras". Sales are about as high now as they were for SLRs, which is impressive given that I amsure that far fewer people use DSLRs than used to use FSLRs.

And compact camera sales are booming, once you drop the artificial exclusion of compact cameras that are also phones.

There still as I understand it quite a lot higher, what I think you dealing with is a shift from people buying a new DSLR every 2-3 years to people buying one every 5-6 years when more significant advancements have been made where as in the film era is might have been more like once every 10-12 years.

My guess is that in terms of actual profits compact sales have been on the decline for a decade or so. Well before phones started to take a significant bite out of the market I think you saw profit margins start to fall significantly on compacts, basic models that used to sell for £300-400ish were down to more like £100-150. In a way I think the shift to phone cameras is now just carrying that on, compacts value has fallen to the level were it can't even support a separate product.
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MarkL

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Re: Gloomy Camera Sales News
« Reply #15 on: December 05, 2014, 07:55:35 am »

The level of innovation has, in general, been so poor I am not surpised. People now need more than a few more MP, some more DR and af points to take the hit on an upgrade.

Samsung seem to be the only ones doing major innovation. Sony have done a bit by cramming SLR sensors into mirrorless cameras and on chip phase detect.
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joneil

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Re: Gloomy Camera Sales News
« Reply #16 on: December 05, 2014, 09:28:42 am »

Lets put this whole thing in perspective:

1) Overall sales for everything and anything are down.  All the recent news stories were that overall, "Black Friday" sales declined by 11 percent this year.  In direct contrast, some people had been predicting (wishing for ?) a 3 to 4 % increase;

2) Big chain stores like Sears, JC Penny, Radio Shack, etc, are all facing big trouble, and are looking at closing stores, if even surviving at all in the long run;

3) I dunno about the rest of you, but they just closed another major factory here in my hometown putting hundreds out of work.  This company had been here almost 100 years, and there is no replacement jobs for those people.  You think any of them have money for a DSLR?

4) Although I love my D800, I still use my D700 all the time.   It works, it is bullet proof, and most images today are going on computer screens and smart phones, not billboards.  For me, there is NO economic reason to throw away my D700 and get a second D800 or a D750 or a Df, etc.  None what so ever.  It saves me money too because I use an older computer (clower, smaller hard drive) than I have to use for my D800.  Your mileage can and will vary, but frankly, I need my money for other things that just buying an upgrade for the sake of upgrading by itself;

5) The trend seems to be using a smart phone for everything.  Messaging & texting, note taking and calendar planning, photography, replacing a credit card, watching movies and TV shows, on and on and on. It is like society is being herded towards everyone having a smart phone and using that device for everything in your life.  So it is NOT just DSLR sales that are declining due to smart phone use and trends.

      If you look at the whole, big picture, all factors together, why is anyone surprised that DSLR sales might be declining?
:(

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Some Guy

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Re: Gloomy Camera Sales News
« Reply #17 on: December 05, 2014, 02:02:04 pm »

.....
5) The trend seems to be using a smart phone for everything.  Messaging & texting, note taking and calendar planning, photography, replacing a credit card, watching movies and TV shows, on and on and on. It is like society is being herded towards everyone having a smart phone and using that device for everything in your life.  So it is NOT just DSLR sales that are declining due to smart phone use and trends.

      If you look at the whole, big picture, all factors together, why is anyone surprised that DSLR sales might be declining?
:(



I could see the current DSLR going the way of a wooden 8x10 camera in a few decades, or maybe even faster since the cell phone technology is pushing ahead of that of the DSLR cameras.  Microsoft/Nokia announced a 50mp camera Lumia 1030 or something coming out.  Some 4th generation LED flash built in, Vibration reduction, etc. in something you can carry in your pocket, post to the web, etc.  Why lug a DSLR and gear around, much like dragging a 4x5 or 8x10 camera and tripod?

The cell evolution is happening at a far faster rate than the DSLR makers are moving too.  Even some wedding pros, or wedding attendees, are beginning to shoot with cells and posting to the couple's Tumblr, Instagram, Facebook, or whatever.  Who needs hard prints anymore either?

SG
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SZRitter

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Re: Gloomy Camera Sales News
« Reply #18 on: December 05, 2014, 02:15:45 pm »

As someone who owns the current 36MP Lumia 1020, I can tell you, 50MP from a phone will not rival 36MP from a purpose built camera. Basically, these phones are relying on oversampling to come out with a good image. And I think that is great.

Now someone needs to convince camera manufacturers that oversampling is ok, and that it won't hurt sales. Of course, the pixel peeping public will need to get over the fact things won't be pixel sharp....

I want a 36MP micro 4/3 camera, darn it.
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joneil

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Re: Gloomy Camera Sales News
« Reply #19 on: December 05, 2014, 02:24:36 pm »

I could see the current DSLR going the way of a wooden 8x10 camera in a few decades, or maybe even faster since the cell phone technology is pushing ahead of that of the DSLR cameras.  Microsoft/Nokia announced a 50mp camera Lumia 1030 or something coming out.  Some 4th generation LED flash built in, Vibration reduction, etc. in something you can carry in your pocket, post to the web, etc.  Why lug a DSLR and gear around, much like dragging a 4x5 or 8x10 camera and tripod?

The cell evolution is happening at a far faster rate than the DSLR makers are moving too.  Even some wedding pros, or wedding attendees, are beginning to shoot with cells and posting to the couple's Tumblr, Instagram, Facebook, or whatever.  Who needs hard prints anymore either?

SG


 Well... now that you mention it....

1) I do have a 4x5 (well, four of them actually) and an 8x10;
2) The recent, semi- annual "Vintage Camera Show and Sale" here in my home town last month was another huge hit and attracted people from over 200 miles away;
3) A new vintage "film only" club just formed in my hometown last month;
4) The young waitress at a local restaurant I frequent just bought a film camera (35mm) and wants me to help here with some tips on using it;
5) There is a photography business down the street from me, operates on weekends at the local farmer's market.   They do tin-type.  Honest to goodness tin-types off a large format camera.   Been there for almost two years now.

    ....so, just sayin'....

:D

PS ---- carbon fibre tripods are awesome and much easier to lug around.  By the time they invent  a hand held smart phone that gives me the resolution of my 8x10 camera, perhaps they will have "hover tripods" to lug around my Nikon D80,000 with the the 1,000 mp sensor in it.
:)

« Last Edit: December 05, 2014, 02:33:56 pm by joneil »
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