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Author Topic: Is the Photo Equipment Supply Chain Totally Broken?  (Read 17701 times)
barryfitzgerald
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« Reply #40 on: June 20, 2011, 11:00:43 AM »
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Interesting article..
Not sure about the

" As a recovering large format view camera addict, Medium Format shooter, and someone who does not like (and does not currently own) 35 mm DSLR's with their hundreds of custom functions, dozens of buttons, bad ergonomics, excessive weight and size, etc.,"

Seems a bit of a generalisation to my mind but maybe Mark can explain a little more.

May I present the Maxxum/Dynax 7  Wink
http://www.amazon.com/Minolta-Maxxum-35mm-Camera-Body/dp/B0000539VS

Lots of buttons..lots of function and controls..nice light but good quality plastic body, excellent AF system. Probably the best handling camera I've ever used or owned. I know it's film but hey they don't make 'em like that any more!
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Rob C
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« Reply #41 on: June 20, 2011, 01:30:23 PM »
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Interesting article..
Not sure about the

" As a recovering large format view camera addict, Medium Format shooter, and someone who does not like (and does not currently own) 35 mm DSLR's with their hundreds of custom functions, dozens of buttons, bad ergonomics, excessive weight and size, etc.,"

Seems a bit of a generalisation to my mind but maybe Mark can explain a little more.

May I present the Maxxum/Dynax 7  Wink
http://www.amazon.com/Minolta-Maxxum-35mm-Camera-Body/dp/B0000539VS

Lots of buttons..lots of function and controls..nice light but good quality plastic body, excellent AF system. Probably the best handling camera I've ever used or owned. I know it's film but hey they don't make 'em like that any more!


That's what I say every time I see my F3... and the F2 was even better.

Rob C
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Geoff Wittig
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« Reply #42 on: June 21, 2011, 06:56:33 PM »
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Mr. Dubovy is clearly a talented fellow, and he has written some excellent and provocative stuff. However, this article strikes me mostly as a juvenile rant provoked by frustration at not being able to instantly obtain what he wanted.

While a lot of consumer-grade gear from Japanese labels is produced in China or other low cost offshore locations, the great bulk of high-end pro-spec photo gear is still produced in Japan proper. Furthermore, my understanding is that a disproportionate number of both Nikon's and Canon's factories are located in Sendai. This was ground-zero for the earthquake and tsunami, and the costal zone was simply devastated. The region is still suffering power blackouts. Then there's the little matter of a catastrophic nuclear melt-down and hundreds of square kilometers of radioactive contamination. It will be many months, perhaps years, before supply chains and production rates are back to normal.

Imagine the effect of such a calamity hitting the coast of New England, combined with a catastrophic melt-down of (say) the Seabrook nuclear reactor. It would be a very long time before you could expect to receive those L.L. Bean boots you ordered.
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michael
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« Reply #43 on: June 21, 2011, 07:01:07 PM »
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Mark clearly made the point that this problem preceded the quake. The distaster only made it worse.

Michael
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OldRoy
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« Reply #44 on: June 23, 2011, 06:05:05 AM »
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Am I the only one who finds the "de haut en bas" tone of this article (which in any case seems to be a summary of numerous other similarly titled internet discussions on the same general topic) condescending, not to say pompous, in the extreme?

Of course I feel deeply for Mr Dubovoy's suffering in his recovering state, despite never having been afflicted with the wealth needed for purchase of the exotic hardware to which he has been addicted. Like so many others I'm stuck with these positively awful DSLRs. How impressively broad minded of him to have even considered one for use on his safaris.

When I read, in a home page article -
"My initial thought was to procure a professional level DSLR such as a Nikon D3x or a Canon 1Ds MKIII.  That is where the problems started.  I looked at the B&H ads.  These cameras are not even listed!  I perused the B&H website, ..."
I procured a dictionary and upon perusing it, concluded that Mr. Dubovoy should do likewise in order to avoid writing "discretely" when I assume he meant "discreetly".

Frankly, I too was amazed...

Roy


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Schewe
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« Reply #45 on: June 23, 2011, 10:07:49 AM »
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Am I the only one who finds the "de haut en bas" tone of this article (which in any case seems to be a summary of numerous other similarly titled internet discussions on the same general topic) condescending, not to say pompous, in the extreme?

Yes...
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alainbriot
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« Reply #46 on: June 23, 2011, 11:56:18 AM »
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Am I the only one who finds the "de haut en bas" tone of this article (which in any case seems to be a summary of numerous other similarly titled internet discussions on the same general topic) condescending, not to say pompous, in the extreme?

Of course I feel deeply for Mr Dubovoy's suffering in his recovering state, despite never having been afflicted with the wealth needed for purchase of the exotic hardware to which he has been addicted. Like so many others I'm stuck with these positively awful DSLRs. How impressively broad minded of him to have even considered one for use on his safaris.

Roy

Mark is not being pompous nor is this a matter of being wealthy or not.  There is clearly a problem with the availability of specific cameras, usually the latest and most desirable models. It's driving prices up and forcing some to purchase these cameras on ebay or other auction sites at a premium.  This situation is a pain.  I have been affected by this issue personally because I wanted to get a GH2 this spring but had to settle for a Canon 60D instead since the GH2 was unavailable.  I work with numerous students and pros and this spring I saw only one of them use a GH2.  This person was from Switzerland and purchased his camera in Switzerland.  Many of the same people were interested in getting one but couldn't.  A similar issue surfaced with the Fuji FinePix 100.  This is certainly not a superficial problem. Mark is just one of the first to make a large number of people aware of this issue.
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Alain Briot
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« Reply #47 on: June 24, 2011, 02:30:56 AM »
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Am I the only one who finds the "de haut en bas" tone of this article (which in any case seems to be a summary of numerous other similarly titled internet discussions on the same general topic) condescending, not to say pompous, in the extreme?
No.

I don't know why he doesn't just buy his required equipment here in Africa prior to starting his safari?
There plenty of stock available, from any number of outlets.
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dreed
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« Reply #48 on: June 24, 2011, 04:57:35 AM »
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No.

I don't know why he doesn't just buy his required equipment here in Africa prior to starting his safari?
There plenty of stock available, from any number of outlets.

Because then he'd likely have to sell it locally at a large discount or take home equipment that would be difficult to have serviced under warranty because the warranty would be for the wrong country. It's also possible that he just didn't think of it...

And whilst B&H, and other stores are out, Adorama seems to have 1DsMk3 in stock (or their web ordering does!). That aside, I believe that it was commented on various rumours sites that Canon had withdrawn the 1Ds MK3 from their website earlier in the year - the general feeling is that the 5D Mk2 cannibalised its sales quite heavily. I'm surprised that he was surprised about not being able to find a 1Ds MK3 for sale from regular stores.

However, if he'd been able to find the right equipment, either to buy or rent, then (a) the article he posted wouldn't have been written (although the blog post from lens rentals mentioned  earlier in this thread is a much better read - much more depth/analysis of the problem in industry) and (b) there'd be no upcoming article on what it's like to use a small sensor, mirrorless camera with interchangsble lenses on safari.
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feppe
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« Reply #49 on: June 24, 2011, 07:59:49 AM »
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Am I the only one who finds the "de haut en bas" tone of this article (which in any case seems to be a summary of numerous other similarly titled internet discussions on the same general topic) condescending, not to say pompous, in the extreme?

You probably are the only one. But the article feels more like a blog entry due to personal experiences and anecdotes, but no real data. That works well for camera reviews, not so well for analysis of claimed supply chain challenges.
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Mark D Segal
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« Reply #50 on: June 24, 2011, 08:13:25 AM »
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One of the risks writing articles is that readers will misunderstand the purpose or even go so far as to insult the persona of the author. The former is excusable, the latter is not. There is also a risk of people reading more into a piece than the author ever intended. Also excusable, but then let us come back to context. I think it's fair to say that North American consumers (and indeed those of most of Europe, Japan, Australia, etc.) are not accustomed to systematic, broad-cast shortages of anything; so when it happens, something has changed and one wants to know what's going on. I think Mark Dubovoy was simply trying to bring this to our attention at least within his range of recent (attempted) shopping experience and elicit views about the situation. Not more, not less, and certainly not deserving of some derogatory commentary that has appeared (under pseudonyms) in this thread.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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LesPalenik
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« Reply #51 on: June 24, 2011, 08:37:16 PM »
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It was a good thing that Mark brought it to attention of some people who were not aware of the supply problem.
Mind you, when Michael Reichman writes a good review about a particular piece of equipment, we can be assured that item will be in short supply for the next six months.

However, the supply problems are not limited to the top of the line, just announced, or exotic products. Earlier this year (before the Japan earthquake), I needed a lowly Nikon 35mm/1.8 lens and couldn't find it for several months in any of the major US stores.
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bernhardAS
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« Reply #52 on: June 26, 2011, 09:39:07 AM »
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I think it's fair to say that North American consumers (and indeed those of most of Europe, Japan, Australia, etc.) are not accustomed to systematic, broad-cast shortages of anything; so when it happens, something has changed and one wants to know what's going on.

This article sounds like the Author is still stuck in 2006 or 2007.

Have you realised that we are in the still ongoing deepest ecconomic crisis since at least 80 years? (The verdict is still out on the 80 years, it might become "ever"). That Greece (Europe) is right now on the brink of financial collapse that would send the world ecconomy into a second tail spin, that might make Lehmans and aftermath look like a child's play?
That we do not know yet if the "remedies" of the first crisis (i.e. printing money like there is no tomorrow) will have helped or really cause problems which are on a magnitude worse?

That there are 44 million US citicens on food stamps which is nearly 14% of the population?
That there are hundreds of thousands in emerency shelters in Japan because their homes have been destroyed by earthquake, flood, or will not be inhabitable ever again because of radioactive contamination?

And now Mr. Dubovy realises that there must be something wrong with the world because he can not immediately buy the camera he wanted?   

Hmmmm!

Mr. Dubovy is clearly a talented fellow, and he has written some excellent and provocative stuff. However, this article strikes me mostly as a juvenile rant provoked by frustration at not being able to instantly obtain what he wanted.

Mr. Duboyv strikes me as an artistic character who is deeply engulfed in his own artistic world, and quite ignorant about what's going on in the rest of the universe. I kow a number of artists like that and they are quite gentle, friendly and well meaning characters. I hope he has some good friends who advise him to refrain from publishing unwisely in the future. 

I honestly hope that Greek and US and Japan debt can be brought under control, that hyper inflation can be avoided, that the nuclear plant in Japan is finally brought into a controlled state, and that the victims of the ecconomic, natural and political disasters that have plagued the world in the recent years receive the needed help to be able to rebuild their lives.

At some point in the future the world will find a new normal. I sincerely hope (no sarcasm intended here) that not finding immediately the right camera or lens that we want to buy shall be the worst of our issues then. (That sounds to me like utopian bliss, but one can hope.)


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Mark D Segal
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« Reply #53 on: June 26, 2011, 09:48:29 AM »
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.............Have you realised that we are in the still ongoing deepest ecconomic crisis since at least 80 years?


I have good reason to be well aware of the fundamentals underlying the current economic situation, but none of that is determinative in respect of the supply chain issues Mark discussed, save for the added issues caused by the combined disasters in Japan. There must be industry-specific factors - perhaps a number of them - combining to cause these "shortages". The fact that they are distributed very unevenly around the world is perhaps a clue, but not clear what to make of it.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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« Reply #54 on: June 26, 2011, 07:58:27 PM »
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I was at the PMA show in Sydney yesterday looking at the Lumix G3. Panasonic supplies of the GH2 have been poor, though I haven't looked too hard. I asked about the listed July date for supply of the G3 and was told that it should be July, if shops order them in. I found the last part of his sentence very telling, if shops order them in. It might be a little part of the jigsaw, why stock niche cameras which will probably be tested in the shop and bought online?

Cheers,
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bernhardAS
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« Reply #55 on: June 26, 2011, 09:07:25 PM »
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The fact that they are distributed very unevenly around the world is perhaps a clue, but not clear what to make of it.

If you were Japanese and had a limited stock that will not be replaced in the short term, where will you send it? To the US with a deprecating currency? Or to Australia, Switzerland and Norway where the currency appreciates by the day? 
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jeremyrh
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« Reply #56 on: June 27, 2011, 05:20:33 AM »
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Yes...
Or then again ... no ...
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Mark D Segal
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« Reply #57 on: June 27, 2011, 06:57:44 AM »
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If you were Japanese and had a limited stock that will not be replaced in the short term, where will you send it? To the US with a deprecating currency? Or to Australia, Switzerland and Norway where the currency appreciates by the day? 

You're making my point from some posts back - the fundamental problem stems from supply issues. If there were no supply issues the Japanese manufacturers would supply all markets, making more money from some than from others. I don't for sure, and most likely you don't either, know what kinds of arrangements the manufacturers have in place with their distributors and financing partners to anticipate, hedge and otherwise manage currency risk in their pricing and other commercial arrangements protecting the adequacy of the revenue stream once converted back to the currencies they require. There's nothing new or recent about the difficulties of the USD.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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bernhardAS
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« Reply #58 on: June 27, 2011, 08:36:04 AM »
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Well yes and no.

Before the Tsunami, it was a problem of allocating flow. Now it is the allocation of a finite stock. (With the hope that flow will become available again.)

We agree that it is an issue that is ongoing since many months.

If there would have been an entry in a personal blog, or a new forum thread I might have found it amusing if somewhat outdated.
But an article?
   
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Mark D Segal
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« Reply #59 on: June 27, 2011, 08:56:05 AM »
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Let me ask you what evidence you have that before the tsunami it was a problem of "allocating flow"? How can you know that? How do you know that these manufacturers had no interest in keeping the US market fully supplied? One would need to be privy to a lot of internal corporate information to come to such a conclusion with any confidence. In the case of Leica, for example, I've heard that demand for the S2 outstripped their ability to supply it. That is a fundamental demand:supply issue. There has also been much discussion of materials and components shortages in various branches of high-tech manufacturing overseas, going back some time before the events in Japan. That is also a fundamental supply issue. I'm not saying that the US market absolutely can't be affected by some kind of strategic supply management on the part of certain manufacturers - nothing is impossible; but I am questioning whether we can say that for sure, and even if we can, whether it is the fundamental cause of the shortages.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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