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Author Topic: Why the camera industry is in decline?  (Read 10627 times)
barryfitzgerald
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« on: October 15, 2013, 11:42:24 AM »
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And probably will be for the near future.
My thinking is...

1: Over-saturation in the market...too many products, lots of makers you are dividing the pie up among many players.
2: Current global economic situation, not news to most of use but how the camera industry expected to not get impacted by this is a mystery. People have less disposable income and are buying less be it cameras or any other products.
3: "Upgrade fever has fizzled out" Years ago people seemed to get really pumped up with new products, now the improvements seem much less dramatic in most ways.
4: "Good enough" related to upgrade fever. Years past people complained about not enough resolution, DR not so great. Now we've lots of resolution and better DR. Why bother upgrading with each new model?


I would add:
Lazy compact makers who simply tried to sell people the same product over and over again with the same tiny sensor bad IQ, with a few more pixels each new model, and a bigger zoom range. No wonder folks who bought a smart phone with a half decent camera just stopped buying compacts.


And on another point. I bought another Victorinox Swiss army knife the other month and I bought the exact same model in 1994. Guess what is doesn't cost any more now than it did back then nearly 20 years ago!

I also found an old Minolta lens price chart from the 80's, wow lens prices sure went up a lot. I wonder how much longer the industry can continue in it's current form.

Thoughts?
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barryfitzgerald
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« Reply #1 on: October 18, 2013, 05:05:53 AM »
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Interesting 200 views almost and no comments?
I assume we're ok with 4/5 year updates down the road for bodies and a few less makers...
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Isaac
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« Reply #2 on: October 18, 2013, 12:47:17 PM »
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Perhaps we view forum posts in the hope of finding something interesting and sometimes we personally don't find them interesting :-)
« Last Edit: October 18, 2013, 12:54:56 PM by Isaac » Logged
stevesanacore
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« Reply #3 on: October 19, 2013, 09:17:19 PM »
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It seems that the newest generation of photographers isn't into specs the way the middle aged shooters are. The editorial and advertising markets are looking for the newest cool looks including hipstamatic iphone shots. The majority of people competing in the entry level ranks are happy with entry level DSLRS and kit lenses. All of which probably produce images on par with the best gear from the film days or even early 5MP digital days. And I'm not sure the industry is in decline compared to the 60's and 70's. In those days a camera body was good for ten years or more and lenses lasted forever with an occasional cleaning. I'd love to know the numbers of how many bodies they sold then compared to now.

Now video is bit different story. Those cameras are growing in demand and haven't reached the point of a commodity yet.

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Rhossydd
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« Reply #4 on: October 20, 2013, 02:53:54 AM »
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I assume we're ok with 4/5 year updates down the road for bodies and a few less makers...
Yes, fine with that. I'd be happy to pay more for kit that holds it's value better and continues to be upgraded where possible via firmware, even if those firmware upgrades are chargeable.

I like what's happened this month at Fuji, where they've released a significant firmware upgrade for a discontinued camera, hurrah to Fuji for that and it raises my respect for them and they didn't charge for it.

Why Canon don't offer something similar to the Magic Lantern project baffles me. I'm not going to upgrade my 5Dii for a very long time, but would be happy to pay Canon for an 'official' firmware that offers the features of ML.

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dchew
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« Reply #5 on: October 20, 2013, 09:59:22 AM »
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I would add:
Lazy compact makers who simply tried to sell people the same product over and over again with the same tiny sensor bad IQ, with a few more pixels each new model, and a bigger zoom range. No wonder folks who bought a smart phone with a half decent camera just stopped buying compacts.

I wouldn't put it all on the camera makers.  That's what people want.  Next time you are at a birthday party, look around.  Everyone is using their phone.  I don't think that is because camera makers were lazy.  I think it is because for most people, their phone is now good enough to forgo hauling another tool that only does photos and video.  When they go into the closet and see the dust-covered 4-year old digital camera, they think about upgrading for a second, but then ask, "Why?"

Dave
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Fine_Art
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« Reply #6 on: October 20, 2013, 12:23:01 PM »
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It's normal product life cycle. The current camera quality relative to needs show the products are in the mature stage.
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slackercruster
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« Reply #7 on: October 22, 2013, 05:02:40 PM »
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OP, good points. Cell phone also kills sales of cams.
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leeonmaui
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« Reply #8 on: October 23, 2013, 06:42:44 PM »
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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


 
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barryfitzgerald
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« Reply #9 on: October 24, 2013, 08:35:25 AM »
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Talking to people it seems to be a good time to acquire second hand stuff, with new models out so frequently used prices have tanked on lots of still capable bodies.
Yes it can be an expensive journey, but only if you let it. Depending on what mount you are buying for there are lots of s/h lenses, Tamron/Sigma/Tokina etc in the mix

It need not cost a fortune for the more prudent buyer.
I've no problems with the decline of the industry if it means better prices, more considered and sensible updates rather than minor re-hashes.
We might see new sensor technology, but I can't see too many other areas where the industry can mature or market (we've plenty of resolution too)
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ihv
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« Reply #10 on: October 25, 2013, 04:51:14 AM »
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The general desire has been about the ability to document rather than photography.
Today there are more handy tools to do that, the majority has never been much interested in the cameras, there just was no alternative.
Things are simply back to normal, only those who are interested in photography will get cameras.







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Nemo
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« Reply #11 on: October 30, 2013, 03:22:52 PM »
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DSLR are not dead... yet. They can incorporate multilayer 24x36mm sensors... mirrorless cameras cannot... so easly. This is the next "jump" or turning point.

This article is in Spanish (sorry):

http://www.dslrmagazine.com/digital/tecnicas-de-fotografia-digital/sistemas-improvisados-y-sepelios-precipitados.html

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uaiomex
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« Reply #12 on: October 31, 2013, 10:28:07 AM »
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Let's see:

Smartphones:
I don't get it. People with cameras in their phones buy the phones for communication not because of the camera. It is mandatory. Like video in still cameras. Now, if I buy a still camera. it comes with video. Nowadays I shoot videos now and then but in reality I couldn't care less. I still have to buy me a nice dslr every 3 years that costs the same a nice used car. Also steady renewing my lens line in order to keep apace with technology.

Competition:
Still don't get it. It is true there are more players now but some are gone too. Every single store in the world has a plethora digital cameras. Supermarkets used to sell negative color film only. Now they sell gear and cards. Same with stationary stores, home improvement stores, etc., etc., you name them. If everybody sells cameras now, it is because a lot more people buy cameras now than before, despite smartphones. The world economy exploded in recent years. India and China are now gigantic consumer powerhouses. This is like having 2 more USA's. in 20 years. Latin america is a lot more sound than 20 years ago, the same with many countries in Asia. In my limited perception, I'd swear that everybody involved manufacturing cameras should be successful at selling them by container load.  

Photographers and many other creative careers are struggling because the competition from "civilians", that's true. But manufacturers all over should be having a life in the horns of abundance.

Percolating ground coffee used to be a humble part of the food service in stores. Now, it is a multimillionaire business. Why is the camera industry in decline? Gimme a break!

If they are, it must be because they're doing a few things very wrongly. Greed must be backfiring!

Eduardo
« Last Edit: October 31, 2013, 10:31:32 AM by uaiomex » Logged
Isaac
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« Reply #13 on: October 31, 2013, 11:21:39 AM »
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People with cameras in their phones buy the phones for communication not because of the camera.

You don't get it ;-)

People use the cameras in their phones for communication (and taking notes); people use photos and video for communication (and taking notes).
« Last Edit: October 31, 2013, 11:24:52 AM by Isaac » Logged
barryfitzgerald
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« Reply #14 on: November 01, 2013, 06:50:46 AM »
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DSLR's were never really mass market products, but price cuts made them very affordable.
I honestly don't see much impact on cameras like this from smart phones.

Compacts yes..have smart phone with decent ish camera why bother?
Compact makers need to respond by offering much lager sensors and IQ that is significantly better than phone cameras, I'm not talking £50 cameras now but people need a reason to spend on a compact, this is one. They've been riding the wave for years offering very little in the way of innovation and tiny sensors with poor image quality.

For people with a serious interest in photography, smart phones are not a solution.
The other reason is people have no real reason to keep upgrading their compact. Unless you lose it, or break it would you buy a new one every year? I suspect not. Market over saturation.

In some ways this is a good thing, camera makers will have to get off their a$$ and do something rather than sitting around with tedious re-hashed models year after year.
As for the other cameras, DSLR's and ILC's etc I suspect we know that the market is going down and the glory days are indeed over.
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jjj
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« Reply #15 on: November 01, 2013, 08:44:15 AM »
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Smartphones:
I don't get it. People with cameras in their phones buy the phones for communication not because of the camera.
Nope people buy a computer with a camera that can also make phone calls.
[and what Issac said]
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DeanChriss
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« Reply #16 on: November 01, 2013, 03:56:10 PM »
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Perhaps if someone incorporated web browsing, GPS, and video into a still camera… Oh wait, we already have cell phones and they include the option of making phone calls! 
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markd61
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« Reply #17 on: November 02, 2013, 11:45:53 AM »
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The "camera" industry is in decline or stagnant because, as many others have pointed out, the newest (and largest number) of photographers are preoccupied with the image, its meaning and its immediacy.
We are mistakenly identifying old style SLRs and DSLRs as the stalwarts of photography. They do take photographs of very high quality but that is of interest to the old line enthusiast and not the young people using the VERY good cameras that are in their phones.

I would compare old style cameras to a good letter written on fine stationery with beautiful language carefully folded and sealed in a monogrammed envelope. It would then be posted at the corner mailbox and delivered (if you lived long enough ago) to your friend across town later that day. Today, email (or texting) achieves the objective in an instant with nary a thought given to the device that enables it. In both cases the objective is to communicate. The older ones among us bemoan the loss of the paper/ language/ process while the younger ones marvel at the labor expended and expertise required to to get a simple idea transmitted non-verbally.

Kirk Tuck had a great blog post recently about the generational differences here:
http://visualsciencelab.blogspot.com/2013/10/the-graying-of-traditional-photography.html

With his thoughts about the industry here:

http://visualsciencelab.blogspot.com/2013/08/has-bubble-burst-is-that-why-camera.html
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Isaac
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« Reply #18 on: November 02, 2013, 01:52:20 PM »
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Thanks, I'd seen that October blog post but not the one from August.

This --

Quote
If you think about it the hobby of photography from the dawn of digital to now really had very little to do with the desire of most people to make wonderful images. ... When the 24 megapixel sensors got rolled out into a $600 Nikon body the curtain was pulled open and we could see that performance was now on sale at Target prices and everyone was free to share the same basic benefits no matter what their tenure in the technical trenches. And when everyone is special....no one is.

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

Quote
The phrase that describes the most important segment of the DSLR community is: “soccer mom”. ... The three reasons parents buy high end cameras is telephoto reach, low light capability, and the ability to quickly focus on their children when they are jumping a hurdle or scoring a goal.
« Last Edit: November 02, 2013, 02:10:44 PM by Isaac » Logged
kodachrome
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« Reply #19 on: November 04, 2013, 03:07:59 PM »
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Recently Canon redesigned their super tele line. While the designs were improved in many ways, the price increased significantly, and they remain very cumbersome to carry into the field and are difficult or impossible to handhold.
IMO what is needed is a professional version of the 7D. This may come to fruition if Canon ever releases the 5DMKII. The 1.6 crop factor is a big advantage when photographing birds or other wildlife. In addition they need a new line of super teles designed for the smaller sensor. This alone cuts back a lot on the weight and cost of the lenses. Second, they need to make 400, 500, 600 mm lenses with f/5.6 max apertures, which would reduce the weight further. The result would be 500 and 600mm lenses which would be far more portable than the current dinosaurs.
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