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Archive 2012 · Camera producers death spiral
  
 
Two23
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p.3 #1 · p.3 #1 · Camera producers death spiral


anthonygh wrote:
1. The real fear for them must be an Emperors Clothes moment.....suddenly people realizing they already have the gear to enjoy photography...or they can get it s/h for far less than the new stuff. Or...ultimate horror....people realize that the latest and greatest gear isn't actually leading to better photographs being taken unless measured by some minute increase in resolving power or dynamic range.

2. I wonder what is really the most beneficial...a $1000 on that 'better' lens...or $1000 on a quality photo holiday somewhere with the current gear.



1. For the past two years I've been buying and USING some vintage/historical camera gear. I'm talking mostly about cameras from the 1930s and 1940s. I've been finding that my 1942 Leica IIIc, 1928 Voigtalnder Bergheil, and 1951 Rolleiflex MX are GREAT! This year, my best images were captured with my Rollei, not my Nikon DSLRs. The more I photo, the more I learn, and the more I've come to think that really the camera is the LEAST important thing about making good images. I can do about 95% of what I want with a 70 yr. old camera. Keep in mind I shoot at night a LOT, too. Coming to understand just how unimportant the camera is has been very liberating for me.

2. For a long time now I've been saying, "I'd rather have a $100 p&s camera and a ticket to Iceland than a $3,000 camera and a ticket to nowhere."


My suspicion is that for most people, more expensive camera gear only allows them to continue to make crappy, boring shots that are just a tiny bit sharper. Good photography comes from an understanding of how to use light, and you can do that using photo gear from 1906.


Kent in SD



Dec 05, 2012 at 03:04 PM
Exdsc
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p.3 #2 · p.3 #2 · Camera producers death spiral


Two23 wrote:
My suspicion is that for most people, more expensive camera gear only allows them to continue to make crappy, boring shots that are just a tiny bit sharper. Good photography comes from an understanding of how to use light, and you can do that using photo gear from 1906.
Kent in SD


The only counter argument that I might offer is that unless one gets burned by spending a lot of money on expensive gear and try many types of gear, the knowledge that gear is not that important never sinks in.


Before getting my first Leica, I thought if I had a Leica M I'd be the happiest and best photographer that I could be. I finally got a Leica and then I realized I did not even liked how it felt in my hands, but the best thing about Leica stuff is resale value so I sold it.



Edited on Dec 05, 2012 at 03:16 PM · View previous versions



Dec 05, 2012 at 03:13 PM
harrygilbert
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p.3 #3 · p.3 #3 · Camera producers death spiral


Top level cameras should be priced just like routers and printers are priced: at cost. The companies make up their profit on the "consumables". In the case of routers (I bought a Sears router for $89, then spent over $400 for bits and attachments). Printers are sold at cost, and the profit lies in ink and toner sales. In the case of cameras, I bought a few Canon bodies, then spent over $40,000 for lenses and accessories.


Dec 05, 2012 at 03:16 PM
riotshield
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p.3 #4 · p.3 #4 · Camera producers death spiral


My $0.02:

I see room for big changes in the next couple of years for several reasons:

1. Sensor technology is improving across the board to the point, where for practical shooting purposes, sensor size is becoming irrelevant except for shallower DOF. The new smaller sensor cameras like the OM-D and RX-100 are besting APS-C DSLRs from a few years ago, and the sensor in the entry-level D3200 beats FF DSLRs from a few years ago. When back-illuminated sensors become commonplace, I think the practical differences will be even smaller.

2. Due to the explosion in mobile computing, the DSPs are becoming faster and cheaper. Right now an Android camera is kind of a cheesy first step by Samsung, but it's only a natural progression that the smartphone effect of touchscreens and apps is going to be the norm for cameras in a couple of years. I think the faster DSPs will also bring hybrid CDAF/PDAF to the point where mirrorless will get very close to DSLR AF performance. That's when I think it will be the beginning of the end for DSLR.

Right now, mirrorless/DSLR cameras is one of the last strongholds of the Japanese conglomerates. They lost most of the consumer electronics industries to Samsung, Apple, and Chinese companies. I can imagine a future scenario where an Apple gets into the mirrorless game and Samsung gets more serious about improving their bodies, and all manufacturers move their camera/lens production to China/Thailand, like Nikon is beginning to do.



Dec 05, 2012 at 04:59 PM
anthonygh
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p.3 #5 · p.3 #5 · Camera producers death spiral


harrygilbert wrote:
Top level cameras should be priced just like routers and printers are priced: at cost. The companies make up their profit on the "consumables". In the case of routers (I bought a Sears router for $89, then spent over $400 for bits and attachments). Printers are sold at cost, and the profit lies in ink and toner sales. In the case of cameras, I bought a few Canon bodies, then spent over $40,000 for lenses and accessories.


This is interesting. $40 000 plus the cost of the bodies.

Have you taken that cost and divided it by sales of photographs...or personal memorable images created...or any other criteria? I am assuming this is not expenditure on a hobby.....unless you are quite well off of course!!



Dec 05, 2012 at 05:17 PM
Exdsc
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p.3 #6 · p.3 #6 · Camera producers death spiral


The demand for cameras depends on the demand for photographs.

The demand for photographs on the largest consumer segment is met by smart phones. This is where the money was.

Since that market is already taken by Samsung and Apple with some other Chinese companies, those companies will most likely buy the dying camera companies once their market value hits very low.



Dec 05, 2012 at 05:23 PM
Exdsc
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p.3 #7 · p.3 #7 · Camera producers death spiral


It used to be that a family had a single camera, that one of the parents "controlled". Today in a family everyone has a camera if they have a phone. This new photo revolution makes creation of photos child's play, literally.

Photography today is child's play, sad but true.



Dec 05, 2012 at 05:36 PM
briantho
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p.3 #8 · p.3 #8 · Camera producers death spiral


Bifurcator wrote:
So until very small companies begin to offer great cameras there's just about no hope of seeing what are currently $1k cameras being initially offered for the $400 we all think they're really worth.


Wait what? The smaller the company, the more expensive the camera... Leica...

My 2c is that we're getting great stuff for very very cheap, and it's exactly because the corporations are so large, and has such high capacity to produce high quality gear at low prices.

I think a $1000 camera is worth $1000. If I can get it cheaper, great, but it's still an experience worth $1000.



Dec 05, 2012 at 06:41 PM
Beni
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p.3 #9 · p.3 #9 · Camera producers death spiral


anthonygh wrote:
Remember when photography was for enjoyment and not gear acquisition?

Not many can I suspect....the camera makers have skillfully created a mindset that now makes individuals permanently dissatisfied with their current gear....hell...a new camera is hardly in the shops and it is either being pulled to pieces or is the basis for speculating about the next 'upgrade'.

As for aesthetics.....the camera makers have created another mindset.....a photograph's 'quality' is measured purely by how well a camera can resolve detail, shoot in the dark, or perform some other technical task.

The real fear for them must be an Emperors Clothes moment.....suddenly people realizing they
...Show more

I like this! Camera makers must hate the likes of me. I had two 5Dc's for 7 years, bought both new and although one has died from overuse (new shutter and mirror box = not financially viable) they did everything from many years of wedding photography to commercial work and project work with Alt lenses. I'm replacing the dead one with a 5DIII once the prices have dropped a bit and intend to shoot that for at least another 7 years till it too dies of constant use. Looking forward to some of the features such as decent AF, 3 C modes, decent build, decent screen and of course live view but it wasn't that I couldn't do it all before with the 5D, I did and still am. I wouldn't have decided to upgrade if I still had two 5Dc's shooting straight...

Seeing a lot of this now. Lots of 1 series shooters not upgrading, lots of 5D2/D700 users sticking with what they have. The economy isn't supporting the upgrade madness at the same time as many if not most have realised that their present camera has pretty much all the features that they could need or use. The growing sectors are in miniaturization, simplifying and nostalgia rather than a few more megapixels, that is the sign of an industry that has started to plateau as far as an upgrade curve and I for one would welcome it.



Dec 05, 2012 at 06:43 PM
sculptormic
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p.3 #10 · p.3 #10 · Camera producers death spiral


Exdsc wrote:
It used to be that a family had a single camera, that one of the parents "controlled". Today in a family everyone has a camera if they have a phone. This new photo revolution makes creation of photos child's play, literally.

Photography today is child's play, sad but true.


How sad! So we all must be children, but do we care?

I still see differences and exellency in photography, although for me that is highly determined by the chosen subject.



Dec 05, 2012 at 06:46 PM
 

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anthonygh
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p.3 #11 · p.3 #11 · Camera producers death spiral


I have just spent two hours scanning a roll of film and trying things with software. Leaving aside the cost of the computer etc etc the rest was...well...peanuts. Top of the range film camera that cost me less than the price of a new Fuji X10.

I have enjoyed the evening and just done a very nice print...very nice. Pixel peepers might cringe but properly mounted I know I have several 'keepers'.

This should be what photography is about.....enjoyment....not financial stress.



Dec 06, 2012 at 01:45 AM
ReneMurea
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p.3 #12 · p.3 #12 · Camera producers death spiral


I don't know who Hogan is, but what in the world the guy expects to pay for a 3 years old model which was introduced at $999? Even Leica cameras lose a lot down the road. Besides, to play his analogy, even if I know a camera will come down in price, I wouldn't want to wait years for a better price. If I did that I'd still use my GH1 until GH2 comes down to $300. That would be probably in 2015.


Dec 06, 2012 at 02:05 AM
anthonygh
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p.3 #13 · p.3 #13 · Camera producers death spiral


ReneMurea wrote:
I don't know who Hogan is, but what in the world the guy expects to pay for a 3 years old model which was introduced at $999? Even Leica cameras lose a lot down the road. Besides, to play his analogy, even if I know a camera will come down in price, I wouldn't want to wait years for a better price. If I did that I'd still use my GH1 until GH2 comes down to $300. That would be probably in 2015.




Quality film kit is going up in price at the moment...so need to look at the whole market...must be a reason for that....that aside....does your 'upgrade' costs make sense? Better quality images??



Dec 06, 2012 at 02:33 AM
curious80
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p.3 #14 · p.3 #14 · Camera producers death spiral


I don't agree with Tom Hogan's GH2 example. GH2 was released for $1500 but that was with the 14-140 lens which is by itself a $700-800 lens. The GH2 could account for at the most $1000 out of that $1500 and a drop from $1000 to $500 in 2 years is very normal for cameras, specially when the new model is already out.

However it is true that the prices are dropping more rapidly for lower end models and I think that is a combination of two factors - one is that mirror-less cameras are following more of a "point and shoot" model where you get a new model every few months and older models get ancient quickly. Second panasonic and olympus often introduce new models at a high initial premium - GX1 was released at at a higher price point than G3 even though G3 not only has the same sensor but also had an EVF. Similarly E-P3 was released at close to $900!! After the early adopters the price had to come down to more reasonable levels specially considering what Sony is offering at $500-600 price levels.



Dec 06, 2012 at 03:10 AM
curious80
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p.3 #15 · p.3 #15 · Camera producers death spiral


anthonygh wrote:
Quality film kit is going up in price at the moment...so need to look at the whole market...must be a reason for that....that aside....does your 'upgrade' costs make sense? Better quality images??


We are not getting a new updated film released every year. People are using the same films as they were years ago. With digital, you get new cameras every few years and for better or worse when the new model is released the old model loses its value.



Dec 06, 2012 at 03:15 AM
jonrock
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p.3 #16 · p.3 #16 · Camera producers death spiral


harrygilbert wrote:
Top level cameras should be priced just like routers and printers are priced: at cost. The companies make up their profit on the "consumables". In the case of routers (I bought a Sears router for $89, then spent over $400 for bits and attachments). Printers are sold at cost, and the profit lies in ink and toner sales. In the case of cameras, I bought a few Canon bodies, then spent over $40,000 for lenses and accessories.


At this point, I think this Nikon's strategy for their 1 series cameras. The low $299 price for the Nikon V1 is probably to spur purchases of Nikon 1 lenses and flashes.



Dec 06, 2012 at 01:20 PM
carstenw
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p.3 #17 · p.3 #17 · Camera producers death spiral


I played around with the J1, V1, J2 and V2 today in the store, a large electronics super market, and although the cameras are great fun and really nice to operate, and the results look superficially good, I must admit to being quite disappointed at the acuity at ISO 800. The noise AND smudginess were just quite strong. I didn't see any major improvement in the 2nd generation cameras. This was all around ISO 800 with the 10-30 zoom.

On the other hand, I played with E-PL3 (which I own and know well), E-PL5 and E-M5 as well, and I was very pleased with the E-PL5, and will upgrade soonish. The E-M5 is a really nice camera, but I have to admit that I hate the mushiness of the buttons. The E-PL5 is so much better in that regard.



Dec 06, 2012 at 01:29 PM
bylandmark
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p.3 #18 · p.3 #18 · Camera producers death spiral


phuang3 wrote:
Cameras have very high profit margin (some says 70%+), so big sales is no hurting at all. Those manufacturers are competing in gaining market share, and lowering the price fast is just one of the strategy. Once people buy their camera, they are forced to buy expensive accessories and super-expensive lenses. Those are the main income from camera industry.


Unfortunately, you are so, so wrong on the subject of margins in cameras. The largest margin that exists in camera retail today is with Sony and that hovers at around 8-10% profit for the retailer.

Canon is no more than 5% with Nikon right in line with that.

The misconceptions of camera retail profit margin is one of the things that drives this business in the direction its heading. People think camera retailers are swimming in cash when that is absolutely not the case. This is one of the few areas of retail that I've personally know margins are so incredibly low. A retailer is forced to sell numerous other accessories and services in order to be able to actually afford selling the consumer a camera.

So when Big & Huge sells a product at hundreds below cost, it's not because they can, it's because they chose to operate that way. They're averaging their loss over other accessory & service sales in order to stay on top and pay bills. Hence the MAP policy which is designed to not allow sellers to do that and monopolize the business. (Any one recall the Microsoft Anti-Trust Case)



Dec 06, 2012 at 01:37 PM
carstenw
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p.3 #19 · p.3 #19 · Camera producers death spiral


I think Phuang was talking about profit for the manufacturer, whereas you are talking about the retailer.

In any case, I am unconvinced that the manufacturers have anywhere near that amount of profit.



Dec 06, 2012 at 01:45 PM
String
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p.3 #20 · p.3 #20 · Camera producers death spiral


anthonygh wrote:
This is interesting. $40 000 plus the cost of the bodies.

Have you taken that cost and divided it by sales of photographs...or personal memorable images created...or any other criteria? I am assuming this is not expenditure on a hobby.....unless you are quite well off of course!!

Like most hobbies, you can spend what ever you want! $40K isnt bad compared to some others... cars, motorcycles, astronomy, etc. etc.



Dec 06, 2012 at 02:54 PM
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