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| p.3 #7 · p.3 #7 · A prediction for camera industry for discuss here Alt board |
As for how accurately the prediction our discuss here in Alt community. This is the part I have least confidence We are niche ourselves. Though we have more knowledge about camera/lens than most of people and know what is better, what is needed. But will market response the same way? I donít know.
Niche manufacturers will respond to such markets, but the prices may not remain attractive to the average person. Look at Cosina or SLR Magic and some of the lenses they're currently marketing. MF mFT, IMO is pretty niche.
In respect to the general consumer market, I think Apple is a good example. In the 90s Apple was also about simplicity, compared to other computing options of the time, but diehard Apple users were like alt forum members here - technically inclined and into the gear Apple offered to get the job done. Look at Apple now - very consumer centric. Nice UI, even more simplicity, all about making it easier for the layman to get the results he wants. Meanwhile they've pretty much abandoned the high end hardware side of the creative market.
It's also the evolution of photography ever since the 1800s - making it easier for the layman. Wet plate to roll film. Kodak's Brownie. Polaroid. 126, 110, Disc, APS formats. No matter how bad some of these were from a technical standpoint, it didn't matter if it was easier. And easier is about profit. Make it more accessible and more will buy. Notice also that along with simplicity, the historical trend has been towards ever smaller imaging formats. Why should that trend change?
So, to make predictions: what future developments will make photography easier?
Super high MP combined with short range high IQ zoom to create hybrid digital/optical zooming in much smaller packages. Or even no optical zoom.
Always on image capture - pull the still from the timeline.
Plenoptic/lightfield image capture - refocus after the shot.
On-chip, in-camera 'HDR.'
All of this is already available, but none all in one camera that is a smartphone sized, non interchangeable lens package.
For the general consumer, photography is becoming just one more 'app' to access on their device. Unfortunately for the photography market and us enthusiasts, it will be bad for hardware-dedicated manufacturers.
We now see a lot of MILC development because it's the logical progression from SLRs, but from a manufacturer's perspective, it's even more attractive, I think. The MILC cameras are less complex to assemble, meaning cheaper, meaning potentially more accessible to more buyers. And, they retain the main advantage of SLRs - interchangeable lenses. From a photographer's point of view, this means better control over images. From the manufacturer's point of view, this means more things to sell and from which to make profits. But as these cameras become simpler, the divide from other imaging devices will diminish, making differentiation for the average consumer more difficult. My guess is the average consumer remains consistent with history and will decide based on convenience.
It will be interesting to see how long the traditional camera manufacturers can draw out the perceived advantage of ILCs. Currently there is a huge boom in mega-zoom cameras hitting the market to fight the smartphone onslaught, which will also bleed into MILC territory.
Not that ILCs will completely disappear, just as 8x10 cameras haven't completely disappeared.
It could be that some of the niche brands will be better suited to these changes because they already cater to an entrenched clientele that won't be interested in the same feature sets desired by the average consumer. It's quite possible Canikon will eventually also head this way, when/if they're severely impacted by market loss from smartphones, falling back to their core expertise, reincarnated as much smaller organizations. But if they do, expect significantly higher prices.