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| p.1 #15 · p.1 #15 · Nikon 1-series slowdown and downturn of mirrorless cameras? |
This topic has been discussed on Alt forum so many times in the last two months. My current thinking is that mirrorless may not own the future as we had thought. It's not even clear if DSLRs will hold onto their position of strength over the next few years. It's always taken for granted in these threads that Canon and Nikon will weather through this, but I think the forces at work are so strong, their positions are not guaranteed.
Outside of the professional and enthusiast market, photography have largely migrated to smartphones. A lot of people claim it's because it's good enough. I think that's the wrong assessment. Smartphone photography has taken over not because of the improved quality of the images but because it offers more than just the ability to take an image. The ability to modify the image, instantly share the images, and have people comment on them has changed society's view of photography. They say a picture is worth a thousand words. I say, a picture that can be instantly shared and commented on is worth a million words. Photography is worth what people who take them and what people who appreciate them decide they are worth. With trillions of images taken every year, the value of individual images decreases. It decreases even more if photos are taken and never shared or printed. To me, the value people place on photography hasn't decreased. It's the value of photographs that are taken, not edited, not shared, not printed that has taken a nose dive. I believe this is the force that is wrecking havoc on P&S and mirrorless. Who's to say it won't eventually effect DSLR sales too? I think it will. A year ago, we thought smartphones were only effecting P&S. Now, we see it's effect on mirrorless. The low-end DSLR market is next.
The concept of photography in society has changed to be so much more, but these camera makers have been only focused on improving the equipment that captures the image. It's not enough. Nikon has publicly said it is working on a project that they hope will change the concept of photography, but they should have started it 5 years ago. If they end up simply incorporating concepts from smartphone photography, it will not be enough. There are so many companies working on changing the societal definition of photography outside of these camera makers, and they're all doing it in the mobile space. There's more resources being put to work at those companies than all of these camera makers combined.
There will always be a market for professional and enthusiasts so DSLRs and mirrorless will survive. It will just be a significantly smaller industry. For my part, I chose NEX, which is always on the bleeding edge so even if the mirrorless market shrinks and updates comes slower, my NEX will stay relevant for much longer.