Sony and Panasonic in trouble?
/forum/topic/1164784/3

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slungu
Registered: Jan 25, 2005
Total Posts: 876
Country: Germany

rattymouse wrote:
slungu wrote:
edwardkaraa wrote:
I definitely see that the development of digital cameras has reached a plateau, that reminds me a lot about the film camera situation in the late 80s.


So, the next is to see them disappear because of that tool that does everything but nothing very good but since we get more and more lazy day by day it will suffice. I was talking about the smart-phone.


Yes, but the smart phone is getting better and better. Compare the camera in today's phones to one only 3 years ago. Huuuuge difference.

Well, I do not like them and I do not have one - but I do have 4 film cameras.



carstenw
Registered: Dec 26, 2005
Total Posts: 14915
Country: Germany

rattymouse wrote:
It is pure fantasy to believe that Europeans are not here in China, setting up shop to make things for export back home. Pure fantasy.


That is also not a claim that I made. I said that Europe is more cautious with moving its manufacturing to China in the pursuit of ever-lower prices, and I will stick by this. Yes, there are European products made in China, but if China turned hostile overnight (if they can be reasonably claimed not already to be), then I would wager that Europe would be less hard hit than the US.

Anyway, this is getting off-topic. I think we have both laid down our opinions, perhaps we can leave it here.



Xtobolic
Registered: Oct 17, 2010
Total Posts: 106
Country: Netherlands

I can't believe mobile phones are eating so much of the compact pie.

I mean, there (still) aren't any good phones with optical zoom.

So why did we buy a zoom compact in the past when all we ever wanted was a 8, 12 whatever megapixel camera with mediocre ISO performance and a fixed lens (aprox. 28mm FL equev.) that can share pictures immediately?



carstenw
Registered: Dec 26, 2005
Total Posts: 14915
Country: Germany

The 41MP Nokia does have enough resolution to zoom by cropping, and apparently the (daytime?) quality is quit decent. Still, it will be quite some time before smartphones will compete with current DSLRs, if for no other reason than DR and high ISO.



rattymouse
Registered: Feb 04, 2006
Total Posts: 3609
Country: China

Xtobolic wrote:
I can't believe mobile phones are eating so much of the compact pie.

I mean, there (still) aren't any good phones with optical zoom.

So why did we buy a zoom compact in the past when all we ever wanted was a 8, 12 whatever megapixel camera with mediocre ISO performance and a fixed lens (aprox. 28mm FL equev.) that can share pictures immediately?


Very few people even use zoom. I constantly have to remind my wife that she can use zoom on her compact. Even after years of her having it. The general shooter just doesnt care much about a cameras ability other than to grab a quick snap.

The collapse of compact sales is no mirage. Camera companies are reeling today and it will only get worse. Whenever I travel to "high end" tourist sites. Places that most would consider once-in-a-lifetime trips, by far the vast majority of people are shooting these priceless memories with phones. Really amazing.



rattymouse
Registered: Feb 04, 2006
Total Posts: 3609
Country: China

slungu wrote:
rattymouse wrote:
slungu wrote:
edwardkaraa wrote:
I definitely see that the development of digital cameras has reached a plateau, that reminds me a lot about the film camera situation in the late 80s.


So, the next is to see them disappear because of that tool that does everything but nothing very good but since we get more and more lazy day by day it will suffice. I was talking about the smart-phone.


Yes, but the smart phone is getting better and better. Compare the camera in today's phones to one only 3 years ago. Huuuuge difference.

Well, I do not like them and I do not have one - but I do have 4 film cameras.


My phone has no camera in it. And I have one film camera!



Bifurcator
Registered: Oct 22, 2008
Total Posts: 9247
Country: Japan

I'm not sure I would agree that "very few" compact users use zoom... but...



edwardkaraa wrote:
I definitely see that the development of digital cameras has reached a plateau, that reminds me a lot about the film camera situation in the late 80s.


I didn't notice any plateau back then. We were getting faster and faster shutters, longer lived shutters, better and better metering, integrated on-board computing, faster/better/more AF, and all kinds of convenience features like built-in auto-winding and EOR detection/rewinding. etc. etc. It seemed steadily ongoing to me until about the time Nikon released their first "pro" digital camera. And then it was all about tooling up for digital production. But I didn't notice any lull in the pace of technological rollouts prior to that.



MarcG19 wrote:
That being said, I'd be lying if I said that I wasn't queasy about the money I've put into micro4/3 lenses, and that the resale value of the stuff might not be 1/3 of what I paid because Oly/Panny might discontinue making m4/3 cameras for whatever reason. I don't think similar risk exists with Canikon or Sony.

Bifurcator wrote:
Most japanese junksters (Sony, Panasonic, Ricoh, etc.) manufactured electronic goods already devalue to 1/3 MSRP price in a few years anyway so I don't see any difference there. GH1 was about $900 new right? These days it's $250. GH2 was also near $1k and today it's easily found for under or around $500 - and it'll continue to go down as well. Meanwhile something like the Canon 1Dm2 is still selling up around $800 even after 6 or 7 years. (wait, how old is the 1Dm2?) Lenses aren't much different either. The Lumix 100-300 for example held at around $800 (or $850 ?) for over half a year but now around two years later what does it go for, $400 somewhere? Whattya wanna bet than in the 1st quarter of 2014 it's selling for $200 or so?

Almost everything that comes from asia's mass-production assembly lines is like that. Cars, electronics, cameras, and so on.

ReneMurea wrote:
Well, the gh2 sells at 50% discount after 3 years and your Canon at 80% discount after 6. I bet you could get more than $200 for any gh2 in 3 years. That's about same rate of depreciation. How is Canon doing any better not to mention that you have to spend 4x more to get the Canon compared with Panasonic?

Sure OK, I don't really follow high end camera depreciation so probably right. The main point I was making is that M4/3 will depreciate regardless of weather or not the companies are in trouble. If you're like me at all when you go to sell it off it won't be worth squat. And again, true of most asain mass produced goods.



Bifurcator wrote:
Ya know I wouldn't even mind asian megacorps reaching across the waters if they had played fairly. Most of my distain comes from the knowledge I gained as part of a security team for various semiconductor manufacturers. Wow, the number of Japanese janitor slash spys we busted were many and constant. And it always traced back to companies like Hitachi, Sony, Matsusta, and so on. Nope, no love for those guys!

The US and UK companies that do location manufacturing and assembly can bid for the contracts when some US or UK corporation takes over.

AhamB wrote:
US Megacorps don't need janitor spies -- they just use technology like Echelon to win contract bids, right?

molson wrote:
If they were more sophisticated, they would just employ hackers to gain access to competitors' internal systems, like the Chinese companies do.

Yeah, who knows how it's done these days. I know in the early 80's late 70's that it was Janitors and planted employees - and often sent from the corporation itself "unofficially" (wink wink) as opposed to independent freelancers. At least true of the guys I got to question after arresting them. I'm also under the impression that during that time period US spying was mostly limited to national secrets and so forth. We didn't do much industrial spying back then. I'll assume we still don't. Our level of cheating usually begins and ends with backward engineering and so forth. Well, that and financial mobsterism.



MarcG19
Registered: Oct 21, 2011
Total Posts: 256
Country: United States

15Bit wrote:
MarcG19 wrote:
....but Nikon is particularly vulnerable as a still-cameras-only manufacturer with a decent position in a dying part of the consumer electronics world. Fortunately, Nikon's products are pretty good overall.


Actually Nikon makes quite a broad range of imaging products going from cameras to high quality microscopes and even CT scanners. They aren't as diverse as Canon for sure, but they are more than just a camera company.


Right, brain fart. Better to say "more heavily dependent on still cameras than Canon, Panasonic, Sony" (all of which have substantial video products in addition to stills, and in addition to other office/consumer electronics/other sales).

FWIW, Nikon's precision equipment sales are around 40-50% of their imaging sales.

http://www.nikon.com/about/ir/ir_library/fb/pdf/fb2012/12fb_e02.pdf



irish-george
Registered: Dec 15, 2005
Total Posts: 474
Country: United States

carstenw wrote:
irish-george wrote:
carstenw wrote:
Bifurcator wrote:
I only wish any void they leave could and would be grabbed up by some American firms or start-ups.


That is some pretty deep wishful thinking, unfortunately. As a result of a fixation on the lowest price, the US has been exporting their manufacturing capability to China and other countries so deep and for so long now that I cannot really imagine any way to go back. It would take serious time, not just the death of one or two competitors. Ironically, the situation in Europe is somewhat better, as the manufacturing is still going on here. The trouble would be pricing since European labour is expensive.


Obviously, you haven't heard of Element Electronics...they actually manufacture their larger TVs in Michigan.


Sure, there are still individual companies manufacturing in the States, no question. But very few compared to, say, two or three decades ago. And no, I have not heard of Element Electronics.


This isn't a "still manufacturing" situation, this is a "new" U.S. manufacturer of televisions, and the only one at that (to the best of my knowledge).



rattymouse
Registered: Feb 04, 2006
Total Posts: 3609
Country: China

Bifurcator wrote:
I'm not sure I would agree that "very few" compact users use zoom... but...





Then how do you explain why smart phones are absolutely destroying compact sales? Make no mistake, compact camera sales are dying at an extraordinary rate. Virtually all empirical evidence points to a dramatic fall in sales that is continuing unabated.



edwardkaraa
Registered: Sep 27, 2004
Total Posts: 6863
Country: Thailand

slungu wrote:
edwardkaraa wrote:
I definitely see that the development of digital cameras has reached a plateau, that reminds me a lot about the film camera situation in the late 80s.


So, the next is to see them disappear because of that tool that does everything but nothing very good but since we get more and more lazy day by day it will suffice. I was talking about the smart-phone.


Not disappear, but people will upgrade their cameras less and less frequently (the guys on this forum being the exception), and the industry will start to stagnate, exactly as what happened with film cameras. Video was a good idea to bring back interest, and now it's old news, and they have to come up with yet another gimmick.

Camera manufacturing was a loosing business in the 80s and many big names were under threat to close down. As always, you have to keep clients buying new stuff, or you're history.



rattymouse
Registered: Feb 04, 2006
Total Posts: 3609
Country: China

edwardkaraa wrote:
slungu wrote:
edwardkaraa wrote:
I definitely see that the development of digital cameras has reached a plateau, that reminds me a lot about the film camera situation in the late 80s.


So, the next is to see them disappear because of that tool that does everything but nothing very good but since we get more and more lazy day by day it will suffice. I was talking about the smart-phone.


Not disappear, but people will upgrade their cameras less and less frequently (the guys on this forum being the exception), and the industry will start to stagnate, exactly as what happened with film cameras. Video was a good idea to bring back interest, and now it's old news, and they have to come up with yet another gimmick.

Camera manufacturing was a loosing business in the 80s and many big names were under threat to close down. As always, you have to keep clients buying new stuff, or you're history.


Spot on. That's why Kodak was dead even if they were the #1 digital camera company. Kodak built an empire out of people buying $4 rolls of film over and over and over again. No matter how successful a camera company Kodak could have been, there was no way for them to earn the revenue that they did from film. Cameras last years while film last days.

People are buying a lot less compact cameras due to smart phones. Over at the camera malls here in Shanghai, I am starting to see the shops that specialized in compacts fold up and go under. SLR shops are doing OK.



slungu
Registered: Jan 25, 2005
Total Posts: 876
Country: Germany

What I am little puzzled at is the fact that the article shown speaks about Sony getting some trouble finding fresh money and then stating that the compact cameras sales are in trouble. I am having a hard time figuring out how a huge company that is active in many markets can have such a big trouble if one part of one market is not doing so well. Sony is not (only) about cameras, they are mainly known for other stuff in the first place. If they are having troubles in general because they do not have the black Trinitron for TVs, the walkman was replaced by the ipod, the Vaio by the Macbook and so on that is something I can understand - and I have an impression that this is the case, but other than that I do not see it as being that bad.



rattymouse
Registered: Feb 04, 2006
Total Posts: 3609
Country: China

slungu wrote:
What I am little puzzled at is the fact that the article shown speaks about Sony getting some trouble finding fresh money and then stating that the compact cameras sales are in trouble. I am having a hard time figuring out how a huge company that is active in many markets can have such a big trouble if one part of one market is not doing so well. Sony is not (only) about cameras, they are mainly known for other stuff in the first place. If they are having troubles in general because they do not have the black Trinitron for TVs, the walkman was replaced by the ipod, the Vaio by the Macbook and so on that is something I can understand - and I have an impression that this is the case, but other than that I do not see it as being that bad.


That's just it. Sony is getting CRUSHED in areas way beyond cameras. Their TV division is losing huge amounts of money. They are a consumer electronics company with no real hits anymore. The Playstation line is about it.

Sony has been and is in big financial trouble and it is not getting any better.



MarcG19
Registered: Oct 21, 2011
Total Posts: 256
Country: United States

edwardkaraa wrote:
I definitely see that the development of digital cameras has reached a plateau, that reminds me a lot about the film camera situation in the late 80s.


I didn't notice any plateau back then. We were getting faster and faster shutters, longer lived shutters, better and better metering, integrated on-board computing, faster/better/more AF, and all kinds of convenience features like built-in auto-winding and EOR detection/rewinding. etc. etc. It seemed steadily ongoing to me until about the time Nikon released their first "pro" digital camera. And then it was all about tooling up for digital production. But I didn't notice any lull in the pace of technological rollouts prior to that.


Those all may be useful, but not only are those minor improvements, but for many it's not worth buying a new camera just for those features (pro sports shooters and the like being the exception).

I honestly have to agree with edwardkaraa on this. Speaking only for Nikon since I know those best, I don't personally see enough useful differences between the new generation of full frame cameras and their last generation counterparts to warrant an upgrade, unless I was a sports or bird pro (Nikon D4) or trying to market my photos to publishers, ad agencies and the like (D800).

MarcG19 wrote:
That being said, I'd be lying if I said that I wasn't queasy about the money I've put into micro4/3 lenses, and that the resale value of the stuff might not be 1/3 of what I paid because Oly/Panny might discontinue making m4/3 cameras for whatever reason. I don't think similar risk exists with Canikon or Sony.

Bifurcator wrote:
Sure OK, I don't really follow high end camera depreciation so probably right. The main point I was making is that M4/3 will depreciate regardless of weather or not the companies are in trouble. If you're like me at all when you go to sell it off it won't be worth squat. And again, true of most asain mass produced goods.


True, the cameras do and so do the lenses (which is why I try to buy lenses used ). However, I'm not sure that Canikon lenses depreciate less (what's the buy-and-sell forum value of the hot lenses of ten years ago vs. their new prices)? The difference with m4/3 bodies is that generations are iterating very quickly and the price for new last generation stuff at discount houses (at least in the US) is often over 60% less than their new price two years ago. Bad, bad, bad....... and if m4/3 were discontinued by one of those two players the lens value would immediately drop even lower.


Bifurcator wrote:
We didn't do much industrial spying back then. I'll assume we still don't. Our level of cheating usually begins and ends with backward engineering and so forth. Well, that and financial mobsterism.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Competitive_intelligence American companies probably do, but I think the difference with Asian companies is that non-expert me has never heard of the US government spying on behalf of big American corporations. And if they did I'd have major problems with it - I'd assert that the Japanese government's heavy favoritism of large Japanese companies has hurt Japan in the long run.



michaelwatkins
Registered: Oct 08, 2011
Total Posts: 1659
Country: Canada

rattymouse wrote:
Bifurcator wrote:
I'm not sure I would agree that "very few" compact users use zoom... but...


Then how do you explain why smart phones are absolutely destroying compact sales?


The two are not related. No doubt smart phone shooters would use a zoom if it existed on their phone.

Smart phones are taking over because for many the camera in their phone is either good enough, or it is convenient enough, that they can forgo buying a better compact.



FlyPenFly
Registered: Feb 14, 2011
Total Posts: 6130
Country: United States

The demographic buying $150 power shots aren't any more. Instagram, hipstagram, etc have eaten their lunch because they're just a lot more fun and consumer friendly.

I'm curious how Sony and Panasonic will dig themselves out of this, I simply don't see any viable path without gutting the workforce. There's no new market for them to grow into without a serious market changing innovation. Something that neither is institutionally capable of.



S Dilworth
Registered: Oct 10, 2011
Total Posts: 484
Country: France

rattymouse wrote:
[If few people use zooms on compacts] then how do you explain why smart phones are absolutely destroying compact sales? Make no mistake, compact camera sales are dying at an extraordinary rate. Virtually all empirical evidence points to a dramatic fall in sales that is continuing unabated.


In my experience, people do use zoom if their camera has it. When buying, they even compare how different cameras zoom in, so its a fairly important feature for them.

Because of this, camera manufacturers have been desperately cramming 10 zooms into their compacts in an attempt to stave off the smartphones that are killing them.

But its mistaken thinking to assume that, because people like zooms, they wont drop their compact camera like a hot potato if they get a smartphone with a halfway decent camera. The enormous benefits of the phone camera you always have it on your person, and its always connected to the internet for instant sharing are so overwhelming that the appeal of a zoom lens becomes insignificant in comparison.

I still have a soft spot for Sony. Theyve made so many wonderful things over the years, and they still do. None of the other Japanese, much less Asian, companies understands design like Sony. None of them are as good at analogue electronics. Id hate to see them go under.



Bifurcator
Registered: Oct 22, 2008
Total Posts: 9247
Country: Japan

Bifurcator wrote:
I only wish any void they leave could and would be grabbed up by some American firms or start-ups.

carstenw wrote:
That is some pretty deep wishful thinking, unfortunately. As a result of a fixation on the lowest price, the US has been exporting their manufacturing capability to China and other countries so deep and for so long now that I cannot really imagine any way to go back. It would take serious time, not just the death of one or two competitors. Ironically, the situation in Europe is somewhat better, as the manufacturing is still going on here. The trouble would be pricing since European labour is expensive.

irish-george wrote:
Obviously, you haven't heard of Element Electronics...they actually manufacture their larger TVs in Michigan.

carstenw wrote:
Sure, there are still individual companies manufacturing in the States, no question. But very few compared to, say, two or three decades ago. And no, I have not heard of Element Electronics.

irish-george wrote:
This isn't a "still manufacturing" situation, this is a "new" U.S. manufacturer of televisions, and the only one at that (to the best of my knowledge).

Oh, there is an US "Element" brand TV available? Kewl! And what about RCA/Victor, Motorola, Magnavox, Filco/Ford, Craig, Skyle, MacIntosh, Westing, Philips, or al the others that could start in a flash if opportunity were present?





Bifurcator wrote:
I'm not sure I would agree that "very few" compact users use zoom... but...

rattymouse wrote:
Then how do you explain why smart phones are absolutely destroying compact sales? Make no mistake, compact camera sales are dying at an extraordinary rate. Virtually all empirical evidence points to a dramatic fall in sales that is continuing unabated.

I think they satisfy the want factors. Right? Like if a person has a phone and it has a camera that's "good enough" then they don't need/want to go out and buy a compact camera. But no one wanting a compact camera goes out and buys a phone instead. Thus phone shooters do not qualify as compact camera users. It just happened that a "good enough" camera landed in their lap - as it came with the phone. And since most compacts have zoom I'd say most compact users want it and use it.

michaelwatkins wrote:
The two are not related. No doubt smart phone shooters would use a zoom if it existed on their phone.

Smart phones are taking over because for many the camera in their phone is either good enough, or it is convenient enough, that they can forgo buying a better compact.

Yep... What he said.



michaelwatkins
Registered: Oct 08, 2011
Total Posts: 1659
Country: Canada

My wife is an example of the "good enough" principle - her phone is her camera. She used to carry a Leica Minilux and shoot film, then some Canon gadgets which never approached the IQ she could get from her little Leica, and now she's given up wanting carry along IQ and is quite happy with just the phone.

Once in a blue moon she'd borrow a DSLR from me for making a few photographs at the kid's school, but often enough her other camera is... me.

Surely some folks graduate from phone-only snaps and buy a real camera, but where are they going? Advanced compacts? Probably some will and in increasing numbers as word gets around, and the rest are buying something that looks more substantial (DSLR of some sort) because they know they need it or are told they need it or just don't know what they need.

Those that said up thread the industry is due now or soon for contraction, have, I feel in my gut, a good point. Like Edward said, to me this feels like a point in time in the film era. Once I had a motor drive for my SLR, I didn't care if it could shoot 8 or 10 FPS, didn't need to upgrade to get 1/8000th of a second shutter. Some might, but not me. AF came and I resisted that but had I stepped on the autofocus bandwagon maybe that would have caused me enough early grief to cause an upgrade.

Hey, aren't a lot of gripes still about AF? I digress.

Family units buying a decent 2011 or 2012 model camera with then-current or state of the art sensors have bought a whole lot of camera. No doubt there are some of us here who could draw a line in the sand at this point in time with gear we have and shoot a long long time without "upgrading". I'm buying a RX1 with exactly that in mind... I don't see how I'll need to upgrade that for 5 or 10 years or perhaps longer if the thing still runs. Someone that buys a D600 or an A99 as a family camera... do they really need to consider a tech refresh in five years?



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