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Archive 2015 · Samsung exit?

  
 
philber
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p.2 #1 · p.2 #1 · Samsung exit?


Jonas B wrote:
At this forum, as well as at other places, you can most often read "Competition is good". I suppose that in many cases is true but you seem to suggest it is good news having camera manufacturers closing down.
I'm not looking for a hard debate here. After having met and briefly discussed at least a little about economics and politics I'm interested in your opinion here, mainly to learn about different points of views. How many brands would you like to see erased for the cause of increasing the income for the remaining companies?


Jonas, if there are too many competitors and too much production capacity, profitability goes through the floor, which is the case with the camera business right now. The consequence is that R&D and investment spending suffer, which is not good for consumers. There are rumors that the reason behind Canon not upgrading its sensors for quite a few years is that they would need a new sensor fab, a $1Bn+ investment, a tricky decision when your business is headed downward.
So, in a perfect world, you need enough players to have strong competition and avoid cartels, but not so many (and importantly, not so much overcapacity) that everybody is struggling. My guess is that the minimum number of players is 4, and the maximum 6. At least 2 less than now, so an exit of Samsung, and merger of Panasonic and Olympus would make sense, in the same way that Ricoh absorbed Pentax.



Oct 24, 2015 at 11:45 AM
curious80
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p.2 #2 · p.2 #2 · Samsung exit?


philber wrote:
I am going to to be the realist here. This is good news, except for Samsung customers, of course. The industry suffers from massive overcapacity, so the retirement of one player will help every one else in the same segment: Canon, Sony, Olympus, Panasonic, Ricoh, Nikon. If more companies fold or merge their camera activities, profits can return, and, in turn, R&D and investment.


Well if I were to cut down some of the mirrorless companies, Samsung won't be one of them. Even though Samsung NX never got market penetration, I still consider it to be one of the most promising of all the 'crop' mirrorless systems. If I were given the task of cleaning up the mirrorless market, I will first kick Nikon 1 and Leica T out to oblivion, then merge Panasonic and Olympus mirrorless into one, ask Canon to either take it seriously or quit, and will let Sony, Fuji and Samsung carry on doing whatever they are up to.



Oct 24, 2015 at 12:49 PM
curious80
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p.2 #3 · p.2 #3 · Samsung exit?


And the talk of overcapacity makes sense only when there are some mature solutions in the market. I think no one has even remotely a mirrorless system which is as mature as say the DSLRs (m43 comes closest). And more importantly there is no single mirrorless player who you could count on right now, that they will eventually develop their system into a fully mature mirrorless solution. Not Sony, Not Fuji, Not Canon. So we absolutely need all those players in the market to keep the pressure on each other. This is definitely not the time to only have one or two dominant players.


Oct 24, 2015 at 01:11 PM
sflxn
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p.2 #4 · p.2 #4 · Samsung exit?


Not so sure it's a bad thing for Samsung to leave. The market is telling us something. There's only room for FF and 1" sensors. Sure, there are buyers for m43 and aps-c, but there's not enough profit there. We see this from Sony and Zeiss leaving the market for aps-c lenses and m43 pulling back on offerings. Being in the camera business where they haven't found any traction just means more losses for Samsung to try and hide in their books. Better for their customers that they quit early before customers get too entrenched. Just imagine how m43 and other aps-c owners will feel if the market squeezes out cropped sensors. All those lenses and accessories. I'm not trying to make a controversial comments. I just have a very dim view of the future for both cameras and PCs. Cameras will be everywhere, but good cameras with decent sized sensors will become rare sightings. As volume falls, it becomes cost ineffective to make large sensors.

Also, R&D don't always follow profits. They usually follow growth.

Competition is great for customers in the end, but if the customer base is shrinking, then competition is really bad for the manufacturers.

Edited on Oct 24, 2015 at 01:33 PM · View previous versions



Oct 24, 2015 at 01:29 PM
philber
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p.2 #5 · p.2 #5 · Samsung exit?


It is wishful thinking to hope for innovation and investment in a dwindling market unless the number of players falls in line with volume. It is that simple, whether we wish for it or not.


Oct 24, 2015 at 01:31 PM
Jonas B
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p.2 #6 · p.2 #6 · Samsung exit?


Thank you Phillipe. This is to you and anyone else interested in contributing.

As it is about cameras I find all this interesting. My knowledge about global economics and capitalism and the so called market is very limited.
That leaves me with questions.

1) Why is it a good thing having a small (too small to matter) innovative company close down. Somehow I don't see Samsung cameras causing losses for other makers.
2) Who decides the maximum number of players is limited to six?
3) Why shouldn't Leica leave the market? Who innovated less, or brought camera tech forward less, than they? (My answer is that Leica is too small to matter but I'm interested in your thoughts on that.)
4) Do you agree the list looks like this (or did I forget anyone?):
Canon
Nikon
Sony
Olympus
Panasonic
Fuji
Pentax/Ricoh
Samsung
Leica



Oct 24, 2015 at 01:47 PM
curious80
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p.2 #7 · p.2 #7 · Samsung exit?


philber wrote:
It is wishful thinking to hope for innovation and investment in a dwindling market unless the number of players falls in line with volume. It is that simple, whether we wish for it or not.


I think it is wishful thinking that with some of the players leaving, the remaining will suddenly get their act together and start doing what they haven't been doing so far. There has been quite a bit of 'innovation' already. What is needed now is to stop throwing random darts of innovation in every direction and work towards a system which actually meets the needs of a variety of users so it could be widely adopted. Unfortunately none of the mirrorless companies seem to have that plan in place so far. So I don't understand how you could decide to randomly take one or more horses out of the race and bet on the remaining ones.



Oct 24, 2015 at 01:51 PM
rattymouse
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p.2 #8 · p.2 #8 · Samsung exit?


curious80 wrote:
And the talk of overcapacity makes sense only when there are some mature solutions in the market.


Sales of cameras have fallen by double digits 4+ years or more. If that doesn't show overcapacity I don't know what does. I think at least the bottom 3, maybe 4 makers are doomed. Sony will survive as will Canon and Nikon. The rest simply are not profitable enough for the long haul.



Oct 24, 2015 at 02:07 PM
curious80
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p.2 #9 · p.2 #9 · Samsung exit?


sflxn wrote:
....The market is telling us something. There's only room for FF and 1" sensors. .....


I disagree with that assessment. As nice as the 1" sensor is (I used to own an RX100), in my opinion it is just a stop-gap measure and in the long term it is neither here nor there. Most of the P&S crowd doesn't care about having a 1" sensor, so most of the users of 1" sensor cameras are APS-C/FF users who want a capable sidekick. And for them eventually the 1" sensor leaves something to be desired. So I think in the long term that "small-but-capable companion camera" for DSLR users will either be based on an m43 or APS-C sensor. m43 has the size advantage at this point, though APS-C certainly has the potential to come close as hinted by EOS-M and some of the Samsung offerings. On the FF mirrorless side, there has obviously been a lot of excitement but there are still major barriers in terms of lens cost and size and the lens offerings so far have been on the slower side aperture wise. I don't think FF mirrorless is anywhere close to being ready for mass-adoption at this point.

So at this point the way I see it, m43 and FF are the two ends of the "interesting space". m43 being the smallest sensor size which could give IQ good enough to satisfy a DSLR user, and FF being the premium high IQ product. And APS-C is essentially fighting both of them trying to be both small and high-IQ and not quite knowing which way to go.



Oct 24, 2015 at 02:14 PM
rattymouse
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p.2 #10 · p.2 #10 · Samsung exit?


Uh.....the mass market has completely dropped cameras in favor of smart phones.


Oct 24, 2015 at 02:23 PM
curious80
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p.2 #11 · p.2 #11 · Samsung exit?


rattymouse wrote:
Sales of cameras have fallen by double digits 4+ years or more. If that doesn't show overcapacity I don't know what does. I think at least the bottom 3, maybe 4 makers are doomed. Sony will survive as will Canon and Nikon. The rest simply are not profitable enough for the long haul.


Yes the sales of interchangeable lens cameras is dropping, and in the long run the only technology which might have a chance of keeping the interchangeable lens cameras alive is mirrorless. And for that you need a company to do enough right things to make it a viable solution for a diverse user base. Sony is not doing that, and I have been a Sony user for long enough time to know that I can't trust Sony to have the vision that is needed to eventually get there. So you need other players in the market and hope one of them gets things right. I simply don't understand why you want to kick out a player which has the money and the technical resources to actually make this happen. Samsung is a giant. If anyone can sustain enough bad years to eventually come on top, it is Samsung. Not say Fuji or Olympus or Pentax. These small guys are fighting for survival. Samsung on the other hand has the capacity to take a long term view if they wish and not worry about immediate survival.

Edited on Oct 24, 2015 at 02:31 PM · View previous versions



Oct 24, 2015 at 02:24 PM
curious80
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p.2 #12 · p.2 #12 · Samsung exit?


rattymouse wrote:
Uh.....the mass market has completely dropped cameras in favor of smart phones.


Which is precisely my point. The only users who care about any of this are largely the current DSLR users. And for them the interesting space is not 1" sensors. And more important it is not enough to just have a camera with a kit lens. They need a system they could adopt and which fulfills all their diverse needs.



Oct 24, 2015 at 02:28 PM
rattymouse
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p.2 #13 · p.2 #13 · Samsung exit?


curious80 wrote:
Yes the sales of interchangeable lens cameras is dropping, and in the long run the only technology which might have a chance of keeping the interchangeable lens cameras alive is mirrorless. And for that you need a company to do enough right things to make it a viable solution for a diverse user base. Sony is not doing that, and I have been a Sony user for long enough time to know that I can't trust Sony to have the vision that is needed to eventually get there. So you need other players in the market and hope one of
...Show more

Sony has double digit market share, the only mirror less maker to achieve that. They are very successful.

Companies that lose money get shut down. Making money trumps all. Samsung had dismal sales.



Oct 24, 2015 at 02:29 PM
rattymouse
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p.2 #14 · p.2 #14 · Samsung exit?


curious80 wrote:
Which is precisely my point. The only users who care about any of this are largely the current DSLR users. And for them the interesting space is not 1" sensors. And more important it is not enough to just have a camera with a kit lens. They need a system they could adopt and which fulfills all their diverse needs.


Which Canon and Nikon have.



Oct 24, 2015 at 02:30 PM
curious80
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p.2 #15 · p.2 #15 · Samsung exit?


rattymouse wrote:
Which Canon and Nikon have.


Not in the mirrorless segment.



Oct 24, 2015 at 02:33 PM
curious80
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p.2 #16 · p.2 #16 · Samsung exit?


rattymouse wrote:
Sony has double digit market share, the only mirror less maker to achieve that. They are very successful.
.....





Oct 24, 2015 at 02:48 PM
philber
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p.2 #17 · p.2 #17 · Samsung exit?


curious80 wrote:
So I don't understand how you could decide to randomly take one or more horses out of the race and bet on the remaining ones.


I don't decide to take out one or more horses. If the info that started this thread is to be belived, it is the horse from Korea that took itself out. Which would not have been my choice, because they have the money and technology to innovate, which is more than I can say for some of the other players. Let's not forget that Samsung re major chipmakers, and that there aren't many of them around among camera makers (Sony, Canon, Panasonic, Samsung), so keeping all of them in the game matters IMHO. Because not making your own sensors must end up as strategic handicap (read: for Nikon, Olympus, Fuji).

Regarding sensor size, LG have already announced a 1/2inch sensor in a forthcoming phone, which means cameras with sensors that aren't larger than that are doomed IMHO. The limit being that larger sensors require larger lenses, which wouldn't fit the smartphone form factor. So my guess is that the 1" (and larger) sensor cameras are safe, but that is only a fraction of the number of cameras made, say, 5 years ago.

Whether we like it or not, whether it is in our best interests or not, restructuring must come to the camera business.



Oct 24, 2015 at 05:05 PM
sflxn
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p.2 #18 · p.2 #18 · Samsung exit?


curious80 wrote:
I disagree with that assessment. As nice as the 1" sensor is (I used to own an RX100), in my opinion it is just a stop-gap measure and in the long term it is neither here nor there. Most of the P&S crowd doesn't care about having a 1" sensor, so most of the users of 1" sensor cameras are APS-C/FF users who want a capable sidekick. And for them eventually the 1" sensor leaves something to be desired. So I think in the long term that "small-but-capable companion camera" for DSLR users will either be based on an m43
...Show more

"mass-adoption" is where I believe you are wrong. Photo enthusiasts need to give up on the idea that cameras are going to keep spreading out in adoption. That's not what's happening. Quite the contrary, it's retracting. It very much parallels the PC market. Why buy a new computer if all you're doing is surfing the web on your phone? Why buy a new camera if all you're doing is posting phone images on instagram?

FF will always have a market among enthusiasts and pros. That market might shrink, but will do so more slowly, and if prices fall, it may actually grow.

1" sensors are not just p&s. People on this forum think in terms of standalone camera buyers. The camera market is probably 1000s x bigger than standalone camera buyers. Automotive, drones, industrial, etc. 1" is cheap enough and has high enough performance to keep gaining adoption. You're not going to see car makers put m43 camera into their cars. Overkill and too expensive.

m43 is interesting to standalone alt FM camera buyers, but that's a very small market. If the camera market shrinks to hard core enthusiasts and pros, I don't believe m43 and APSC can survive. It's not only because there will be fewer and fewer buyers, but also because prices go up for these sensors as the market shrinks. Also, every manufacturer in the photo industry know that sub-FF buyers are cheap, cheap, cheap! They freak out over a $1k lens. In addition, that market is shrinking fast. That's simply not profitable for them. The only segment that doesn't complain about prices and seems stable are FF and bigger. This is not a criticism of m43 users, it's just a statement that for makers to continue to produce, they need to be profitable and growing. These guys aren't making equipment for passion. They're doing it for profit.



Oct 24, 2015 at 05:40 PM
Atlasman2
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p.2 #19 · p.2 #19 · Samsung exit?


Spyro P. wrote:
I think they did really well so far, but to be honest I dont know why they bothered in the first place.
I mean they are Samsung, they can build anything from cargo boats to spaceships, why waste resources in such a small, competitive and shrinking industry where they had no background?


Samsung has sensor and image processing technology—it's natural to want to apply the technology in as many applications as possible. When they entered the field, it wasn't known then that a new world order was being shaped.

And you are wrong about them not having background—my EX owned a Samsung compact film camera back in the 90's.



Oct 25, 2015 at 07:31 AM
Slowhands
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p.2 #20 · p.2 #20 · Samsung exit?


Really wonder what would have happened had the NX series used a more popular mount. I thought they were rather nice bodies for the price.


Oct 25, 2015 at 10:35 AM
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