Robin Wong's Ten Things OM Digital Solutions must do...

PakkyT

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As far as the Alice camera goes, seems pretty silly to me. Ergonomics are poor, and you've still got a tortuous path for the light to the phone sensor. Seems a better option would be a decent camera with a much better Wifi camera to phone interface.

I think the Alice is a stand alone camera with its own sensor and does not pass the light through to your mobile phone It is literally not much different than using Oi.Share with an Olympus camera. Unless I misunderstood that thing.
 

John King

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See the graph below (source : https://shotkit.com/camera-industry-stats/)
View attachment 877237
4 million cameras / year is 1970s level of sales. And the industry sold films, prints and such they don't anymore ! In those days, a "competent" camera was more than one month of wages. Who's ready to put ~1.700 €/$ in an E-M10 VII ?
Tough question.
M.
This graph is quite misleading. ILC camera sales have remained relatively constant, but the far greater and ubiquitous P&S market was destroyed.

Most companies were heavily reliant on that P&S market to cover base operating costs (contribution margin, in accountant speak).
 

JDS

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I think if there's one product development project that could really matter in terms of competitive differentiation would be to really simplify syncing with a smartphone, especially the iPhone. My OI.Share app won't sync with my cameras at the moment (and reviews sind like it's not working for most people), and even when it worked out was way too cumbersome of a process. Tap to sync, automatic pairing of time & GPS data, easier remote control of the camera, open source remote apps, better Webcam support... I hope they are on the phone with Apple to find every opportunity to be the preferred camera accessory to the iPhone, that could be big.
 

pake

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@pake Teemu, I constantly see photographs here that are the equal of anything taken with other formats.

And the lenses are often better, too.

Sorry, but I just do not see the limitations that you speak of.

Even my 2012 E-PM2 with its lovely 16 MPx Sony sensor is still excellent, all these years later.
Is my 20 MPx E-M1 MkII better? Certainly.
Is it earth shatteringly better? No, sorry, it's not.

Is anything else earth shatteringly better? No, they're not.
Are you trying to convince me or the market? You don't have to tell me, I'm already pretty darned aware of this. But I'm only buying for one (or two) person and there is a much wider audience that needs to be "educated". And guess how receptive the market is to your claims... It's not about what you or I think. It's about the general perception.

And btw, I didn't mention anything about limitations.

Clumsy? To who? If they were so clumsy, nobody would use them.
Try changing aperture and compensation without looking at the screen. I can do that with my cameras just like that. With my phone? I'd rather wouldn't even try...
 

fortwodriver

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Try changing aperture and compensation without looking at the screen. I can do that with my cameras just like that. With my phone? I'd rather wouldn't even try...

Yeah, but you can do it... I can change the aperture on mine.
In fact, a coworker of mine has a smartphone with an AI-based aperture that even automagically blurs the background when it's set to the equivalent of a large aperture size. He figured it out when his clunky DSLR buddy explained bokeh to him and he figured out how to do it... He doesn't really care how it's done as long as he can show he can do it - and he's far more technical than the average snap shooter.

You're assuming the market we're talking about actually cares about setting their own aperture and shutter speeds. They certainly didn't in the 90s, and they mostly don't now.
 

fortwodriver

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Many camera phones take excellent photos but during used (photos and especially video) they can be very clumsy to use and I think effectively train most of their users to take poorly framed shots where the user chooses ease of handling over nice framing to get the shot in many cases.

You're coming form a completely different viewpoint. The vast majority of snap shooters don't see that as a problem. Look at the generations of Polaroids with unintentional dutch angles and fingers in front of the lens...

It's instant, it is actually very good, and it's accessible and sharable.
 

RS86

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You're assuming the market we're talking about actually cares about setting their own aperture and shutter speeds. They certainly didn't in the 90s, and they mostly don't now.

We are talking about prosumer and professional camera market, you're talking about the total "camera" market, or the smartphone/compact camera market. This is seen in the graph I put, where smartphones have taken over the compacts and some of the ILC's, but ILC's have a different market which seems to stay at 4-5, max. 6 million units sold per year.

If we could keep these markets separate in the arguments, we would have much less problems understanding each other.

About the chart, someone said that the numbers are similar to 1970's, but failed to notice that the lens numbers are much more, which will also bring revenue.

otcFXt87l77I51Rdz10raeBmTgRDfxPfD_ShZwG7W-8FJZWoSV.jpg
Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)
 
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fortwodriver

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We are talking about prosumer and professional camera market, you're talking about the total "camera" market, or the smartphone/compact camera market.

About the chart, someone said that the numbers are similar to 1970's, but failed to notice that the lens numbers are much more, which will also bring revenue.

View attachment 877421


I don't think that's wise because there are far more professional productions being realized with smartphones than there were with Kodak Disc cameras. It's an eye-watering reality that smartphones can create publishable content and win awards. Many will never go back to ILCs, or if they do, they may not own them - they may rent or borrow them.

I suspect the lens trend (which is now falling) had more to do with people upgrading from a kit lens to something more deluxe based on their friends' recommendations. It peaked a few years ago, and it's declining. What are those people using now?

Pros don't buy nearly as much gear as everyone else. Now it's even worse because contract, pool, and staff photographers have been let go all over the world. Freelance photographers have to compete with smartphone-wielding amateurs who are already "there" documenting whatever is happening.

I like Thom, mainly because he always looks back at what he said and corrects or changes his predictions, he never claims to be absolutely correct. I'm curious to see what he changes in 3-5 years as things unfold.
 

RS86

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I don't think that's wise because there are far more professional productions being realized with smartphones than there were with Kodak Disc cameras. It's an eye-watering reality that smartphones can create publishable content and win awards. Many will never go back to ILCs, or if they do, they may not own them - they may rent or borrow them.

I suspect the lens trend (which is now falling) had more to do with people upgrading from a kit lens to something more deluxe based on their friends' recommendations. It peaked a few years ago, and it's declining. What are those people using now?

Pros don't buy nearly as much gear as everyone else. Now it's even worse because contract, pool, and staff photographers have been let go all over the world. Freelance photographers have to compete with smartphone-wielding amateurs who are already "there" documenting whatever is happening.

I like Thom, mainly because he always looks back at what he said and corrects or changes his predictions, he never claims to be absolutely correct. I'm curious to see what he changes in 3-5 years as things unfold.

You think it's wiser to talk about smartphone users in the same context as people who need ILC's, than separate these? I don't know what to say.

Are you seriously suggesting most prosumers and professionals will soon use smartphones or what? If some win awards with phone cameras, it's fine, but I have very hard time seeing it being the norm anytime soon.

Besides there are even separate contests for phone cameras, so not that tought to win an award there with a phone camera. Any statistics on how big percentage win awards with camera phones in photography contests that are open to everyone? Likely not, which is a pity.
 
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doady

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"Snap shooters" were never the main focus of Micro Four Thirds or any interchangeable lens system. Smartphones are replacing compact fixed-lens cameras, but m4/3 is an interchangeable lens system. According to that graph, sales of interchangeable camera bodies and lenses were about the same in 2019 as they were in 2009, and 2 or 3 times higher compared to the film era. You can see, as smartphone sales steadily grew during the 00s, sales of ILCs grew steadily as well. Even when smartphone sales skyrocketed beginning in 2009, sales of ILCs continued to grow alongside it for a few years. Again, I don't see evidence of people abandoning ILCs in favour of smartphones. If anything, looking at the big picture, the market for ILCs has only grown during the smartphone era. According to that graph, the market for ILCs actually shrunk for two decades until smartphones came along. That's why all this gloom and doom about ILCs because of smartphones makes no sense to me.
 
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fortwodriver

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You think it's wiser to talk about smartphone users in the same context as people who need ILC's, than separate these? I don't know what to say.

Are you seriously suggesting most prosumers and professionals will soon use smartphones or what? If some win awards with phone cameras, it's fine, but I have very hard time seeing it being the norm anytime soon.

The ILC market is saturated, and virtually every ILC user has a smartphone, or can get one. Priorities in personal spending are such these days that many don't feel there's an issue upgrading their cellphones every couple years while letting their ILCs stay as is. Some may upgrade from the kit lens to something more deluxe, but it's not guaranteed.

Most pros own a smartphone with a camera and I really doubt they thumb their noses at the idea of a completely portable camera. They may use their pro bodies and lenses for a lot of work, but they will eventually play with their smartphone camera, too.

You can label them whatever you like, they're still carrying that smartphone, and will still experiment with it. The problem is primarily with the massive amount of folks who bought DSLRs or Mirrorless cameras and decided they didn't have to keep carrying them around do get what they wanted out of photography.

I'm pretty sure the engineering and research folks at Olympus are aware of that and are working on something that may not be a traditional mirrorless camera. Who knows?
 

RS86

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The ILC market is saturated, and virtually every ILC user has a smartphone, or can get one. Priorities in personal spending are such these days that many don't feel there's an issue upgrading their cellphones every couple years while letting their ILCs stay as is. Some may upgrade from the kit lens to something more deluxe, but it's not guaranteed.

Most pros own a smartphone with a camera and I really doubt they thumb their noses at the idea of a completely portable camera. They may use their pro bodies and lenses for a lot of work, but they will eventually play with their smartphone camera, too.

You can label them whatever you like, they're still carrying that smartphone, and will still experiment with it. The problem is primarily with the massive amount of folks who bought DSLRs or Mirrorless cameras and decided they didn't have to keep carrying them around do get what they wanted out of photography.

I'm pretty sure the engineering and research folks at Olympus are aware of that and are working on something that may not be a traditional mirrorless camera. Who knows?

Okay, well I think I can agree with those things. I don't even know what the argument is anymore?

I also use a camera phone, but not for serious stuff. I can't afford to buy ~1000 € phone every 2-3 years (especially if they're designed to get broken like my last expensive phone was.) I might buy a better phone camera when the technology has halted more, like in ILC's currently. I really hope they make a law to force manufacturers to let customers change their batteries easily again.

I still think it's gonna be a long while until smartphones will replace ILC's, if ever especially for professionals. Something like Alice might.

But yeah, I really don't understand why the total cameras sold (smartphones included) should be looked at, and not separate ILC's from that discussion. That has got people here arguing for almost no benefit, starting from what "clumsy" means when using any camera.
 

fortwodriver

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Okay, well I think I can agree with those things. I don't even know what the argument is anymore?

I also use a camera phone, but not for serious stuff. I can't afford to buy ~1000 € phone every 2-3 years (especially if they're designed to get broken like my last expensive phone was.) I might buy a better phone camera when the technology has halted more, like in ILC's currently. I really hope they make a law to force manufacturers to let customers change their batteries easily again.

I still think it's gonna be a long while until smartphones will replace ILC's, if ever especially for professionals. Something like Alice might.

But yeah, I really don't understand why the total cameras sold (smartphones included) should be looked at, and not separate ILC's from that discussion. That has got people here arguing for almost no benefit, starting from what "clumsy" means when using any camera.

I didn't mean to argue. I think we are in agreement.

My concern was more to do with presenting "clumsy" as fact. That is your opinion on ergonomics of a smartphone as a camera... I was simply disagreeing with that - any many would disagree that cameraphones are clumsy. Many smartphone users believe ILCs are downright clumsy, too.
It just depends where you're coming from and what you're used to.

In the pro/amateur market, yes it will take a while. But can we agree that the massive growth in digital ILC sales also had to do with the vast majority of folks dipping their toes into photography at the behest of a friend and saturating the market? And can we also agree that a lot of those cameras are no longer being used - relegated to the closet? I think many thought that one ILC camera would do it for them and it just didn't.
 

John King

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Frank, I do not think that you understand either the graphs that you are referencing, or what others are saying.

Since 1970, the world's population has more than doubled.

At around those decades (pre-digital), most people used some kind of fixed lens camera, and most of those were the Instamatic type.

When photography went digital, most of these people bought simple P&S cameras. This market has fallen off a cliff with the advent of smartphones. Smartphones are generally far superior to the Instamatic class of camera, and getting better every year (mostly ... ).

These simple P&S cameras generated much revenue for the manufacturers, hence made up most of the contribution margin (look that up, it is an essential concept in this discussion).

With the essential death of the P&S market, several things necessarily follow:

1) the contribution margin must now fall solely on ILCs, making them more expensive;

2) it is far easier to expand production facilities than it is to shrink them;

3) ILC sales have remained relatively stable relative to population for the last 50-60 years;

4) prices are gradually returning to pre-digital levels as manufacturers adjust to the death of 90%+ of the P&S market.

And yes, I carry my relatively capable smartphone with me 24/7. But when I'm out for a stroll, my E-PM2 is hanging off my wrist, or in a pocket. That is not going to change.
 
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John King

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@RS86, Buy a ZTE T86. It is:

1) all but indestructible,

2) IPX68 rated,

3) runs for 5-7 days of normal 14H days in normal use between recharges,

4) has simply superb reception, including in fringe conditions.

5) it is no longer shipped jam packed with Google Crap, only the essentials are pre-installed.

6) it takes big micro-SD cards.

7) is USB-C, and recharges from about 30% to 100% in a couple of hours.

My last ZTE T83 is still perfectly functional, but runs out of memory every time Google Crap gets updated. It is now 6.5 years old.
 

Hypilein

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I suspect the lens trend (which is now falling) had more to do with people upgrading from a kit lens to something more deluxe based on their friends' recommendations. It peaked a few years ago, and it's declining. What are those people using now?

I can tell you what those people are using now. They are still using those same lenses they bought. All those people who bought something like an Olympus 12-40 or Panasonic 35-100 at release have no reason to replace them. If that is the focal length and aperture you wanted, nothing better has come out, unless you count the Panasonic 35-100II which is mostly a cosmetic upgrade with minor feature improvements.

Most people know that lenses are long term purchases and that means that if a lot of new people get into the market, they will buy their lenses, but then numbers will drop because those lenses won't need replacement.
 

RS86

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I didn't mean to argue. I think we are in agreement.

My concern was more to do with presenting "clumsy" as fact. That is your opinion on ergonomics of a smartphone as a camera... I was simply disagreeing with that - any many would disagree that cameraphones are clumsy. Many smartphone users believe ILCs are downright clumsy, too.
It just depends where you're coming from and what you're used to.

I was speaking from the point of view of enthusiast and professional, not the people who are happy with compact cameras and smartphones. Smartphones will need something like Alice, and I think even much more evolved help than Alice to phones, to not be clumsy when shooting.

That is the basis with clumsy and why I wonder how anyone on this forum would disagree with. But enough of that, we are mostly in agreement I think.
 

RS86

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@RS86, Buy a ZTE T86. It is:

1) all but indestructible,

2) IPX68 rated,

3) runs for 5-7 days of normal 14H days in normal use between recharges,

4) has simply superb reception, including in fringe conditions.

5) it is no longer shipped jam packed with Google Crap, only the essentials are pre-installed.

6) it takes big micro-SD cards.

7) is USB-C, and recharges from about 30% to 100% in a couple of hours.

My last ZTE T83 is still perfectly functional, but runs out of memory every time Google Crap gets updated. It is now 6.5 years old.

I usually buy a new phone either when it breaks or the battery is finished. Currently I have Motorola Moto G8 Power, with 5000 mAh battery and is splash-proof. I got it for 150 € last Black Friday, it's the cheapest phone I have ever bought, great deal, -100 € for almost new model.

Like I said, I'll wait for the phone camera technology improvements to slow down to put more money into a phone camera. Makes no sense to me to upgrade phones often at this point, when you have to pay yourself sick to get the latest features which improve at a fast pace.

I basically always have at least my Think Thank Retrospective 5, PEN-F and a few lenses with me. No problem for me to carry that.
 
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RS86

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I can tell you what those people are using now. They are still using those same lenses they bought. All those people who bought something like an Olympus 12-40 or Panasonic 35-100 at release have no reason to replace them. If that is the focal length and aperture you wanted, nothing better has come out, unless you count the Panasonic 35-100II which is mostly a cosmetic upgrade with minor feature improvements.

Most people know that lenses are long term purchases and that means that if a lot of new people get into the market, they will buy their lenses, but then numbers will drop because those lenses won't need replacement.

One hope for the camera industry is the increase in the number of people taking photographs. If the camera phones can get more interested in photography, there can be huge amount of people buying camera gear. That's what happened to me. And for example if more Chinese people get interested in photography and can afford it...
 
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