State of the camera industry

OzRay

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A lot of comment is made about Olympus suffering in the camera industry, but they are not on their own: http://www.diyphotography.net/nikon-to-invest-1-96-billion-into-medical-fields-after-a-years-loss-in-camera-sales/.

After a loss in camera sales over the past year, along with a bit of controversy, Nikon is announcing a shift in business strategies. According to Reuters, Nikon is planning to invest $1.96 billion into alternative growth fields, medicine being a significant one.
 

tuxxdk

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People don't care about quality. And I'm not talking Olympus being the best or anything.

How often don't you see a family on vacation where mom or dad exclusively shoot using a crappy smartphone? It's "good enough" for them, so why lug a camera + eg. bag around when the smartphone in the pocket can do the same?

Those people back in time who got an Ixus or similar and by that supported the industry, is now out of the market due to the "good enough" smartphone. Hence the bleeding market.
 

robbie36

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People don't care about quality. And I'm not talking Olympus being the best or anything.

How often don't you see a family on vacation where mom or dad exclusively shoot using a crappy smartphone? It's "good enough" for them, so why lug a camera + eg. bag around when the smartphone in the pocket can do the same?

Those people back in time who got an Ixus or similar and by that supported the industry, is now out of the market due to the "good enough" smartphone. Hence the bleeding market.
That isnt quite the story is it though. We all have quality standards and the fact is that as all cameras are producing increasing quality pictures, there is a tendency for our standards to be met in a smaller more convenient (and possibly cheaper form factor). I know a lot of full frame users who are turning to mirrorless. But there are also mirrorless users who are pretty much satisfied by a RX100iii.
 

tuxxdk

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I don't disagree with you, because that was not what I meant.

What I meant is, that many user that before needed a real camera now suffices with the smartphone, hence they don't put money in the camera business.

So the market is bleeding because the phones has reached a point where it's good enough for many people.
 

fortwodriver

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lol...I love it when people refer to digicams as "real cameras" and things like iPhones as "crap"... That's a huge leap. Camera phones take pictures - they're here to stay, and face the facts that they're not "crap". It's not 2002 anymore.

Funny how camera phones have improved right alongside cameras, isn't it?

The camera business was pretty quite before 2001. Camera stores were quiet, with small corners in them selling Adobe products, and a few sold large format pinters and dye-sub printers with Fiery systems.
 

fortwodriver

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Today is the day I constantly get misunderstood.

Love it ;-)
Lol, not at all... I get what you're saying, but you did say "crappy smartphone"... Really, most of the newer smartphones have adequate cameras for what the majority of people want to use them for. The convenience and the connectivity is a huge bonus. Also your example of the iXUS and the APS format is kinda moot anyway - it was basically a ploy to get people to pay MORE for film and MORE for developing. The public didn't buy it and the format was pretty weak even before the digital rush.

When I was a kid, I was the odd man out... After a certain age I put down the 110 Instamatic and I carried around a little slr and a pocket of lenses while everyone else (and their parents) ran around with AF or fixed-focus point and shoots. Some kids had P&S cameras that had manual modes - none of them ever used those modes.

Those same kids today are adults. Some have invested in SLRs or mirrorless cameras. But most of them use their smartphones. A few of them have won photo competitions with their smartphones. They can print photos, make coffee table books and there's enough pixels in there that as long as they get the shot right and learn a little about basic lighting, they do fine.

It's the tools you use, not the tools you covet.
 

Wisertime

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Outside of pros and enthusiasts on sites like this, the average camera owner isn't going to replace their camera year after year. The market must be pretty saturated, especially with new models released every 6 months by almost every manufacturer. Any camera bought in the last 10 years is going to satisfy most people who are printing 4x6, 8x10, posting on Facebook or whatever. The avg joe needs a kit or super zoom lens and that's it, til he/she decides she wants to take their photography to another level....and yes smartphones too.
 

demiro

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Outside of pros and enthusiasts on sites like this, the average camera owner isn't going to replace their camera year after year. The market must be pretty saturated, especially with new models released every 6 months by almost every manufacturer. Any camera bought in the last 10 years is going to satisfy most people who are printing 4x6, 8x10, posting on Facebook or whatever. The avg joe needs a kit or super zoom lens and that's it, til he/she decides she wants to take their photography to another level....and yes smartphones too.
That's it exactly. We tend to think that we are normal, or represent the mass market, but we are not and we do not. We are freaks. And despite the exorbitant amounts of money we are willing to spend, we don't really move the needle for the camera industry as a whole.
 

GBarrington

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I don't disagree with you, because that was not what I meant.

What I meant is, that many user that before needed a real camera now suffices with the smartphone, hence they don't put money in the camera business.

So the market is bleeding because the phones has reached a point where it's good enough for many people.
This is one of the reasons I think Samsung is the camera maker to watch

http://glenbarrington.blogspot.com/2014/04/hey-canon-you-might-not-be-future-of.html
 

nstelemark

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Outside of pros and enthusiasts on sites like this, the average camera owner isn't going to replace their camera year after year. The market must be pretty saturated, especially with new models released every 6 months by almost every manufacturer. Any camera bought in the last 10 years is going to satisfy most people who are printing 4x6, 8x10, posting on Facebook or whatever. The avg joe needs a kit or super zoom lens and that's it, til he/she decides she wants to take their photography to another level....and yes smartphones too.
This is 100% true. My wife has a Canon 3Sis, a 6MP super zoom (I think it is a 10x zoom) and it takes pretty good images. And she has an iPhone 4S which also takes great pictures.

3Sis

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iPhone 3GS

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Art

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When it comes to photography, content is king and image quality is secondary. Smartphones are always with you and they take decent snapshots for viewing on smartphones (that's how most pictures are shared and viewed these days). Camera business is narrowing to enthusiast's market.


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jamesgehrt

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I am not sure if it would help the market, but what if one of the big camera makers utilized the smartphone. Have a, let's say Nikon, body that you insert your i-phone into. The camera has a nice sensor, you can use your existing lenses, but you use your smartphone as the brains and as a back screen. The camera is controlled from the phone app and you use the smartphone as a way to operate the camera. Images are stored onto your phone or card, geo locating is done, you can upload it to where ever you like, etc. There may be fewer people using a camera, but I think more people are taking pictures. Maybe there is a way to tap into that market while keeping what a company does well, making sensors and optics. I guess sony tried something like this with their lens camera things.

Just a thought...
 

fortwodriver

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I am not sure if it would help the market, but what if one of the big camera makers utilized the smartphone. Have a, let's say Nikon, body that you insert your i-phone into. The camera has a nice sensor, you can use your existing lenses, but you use your smartphone as the brains and as a back screen. The camera is controlled from the phone app and you use the smartphone as a way to operate the camera. Images are stored onto your phone or card, geo locating is done, you can upload it to where ever you like, etc. There may be fewer people using a camera, but I think more people are taking pictures. Maybe there is a way to tap into that market while keeping what a company does well, making sensors and optics. I guess sony tried something like this with their lens camera things.

Just a thought...
One of the reasons why they don't do this is mainly because of the high-turnover in the smartphone market. Also, smartphone companies would rather develop their own solution than allow a large camera company to capitalize off their "brains" in the phone. Also, the whole idea of sliding bits and pieces into each other seems to have died in favour of complete on-device integration. Ricoh even killed their body-swap GR system for this reason.
 

fredlong

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I am not sure if it would help the market, but what if one of the big camera makers utilized the smartphone. Have a, let's say Nikon, body that you insert your i-phone into. The camera has a nice sensor, you can use your existing lenses, but you use your smartphone as the brains and as a back screen. The camera is controlled from the phone app and you use the smartphone as a way to operate the camera. Images are stored onto your phone or card, geo locating is done, you can upload it to where ever you like, etc. There may be fewer people using a camera, but I think more people are taking pictures. Maybe there is a way to tap into that market while keeping what a company does well, making sensors and optics. I guess sony tried something like this with their lens camera things.

Just a thought...
Sony has already done this, a lens with a sensor controlled by a smart phone.
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1002614-REG/sony_dsc_qx100_digital_camera.html
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1002701-REG/sony_dsc_qx10_b_dsc_qx10_digital_camera_black.html

Fred
 

agentlossing

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I think you guys are onto it who mentioned that the camera market is saturated, and that most users don't upgrade that often. There is a glut of both DSLRs and mirrorless, and since most people who own such cameras probably splurged in order to own them they're not in a hurry to replace them. Also you don't find many consumers actively utilizing the used market to resell their gear, which is a major way you and I am able to purchase new gear.
 

OzRay

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This is interesting: http://www.43rumors.com/wsj-praises-olympus-and-blames-nikon-startegy/:

The market shows growth in just one category: “mirrorless” cameras. Nikon was among the last of major Japanese makers to release a mirrorless camera, and still offers only a handful of models. The company likely fears cannibalization of its high-end DSLRs, but its strategy seems not to be working. Nikon’s camera division, more than two-thirds of the company, posted a 9% revenue decline for the year through March.
Incoming chief executive Kazuo Ushida said the company plans to dive into medical equipment, in which it has no expertise…while rival Olympus is already a global leader in medical imaging, as well as in mirrorless cameras.
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usayit

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Those are a great idea but lacking in implementation. Two things that bothered me: Slow response because of the type of connection established between the phone and camera unit. Slow transfer between the phone and camera unit. Painful to attach to the camera. Missing ergonomics when combined. Difficult to carry.. bulky. It made more sense to buy the WX300 or RX100 for which the two were based on.

Basically, if you bought the WX300 or RX100II you essentially have the same capabilities PLUS all the added features of the stand alone camera "versions". So the buy in is a difficult proposition.

Personally, I think Samsung is headed in the right direction in this respect. Meld the phone into the camera and take advantage of Android. I'm sure Apple has considered this as well.
 

fortwodriver

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Those are a great idea but lacking in implementation. Two things that bothered me: Slow response because of the type of connection established between the phone and camera unit. Slow transfer between the phone and camera unit. Painful to attach to the camera. Missing ergonomics when combined. Difficult to carry.. bulky. It made more sense to buy the WX300 or RX100 for which the two were based on.
Last I saw the Sonys they were quite fast. Latency was low and the shutter button was on the lens barrel - I don't think there was much latency between the shutter button and capture.

I think some of the websites out there were getting at the possibility that Sony just branded an Asia Optical camera because they're so similar and Sony doesn't appear to be approaching JK or AO for any design patent violations.

I don't think it's selling well though. Kind-of like the Canon Facebook digicam.
 

drd1135

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The Wall Street Journal dissed Nikon but praised Olympus for their market strategy. I have no idea if they are right but it's great publicity for Olympus to a fairly affluent readership in the US.
 

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