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11-06-2014, 04:02 AM   #16
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QuoteOriginally posted by officiousbystander Quote
There's going to be a generation of children whose lives have been captured on second rate sensors for tiny low fi web images who have had no privacy nor a high quality visual record of their childhoods. Wait for the backlash. Also there are more photographers out there than ever before.

Exactly... Everybody's a facebook photographer nowadays. Same like with the music - everybody's listening to music in reduced mp3 quality. One might say quantity over quality.


When I visited a museum of medieval houses nearby Frankfurt few months ago, the guide asked the visitors what would they miss the most in such kind of houses. Imagine a very old house without electricity, water supply, central heating,... And there was a boy who said "Did they have Wi-Fi?".


My son is now 10 and it's not right easy to explain him, why should he click on the floppy disk symbol to save some document. Of course he has never seen one...

11-06-2014, 04:07 AM - 1 Like   #17
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I think we're seeing two separate events coalescing together. First, digital is hitting it's stride. Most digital cameras are now
good enough for most people most of the time. No one really needs to upgrade every year or two unless they want to.
This is a double whammy on top of the fact that the replacement of analog to digital is now over and that initial surge for
EVERYONE to buy a new camera EVERY couple years is over.

Second, we have the evolution of the smartphone and it's present capability to take photographs. As has been pointed out
in previous articles, this is really biting into the P&S market more than any other segment of the industry. Average Joe, who
bought a digital P&S to replace his P&S 35mm and then bought an entry level DSLR because that early digital P&S was so
lousy, is very content to shoot his pictures on his phone. He was never happy with the DSLR anyway and probably would
have gone back to another P&S now that the quality has improved had not the whole smartphone thing happened.

I'm confident there will remain a healthy market for enthusiast and professional cameras. Form factors will continue to evolve,
and it's very realistic to envision the venerable SLR getting bumped aside at some point for something better. Whether Pentax
will still be in the fray is a very tough call. At the moment I think their real strength is the 645 as it stands alone in a narrow
niche between FF and the rest of MF. Should the whole bottom end of the industry collapse, (everything below pro-level gear),
the 645 could mushroom into a much in demand market. Or the pro-sumer market may remain strong enough to support several
manufacturers and with luck Pentax will remain as a player in that field. P&S is undeniably dead, or more correctly, the P&S
market is now the smartphone. Abandoning the Optio line two years ago may prove to be the smartest thing Ricoh/Pentax
has done in the last few years.
11-06-2014, 04:36 AM   #18
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Camera companies are trying out all kinds of things to create new business. New sensor technology, new materials, more technology in ever decreasing packages, video. They probably see the threat and are trying to act on it.

The entire still image camera business is threatened and people think the threat is smartphones. But those are just a symptom. Smartphone cameras are getting better and better for less money and in a tiny package. But their quality will always be limited by format. Or at least for the coming 5 years. Therefore, larger format is was one of the keys to the survival of camera companies. Was, because when most consumers see what that extra quality costs in comparisson to their cheap smartphone, that quality often isn't that important anymore. Especially when they realise what they eventually do with their photos. They don't even need all that quality for their purposes.

That difference in price is too much for the average consumer. And it's way to much for young enthusiasts. I know a few local camera clubs. And today amongst the young people there is zero shame in beginning with your smartphone. Not even in continueing to use it. Sometimes I think it's exactly the other way round. Few even stated to want to avoid looking like (grand)dad with a giant DSLR and camerabag. They are very aware they're going to use their pics on e.g. Facebook anyway, so why even bother? Latest trend, at least in my area, is to have the skills to be able to take good photos with a smartphone. They take much pride in it. And I wholeheartedly agree with them. A smartphone with some adjusted settings, a makeshift tripod and some skills can generate breathtaking images at zero cost. That's the way to go if your images are only going to the internet, or remain on a hard drive.

But even if camera companies do manage to make gear prices more attractive, and sell everybody very high quality cameras and lenses. Everybody is still going to put them on Tumblr? Print them on those cheap coarse canvasses? All current camera gear is already very overpowered for those goals. My old *ist D already was! Smartphones can handle all that.

Camera companies are developing really cool and modern camera gear like mad, but they fail to give us something equally modern and cool to actually do with our pictures. It's like an athlete only training his left leg. If this continues, still image photography is going to be smartphone-only, or some secondary function of 3D video-cameras.

I hope, in 5 years time, it's cool again to take your camera along. And absolutely necessary if you want to display them on the large, extremely high resolution, wirelessly charged, automatically activated, online account managed, E-ink photoframes in your home, because cellphone pictures would be to low quality. Not to mention the digital-wallpaper. Those are just my examples. I'm quite sure that if the brilliant minds that developed todays camera miracles were assigned to figure out a new nice way to present our photos in our homes they would come up with far superior ideas then mine though.
11-06-2014, 04:49 AM - 1 Like   #19
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In five years I reckon I'll still be rockin' a Pentax K-mount DSLR, and my camera bag will be chock a block full of pretty much the same glass as I have now.
The body will have a 36x24 sensor, and its performance will be quantum leaps beyond what we currently have, and life will be sweet.

11-06-2014, 05:10 AM   #20
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You can't cover a wedding with a smartphone, and I don't see it changing in 5 years.
There has always been a "right tool" for each job, and cameras will always have a place in the market.
We can debate on "how much space", yes, but I don't see anything like pro and prosumer cameras disappearing soon, much less MF (645Z is proof of this).
11-06-2014, 05:45 AM   #21
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QuoteOriginally posted by LensBeginner Quote
You can't cover a wedding with a smartphone, and I don't see it changing in 5 years.
Coincidantally, I was at the wedding of a befriended couple. They are hardcore sky-diving enthusiasts. Tool of choice for that is, of course, go-pro. They decided not to hire an expensive photographer to take a bunch of photo's they'll pay an arm-and-a-leg for, glue in a book and only look at every 20 years. But they had two friends follow them around with their go-pro's mounted on their shoulder instead. Not very elegant, in my opinion. But they can actually re-live their entire wedding in a very intimate, fun and modern way. I don't think it will catch on. But such things are going to be much easier in 5 years time. At my wedding we handed out cardboard throw-away cameras. In five years time couples may hand out breast-pocket HD film cameras? Who needs a stranger sticking a DSLR their face when you can do something like that instead?
11-06-2014, 06:08 AM   #22
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QuoteOriginally posted by Clavius Quote
*snip*
Who needs a stranger sticking a DSLR their face when you can do something like that instead?
True, but would you risk not having a picture of the kiss on your wedding? I don't know if I'd take the gamble...
11-06-2014, 08:04 AM   #23
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I also have Canon equipment...the G12 and a 430 EX 11 flash.

Sometimes I wonder about Canon.

I'm a long time enthusiast, but I can't keep on top of the camera line of Canon. There's so much and they seem to change quickly, particularly the small P+S, advanced compact line and the low end of the DSLR line....the Rebels, etc.

I know the high end quite well....the 7D2, 5D3, 1DX.....the smaller G1X, G16......but the rest are an every changing mystery to me.

But Canon do pump out what seems to be millions of them....non stop.

Maybe this is part of .....or....the problem in a nutshell.

Canon has saturated the low end DSLR market and many of those who were going to buy a basic DSLR....have done so.

11-06-2014, 08:06 AM - 4 Likes   #24
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Its interesting how different people foresee the future in certain form of "convenience" to their own agenda. Sometimes quite objective and others, a little bit utopic.

Of course I would like to see Pentax still going strong in 5, 10 or 20 years ahead, but I am afraid there is one single situation that is really CHANGING the imaging concept in people, which is their perception of "quality" (as the article mentions).

Let me explain: 50 years ago photography took its biggest leap in history towards making photo shooting available for the "sunday shooter" noob, with the introduction of the Kodak Instamatic cartridges. The once famous cartridge (126) and later with the 110 format, took care of the single most important technological barrier between the completely photo ignorant person and the "photographer of the house" who usually pulled out his Exacta, Asahiflex, Nikon, Minolta, Praktica, Leica or other "spooky" device jammed with knobs, numbers, buttons and levers.... which scared the crap of your average Joe by those days.

At the same time, another company founded by Dr. Land (Polaroid) offered us the magic of "instant results", which running shoulder to shoulder with the Instamatic cartridges, caused an instant "quality standard decrease" in what regular people expected.

Later was the Disc system along with the 110 cartridges who dominated more than 60% of the total consumer photo business worldwide. Of course, business was doing fine, but a what cost? By lowering more and more the quality of the pictures produced.

By mid 80's to mid 90's, the industry flourished with the 135 mm point and shoot cameras. Even Pentax was considered number 1 worldwide in this segment, which provided the cash flow for developing more and more sophisticated point & shoots as well as SLR, to later switch to digital systems. Of course, other brands had their own share. C & N as well as Minolta, Fujica, Yashica, Contax, Rollei, etc.

With the surging of the digital era, another phenomena happened. All of a sudden, less and less pictures were printed. The mini-lab business started lowering their participation in the photo industry and only a few remained. Few years later, slide film was gone to a point that there may be less E6 labs in the total western hemisphere than nuclear shelters. With digital also happened another curious phenomena. While people was shooting more pictures limited only by the memory size in their cameras, less and less pictures were actually being printed. Probably only one in every thousand photos taken, were ever printed on (photo) paper and displayed in a frame or pasted in a photo album.

All those pictures were being stored in hard drives, diskettes, CD's and flash drives. Sometimes their owners never backed up their systems and sometimes saw how the first 5 years of their kids in photos, were lost forever because a computer virus or a damaged CD disk or diskette. During the film days, if anything happened, at least you had the negatives... but with digital, nada!

Home photo printers started showing. Of course, consumables were expensive (still are) but at least, started giving us a nice possibility to print our own pictures at home, and better yet, print only the ones we want and not the whole roll of film...

Everything was fine until two major players in the photo thing showed up: Social networks and smartphones! Now, all of a sudden, printing is no longer a needed and we are being dazzled by the computer and smartphone screens to appreciate not only our pictures, but everyone else's too! This two single players automatically lowered our quality standards again! Everything looks great on a smartphone screen! Yes, its small and can't appreciate if there is out of focus, blurs, grain, noise, or whatever pixel peeping issue we may try to find... And of course, since we inadvertently lowered our quality standards, now with also think the camera in the smartphone is just great!

Of course, all my previous description is too generalized. Of course, there is still lots of people like us that find "offensive" when someone dares to compare the IQ from an Iphone to one produced with a K3 & DA15. But we have to admit it: At Instagram level, is almost impossible to tell a difference! (snif snif snif).

I am sure 5 years ahead (or even 10), there will be photo enthusiast that will still cherish their beloved cameras and lenses. Some of us will be still pixel peeping and debating about this or that lens.... discussing how the "big ones" fell from mount Olympus to the deepest abyss in the ocean and how we are like endangered species who refuse to accept change.

I see the future today in a very different way we saw the future 15 years ago: remember? Many of us said that digital will never take over film due to quality issues... but sadly enough, digital took over! Finding film today is as rare as finding gasoline in "Mad Max", remember? It really hurts down deep when I see someone asking about how "reliable" some rolls of film may be if dated for expiration 20 years ago...

I am not pessimistic, just realistic. If the photo industry players keep doing things the same way as today, they are doomed without a question. The only survivors will be the ones that find that special added value the will keep their products selling in a quite different technology market.

BTW, the same way smartphones are taking over the "consumer imaging business" today, I am sure in a not so distant future, another technology will come that takes over the smartphones. Think for a split second about one device today that is considered just as an expensive toy with very few real world applications: Google Glass.

At the speed technology advances, I bet we will be able to see (in the next 10 to 15 yrs), a new type of "wearable" device, that will take care of communications (phone), imaging (camera), file sharing (wi-fi), info handling & access (browser) and about two dozen more apps that we still don't know may exist and never knew how we could live before without them.

And during those days of implanted electronics and devices (the Borg!), I am also sure there will still be some Pentax enthusiasts, still taking pictures with their beloved cameras or probably staring at them as dead electronic bricks, because no longer you can find replacement batteries or memory cards for them.

But hey! Don't be sad. I am not saying Pentax will die. I am just saying that photo gear as we know it today, will undoubtedly die, but I am sure Ricoh Imaging will come out strong, evolving into the new technologies and providing us with great gear for many years to come, under the Pentax brand of course!

A glimpse at the future 20 years ahead!
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11-06-2014, 08:34 AM   #25
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QuoteOriginally posted by rburgoss Quote
Its interesting how different people foresee the future in certain form of "convenience" to their own agenda. Sometimes quite objective and others, a little bit utopic.

*snip*

A glimpse at the future 20 years ahead!
A great rollercoaster ride, thanks for writing such an interesting post, I enjoyed reading it!
11-06-2014, 09:06 AM   #26
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There is still a thriving business in paper Day Planners. MS Outlook and iCloud and Google Calendar haven't replaced paper yet.

dSLR's bear some similarity to new houses in the USA and EU in the latter 2000's - overbuilt, bought on credit and not really affordable at the top. Multi-function devices won't eliminate specialized image capture devices but we might never again see the production volume of 2009-2012 again. We just might return to the volume level of 2004. Those companies that overbuilt production capacity to meet peak demand (Canon, Nikon, Sony) will need to write down capital investment and rationalize production capacity, but they won't disappear. Companies like Pentax that (for whatever reason) neglected to invest during the 1st decade of the 21st C. might actually be in the best position right now. Won't it be ironic if, looking back, we say, "Thank goodness Hoya . . . . .?"

Second point - and VERY VERY important!!!!

Cameras don't matter. Lenses matter. Machine vision is the future. Machine vision needs lenses. Companies that can design and produce lenses for machine vision will rule the imaging business. I believe Ricoh Imaging has at least a presence in machine vision.

Last edited by monochrome; 11-07-2014 at 02:06 PM.
11-06-2014, 09:12 AM   #27
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QuoteOriginally posted by lesmore49 Quote
I also have Canon equipment...the G12 and a 430 EX 11 flash.

Sometimes I wonder about Canon.

I'm a long time enthusiast, but I can't keep on top of the camera line of Canon. There's so much and they seem to change quickly, particularly the small P+S, advanced compact line and the low end of the DSLR line....the Rebels, etc.

I know the high end quite well....the 7D2, 5D3, 1DX.....the smaller G1X, G16......but the rest are an every changing mystery to me.

But Canon do pump out what seems to be millions of them....non stop.

Maybe this is part of .....or....the problem in a nutshell.

Canon has saturated the low end DSLR market and many of those who were going to buy a basic DSLR....have done so.
As for the comment about Canon, I hear you on the entry level models. I am not a Canon guy so I check all cameras but not in depth in Canon because I get confused. T5i, T5.....what is the 'I" for ? and then again is it a 1200 or a T5 ? I know the answers but to others, especially entry and mid level models, how does a newbie really going to keep up ?
11-06-2014, 09:18 AM   #28
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QuoteOriginally posted by rburgoss Quote
I am not pessimistic, just realistic.

*snip*
A very thoughtful look at the future, as valid as any other guess here. But I do personally think
you are indeed being just a little, teeny tiny bit pessimistic. Just a tad.

Consider, if nothing else, your vision will assure a continued supply of customers for glorified
poster prints at art fairs around the world. Your vision would lower the bar considerably below
current standards, making it a shoe-in career for anyone willing to pixel-peep and pay attention
to anything beyond a quick grab snap-shot.

More seriously, photography didn't kill painting and digital won't kill photography. It may alter
the careers of some but anyone intent on pursuing a more qualitative approach to photography
will find opportunities for work. And there's never been a hinderance to pursuing a hobby, if
that is all you're after. I guarantee it and will buy you a beer, 5, 10 & 20 years from now if I'm wrong.

Chin up, stiff back, glass half full. It really ain't all that bad.

Last edited by tvdtvdtvd; 11-06-2014 at 09:23 AM.
11-06-2014, 09:23 AM   #29
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Agree, and Mirrorless will not kill DSLR's also, there will still be a need. Just look at film, it is what some might say is on life support but there are others who are still shooting film.
11-06-2014, 10:02 AM   #30
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QuoteOriginally posted by JimC1101 Quote
Agree, and Mirrorless will not kill DSLR's also, there will still be a need. Just look at film, it is what some might say is on life support but there are others who are still shooting film.
Maybe not completely, but the more I think about it the more I'm convinced mirrorless will supersede the SLR.
An improved EVF, equal in responsiveness and performance to the current OVF is all that's needed.

As for film, not only is it not on life support but demand is strong enough to renew production that had
ceased. Just as the CD never killed the LP and digital has, if anything, created a new awareness among
many for high-fidelity music and LP sales are presently stronger now than they've been in perhaps two
decades or more. To be sure, the LP is no longer the dominant format for music but it's still holding strong
and will continue to do so until another high-fidelity format can take its place for the purists.
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