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05-05-2018, 01:38 AM - 2 Likes   #1
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SLR sales versus digital

Here is another interesting piece of CIPA data:




CIPA sales data goes back to 1956, but it cut it off 25 years ago to avoid making the graph too much stretched out.

So SLRs found much more customers and digital ILC - ever.

It is also obvious that the lower the prices the more customers and vice versa.

Basically the makers raise prices as demand falls or stays stagnant to satisfy their shareholders and rip off their existing customers. While the DSLM fans are more victims to this, the DSLR situation is pretty much the same.

What you can't see here is that the total number of DSLR and DSLM customers combined in 2017 just matches that of SLR customers back in 1978.

05-05-2018, 03:30 AM   #2
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Interesting chart, and thanks for posting this.

QuoteOriginally posted by beholder3 Quote
Basically the makers raise prices as demand falls or stays stagnant to satisfy their shareholders and rip off their existing customers. While the DSLM fans are more victims to this, the DSLR situation is pretty much the same.

Er, could it be that the data reflects also that further into the technology cycle there tends to be a shift towards premium products (i.e. mid-range to flagship models), which do afford higher profit margins? Given what you get in these products, build-quality and featurewise, it would be a matter of interpretation if you wanted to call that "rip-off", I'd say.
05-05-2018, 04:53 AM - 1 Like   #3
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I wouldn't say that it is ripping off any one's customers. The problem is that certain costs are fixed and if camera sales decrease, R and D costs end up being spread over fewer units. This is particularly true at the top end.
05-05-2018, 05:34 AM - 1 Like   #4
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It is hard to know what to make of the chart in terms of price vs sales because I cannot tell whether the prices have been adjusted for inflation and other economic changes. A dollar bought almost twice as much in 1992. Back further, when I bought my first Pentax K1000 (one of the cheapest SLRs) in the late 1970s , the $200 cost was vastly more to my budget and that of most others than an entry level DSLR today. An entry level DSLR at as little as $300 doesn’t cost all that much more than the K1000 in raw dollars. A 1976 K1000 cost $900 in 2018 dollars. I can’t see the ripoff, even without accounting for the features.

Also note that the high point on the SLR curve was at the peak of an economic boom so big that there were no US government deficits. People had money in their pockets for luxury items, and tech development was also huge. This chart really doesn’t tell much of a story without a lot more context.

---------- Post added 05-05-18 at 06:58 AM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by Rondec Quote
I wouldn't say that it is ripping off any one's customers. The problem is that certain costs are fixed and if camera sales decrease, R and D costs end up being spread over fewer units. This is particularly true at the top end.
I think you are right about the high end. A 1976 Nikon F2 would have cost about $2,500 adjusted for inflation. The delta between entry level and high end is much larger today.

05-05-2018, 06:00 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by Madaboutpix Quote
it would be a matter of interpretation if you wanted to call that "rip-off", I'd say.
Agreed, it is only my opinion about it. Increase of average item prices in a large market with millions of buyers and a consistently broad range of products is what leads me to this.
It is not the case that they all have suddenly removed all entry level cameras from their portfolio.
05-05-2018, 06:08 AM   #6
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To show that there's a rip-off, you have to show that the price of a given model with a given functionality is now more expensive. I'd think that the price for a given level of functionality has been dropping. Moreover, this data is biased in ignoring sales of used cameras which enable people to avoid a rip-off even if there was one.

No one is being forced to buy new cameras. That people are willing to pay more to get more shows that companies are doing what people what.
05-05-2018, 06:15 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by photoptimist Quote
That people are willing to pay more to get more shows that companies are doing what people what.
That could also simply say that fewer and fewer sheep buy overpriced cameras and makers milk the remaining sheep the more.

Show me any valid substantiation for a claim that the average level x camera delivers MUCH more than the model before. MUCH requiring it to be more fully featured and not just updated with current technology (e.g. AF upgrades, more megapixels etc).

PCs have kept a stable or lower price level for the longest time and still capabilities have exploded. How have ILC provided more progress than other entertainment electronics devices?
05-05-2018, 06:59 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by beholder3 Quote
How have ILC provided more progress than other entertainment electronics devices?
in the mega pixel age, they have similar to CPU, but not anymore. From IstD to K3, we had a continued improvement on image quality and camera speed. The end of this was the K3.

05-05-2018, 09:23 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by beholder3 Quote
That could also simply say that fewer and fewer sheep buy overpriced cameras and makers milk the remaining sheep the more.

Show me any valid substantiation for a claim that the average level x camera delivers MUCH more than the model before. MUCH requiring it to be more fully featured and not just updated with current technology (e.g. AF upgrades, more megapixels etc).

PCs have kept a stable or lower price level for the longest time and still capabilities have exploded. How have ILC provided more progress than other entertainment electronics devices?
Moore's law helps PCs and entertainment electronics devices by making transistors smaller. That not only enables more functionality per unit area but also enables greater speed.

But that size->transistor count + speed trend provides almost no benefits to the sensors of ILCs. Sensors need big features because the feature size is defined by the physics of light which means pixels need to be big and all the circuits tied to pixels need to be big to handle the analog signal.

Moore's law has improved cameras in some areas. These include the ability to store large numbers of large images for almost nothing (I paid $10/MB for a 200 MB hard disk in 1989), encode video in real time, do various image processing enhancements (lens correction , clarity, etc.) in seconds rather than minutes.
05-05-2018, 10:12 AM   #10
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If the profit MARGIN (percent markup over true costs using a constant formula for allocating R+D etc. per unit) at the factory level on ILC’s has increased substantially more than allocation of higher fixed per-unit costs would justify, advantage is being taken.

Don’t forget there are several further markups after the factory ships, and they are % multiples, not flat currency adds. Retail price does not correctly describe manufacturer profit.

I am not satisfied enthusiasts are being intentionally fleeced. I believe higher price reflects all the various changes in market inputs. The companies must stay in business, after all. Shareholders are not evil enemies of the people. They’re actually us if we have any investments at all, whether direct or indirect (like a retirement plan).
05-05-2018, 12:11 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by photoptimist Quote
...Moreover, this data is biased in ignoring sales of used cameras which enable people to avoid a rip-off even if there was one. ...
In a word, no. When the price of new camera gear goes up, so goes the price of used gear. For example, roughly 10 years ago Hoya cranked up the price of Pentax lenses, and within a few weeks the price of used lenses went sky-high as well. When a new FA 50 went from $200 to $270 overnight, used ones quickly went from ~$140 to ~$210. Quite literally a used lens cost more than a new one did weeks before.
05-05-2018, 02:17 PM   #12
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Used prices are mostly decided by supply and demand.
05-05-2018, 02:27 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by Steve Beswick Quote
In a word, no. When the price of new camera gear goes up, so goes the price of used gear. For example, roughly 10 years ago Hoya cranked up the price of Pentax lenses, and within a few weeks the price of used lenses went sky-high as well. When a new FA 50 went from $200 to $270 overnight, used ones quickly went from ~$140 to ~$210. Quite literally a used lens cost more than a new one did weeks before.
To some extent, but new equipment can also make used equipment appear obsolete and lower the price. In fact, new equipment makes new equipment seem obsolete and lowers its price. If you wait a year or so, new models go way down in price, too, and I usually wait until the end of a model cycle to buy. The K1 was the first camera body for which I ever paid four figure money.
05-06-2018, 08:12 PM   #14
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But also what you can't see here is the number of people buying phones with cameras; the reduced numbers of the ILC compared to SLR are very heavily influenced by everyone having a good-enough camera in their phone. In the SLR heyday that wasn't an option.
05-06-2018, 09:04 PM - 1 Like   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by leekil Quote
But also what you can't see here is the number of people buying phones with cameras; the reduced numbers of the ILC compared to SLR are very heavily influenced by everyone having a good-enough camera in their phone. In the SLR heyday that wasn't an option.
The segment of the population that uses a phone as the exclusive camera today used an Instamatic, or at best a quality Rangefinder* in the heyday of the SLR. The first digital Instamatic corollary was the point & shoot, or Compact Digital Camera. Compact Digitals replaced the compact film cameras that replaced Instamatics and manual rangefinders. Phone cameras replaced the Compact Digitals, not the dSLR.

The ubiquitous soccer-mom, Best Buy dSLR kit that drove mass dSLR unit sales through 2012 was an outlier, not base demand. The interchangeable kit zoom lens was never interchanged. Those cameras were essentially necklaces

* Rangefinders were a valid comparison to phone cams. There were 8,000,000 Yashica Electros alone sold, not counting Canonette, Nikon, and many other quality rangefinder cameras.

Last edited by monochrome; 05-06-2018 at 09:19 PM.
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