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11-16-2018, 02:44 AM   #1
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The full format / flagship urban myth

I just stumbled upon a very interesting graph showing the sales strength of different camera segments (sample Nikon).

Here: https://1.img-dpreview.com/files/p/TS560x560~forums/59305530/b4203a0427924a3f9b2bfdf9a1f7df0d

Obviously narrow sports/snapshot "pro" APSC models like a D500 are completely irrelevant and only a tiny, tiny sub-segment.

QuoteQuote:
Based on the data I have, Nikon has only sold about 33K D500s. For whatever it's worth, they only sold ~600K of the D300 and ~310K of the D300s. Eh, I guess that is a lot, but spread out over 5-6 years that's 100K/yr. And based on recent trips I've been on people are STILL shooting with the D300/s. I wouldn't expect the D500 to bring a big DX boost.
Even less relevant are the clunky "pro" FF models.

Also it seems the total offering of FF only fullfills about 1/5 of the customer needs. 4 out of 5 prefer APSC (though declining).


Last edited by beholder3; 11-16-2018 at 02:52 AM.
11-16-2018, 03:01 AM   #2
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Somewhat useless chart. Who are buying what? Who buys the Pro-level FF cameras? Pros (earning most of income from photography), status-seekers/wannabes, enthusiasts, entry level photographers etc.? Who are those 7 out of 8? Pros, enthusiasts etc.?
11-16-2018, 03:52 AM   #3
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What this sort of graph doesn't show is how much money is made on each unit. In the past, medium format sales have been a small part of Pentax's sales by units sold, but due to pricing and shared R and D with other cameras in the line up, I think they did quite well with regards to profit. I'm guessing there isn't too much money to be made in entry level APS-C, even though units sold there dwarf anything else -- mainly because pricing in the lower end is so cut throat.

I don't know what the answer is, but I think most companies are trying to move upscale and get more money per camera sold -- even if that means not selling as many cameras overall.
11-16-2018, 04:13 AM   #4
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The chart stops in 2016. We're end 2018, soon 2019. Silicon wafer size having increased by 1.5x, cost of full frame sensors is now the same than what the costs of apsc sensors used to be. I guess, medium format is still expensive to make because of using old processes , but this is going to change when Sony will introduce the new BSI MF sensors, using full frame manufacturing processes. For camera makers and customers, saving a few $ in sensor size doesn't make sense anymore. New lens models are larger in size, but that's not because of larger sensor; Pentax still have tiny limited lenses that covers the full frame image circle; larger lenses come together with expected image quality and choices of lens design trade-offs. We're end 2018, soon 2019, backward thinking on 2016 figures, doesn't tell that users prefer apsc in 2018/19, but currently full frame sales dominate in value, if not also in number.

11-16-2018, 07:23 AM   #5
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The chart shows that entry level APS-C has more sales volume than FF. I don't think that anyone disputes that. Most consumers don't research much, and buy the camera based on what a friend has, whatever is in stock at the store, or price. The vast majority of DSLR buyers don't even know the difference between APS-C and FF.
11-16-2018, 08:28 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by DeadJohn Quote
The chart shows that entry level APS-C has more sales volume than FF. I don't think that anyone disputes that. Most consumers don't research much, and buy the camera based on what a friend has, whatever is in stock at the store, or price. The vast majority of DSLR buyers don't even know the difference between APS-C and FF.
I didn't, when I bought my *ist D, and I was teaching photography. I did notice that my FA 50 was no longer a walk around lens and it took me a while to understand why.

I was also kind of shocked that horrible kit lenses were no longer all that horrible. In fact, they made it un-necessary to switch to primes for many images.

Last edited by normhead; 11-16-2018 at 08:33 AM.
11-16-2018, 10:13 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by DeadJohn Quote
The chart shows that entry level APS-C has more sales volume than FF. I don't think that anyone disputes that. Most consumers don't research much, and buy the camera based on what a friend has, whatever is in stock at the store, or price. The vast majority of DSLR buyers don't even know the difference between APS-C and FF.
That was at least 10 years ago. In 2018, the average buyer of ILC is well educated about cameras, he reads camera and lens reviews online and he often own more than one camera and more then one lens, he pixel-peep his images, he has high expectation on image quality, and he is the core of the ILC camera market in 2018.

Last edited by biz-engineer; 11-16-2018 at 10:21 AM.
11-16-2018, 11:42 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by biz-engineer Quote
That was at least 10 years ago. In 2018, the average buyer of ILC is well educated about cameras, he reads camera and lens reviews online and he often own more than one camera and more then one lens, he pixel-peep his images, he has high expectation on image quality, and he is the core of the ILC camera market in 2018.
Based on what I see in my community, the average ILC buyer is a soccer mom (occasionally dad, but less often) who has no clue about sensor size, or even how to use their camera. They bought a rebel because that is what a friend had or because the sales person at Bestbuy recommended it. They set the mode dial to "runner person" when shooting their kids sporting events, and that is about as deep as they get.

11-16-2018, 11:51 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by biz-engineer Quote
That was at least 10 years ago. In 2018, the average buyer of ILC is well educated about cameras, he reads camera and lens reviews online and he often own more than one camera and more then one lens, he pixel-peep his images, he has high expectation on image quality, and he is the core of the ILC camera market in 2018.
Yes, buyers have high expectations, but cameras have gotten so good that even entry level cameras give sharp images that stand up to pixel peeping.


Most camera buyers know a lot less than us active PF members. We often discuss technology here. The typical DSLR/mirrorless owner is less informed. I've given astrophotography presentations to camera clubs; many attendees don't know much about what's in their cameras.
11-17-2018, 12:16 AM   #10
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The average ILC buyer has been told that DSLRs (most people are unaware of the distinction between DSLR and mirrorless) are better than phones or compacts, but they don't know why. They buy because they're going to have a child, or their child is going to start taking part on sport or other activities. They will also never move beyond the kit lens except to perhaps buy an 18-200mm super zoom or a 70 to 300 slow telephoto.

People buying any FF camera or "pro-level" APS-C/ micro 4/3 are far, far more likely to also spend money on lenses, flashes and other accessories, where profit margins are higher than for the cameras themselves. So that graph shows the (two year old) sales distribution of cameras but it doesn't show the profit distribution. The profit made from those buying higher end cameras will be far greater than this graph indicates on the surface.
11-17-2018, 12:39 AM   #11
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I will but in, as I live in SEAsia, normally what happens is that the publicity on the telly tells them that this is the best camera to buy so they all rush out and buy a Canon or Nikon, getting themselves in debt to buy it so European and American markets dont really matter, so it is just fact sad but true, ian
11-29-2018, 03:49 AM   #12
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When I went into my "local" camera store (200km - 120 miles away) to order my K1 (as at the time no-one had a K-1 in stock), I had 2 junior salespeople trying to sell me the Nikon D500 as it was the best camera on the market. When the store owner came out to take my order, he (knowing me) jokingly asked if I had looked at the D5 and I replied by asking if he would be refunding my last 5 Pentax Lenses at retail price.

The point is I had walked into a store with cash to order a camera that cost (at the time) around $2000 (Canadian) - not a lot more than the d500, yet the salespeople were willing to push me into something I had no use for as they had drank the cool aide.

When I went back and ordered a Lens a few months later the young salesperson (Owner was out) told me I should have gone with the Nikon, because I could have got an image stabilized lens for that! I spent a few minutes pointing out the reasons I didn't need a stabilized lens.

This is a store that sells Pentax products, however as the owner keeps telling me every few months when I go to spend more money - The Nikon and Canon Reps visit monthly and give free training and Merchandising to the sales reps. In Atlantic Canada the Pentax sales rep visits 3 to 4 times a year (if there is a big product launch).
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