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04-08-2019, 05:46 PM   #16
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QuoteOriginally posted by beholder3 Quote
It also confirms that it was/is stupid to buy for lots of $$$ into new mounts last year, this year, the next or the year after that. The latest generation of dinosaurs from Caniko$onyfuji might not live all that long and major price reductions can be expected.

Goodbye quarterformat mFT.
The per unit value of mirrorless cameras is still climbing (except in Europe, perhaps it has already peaked there?), which suggests that only the new, more expensive MILCs are selling (which could theoretically include the Olympus monster m43 model). Part of what makes things look worse is that February 2018 was better than January 2018, whereas 2019 seems to be following the seasonality of 2017. If any manufacturer released a new DSLR in the last quarter of 2018 (like what happened with MILCs) there hasn't been any spillover to the first quarter of 2019.

It's still early in 2019, but the camera market seems to be completely dependent on the release of new models, so over the course of the next 12-18 months, manufacturers who don't release new models will have to make decisions related to their manufacturing facilities, which will have a permanent impact on the future of their product lines. It is relatively easy to find buyers for equipment to manufacture camera lenses (and any inventory stockpiles), so I'll probably still be able to buy that new FA 43 I want for at least another 5-8 years. I am less optimistic about being able to buy the new APS-C flagship, but if it never comes to fruition, I'll probably just find another hobby to throw money at.

04-08-2019, 05:49 PM   #17
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Rather than thinking SmartPhone is eating into Camera's markets, I think SmartPhone doing what they need to be doing to stay and grow in the business. The camera companies themselves are the one can't find a way to stay relevant in the Consumer camera market today.
They still hold on to the Prosumer and Professional Level markets but for how long before the Prosumer market is too gone? A large number of Youtube channel today shot on Smartphone only and it looks really good too.

I can see many Camera companies refuse to just sit here and die. I respect them for that. I hope they hit the right tone soon.
by the way, It would be interesting if camera companies make the camera do everything or close to things a Smartphone can. The camera has an upper hand on image quilty. Instead of keep on stepping up the lens's size and weight, give the camera a SIM slot, let it go online, make it run Smartphone's OS and Apps. etc. After all, there is no rule saying Smartphone shouldn't do what Camera can and vice-versa.
04-08-2019, 06:47 PM - 3 Likes   #18
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QuoteOriginally posted by derekkite Quote
Yes. Survival in this market is the key. I listened to someone who was getting 35 cents per image use on a stock site for her photographs. Photos shot with probably $5k worth of gear.
I think you are closest to the causal issue here. The perceived (and actual) value of photographic images is the root problem. This was caused primarily by the explosion of online images, fueled both by the popularity of social media/online galleries (e.g. Instagram) and the ease of acquiring/posting images (e.g. via smart phones).

The resulting heavy over saturation of images has lowered their value, which in turn has lowered the expectations for professional quality. People believe anybody can produce good images while investing almost no time or money. Only special events such as weddings are seen as important enough to justify the (erroneously perceived) “slight” improvement a photographer can bring.


So the saturation of images has led to people’s belief that they’ve already seen everything there is to be seen; therefore neither photographers nor viewers can drive as many camera sales anymore.
04-08-2019, 09:42 PM   #19
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QuoteOriginally posted by Larrymc Quote
My thoughts exactly!
But was this move intentional? If you have no news to sell who should buy it?

The market may be shrinking, but from very high levels. Gear has never been as good as today.

I know why I prefer DSLR over phone or mirrorless (unless it’s a Leica M).


Last edited by zapp; 04-08-2019 at 09:49 PM.
04-08-2019, 10:08 PM   #20
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QuoteOriginally posted by DSims Quote
I think you are closest to the causal issue here. The perceived (and actual) value of photographic images is the root problem. This was caused primarily by the explosion of online images, fueled both by the popularity of social media/online galleries (e.g. Instagram) and the ease of acquiring/posting images (e.g. via smart phones).

The resulting heavy over saturation of images has lowered their value, which in turn has lowered the expectations for professional quality. People believe anybody can produce good images while investing almost no time or money. Only special events such as weddings are seen as important enough to justify the (erroneously perceived) “slight” improvement a photographer can bring.

So the saturation of images has led to people’s belief that they’ve already seen everything there is to be seen; therefore neither photographers nor viewers can drive as many camera sales anymore.
The basic question is what is the value of a photo. Most of us are not artists - and most photos are not taken for artistic reasons. We take photos to document our worlds, our lives. In the early days of consumer photography, people would use the latest product from Kodak .... "you press the button, and we do the rest". In recent years smart phones have allowed a person to insert herself/himself into the image as a 'selfie'; I'm not interested in that - perhaps at age 71 I'm too old to learn that new trick - but that is what I see. Summer of 2017 my wife and I rode a tourist train up an old logging line in West Virginia. Just before the train left the station, one more couple walked up from the parking lot, stopping every few feet to take yet another 'selfie' (*); I wasn't anywhere near them on the ride, but I'm guessing they figured prominently in almost every photo they took, while I took photos of the train and scenery, sans myself. The previous year, during our trip up into Quebec Province, I did photograph a couple using a Nikon DSLR with its articulating LCD to photograph themselves in front of the Montreal Cathedral - but I seldom see that. Most people already have a smart phone, and each generation has a better camera specialized for 'selfies'; if they will look at these 'selfies' on a phone - or perhaps even on a computer - why should they spend all that extra money to gain very little observable quality??


(*) In retrospect, I wish I had photographed their procession up to the train.
04-08-2019, 10:12 PM   #21
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The image quality possible with a digital camera has stabilised somewhat - both resolution and dynamic range advances are much slower than they were. Maybe people are realising this and that a new camera won't get them the great leap in the quality of images that they hope for.
04-08-2019, 10:24 PM - 2 Likes   #22
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QuoteOriginally posted by photoptimist Quote
ILCs have been niche devices for most of their nearly 90 years of existence. In the early days, few people took photographs and most those who did used cheap consumer cameras. Brownies, instamatics and pocket 110s were the phone cameras of their eras and would have outnumbered ILCs at Antelope Valley some decades ago.

ILCs may have bloomed for time when they became the preferred chest bling of the suburban middle class. However, most of those cameras weren't bought by photographers, they were gadgets-du-jour bought by people keeping up with the Joneses. Now, the Joneses have moved on to other displays of conspicuous consumption (e.g., posting selfies at glamorous locations) and taken all those ILC buyers with them.

The abandonment of standalone cameras by people who never really were photographers will certainly hurt traditional camera makers who depended on mass sales to the mass makert. But serious photographers (hobbyists, artists, and pros) still exist and still want high-performance cameras with ergonomics, dedicated controls, and imaging performance that no smartphone can begin to offer. It may be true that almost everyone now has a camera (in their phone) but I would not be surprised if the percentage of serious photographers in the total population is as high as ever. In fact, that % may be the highest ever because phones now give everyone a chance to try photography and then outgrow the phone.

Ricoh's strategy of focusing on photographers (not gadget buyers) looks really good right now.
Good points and I agree, particularly in this area and I quote you:


" But serious photographers (hobbyists, artists, and pros) still exist and still want high-performance cameras with ergonomics, dedicated controls, and imaging performance that no smartphone can begin to offer. It may be true that almost everyone now has a camera (in their phone) but I would not be surprised if the percentage of serious photographers in the total population is as high as ever. In fact, that % may be the highest ever because phones now give everyone a chance to try photography and then outgrow the phone."

I think so . I reread this part of your quote a few times and it takes me back to when I was growing up in the 1950's and '60's in Canada and during the 2 months of summer in Northern Minnesota. We camped out summers every year at a state park. Back then, no one in my family had anything but a Kodak Brownie, mostly hauled out for recording birthdays, Xmas and summers .

I do recall a friend of the family had some kind of Zeiss camera as I recall reading the nameplate of what was to me then, an unusual camera. And in Minn. there was a American camper that had quite a nice Polaroid Land camera , which at the time was quite a marvel, producing pics on the spot.

But that was it. My dad probably had the most advanced camera when in '67 he bought his first 35mm...a Canon rangefinder.

04-09-2019, 08:34 AM - 4 Likes   #23
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QuoteOriginally posted by DSims Quote
I think you are closest to the causal issue here. The perceived (and actual) value of photographic images is the root problem. This was caused primarily by the explosion of online images, fueled both by the popularity of social media/online galleries (e.g. Instagram) and the ease of acquiring/posting images (e.g. via smart phones).

The resulting heavy over saturation of images has lowered their value, which in turn has lowered the expectations for professional quality. People believe anybody can produce good images while investing almost no time or money. Only special events such as weddings are seen as important enough to justify the (erroneously perceived) “slight” improvement a photographer can bring.


So the saturation of images has led to people’s belief that they’ve already seen everything there is to be seen; therefore neither photographers nor viewers can drive as many camera sales anymore.
I see some of the same phenomena as you do but come to the opposite conclusion.

Heavy saturation of images has not reduced the value of images, it's only reduced the price of them. The value of images has grown because social media has created the expectation that everyone one must take and post images.

Heavy saturation of images would only stop people from taking pictures if they were satisfied with decorating their walls (both physical and Facebook) with stock photos stolen from the internet. But there's a vast difference in the value of "an image" versus "my image." Even if my image is not as good as the best of the best stock photos, I and my friends and family value it above that stock photo.

The flip side of image saturation is that a lot more people are now aware of and attracted to the possibilities of viral images. They see the potential for becoming a social media star and making money off Youtube or Instagram. Sure they have as much chance of making a living from social media as the high school sports star has of going pro, but the extremely low probability of a pay-off doesn't stop either high school sports star or wannabe social media star from trying. (The financial success of lotteries proves people will throw money as low-probability payoffs.)

I agree that the fact that people think taking pictures is easy does reduce the price they are willing to pay for pictures. But that same fact also encourages them to try to take pictures themselves. So image saturation and social media actually increases the number of people trying to take pictures. Many of those who try to take pictures (either because of social pressure or the quest for "likes" and fame) will probably never progress beyond snapshot quality. But some of these phone users will take the next step for one of many reasons:
1) some see the glaring discrepancy between their phone images and "pro" images and believe they need to buy better gear to take better pictures.
2) some grow frustrated with the limitations and horrible ergonomics of phone cameras and decide they need to buy better gear to take pictures more easily.
3) some develop a self-image of being a serious photographer and decide they need to carry better gear to look like a photographer.
4) some grow to love photography and buy gear just for the fun of it.

ILC sales may fluctuate, but they aren't going away. There are more people taking pictures than ever before. The challenge for traditional camera makers is to covert the 2.5 billion smartphone users (and 1 billion Instagram users) in the world into more serious photographers.
04-09-2019, 11:30 AM   #24
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Paying attention to recent television commercials suggests that interest in quality cameras and photography is at an unprecedented high.

I've never seen so many prime-time ads touting the latest camera features and abilities ... of smart phones. Watching the commercials almost makes you forget that the darn things also make phone calls. Serious money is being spent on trying to convince us our photos would look better on the iPhone, Samsung, LG, or Huawei; that each one has better software, multiple cameras, or flash-free low light abilities.

Sad thing is, Pentax, Nikon, Canon, or Olympus never had that kind of budget to pitch their latest wares to the masses. If you saw a Nikon commercial on TV at all, it was late night (and Ashton Kutcher was showing off the mirrorless J1).

Clear to see there's big money in selling cameras ... just not by our favourite old companies.
04-09-2019, 01:17 PM   #25
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ontarian50 Quote
I've never seen so many prime-time ads touting the latest camera features and abilities ... of smart phones. Watching the commercials almost makes you forget that the darn things also make phone calls. Serious money is being spent on trying to convince us our photos would look better on the iPhone, Samsung, LG, or Huawei; that each one has better software, multiple cameras, or flash-free low light abilities.
It is interesting how the focus of the smart device(*) has shifted to be so camera specific. The smart device is an amazing tool that offers
a great many utilities in one package, (phone, internet access, gaming, camera, calendar, various lite versions of any software you can
imagine, often good enough to not need something more robust, etc, etc). Clearly this is a reflection of the advances happening in
camera tech, as well as the public's desire to once again have a true P&S in their pocket that actually takes good pictures. You know,
just like their old P&S 35mm.

* - I do prefer 'smart device' over 'cellphone' or even 'smart phone'. 'Cellphone' has become archaic as it's been nearly two decades
since the device was only a phone. 'Smart phone' is IMO wholly inaccurate because the device is used as much, if not more, by most
people for texting and other internet usage, gaming and taking photos. 'Smart chat device' or 'smart camera' would probably be more
accurate at this stage. Just an observation: I do realize everyone knows what is implied when someone says 'cellphone' or 'smart phone'.
04-09-2019, 03:48 PM - 1 Like   #26
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QuoteOriginally posted by photoptimist Quote
...

ILC sales may fluctuate, but they aren't going away. There are more people taking pictures than ever before. The challenge for traditional camera makers is to covert the 2.5 billion smartphone users (and 1 billion Instagram users) in the world into more serious photographers.
Great post!

Regarding this last point, I wonder if there's a parallel to the latter decade or two of film photography? I imagine many budding photographers bought relatively low-cost fixed-lens compact cameras, most of them churning out forgettable, throw-away photos... but a small number will have taken some great photos with their Olympus Trip 35 or similar, and built up some compositional skills. In time, they might have realised that their equipment (rather than their talent) was holding them back, and some of those folks went on to buy SLRs.

If today's camera brands could embrace the smartphone market, applaud it (perhaps even encourage it, positioning it as a starting point for beginners through intelligent marketing) but motivate users by showing them how a transition to larger-sensor ILC cameras can transform their photography, maybe we'd see more folks making that jump.
04-09-2019, 05:39 PM - 1 Like   #27
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QuoteOriginally posted by tvdtvdtvd Quote
It is interesting how the focus of the smart device(*) has shifted to be so camera specific. The smart device is an amazing tool that offers
a great many utilities in one package, (phone, internet access, gaming, camera, calendar, various lite versions of any software you can
imagine, often good enough to not need something more robust, etc, etc). Clearly this is a reflection of the advances happening in
camera tech, as well as the public's desire to once again have a true P&S in their pocket that actually takes good pictures. You know,
just like their old P&S 35mm.

* - I do prefer 'smart device' over 'cellphone' or even 'smart phone'. 'Cellphone' has become archaic as it's been nearly two decades
since the device was only a phone. 'Smart phone' is IMO wholly inaccurate because the device is used as much, if not more, by most
people for texting and other internet usage, gaming and taking photos. 'Smart chat device' or 'smart camera' would probably be more
accurate at this stage. Just an observation: I do realize everyone knows what is implied when someone says 'cellphone' or 'smart phone'.
I attended a business conference in downtown St. Louis a couple weeks ago. The only camera I had with me around dusk was my “Smart Device”.
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04-10-2019, 02:14 PM - 1 Like   #28
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QuoteOriginally posted by photoptimist Quote
I see some of the same phenomena as you do but come to the opposite conclusion.

Heavy saturation of images has not reduced the value of images, it's only reduced the price of them. The value of images has grown because social media has created the expectation that everyone one must take and post images.

Heavy saturation of images would only stop people from taking pictures if they were satisfied with decorating their walls (both physical and Facebook) with stock photos stolen from the internet. But there's a vast difference in the value of "an image" versus "my image." Even if my image is not as good as the best of the best stock photos, I and my friends and family value it above that stock photo.

The flip side of image saturation is that a lot more people are now aware of and attracted to the possibilities of viral images. They see the potential for becoming a social media star and making money off Youtube or Instagram.

I agree that the fact that people think taking pictures is easy does reduce the price they are willing to pay for pictures. But that same fact also encourages them to try to take pictures themselves. So image saturation and social media actually increases the number of people trying to take pictures.
This is an interesting perspective I didn’t expect, and I’ll continue to think about it more.

But I do believe that even within our personal collections, the explosion in the number of digital images (whether from a higher quality camera or not) lowers our perceived value of them. Think about how we consider historical family photos one of the first possessions we’d save in the event of a fire. The number of good family photographs from the film era are relatively few, while there’s a proliferation of quality personal digital photos.

This makes it harder for us to justify the additional time and cost of better photographic gear - because we’ll get “good enough” images from our cell phones anyway. Obviously Forum members think otherwise, but our ranks are slowly shrinking.
04-10-2019, 03:59 PM - 1 Like   #29
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QuoteOriginally posted by DSims Quote
This makes it harder for us to justify the additional time and cost of better photographic gear - because we’ll get “good enough” images from our cell phones anyway. Obviously Forum members think otherwise, but our ranks are slowly shrinking.
-Smartphones emulating bokeh effect
-12MP sensor's producing 48MP images
-AI retouching face instantly
-Superb low-light photography
-Dual and triple cameras featuring normal, wide, and telephoto cameras that aditionally gives better zoom capabilities than normal digital zoom.
-4K Video
-Sofware easy to use: one touch and you're done
-All above in one, palm's sized, "general" device
-etc

Meanwhile I still shooting 6MP DS
04-10-2019, 06:58 PM - 2 Likes   #30
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QuoteOriginally posted by DSims Quote
This is an interesting perspective I didn’t expect, and I’ll continue to think about it more.

But I do believe that even within our personal collections, the explosion in the number of digital images (whether from a higher quality camera or not) lowers our perceived value of them. Think about how we consider historical family photos one of the first possessions we’d save in the event of a fire. The number of good family photographs from the film era are relatively few, while there’s a proliferation of quality personal digital photos.

This makes it harder for us to justify the additional time and cost of better photographic gear - because we’ll get “good enough” images from our cell phones anyway. Obviously Forum members think otherwise, but our ranks are slowly shrinking.
Per image, you are almost certainly right. The high cost of film and processing certainly did put a very high threshold on image value. In film days, one only hit the shutter button for special occasions and those shots were precious. And the small number of images made each one valuable. In contrast, the cost of a click on digital camera is nearly zero and now people have thousands of images.

However, it's not the high or low value of each image that justifies buying good equipment, it's the aggregate value of all the images that might be created with that camera. That total value is still pretty high -- who would be willing to lose all the images taken over some multi-year period? And, especially for young parents, what is the value of being able to take decent pictures of that first baby?

As for the "good enough" syndrome, that's always been true. Back in the day, most film cameras were fixed-lens point-and-shoots. The negatives from pocket 110 and Disc cameras were tiny, the prints were small, but they were good enough. No doubt, many people still feel that way especially because smartphones can do a pretty decent job.

However, in the past, film images were pretty much only seen by a select few -- the photographer, household members, visiting family, and maybe a few close friends. The pictures didn't need to be good because they were only seen by a friendly and casual audience.

Social media changes that. It's no longer a friendly select few who see the pictures. It's also the rich neighbors, competitive coworkers, all one's school chums, bosses, ex-girlfriends, etc. For most people, it's hard to say "no" to an invite without looking bad. I'd wager that more than a few people feel anxiety now about the quality of their images because they are online and visible to "the world."

And if others are posting great pictures, I'm sure some huge feel pressure to up the ante -- that's why smartphone makers compete on camera performance. But if everyone has a smartphone (and everyone does), then the only way to compete in the social media photo-race might seem to be a much better camera.

Maybe the individual images themselves aren't worth much, but upstaging that obnoxious 3rd cousin is worth a lot.
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