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02-24-2021, 09:11 AM - 6 Likes   #16
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Although most of these trends are "true," they over-estimate the role of average consumer behavior in determining the business models of niche product makers. Average consumers have never been interested in high-resolution, Ansel Adams photography. The smartphone social media snapshot is but a continuation of the point-n-shoot 4x6, Polariod, Disc camera, Instamatic, pocket 110, box-brownie, etc. that dates back to the dawn of consumer photography.

Trends in the upper-end of the market run counter to many of these mass-market trends:

1. 8k video is now the bar for high-end video. That presages the adoption of 8k monitors and TVs that require 32 MPix cameras or better.

2. More people are using software and accessories to make very large tiled panoramas. These stunning images can be viewed online using easy-to-navigate zoom-and-pan interfaces.

3. The slowly growing world of VR and AR will also depend on (and benefit from) extremely-high resolution imagery -- being able to see at 4k resolution no matter which way one looks.

4. Camera makers continue to release ever-higher megapixel cameras in a range of formats. 100 Mpix cameras exist or are coming in all formats. There's even a 108 MPix smartphone sensor.

5. The biggest change is that the internet brings niche users together around niche technologies such as high-performance photography, film photography, astro photography, retro/vintage photography, specific "rare" brands such as Pentax, etc. At the same time that the internet is blasting out low-res, social media smartphone snapshots, it's also creating communities around less popular technologies. Those communities (e.g., PentaxForums!) make it much easier for novices to learn about niche products and make it much easier for niche product makers to reach niche customers. The internet reduces the critical mass required for a viable product market.

The global middle class is currently approaching 4 billion consumers. Even if a big consumer trend drives adoption of one approach to photography to 99%, the market in the remaining niche of 1-in-a-hundred people is a total of 40 million potential customers. What the 99% want does not have to limit what the 1% can expect to get.

02-24-2021, 12:00 PM - 3 Likes   #17
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QuoteOriginally posted by photoptimist Quote
Average consumers have never been interested in high-resolution, Ansel Adams photography.
To me, this quote goes to the crux of the matter.

We are hobbyists. Most people are not. They just want quick memories. They used to all have "Brownies" and other similar cameras. Then they bought throw-aways. Then point-and-shoot digitals. Now smartphones.

In the late 1950s on into the 1960s there was a time when 35mm slides were a rage. Dad was buying a 35mm camera and mom was buying dad a slide projector for Christmas (remember the Kodak Carousel?). But that trend cooled, and the color Polaroid SX-70 that spit out a color print with no extra trash became a popular family camera of choice. Of course cameras again moved on to newer trends. But none of these had much to do with the cameras and images that photo hobbyists are concerned with.

The DSLR reached into the mass market with low cost cameras la the Canon Rebel. But these buyers, for the most part, were not hobbyists, just folks with a camera (how many of these entry level cameras were gifts?). Only a few were destined to move on to more serious cameras or even buy a second lens.

The thing is, most people's interest has never been in cameras or fine photography it has always been in visual souvenirs. The smartphone provides these souvenirs better, and with more convenience, than ever before.

But there will always be providers for hobbyists. But they will always be niche producers because hobbyist groups, by definition, are niches. These producers will always come up with new products (for better or worse), because they will always be looking for ways to generate new revenues.
02-24-2021, 12:57 PM - 1 Like   #18
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Very interesting array of thoughts. I'll agree. Unfortunately , there's also a big misunderstanding of what photographic art means, a lot of copying, misled casual 'street' and 'art' photographers, a ton of 'experts' rampaging on the internet and lots of other stuff... but this is not the industry, this is the consumers' choices. The industry chiefs observe and act accordingly.
02-24-2021, 01:30 PM - 1 Like   #19
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Where I break the trend is printing. It is true that I don't print like the film days but I print more and larger than I did in my early days of digital (p&s and k100d era). Back then I thought the limit was 8x10 and very little cropping. Now I print up to 13x19 at home and crop as I see fit

02-24-2021, 03:18 PM - 2 Likes   #20
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Well do you see a global economy as a single or a few average consumer profiles, or do we have so many individuals that marketers can reach--in which case producers of niche products can do much better in reaching customers--so long as the don't aspire to be major players. I actually think the latter is happening a lot and is quite exciting for photography now.

Sorry, just saw photoptimist had made exactly this point.

Last edited by dms; 02-24-2021 at 04:13 PM.
02-25-2021, 12:08 AM - 1 Like   #21
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I forgot to add: point #11. The inclusion of artificial intelligence in image processing software.
02-25-2021, 03:40 AM   #22
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QuoteOriginally posted by biz-engineer Quote
then, and it would be my point #11 in the list, about Artificial Intelligence, for having bought Topaz Sharpen AI and knowing what it can do on bird photos! If feel being limited with a K3 and modest Pentax 300 f4 lens, Sharpen AI is your friend, and it's free to try for one month (without water marking photos).

---------- Post added 24-02-21 at 15:53 ----------


Very interesting. I've got to dig in their website.

---------- Post added 24-02-21 at 15:54 ----------


I hope not too much mischief.

---------- Post added 24-02-21 at 16:08 ----------


IMO, back 5 years ago, cameras companies didn't measure the scope and impact of the trend. Even in the last two year, I guess Sony , Canon and Fuji were over-optimistic. I don't think their latest and expensive model will sell as much as they need to turn a profit, because the total market is shrinking faster than price increases, and price increases shrink the market further. All camera makers will be forced to slow down investments.

---------- Post added 24-02-21 at 16:36 ----------


Interesting. I went through this route, until finding a Canon P2000 (the first model that takes ink recharges priced for professional, half the list prices for smaller printers) for sale in my area and for a very good price, then I've figured out the cost of ownership of the printer using ink periodically to keep print head from clogging, which make me change my mind on buying the printer. I didn't buy the printer because outsourcing prints is much more flexible (large choice of sizes, papers and print technology), no more expensive than owning the printer, and no need to care for the maintenance of the printer. I accumulate my files for printing in a dedicated folder each year, so that I outsource batches of prints once or twice a year in order to minimize shipment costs. My last batch was a batch of 20 prints 24x36" , the lab did a very good job .
Be carefull,, in EU Macodirect is competitive, outsde EU taxes and shipping may be problematic
02-28-2021, 07:56 AM   #23
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QuoteOriginally posted by biz-engineer Quote
I don't think their latest and expensive model will sell as much as they need to turn a profit, because the total market is shrinking faster than price increases
Agree 100%. I would not want to be a camera manufacturer right now.

02-28-2021, 09:17 AM   #24
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Did you see that the Nippon Camera guy said they now have more film than digital submissions for their cover image. It was mentioned in one of the threads with translations/writeups of the cp+ events. I wonder if digital can ever compete with film in the "photographic experience" space. Fuji is trying hard of course but it will be interesting to see how it pans out. Digital is already "nice but it's not film is it" and it's hard to overcome that film will always be "more photography" than digital.
02-28-2021, 10:17 AM - 1 Like   #25
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The film versus digital and the "real camera" versus smartphone debate reminds me of the "proof of work" concept in blockchain systems such as Bitcoin. In blockchains, a party establishes the truth of a statement by proving they worked hard to create that statement. Talk is cheap, but proof of work shows you put your money and time where your mouth was.

These days, anyone with a smartphone (and almost everyone has a smartphone), can make automagically-decent spray-and-pray images. There's almost zero work required to get a decently exposed smartphone image. Smartphone images are cheap!

By contrast, a person with "real camera," especially a person with a "real nice camera" (e.g., flagship) or a "real big camera" (e.g., medium format camera) has proved they invested a lot of money to get the camera and a lot of work to carry it around.

However, modern digital cameras, even the big, expensive ones, are still too easy. Put them in P-mode (aka "pro-mode" ), spray and pray, and some good shots are inevitable.

In the "proof of work" spectrum, the next step up is film, especially with a vintage camera (the larger the better). Good exposures aren't guaranteed, spray-and-pray isn't really possible, and the inability to chimp-and-reshoot means the photographer has to know what they are doing. Film images take work to both learn and execute a decent photograph.

Finally, the pinnacle of "proof of work" are techniques like wet-plate collodion that require significantly more work to make every single image.

Thus, whether fair or not, if one sees two images and knows that one was shot on a smartphone and the other was shot with 4x5 film camera, the smartphone image will be valued less than the film image even if they are similar in composition and subject matter (e.g., some street scene).


Camera makers know this and create cameras and lenses that enable photographers to prove their images show proof of work.
02-28-2021, 02:59 PM - 1 Like   #26
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QuoteOriginally posted by house Quote
Did you see that the Nippon Camera guy said they now have more film than digital submissions for their cover image. It was mentioned in one of the threads with translations/writeups of the cp+ events. I wonder if digital can ever compete with film in the "photographic experience" space. Fuji is trying hard of course but it will be interesting to see how it pans out. Digital is already "nice but it's not film is it" and it's hard to overcome that film will always be "more photography" than digital.
It's been 20+ years since digital cameras became mainstream. The vast majority of people haven't shot a roll of film in decades. There may be tiny niches of people shooting film, but for all but a small handful of people "nice but isn't not film is it" isn't something that would ever occur to them because they'd sooner take a steam train to work than shoot film. For 99% of the population digital IS photography, there's absolutely no dithering in their minds about film vs digital.

I'd bet the average person on the street when asked about film would be like the person who got in my car last year, saw the manual shifter and said "oh wow, I didn't know they made those any more."

And almost no one cares how you got a good image, almost no one gives you extra credit for doing it on film. They just know if they like the end result or not.

---------- Post added 02-28-21 at 05:05 PM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by photoptimist Quote
Thus, whether fair or not, if one sees two images and knows that one was shot on a smartphone and the other was shot with 4x5 film camera, the smartphone image will be valued less than the film image even if they are similar in composition and subject matter (e.g., some street scene).
How would they know unless they saw you shooting it? I think it would be like the blind taste tests with wine, where the same $20 wine was put in bottles that originally contained $5 wine, $20 wine, $100 wine, and $1000 wine, and the people tasting it liked the $1000 wine much better. Even though it was actually $20 wine.

I'd bet that you could put on an exhibition of medium format or large format photography, but without telling anyone all the pictures were taken with a Pentax Q, and everyone would gush over the pictures. Same if you had a "film" exhibition and took all the pictures with a Fuji with jpg film emulations and printed them.

Last edited by ThorSanchez; 02-28-2021 at 03:06 PM.
03-01-2021, 01:55 AM - 1 Like   #27
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QuoteOriginally posted by photoptimist Quote
The film versus digital and the "real camera" versus smartphone debate reminds me of the "proof of work" concept in blockchain systems such as Bitcoin. In blockchains, a party establishes the truth of a statement by proving they worked hard to create that statement. Talk is cheap, but proof of work shows you put your money and time where your mouth was.

These days, anyone with a smartphone (and almost everyone has a smartphone), can make automagically-decent spray-and-pray images. There's almost zero work required to get a decently exposed smartphone image. Smartphone images are cheap!

By contrast, a person with "real camera," especially a person with a "real nice camera" (e.g., flagship) or a "real big camera" (e.g., medium format camera) has proved they invested a lot of money to get the camera and a lot of work to carry it around.

However, modern digital cameras, even the big, expensive ones, are still too easy. Put them in P-mode (aka "pro-mode" ), spray and pray, and some good shots are inevitable.

In the "proof of work" spectrum, the next step up is film, especially with a vintage camera (the larger the better). Good exposures aren't guaranteed, spray-and-pray isn't really possible, and the inability to chimp-and-reshoot means the photographer has to know what they are doing. Film images take work to both learn and execute a decent photograph.

Finally, the pinnacle of "proof of work" are techniques like wet-plate collodion that require significantly more work to make every single image.

Thus, whether fair or not, if one sees two images and knows that one was shot on a smartphone and the other was shot with 4x5 film camera, the smartphone image will be valued less than the film image even if they are similar in composition and subject matter (e.g., some street scene).


Camera makers know this and create cameras and lenses that enable photographers to prove their images show proof of work.
Today it is very easy to make technically perfect photos. It is still difficult to make a good photo ,they often drown in the boring crowd, where the lacking meesage is hidden behind overdone PP
03-01-2021, 03:52 AM   #28
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QuoteOriginally posted by ThorSanchez Quote
It's been 20+ years since digital cameras became mainstream. The vast majority of people haven't shot a roll of film in decades. There may be tiny niches of people shooting film, but for all but a small handful of people "nice but isn't not film is it" isn't something that would ever occur to them because they'd sooner take a steam train to work than shoot film. For 99% of the population digital IS photography, there's absolutely no dithering in their minds about film vs digital.

I'd bet the average person on the street when asked about film would be like the person who got in my car last year, saw the manual shifter and said "oh wow, I didn't know they made those any more."

And almost no one cares how you got a good image, almost no one gives you extra credit for doing it on film. They just know if they like the end result or not.

---------- Post added 02-28-21 at 05:05 PM ----------



How would they know unless they saw you shooting it? I think it would be like the blind taste tests with wine, where the same $20 wine was put in bottles that originally contained $5 wine, $20 wine, $100 wine, and $1000 wine, and the people tasting it liked the $1000 wine much better. Even though it was actually $20 wine.

I'd bet that you could put on an exhibition of medium format or large format photography, but without telling anyone all the pictures were taken with a Pentax Q, and everyone would gush over the pictures. Same if you had a "film" exhibition and took all the pictures with a Fuji with jpg film emulations and printed them.
I think that film does have a different look from jpeg emulations. I can usually tell the difference. I happen to like the look of film (not enough to shoot with it), but a large format, black and white film image can have a special quality that I don't think digital (even medium format) has quite reached yet.

I think digital is quite a bit better when it comes to color work.
03-01-2021, 05:38 AM   #29
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QuoteOriginally posted by Rondec Quote
I think that film does have a different look from jpeg emulations. I can usually tell the difference. I happen to like the look of film (not enough to shoot with it), but a large format, black and white film image can have a special quality that I don't think digital (even medium format) has quite reached yet.

I think digital is quite a bit better when it comes to color work.
I think it's like the sommelier and the wine. He could probably tell the difference between the $20 bottle of wine and the $1000, but even that wouldn't be a 100% success rate. For a typical person going to a restaurant there's no way. If you asked me to pick out a medium format shot from a APS-C that had both been printed and hung on a wall, unless it was a very specific type of photograph tailored to the various formats' strengths, I doubt my success rate would be much better than random. Same with film emulations vs. real film. I'm sure I couldn't tell in most cases. And as someone who's shot with a DSLR for a decade I'm in the 95th percentile. You're probably in the 99th and could tell, but the vast majority couldn't and only care if the photo is interesting or striking or beautiful.
03-01-2021, 09:59 AM   #30
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QuoteOriginally posted by ThorSanchez Quote
he vast majority of people haven't shot a roll of film in decades. There may be tiny niches of people shooting film, but for all but a small handful of people "nice but isn't not film is it" isn't something that would ever occur to them because they'd sooner take a steam train to work than shoot film.
Did you see my mention that according to the interview Nippon camera gets more film than digital submissions. I dont think the average smartphone user is about to buy a 67 but young people with an interest in photography are very likely to shoot at least some of their work on film. This isn't mass photography but that's gone to smartphone anyway. Young photographers with dedicated cameras are interested in film. Just look at the newspapers and magazines with top cultural cachet, you'll find an awful lot of film photography compared to just a few years ago. Fashion magazines are full of film as well, the hipper the more film which means the others will follow.
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