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4 Days Ago   #1
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OM Malik - Camera Sales Are Falling Sharply

WinTel eating Sun’s lunch is the metaphor

Camera Sales Are Falling Sharply

Camera sales are continuing to fall off a cliff. The latest data from the Camera & Imaging Products Association (CIPA) shows them in a swoon befitting a Bollywood roadside Romeo. All four big camera brands — Sony, Fuji, Canon, and Nikon — are posting rapid declines. And it is not just the point and shoot cameras whose sales are collapsing. We also see sales of higher-end DSLR cameras stall. And — wait for it — even mirrorless cameras, which were supposed to be a panacea for all that ails the camera business, are heading south.

4 Days Ago - 1 Like   #2
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He is right in that changing technologies and decreasing attention span have a lot (probably everything) to do with changing camera habits. Film required a lot more thought than digital does. The associated graph is interesting. The compact camera market began to take off as soon as digital snap shots were acceptable. ILCs were slower because dedicated ILC users were more demanding. Those whose need could be satisfied by a compact camera now had a cheaper option and ILC sales took a hit. Then smart phones came along and cut the ground out from under compact cameras - a big hit there! But ILCs and lenses started to level out. The dedicated users were relatively unmoved.

Most smart phone images are looked at immediately they are taken, and maybe once of twice later. Maybe they will be uploaded to social media and get looked at once or twice there. After that they may stay in the ether but never be looked a again. That is not what the dedicated ILC user is about. The dedicated ILC user has many more images to play with that he or she might have had in the film days, but I would say that the selected images are used more carefully - maybe for prints, maybe for a rolling digital display on someone's desk or in a living area. The ILC user has a different kind of attention for the images. That is why I would say the ILC market will level out rather than simply drop off the edge of the cliff.

A further point is that in developing countries, many people can afford a smart phone which they can use to record images. There is a big market there and that influence the graph. But unless their interest runs deeper than the immediate recording of an image they would see no need for something like an ILC.
4 Days Ago - 3 Likes   #3
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I think that there's a simple explanation for this. Most cameras released during the past several years are fantastic! Why upgrade?

The problem is not that everyone has switched to smartphones. It's that photographers are sticking with the gear they already have. For most use cases we really don't need cameras with more megapixels or the latest techno-wizardry.

Camera makers may not like it, but most camera buyers are sane. :-)
4 Days Ago - 4 Likes   #4
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The RoI for the big four must be looking quite unhealthy at the moment. Conversely, Ricoh’s strategy for their camera division must be looking better every day.

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Nikon has to be hurting, at least a little bit. Now was not the time to launch a new mount/system with all of the R and D involved, if sales are dropping considerably. I wonder too about Panasonic with their L mount cameras. Are they selling enough to make it worthwhile? Panasonic is a big enough company not to be hurt too much by a down turn in camera sales -- same with Canon. Brands like Olympus and Nikon could be in a lot more trouble.

It isn't hard to see reasons why -- fewer buying ILCs in the first place (using phones instead), slower replacement rates of ILCs (current ILC is good enough and works), and the market seems to have shifted upscale (it costs more to replace an ILC with something better). I don't really expect it to change -- this is just the new normal.
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QuoteOriginally posted by Rondec Quote
the market seems to have shifted upscale (it costs more to replace an ILC with something better).
I agree. It's already a big factor, and will become even more so going forward. The vast majority of photographers are hobbyists, and most have limited funds available or justifiable for the pursuit. Whilst there's a professional (and much smaller amateur) market for really expensive equipment, I just can't imagine there are many hobbyists who will happily fork out $3k to $5k for a body, the same or more on a brace of lenses, and - more importantly - keep doing so every couple of years. Heck, I probably wouldn't even do that for a $1,500 body nowadays. I'd love to own the next Pentax APS-C flagship if and when it finally materialises, but unless I have an unexpected cash windfall, I'll continue to use the perfectly capable gear I already own and wait a few years until the body is heavily discounted on close-out, or available used at what I consider to be a sensible price
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QuoteOriginally posted by BigMackCam Quote
I agree. It's already a big factor, and will become even more so going forward. The vast majority of photographers are hobbyists, and most have limited funds available or justifiable for the pursuit. Whilst there's a professional (and much smaller amateur) market for really expensive equipment, I just can't imagine there are many hobbyists who will happily fork out $3k to $5k for a body, the same or more on a brace of lenses, and - more importantly - keep doing so every couple of years. Heck, I probably wouldn't even do that for a $1,500 body nowadays. I'd love to own the next Pentax APS-C flagship if and when it finally materialises, but unless I have an unexpected cash windfall, I'll continue to use the perfectly capable gear I already own and wait a few years until the body is heavily discounted on close-out, or available used at what I consider to be a sensible price
I agree. I do have a K1 and I'm quite pleased with it, high ISO resolution, FF, really good AF, etc. But I also have my old K5, which I bought in 2011 and this camera is excellent...images it produces are great.

I bought a new old stock Ricoh GR ll in March of this year and I'm very pleased with it's performance. Big ASP-C sensor..16 MP something, similar to my K5...tiny, well built body, excellent lens, lots of features. When I bought it in 2019, I knew it had been 'made obsolescent' by the very recently released and improved GR lll, but even though my GR ll was introduced ...four years ago...four years ago I emphasize...in 2015...it still has top notch performance.

It is as you say...' perfectly capable gear' and I feel it will serve me well for a number of years...whilst aging rapidly.... technology wise over these next years. It's still a very effective bit of photographic gear, just like my K5 and going back even further...my old K10D.

---------- Post added 09-11-19 at 10:30 AM ----------

Exactly, Dan.

Your post made me think of how well my K5 and new, old stock Ricoh GR ll function as fine photographic instruments.

QuoteOriginally posted by Dan Quote
I think that there's a simple explanation for this. Most cameras released during the past several years are fantastic! Why upgrade?

The problem is not that everyone has switched to smartphones. It's that photographers are sticking with the gear they already have. For most use cases we really don't need cameras with more megapixels or the latest techno-wizardry.

Camera makers may not like it, but most camera buyers are sane. :-)
3 Days Ago - 2 Likes   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Dan Quote
I think that there's a simple explanation for this. Most cameras released during the past several years are fantastic! Why upgrade?
Yup. 2013 was the year for me - Pentax K-01 and the "Sweet 16" sensor. That was the sensor where I stopped thinking I wish I wish I wish... And even though I mostly shoot with my 24MP bodies, I don't feel like those sensors are much better, just more croppable, which is beneficial for photographing wildlife. And virtually all new-ish lenses are at least good, and lenses that were considered good decades ago are still good today, and even though new cameras have a host of bells and whistles - and some of them even look interesting to me - those are just on the periphery of my photographic interests, and not worth shelling out the big bucks for.

So, um, yeah, I'm fairly content with my gear, and I think it would be easy for most people to be content with their gear if only so-called review sites and Youtube screamers would stop trying to get people to spend money.

3 Days Ago   #9
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My only concern with my gear is that I might not be able to replace it if it fails. SO far, so good.
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QuoteOriginally posted by Dan Quote
I think that there's a simple explanation for this. Most cameras released during the past several years are fantastic! Why upgrade?
Of all the cameras I see others using, most are not recent models. With shutter durability to 300 000 or so, if a user is satisfied with the images he gets , he can use the camera for much longer than the replacement rate that is necessary for a camera company to survive. Releasing cameras such as D800/D810/ Pentax K1 equate to kill off their own business.

QuoteOriginally posted by normhead Quote
My only concern with my gear is that I might not be able to replace it if it fails. SO far, so good.
I've never had a Pentax camera fail on me. In theory, batteries should die first, in practice I haven't seen it yet, I'm still using a genuine Pentax D-LI90 battery from 2011 and it still outperform a third party battery I bought new last year.
3 Days Ago   #11
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In case it was not noted in any of the comments above, the graphed sales for 2019 were for Jan-Jun sales only while the 2018 bar is for the full year. Still, the visual is compelling even correcting for the last bar.


Steve
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QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
In case it was not noted in any of the comments above, the graphed sales for 2019 were for Jan-Jun sales only while the 2018 bar is for the full year. Still, the visual is compelling even correcting for the last bar.


Steve
Unless the second half-year produces substantially greater sales than the first half, the trend will continue.
3 Days Ago   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by RobA_Oz Quote
Unless the second half-year produces substantially greater sales than the first half, the trend will continue.
Assuming sales are similar in the last six months, the 2019 total will be lower than 2018, but not by much.

Forgot to take the numbers into account. The numbers are sales through June and the height of the bar appears to be a projection of the first six months into the second. Whether sales continue to remain flat through the end of year holiday period is difficult to say.

Probably the most obvious take-away from the graph is that manufacturers of cameras, optics, and accessories will be scrambling to capture the available market going forward. Much has been made on a few recent threads on this site (in addition to the ongoing Pentax is Doomed sentiment) regarding Sigma's strategic decision to tailor their efforts away from dSLR mounts and Pentax-K in particular. It should be noted that they distanced themselves from from both Nikon F and Sony A a few years ago and have shuffled the deck several ways since. The intent, it would seem, it is take advantage of the novelty aspect of recent FF mirrorless offerings and potential fresh lens demand that might result. In other words, betting that the fresh product may buck the trend of declining sales.


Steve

Last edited by stevebrot; 3 Days Ago at 04:02 PM.
3 Days Ago   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
regarding Sigma's strategic decision to tailor their efforts away from dSLR mounts and Pentax-K in particular. It should be noted that they distanced themselves from from both Nikon F and Sony A a few years ago and have shuffled the deck several ways since. The intent, it would seem, it is take advantage of the novelty aspect of recent FF mirrorless offerings and potential fresh lens demand that might result. In other words, betting that the fresh product may buck the trend of declining sales.
Sigma is an outlier since it is both family owned and wholly dependent on the photographic equipment industry for revenue. It's capitalization is only 100 million yen and they still have their own Foveon cameras to support, so there is very little room to play around with products that don't generate strong sales.
3 Days Ago   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by RGlasel Quote
so there is very little room to play around with products that don't generate strong sales.
Like Foveon cameras and SA mount lenses. And L mount. I'm sure that's going to generate sales...

Last edited by boriscleto; 3 Days Ago at 04:31 PM.
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