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05-30-2019, 06:35 PM - 3 Likes   #1
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Smartphone sales slump 22 million ? a golden chance for the camera market? | Digital Camera World

05-30-2019, 07:09 PM - 7 Likes   #2
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LOL!

Clearly the new mirrorless cameras from Canon and Nikon are eating Apple's, Samsung's, Huaweis' lunch! (not!)

Welcome to the world of rapidly maturing technology. Smartphones plateaued last year, MILCs will probably plateau next year.

The only effect that slumping smartphone sales will have on camera sales is that the people that decide to put off the next phone upgrade will use that money for other hobbies like photography.

P.S. There really isn't competition between smartphones and "real cameras" except in the most superficial way. A smartphone can replace a "real camera" the same way a sedan can replace a tractor-trailer truck. Sure, 98-99% of the people are satisfied with hauling themselves and their stuff in a sedan. A sedan and smartphone really are good enough for most. But the 1-2% of the population who are pros and enthusiasts are not satisfies with the most popular option and never will be.
05-30-2019, 07:31 PM - 6 Likes   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by photoptimist Quote
There really isn't competition between smartphones and "real cameras" except in the most superficial way.
Well I think many would agree that smartphones have destroyed the cheap point & shoot market. Anyone who used one of those is much happier with a smartphone. But smartphones have not (yet) replaced real cameras (DSLRS or other interchangeable lens gear).
Maturing technology is slowing down the churn we have seen in years past, both in smartphones and in DSLRs and in computers and tablets for that matter. For a while I was getting a new smartphone nearly every year. But my Galaxy 7 works just fine, I see nothing in any of the newer models that would entice me to buy so I'll keep it until I break it. Same with cameras. I went k-x>k-5>k-5IIs>k-3>k-3II>k-1. But honestly the K-3II is just fine and I still shoot with it. I love the K-1 but would be just fine with the K-3II as well. Nothing out there has improved enough over the K-3II to tempt me to buy another APS-C camera.
I don't think this is all doom and gloom, just that people are not churning new toys every 12 months. Now maybe it's 24 or 36 or 48 months. Companies that bet the farm on selling a new model every year are in trouble. Those that slowed development to match demand are not.
05-30-2019, 07:35 PM - 2 Likes   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by photoptimist Quote
The only effect that slumping smartphone sales will have on camera sales is that the people that decide to put off the next phone upgrade will use that money for other hobbies like photography.
Of course you wrote this "tongue in cheek" because research has shown that new cell phones are slumping because of the marketing and retailing scheme has changed along with an economic resistance to pay $1000+ for a smart phone. Most carriers are no longer subsidizing high end phones and consumers with a iPhone 8 for example, are resistant to replace this subsidized model for a full price model that offers in essence very little more than their existing model.


I therefore, agree with you that the technology is presently plateaued (or temporarily peaked) just as DSLRs are at or approaching their zenith. Nonetheless, small refinements in dedicated equipment tend to yield long-term benefits.

Food for thought regardless....

05-30-2019, 07:40 PM - 1 Like   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by photoptimist Quote
The only effect that slumping smartphone sales will have on camera sales is that the people that decide to put off the next phone upgrade will use that money for other hobbies like photography.
I agree. And I think the real reason the smart phone sales are slumping has more to do with the way they're marketed and sold these days, especially in the US. Long gone are the days of the "free" phone from service providers, or a small fee to upgrade to a smart phone. The new model is the monthly payment plan (a current model iPhone through my carrier is $45 a month for 24 months, that's $1010 without tax, insurance, etc! And even a cheaper phone at half that rate is still a lot of money), which adds up quickly. I think people are finally realizing they're paying way too much for a portable entertainment device. I'm a heavy smart phone user for work and life, and even I'm not willing to shell out big bucks (or Euros, or Yen or...) for overpriced tech. Both my kids, children of the smartphone era, have dialed back their devices from the "must have latest and greatest" iPhone or Android (now that they are responsible to fit the bill for their phones) to refurbished LG's that cost them about $25 out of pocket. I don't see smart phones going away but I think the current business model has run it's course.
05-30-2019, 07:44 PM - 2 Likes   #6
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Itís gonna be interesting how things play out.

Considering everybody I know who uses a cell phone as a camera only posts AND views photos on social media on a cell phone sized screen, I don’t see vastly improved cell phone image quality being enough to motivate those folks to spend the $1000+ dollars for an iPhone XS MAX.

Anyway, at this point, I’m pretty sure I’m married to Pentax and have 150% of my photo needs met and 99.8% of my wants covered. The .2% is TBD. My iPhone 5SE is on the company service plan so I don’t even have that expense.


I was discussing my photo hobby and LBA disorder in another online hobby forum, boardgamegeek.com, and a fellow posted a photo of a new iPhone XS Max on a tripod and a beautiful landscape taken with said phone and asked, “If you can get a photo like that with a phone, why buy all that expensive camera gear?” I did not make an effort to respond and just let the thread roll on to the next thing
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In parallel to that question, I bought myself another electric guitar for my upcoming 69th birthday and told my bestie about it. She said, “I don’t understand why anyone would need any more than one guitar. I have a piano and don’t need another piano.” I almost started into an explanation of the tonal differences of single coil vs P90 vs humbucking pick ups and decided to treat it as a rhetorical question and just let that conversation roll on to the next thing as well.

GAS is GAS in any hobby.

Last edited by Perfessor5646; 05-30-2019 at 07:52 PM.
05-30-2019, 08:09 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by jatrax Quote
Well I think many would agree that smartphones have destroyed the cheap point & shoot market. Anyone who used one of those is much happier with a smartphone. But smartphones have not (yet) replaced real cameras (DSLRS or other interchangeable lens gear).
Maturing technology is slowing down the churn we have seen in years past, both in smartphones and in DSLRs and in computers and tablets for that matter. For a while I was getting a new smartphone nearly every year. But my Galaxy 7 works just fine, I see nothing in any of the newer models that would entice me to buy so I'll keep it until I break it. Same with cameras. I went k-x>k-5>k-5IIs>k-3>k-3II>k-1. But honestly the K-3II is just fine and I still shoot with it. I love the K-1 but would be just fine with the K-3II as well. Nothing out there has improved enough over the K-3II to tempt me to buy another APS-C camera.
I don't think this is all doom and gloom, just that people are not churning new toys every 12 months. Now maybe it's 24 or 36 or 48 months. Companies that bet the farm on selling a new model every year are in trouble. Those that slowed development to match demand are not.
You are right. The churn in cameras and smartphones has abated but that doesn't mean no one buys them anymore.

As for compact cameras, they have lost most of their market but not all of it. The CIPA stats still show 8.5 million units per year and the price per camera has increased. The weird thing is that that the CIPA stats only cover Japanese camera makers so some of the decline in compact sales might be marketshare losses to Chinese compact camera makers such as Abergbest and GordVE. Thus, even compacts are not totally doomed because they also offer features and functionality not available in smartphones.
05-30-2019, 08:34 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by photoptimist Quote
The churn in cameras and smartphones has abated but that doesn't mean no one buys them anymore.
Of course not, just that in general we are not leaping after the 'shiny new thing' every few months. At least fewer people are. And that is not a bad thing IMHO. A slower more deliberate development cycle allows time for meaningful improvement as well as real testing for QC.

I suppose compacts are not completely doomed either. I own a very nice Sony rx100 but that's not really a cheap P&S. What I do not see is young people with small cheap cameras. They either have a fairly nice DSLR / MILC or they use a smartphone. Older folks that are used to a 'real' camera, yeah they still buy the little P&S ones. But when a smartphone has as good a sensor as the little P&S and not really a much better lens then yeah the smartphone wins.

But even smartphones are struggling to come up with a 'shiny new thing' that will drive more sales. That is not to say the market is shrinking, it is in fact growing very nicely. Just that the life cycle of a particular device is much longer than it once was. And that is a good thing I think.

05-30-2019, 08:42 PM   #9
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The trouble with smartphones the overall network they operate in is changing all the time so lastyears model won't work on the new upgraded networks..ie 3g - 4g etc.
Once your on the cycles you cant really get off unless you buy a cheap phone and in this wacky day and age that won't just do..........I know i'm old


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05-30-2019, 09:17 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by photoptimist Quote
You are right. The churn in cameras and smartphones has abated but that doesn't mean no one buys them anymore.
That isn't the point - people buy them less often, so monthly sales are lower. Under the plan we had two years ago from Verizon, I was 'entitled' to a new phone every 24 months; if I waited 2 months, I paid exactly the same amount, but I waited longer for an improved phone, so I had no incentive to spread out upgrades. Under the plan we have now from Verizon, the same company, when I get a new phone, I start paying for that new phone over 24 months; if I wait 2 months, I get two months of reduced bill because for those two months I'm not paying for a phone. For years, our entire family got new phones right on schedule; 2018, when our two-year anniversary arrived at the end of December, only my wife and our younger daughter got new phones "on schedule"; our old daughter chose to stick with her old phone for a tad longer, because she was getting married in January, and she didn't want to leave us with the bill for the phone that she'd be taking with her, and I didn't see a phone with a camera better than the one I already had, so I stuck with my old one.
05-30-2019, 10:10 PM - 1 Like   #11
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Usually when the mobile market gets worse, more companies redirect their R&D investments into niche markets in order to compensate loss of revenues from mobiles and mitigate market risks. R&D funds compete against each other, so if the mobile business does bad, it's not necessarily bad for cameras.
05-30-2019, 10:31 PM   #12
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05-31-2019, 03:45 AM   #13
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Maybe the K3 replacement will have a phone and internet access.
05-31-2019, 05:53 AM - 3 Likes   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by steve_k Quote
Maybe the K3 replacement will have a phone and internet access.
One of my daughters-in-law asked me if there was a camera that automatically sent pictures to Facebook as they were snapped. I didnít have an answer but I had a question. Why would you want that? (I didnít ask it aloud.)
05-31-2019, 06:15 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by steve_k Quote
Maybe the K3 replacement will have a phone and internet access.
The more we ask of add ons, the heavier and the bigger the camera becomes. More parts to be installed.

Last edited by totsmuyco; 05-31-2019 at 08:34 PM.
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