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12-02-2013, 09:15 AM   #46
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QuoteOriginally posted by Kunzite Quote
But they didn't; look at the facts: http://www.cipa.jp/stats/documents/e/d-201310_e.pdf

Olympus abandoned their DSLR line, they have no choice than to "pins future hopes on mirrorless format". Even the article you're linking to, talks about "hoping" to break even, "dramatically poor sales" (instead of the over-inflated expectations) and heavy losses.
If we'll have to wait 68 years (from 2004, the year Epson RD-1 was launched, that would make 2072), what's all the fuss? Just kidding, but you see, their point is that DSLRs will "die" soon enough that we should worry (which means we should avoid buying DSLRs). They're attempting to create a self fulfilling prophecy effect.
Olympus abandoned their DSLR line because it was making big losses. Now they hope to break even. That's a big improvement in the balance sheet if they do.

Sony too by the looks of things . . .

Sony changes form and future of mirrorless cameras plus three new lenses ? The Gadgeteer

QuoteQuote:
A New Sony DSLR camera was announced today – but hold on, it only “looks” like a DSLR. The Sony A3000 is actually an E-mount mirrorless interchangeable-lens camera cloaked as a DSLR.
Am I right in saying Sony no longer makes a DSLR?

I'm thinking that with a shrinking market there's been dramatically poor camera sales total and with mirrorless being faster to put together with 60% less parts than a DSLR meaning better profit margins, EVF technology starting to be accepted as it has improved a lot, I can see why these two manufacturers are turning to mirrorless and starting to push the market towards this alternative.

The people I know with that new Olympus OM-D rave about it and they have DSLR's like the Nikon D800, the Canon 1DX and one even had a Hasselblad 50mp thing. They don't use the big stuff now because the Oly is covering most of it, something Ming Thein has also mentioned.

All that said. It's only when Canon and Nikon start making the same moves away from SLR to MILC that we'll know mainstream DSLR's will be no more. I never thought I'd ever look at mirrorless (honestly!), thought they were toys compared to the DSLR, but now I'm not so sure.

Shall be watching this space!

12-02-2013, 10:28 AM   #47
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QuoteOriginally posted by Parry Quote
Olympus abandoned their DSLR line because it was making big losses. Now they hope to break even. That's a big improvement in the balance sheet if they do.
That's wasn't because they made DSLRs, but how they did it (maybe it was the sensor, maybe it was their attempt at capturing the "pro" market with a too small format). Pentax managed to make a profit despite a hostile takeover and aggressive cost cutting.

QuoteOriginally posted by Parry Quote
Sony too by the looks of things . . .

Sony changes form and future of mirrorless cameras plus three new lenses ? The Gadgeteer

Am I right in saying Sony no longer makes a DSLR?
Sure, Sony abandoned DSLRs as well (even though they're continuing with their A mount, so far). Logically, their camera news will be about MILCs.
The A3000 is a lousy product disguised as a DSLR, so it appears that Sony figured out there are people who don't buy into ultra compact, point&shoot like MILCs.
QuoteOriginally posted by Parry Quote
I'm thinking that with a shrinking market there's been dramatically poor camera sales total and with mirrorless being faster to put together with 60% less parts than a DSLR meaning better profit margins, EVF technology starting to be accepted as it has improved a lot, I can see why these two manufacturers are turning to mirrorless and starting to push the market towards this alternative.

The people I know with that new Olympus OM-D rave about it and they have DSLR's like the Nikon D800, the Canon 1DX and one even had a Hasselblad 50mp thing. They don't use the big stuff now because the Oly is covering most of it, something Ming Thein has also mentioned.

All that said. It's only when Canon and Nikon start making the same moves away from SLR to MILC that we'll know mainstream DSLR's will be no more. I never thought I'd ever look at mirrorless (honestly!), thought they were toys compared to the DSLR, but now I'm not so sure.

Shall be watching this space!
But MILC makers are struggling, and "hoping" to become profitable. Something doesn't work quite well... and we should assume it won't work much better for Pentax. The question is: should Pentax go for it and accept struggling for years, before being able to "hope" to make a profit? Or should they follow the current, profitable strategy?

Examples of people liking mirrorless are irrelevant, I'm afraid. Of course there will be such people, those are competent products and, if one is OK with the EVF and other things...

Why would Canon and Nikon move away from DSLRs? They're controlling this market, which - again - is about 5 times larger than MILCs.
12-18-2013, 07:59 PM   #48
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If Pentax used the mirrorless concept for their FF offering it could be Cheaper and more flexible. Few moving parts means cheaper to produce. A short registration distance would mean more then just accepting different makes of lenses, it could use a tilt and shift adapter. This would allow almost any wide angle to be used for this. Pentax would make a much more ergonomic body then the retro style A7/r.
12-19-2013, 12:18 PM   #49
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QuoteOriginally posted by Parry Quote
I cannot understand why the A7 and A7r are being compared to the K-3 here.

Okay, compare the A7 to the Leica M, sure. But the K-3 is an APS-C DSLR and has completely different strengths and weaknesses.

If we must compare this orange with that apple, I do think that the K-3 would be a more user friendly general purpose camera for beginners and amatuer photogs and I include myself in that.
It's because the A7 has phase-detect autofocus, which puts it much more in the league of DSLRs than people realize. That was one of the two primary differentiators between DSLRs and MILCs, the other being an optical viewfinder (and the associated advantages in terms of battery life, etc). And the Sony electronic viewfinders work great.

Fuji has even eliminated the electronic viewfinder, their optical-hybrid viewfinders are supposed to be very nice. They say they're "fully committed" to the APS-C sensor size but I have to admit some doubt on that one. They have to be eyeing the success of the A7. If Fuji came out with a pair of refined FF MILCs with optical-hybrid viewfinder in the tradition of the X100 and the XPro1 they would pretty much lock down the "digital rangefinder" segment. It's not just the nicely built cameras, it's the fast, sharp, high-quality glass they are putting out and the long-term support in terms of software updates and feature additions.

12-19-2013, 01:19 PM - 1 Like   #50
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QuoteOriginally posted by Kunzite Quote
But MILC makers are struggling, and "hoping" to become profitable. Something doesn't work quite well... and we should assume it won't work much better for Pentax. The question is: should Pentax go for it and accept struggling for years, before being able to "hope" to make a profit? Or should they follow the current, profitable strategy?
You're quite wrong here. Sony is turning a tidy profit nowadays, and Olympus MILC cameras are selling just fine. The primary drop-off is in sales of low-end P+S cameras, which is really quite predictable.

QuoteQuote:
Meanwhile, Olympus also reported their results. One curious thing I found right up front was "impairment losses on asset mainly in the Imaging business." This was listed as 14.1b yen, or about US$177 million. This was apparently due to a complete re-evaluation of assets within the company, including inventory. Net sales for the year in the Imaging group was down 2%, though the overall loss in the group declined by one third. Still, Olympus hasn't made a profit in cameras for some time now. Like Sony, Olympus stated the flooding in Thailand as a reason why net sales fell. The exact number they gave was 6.5b yen (on total sales of 128.6b yen). That Thailand adjustment wouldn't have been enough to erase the loss in the division had the floods not happened, though.

Olympus did report that Pen and high-value compact camera sales were "steady," which implies that low-value compact cameras were the primary culprit in net sales loss. Moreover, there was an inventory build-up of cameras of 17% over the past year. In terms of overall camera market share, Olympus is claiming a 7% share the same as last year, producing 8.15m units with the total market listed at 116m units.
It's Financial Report Time in Japan | Sans Mirror ? mirrorless, interchangeable lens cameras | Thom Hogan

And the latest reports:

Olympus:
QuoteQuote:
Annual sales of mirrorless models will rise to 1 million units as early as in the year starting April, reaching 5 percent share of the global market, Chief Executive Officer Hiroyuki Sasa said in an interview in Tokyo yesterday. Achieving that level of sales will bring about 7 billion yen ($68 million) in operating profit, he said.

Olympus, which has posted two consecutive quarters of losses, is counting on high-end mirrorless digital cameras to make up for the earning shortfalls from compact ones amid surging demand of smartphone sales such as Apple Inc.’s iPhone.
The Tokyo-based company aims for its mirrorless models to compete with single-lens reflux cameras by Canon Inc. (7751) and Nikon Corp., the world’s biggest camera makers.
Olympus Expects Camera Unit to Return to Profit Next Year - Bloomberg

Sony:
QuoteQuote:
The overall company results: The good news is that for the first time since 2008 Sony made a net profit of $458 million.

Imaging Division: Sales decreased 4.1% year-on-year (a 7% decrease on a constant currency basis) to 730.4 billion yen (7,770 million U.S. dollars). This decrease was primarily due to a significant decrease in unit sales of compact digital cameras reflecting a contraction of the low-end of the market as well as a significant decrease in unit sales of video cameras reflecting a contraction of the market, partially offset by significantly higher sales of interchangeable single-lens cameras and the favorable impact of foreign exchange rates.

Outlook for the Fiscal Year ending March 31, 2014: For March 2014 Sony expects to increase the sales and operating revenue by a +10.3%. The Imaging division should grow to: “Overall segment sales are expected to increase due to a significant increase in sales of broadcast- and professional-use products and interchangeable single-lens cameras. Operating income is expected to increase significantly due to the impact of the increase in sales.”

Management focus and topics: In the imaging division Sony has implemented investments for growth such as expanding production capacity for its cutting-edge and competitive CMOS image sensors.
Sony makes profit after 5 years! Sells less compacts and more system cameras. And expects to sell more High End cameras.

(note that increased sales of "interchangeable single-lens cameras" are likely heavily related to Sony's extremely popular new MILC FF cameras)

You're extrapolating a few slightly bad years due to a massive natural disaster and an extremely predictable drop in low-end P+S sales into the death of high-end MILC cameras, which is totally absurd given that they're one of the fastest growing products everywhere in the world except the US.

P+S cameras in particular are feeling the squeeze from both sides. Smartphone cameras are getting better, and they're "free" to most people since they already own a phone. You can't compete with free. Meanwhile the high-end products are getting more and more affordable - you can pick up a very nice used setup for $300 or so, and even new stuff is pretty cheap. The only P+S anyone I know bought recently was for elderly people who don't have smartphones, or people who want something small, light, and essentially disposable (quadrocopter stuff, places they wouldn't take delicate/expensive equipment, etc).

Nikon is also having a bad time with the J1 series, which again isn't surprising because it offers most users very little compared to the alternative. It strikes me as one of those cameras targeted at the Japanese housewife market like the Pentax Q. Physically small, tiny sensor, high price. It does have some unique features, but how often do you really need 13fps shooting? It's pretty much a slightly higher-end P+S and is suffering a similar fate, unlike its better-engineered brethren.

Last edited by Paul MaudDib; 12-19-2013 at 01:31 PM.
12-19-2013, 01:25 PM   #51
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QuoteOriginally posted by Paul MaudDib Quote
You're quite wrong here. Sony is turning a tidy profit nowadays, and Olympus MILC cameras are selling just fine. The primary drop-off is in sales of low-end P+S cameras, which is really quite predictable.


It's Financial Report Time in Japan | Sans Mirror ? mirrorless, interchangeable lens cameras | Thom Hogan

And the latest reports:


Olympus Expects Camera Unit to Return to Profit Next Year - Bloomberg

You're extrapolating a few slightly bad years due to a massive natural disaster and an extremely predictable drop in low-end P+S sales into the death of high-end MILC cameras, which is totally absurd given that they're one of the fastest growing products everywhere in the world except the US.

P+S cameras in particular are feeling the squeeze from both sides. Smartphone cameras are getting better, and they're "free" to most people since they already own a phone. You can't compete with free. Meanwhile the high-end products are getting more and more affordable - you can pick up a very nice used setup for $300 or so, and even new stuff is pretty cheap. The only P+S anyone I know bought recently was for elderly people who don't have smartphones, or people who want something small, light, and essentially disposable (quadrocopter stuff, places they wouldn't take delicate/expensive equipment, etc).
I'm fine with Olympus turning a profit, but I don't trust them farther than I could throw one of their colonoscopes with their past history of deception. How much money did they actually lose during the years they were supposedly turning a tidy profit?
12-19-2013, 01:50 PM   #52
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QuoteOriginally posted by Rondec Quote
I'm fine with Olympus turning a profit, but I don't trust them farther than I could throw one of their colonoscopes with their past history of deception. How much money did they actually lose during the years they were supposedly turning a tidy profit?
The camera division, not all that much. Olympus as a whole, a lot, but they made something like 1/4 of that back in this year alone, so they're not totally screwed.

The interesting thing about Olympus is they're not the only one making M4/3 cameras. Even if Olympus goes under there's a half dozen other companies turning out cameras and lenses. You'll still have upgrade paths out of whatever you buy.

And furthermore profit is not the only thing to consider when you're thinking about this. The Xbox was sold at a loss. So was the Xbox 360. Hell, the Playstation 3 didn't make a profit until 2010 either. Brands are an asset too, and running a division at a loss but building the overall brand may be a net plus. The Xbox One is running a profit and the PS4 is close to breaking even. Sometimes building strategic partnerships and long-term assets is more important than making sure each and every unit is profitable. Sony is set to make a profit on their camera division, Olympus is set to make a profit on their camera division, everyone's readjusted to produce fewer P+S cameras, things should be better from here on.

And really Canon and Nikon are undermining their long-term goals here - they've always counted on a lack of alternatives to keep people moving upwards into expensive pro gear, and now they're getting undercut. Pentax offers real nice crop bodies and MILCs are a seriously viable alternative, both for about the same as a consumer Canon/Nikon body. So far their efforts to counter this segment have been disastrous, to be charitable about it (EOS M, Nikon J1, Nikon Df). With FF rapidly becoming a consumer good it'll be interesting to see if they stop coasting and start innovating again.

Last edited by Paul MaudDib; 12-19-2013 at 02:09 PM.
12-20-2013, 10:49 AM   #53
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QuoteOriginally posted by Paul MaudDib Quote
You're quite wrong here. Sony is turning a tidy profit nowadays, and Olympus MILC cameras are selling just fine. The primary drop-off is in sales of low-end P+S cameras, which is really quite predictable.
Am I?

So, Olympus Imaging is still losing money, but they might return to profit next year. I don't trust much their claim to be able to sell more cameras next year.
Sony is also predicting increasing sales after seeing an actual decrease; we'll see about that.
Panasonic? Fujifilm? Samsung? Are they doing great?
Where is the higher profit margins people are talking about? If the MILCs were so great, why isn't Olympus Imaging Systems profitable? (I'm thinking those large profit margins should be able to offset the compacts). Why aren't DSLRs doomed yet, but still selling in much higher numbers?

You might say that Pentax isn't doing great either; but they had special circumstances - a hostile takeover, then cost cutting, at least one attempt at being sold and finally, being sold to Ricoh; you know the story. Anyway, Ricoh Imaging is now steadily growing. Better than "we hope we will grow, next year"

The thing is, the MILC market is not so much more lucrative than the DSLR one, as some people likes to think. They fail to take over the market - actually there's a slight regress compared to 2012, the DSLR:MILC production ratio increased from 4.22 to 4.6. Sony might be the only MILC maker making a profit, while all DSLR makers are profitable AFAIK.
And the DSLRs had to go through the same bad years as the MILCs.

By the way, smartphones decreased by 13.7% in the 3rd quarter, in Japan (on an year on year basis, according to IDC). Maybe they aren't taking over the world either

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