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02-08-2015, 04:55 PM   #1
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An Analysis of the Camera Industry

An analysis of the Photo Industry. Well worth watching!!
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While the common understanding is, that the photo market is declining either due to the cameras in smartphones - or due to market saturation - Heino Hilbig showed in his presentation in front of PMA members, that there are other reasons behind the actual market recession. As well he showed, how the industry members could counterattack the resent situation.



02-08-2015, 06:22 PM   #2
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If you watched the almost one hour long video, could you give us an executive summary. I liked his point, as far as I got, that 1.5 billion smartphones sold in 2014 alone, and they still only accounted for 14% of lab prints. Seems to support my premise that they are not really creating images, just capturing memories that will disappear in time.
02-08-2015, 07:00 PM   #3
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He gets to a possible solution at 40:00 onwards.
The executive summary is at 47:00.
The Fun Theory video which underlines his rationale can be found here:
02-08-2015, 07:11 PM   #4
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If there wasn't a Fred Astair / Ginger Rogers scene - there should have been.

02-08-2015, 07:31 PM   #5
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I had problems for the last 10 minutes but the overall basic message was - our cameras and our message around them fails to attract interest. They are too hard to use and too esoterically described in the press to be viable in today's market.

Smartphone correlation numbers are badly managed in the presentation. Also the graphic overlay of the collapse was entirely dependent on scaling and could look like whatever you wanted it to look like. I would argue that my wife - who represents the compact camera demographic - no longer uses a camera because it is not needed. It is easier to take pictures on her phone which has a camera that rivals the one she had previously used as a compact camera. It is also much easier to share those pictures directly from the phone.

I would also argue that people no longer care about printed photos as much as quick to upload and view online images. It is no longer important to people to exceed the resolution of their screens. Most people will no longer print any photos. They will share them with family and friends electronically. This means that the market for really nice photo producing cameras is dwindling at a precipitous rate - but that it may plateau just as quickly.

In my opinion, the analysis of the correlation (which btw never can show causality) should be redone with an eye towards the uptick in facebook and other online sharing and the casual users reports that their phone is now "good enough".

My LG G3 is an astonishingly good camera. My iPhone 5s is very good compared to the compact cameras of a few years ago. These are devices that are very expensive and fill multiple roles for us - they turn over quickly and refresh more rapidly than our cameras of the past.

Frankly this analysis seems geared to push an agenda - if it is true then Pentax (along with Canon and Nikon) is doomed.
02-08-2015, 07:34 PM   #6
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SUMMARY:
Smartphones and market saturation are NOT the cause of a decline in PnS sales or DSLR sales. MILC are not the cause of a decline in DSLR sales.
The causes are manufacturers asking consumers to solve their problems, 'complexity' of systems and no real communication between producers to arrive at cross-brand compatibility or standards.

In other words the Fun Factor is missing because there's just too much work involved for the average consumer to own a higher end camera..
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02-08-2015, 07:44 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by Steve.Ledger Quote
SUMMARY:
Smartphones and market saturation are NOT the cause of a decline in PnS sales or DSLR sales. MILC are not the cause of a decline in DSLR sales.
The causes are manufacturers asking consumers to solve their problems, 'complexity' of systems and no real communication between producers to arrive at cross-brand compatibility or standards.

In other words the Fun Factor is missing because there's just too much work involved for the average consumer to own a higher end camera..


Maybe that is why Pentax released the K-S1. It has great output but also has a fun little look to it that first time entry users will see. Yeah I don't want to see LED screens in the grip but I am sure there are other younger users will think it is cool.
02-08-2015, 08:55 PM - 1 Like   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Steve.Ledger Quote
In other words the Fun Factor is missing because there's just too much work involved for the average consumer to own a higher end camera..
This has, realistically speaking, always been true. DSLR cameras of yesterday were complicated too--the "basic" tenants of exposure, film ASA speed, and f stops were still around then. You were more limited in what you could do on the spot, of course, but it made getting good photos much more challenging as you had to anticipate the problems much better than you do now.

I used to be big in home theater. The CE makers saw their profits drop as rapidly as they hit the stratosphere. It's the same thing with the camera industry: people ran out and bought these things and had no need to buy a new one when a slight upgrade was released. He concludes that market saturation isn't a culprit, but I think he is incorrect in that the market just continues to shrink. What was an appealing cool, shiny toy just lots its charm for people. Maybe they realized they didn't need an SLR. Maybe they realized it was too expensive. Maybe they saw friends buy them and not end up with the Pulitzer-prize quality prints they expected they'd get. Who knows.

I would argue that this is simply regression to the mean. People weren't out buying film SLRs buy the truckload like they did with digital SLRs and if they did, most of them probably went unused for years after a few times. But when digital SLRs came out, a bunch of people not originally in the market rushed out and bought one. Then they realized it was mostly an impulse and moved on. They won't buy another one. It's not that the smartphone killed their interest so much as they never had real interest in the first place. They just appeared to.

So what happened to the camera makers? They got excited by record profits and, like virtually every company and government on the planet, assumed that revenue was just going to continue to grow. Then it didn't. Now they're trying to release a new product every year when having longer product cycles is probably the answer.

02-09-2015, 02:57 AM   #9
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I think it's at least relevant to point out that it was not, essentially, about cameras, nor lens' and least of all about "photography" in the sense that term is used on this forum.

It was about marketing and the question was asked:
In the near past the marketing of "photography" has been a cash cow but now that is, apparently, drying up and what can be done about it?

Off hand it escapes me why this question is relevant to the average forum member.
If in five years, for instance, the market for DSLRs is 1/3 what it is now then that is the market share it naturally should be based on demand - it might be a problem for Nikon but not for me.

Last edited by wildman; 02-09-2015 at 03:05 AM.
02-09-2015, 03:13 AM   #10
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IMO he simplifies way too much in his analysis.

There are most likely many different reasons for the massive loss in camera sales. The "fun factor" might be one of these factors, but is hardly the only one.
The problem is that all these factors have happened in a short period of time, which create the steep curve in sales loss.

- Smartphones has replaced entry level P&S (the previous biggest segment in P&S sales).
- Saturation of the camera market. IQ is not advancing as fast any more between each generation on ILC, so most users do not upgrade cameras, only replace them if broken. And it was several generation ago that IQ got good enough for most users.
- High end P&S with larger sensors has replaces some ILC sales. High end P&S have improved a lot in IQ by using much larger sensors than a few years back. A P&S with 1" or larger sensor can replace a few generations old ILC with as good or better IQ.
- Younger generations have different view on photography, and use camera devices differently. They might not see the need of dedicated cameras.

It probably not very hard to find many other reason as well.

But I agree that camera manufactures have to be better in adjusting their business model to give today's customer what they need.
To simplify the workflow in handling images, and offer better services around handling of images. Not only sell the hardware to capture images.
02-09-2015, 04:21 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Fogel70 Quote
They might not see the need of dedicated cameras.
That goes back to 1900 and the first Kodak Brownies.
The average camera user was never concerned with the device it's self - they just wanted to capture a moment, a "snapshot", and then get on with their life.
Having a phone that captures images makes perfect sense to most folks just as having a radio in a car does.


QuoteOriginally posted by Fogel70 Quote
give today's customer what they need.
That's not the purpose of marketing - create demand not meet needs. How many who have DSLR's really "need" them?
02-09-2015, 04:42 AM   #12
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I don't think anyone really understands the camera market. Certainly not the folks who are designing the new cameras of today. Smart phones certainly have killed the point and shoot market, no doubt about that, but I don't think they have really hurt the ILC market very much.

The biggest problem, from what I can see, is that there is no big new feature that people want. The big two things that camera companies have turned to -- connectivity and bigger sensors -- just haven't struck a chord with consumers. They have nice cameras that are a few years old. They are satisfied with the output and when they want to upload photos quickly, they don't use an SLR anyway, they use their phone. Adding features -- more megapixels, super resolution, in camera HDR, more scene modes -- isn't going to do it either.

Not sure where we go from here, but the reality is that the rest of the world isn't like this forum -- driven by the desire for photographic perfection -- and buying new photographic gear is pretty low down on the household budget of each month.
02-09-2015, 04:57 AM   #13
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The K-3 manual is a perfect example of camera companies' disconnect from the end user.

Most of us here don't need the manual to make a K-3 do the things we need it to do. But what if we did need it to do something we've never done before? The manual is tiny, poorly organized and doesn't answer questions. It only describes functions, not what the function is for.

Imagine how an unsophisticated user feels when first opening that book!

How many members ask a simple (to us) question about how to just USE the camera in their first post here?

What if Pentax put a small group of laminated 'How To' cards in the box? How to set your camera for a nice landscape photo. A nice portrait. A good action shot of your child's soccer game. Bright sun. Cloudy day. Sunset or sunrise photo. The photos people who want to take a better photo want to take.

Some guy on eBay gets $20 for 15 cents worth of materials that do just that.

What if they put a picture of how to hold a camera in the manual? They did that in all the SLR manuals.

What if they made an Acrobat Herbert Keppler book?
02-09-2015, 06:26 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by monochrome Quote
What if Pentax put a small group of laminated 'How To' cards in the box? How to set your camera for a nice landscape photo. A nice portrait. A good action shot of your child's soccer game. Bright sun. Cloudy day. Sunset or sunrise photo. The photos people who want to take a better photo want to take.
I think that's why some cameras have all those goofy modes. Issue is that they are absent from the top cameras. Clearly, camera makers assume that someone who buys a premium camera will be a more understanding user. But I don't think that's always the case.
02-09-2015, 06:35 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by Rondec Quote
there is no big new feature that people want.
Ok I'll play -

1. Much faster sensors. Say a base ISO 6400.
This would lead to smaller, lighter more compact cameras and simple with a high quality integrated super zoom.

2. Get away from the swiss army knife thinking and have a simple still shooters camera with dedicated physical controls and no video or flash to clutter up the fast ergonomics.

Right now the only thing I can think of is something like the LUMIX LX100 - going in the right direction but no cigar.
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