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05-21-2014, 07:50 AM - 1 Like   #16
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QuoteOriginally posted by normhead Quote
I'm not sure why folks miss the fact that digital caused a bump in the curve that had to end sometime. I just hope these guys (camera company execs) are realizing the craze is per and are ready to get back to "business as usual." I suspect those who can't trim down their operations to function in the new reality while maintaining R&D are doomed.
Yet we criticize Ricoh for not aggressively developing and releasing something new to match whatever shiny bauble anyone gets out in the market first. A year ago James Malcolm told me (and others) Ricoh knew Canon and Nikon were experiencing the involuntrary inventory build Thom Hogan and everyone else is writing about - and that Ricoh wasn't going to let that happen to them.

We criticize Ricoh for being benighted and missing opportunities and not having a decent MILC and not enough fast lenses and where's the modern mount and --- FF ---

Frankly, I think they're pretty d@#$%d good businessmen.

P.S. - this dSLR bubble reminds of home building in the USA and EU from 2003 - 2007. We built 2,000,000 houses a year while normal household formation demand was for 1,200,000 new homes, so we overbuilt by 800,000 houses a year. Speculation, bad loans and government subsidies kept the balloon inflated - until it didn't. Household credit card balance reductions (or hitting ceilings) plays a very large part in the slowdown of dSLR sales.


Last edited by monochrome; 05-21-2014 at 10:24 AM.
05-21-2014, 08:12 AM   #17
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I can't believe how easily the camera companies seem to have given up on the non-enthusiast consumer. They are all chasing the same high-end market, which is of course limited in scope, and have just accepted that most consumers will use a cellphone. I can think of a number of people just in my family who don't want to use a cellphone for pictures and would prefer a real camera, but what do I recommend for them?

Consider my brother. He wants a camera that takes pictures that are appreciably better than a cellphone, otherwise it isn't worth the bother. It has to fit in his pocket easily (so no ILCs) and he won't spend more than $400. He needs it to be easy to use, by which I mean not be festooned with direct controls for shoot settings that he will never use. Is this really so hard to cater to this need? I can't think of a camera that fits the bill - the Fuji XQ-1 is the best I can do.

Large sensors are cheap now and small cameras can be made with them, so we are close to where we were with film. The main difference between an SLR and a compact camera used to be versatility and the potential to use faster lenses, not sensor quality. The RX100 looked like the way to go, but Sony has just found excuses to make it even more advanced and expensive, rather than bringing the price down. A cheaper APS-C fixed focal length camera (GR for dummies) should also be possible for less than $400 if a company chooses to do it.

If the camera companies lose the mass market they have only themselves to blame for not trying hard enough, in my opinion.
05-21-2014, 10:09 AM   #18
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I think Fuji understands everything the best, they are coming out with unique products that other companies have either attempted at and failed, or just not attempted at all. The XT-1 is the perfect example. They brought integrated wifi, they brought manual dials and did it properly, they have weather sealing, great lenses already offered and in the pipeline. Sure I would want a few more pancakes. They constantly do updates to even outdated product, and they appear to listen to the customers more than anyone else.

Pentax have used the same battery since the K7 in K5, K5ii, K5iis, K-01, K3... thats a great start. Hopefully that trend will continue to future products. I know that people complained that the Grip didn't last through to the K3 from the K7/K5, but really... that grip lasted a long time, it would have been convenient, but the product cycles over. get over it.

The point that rung home to me is how can a camera company design the camera to increase productivity? Even the Eyefi cards/Flucards are great in concept, but I find the execution lacking. A direct link dongle to your computer would be brilliant for tethering in my opinion.
05-21-2014, 11:56 AM - 1 Like   #19
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The only camera companies I am interested in TODAY are Sony ,Panasonic and Samsung. I have not shot a single still shot with my new Panasonic GH4 since I could get up to 8.8mp stills from my 4K (4096x2160 or 3840x2160) GH4 videos. After using the ultra high quality EVFs in my full frame Sony VG900 and Panasonic GH4 I have zero interest in DSLRs with OVFs. I don't have any Samsung cameras but if the NX30 had 4K video I might have purchased it.

Samsung NX30 with 16-50mm f/2-2.8 S ED OIS Lens

05-21-2014, 12:22 PM   #20
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QuoteOriginally posted by mecrox Quote

Even so, I think one has to take "by thom" with a hefty pinch of salt. One thing which held me up was his statement that "one reason why my writing about these things might seem a bit grumpy at times is that the problems I write about were known in the 90ís". Well in that case, how serious are these problems, really? Perhaps they are not even problems. None seems to have prevented a massive boom in imaging since that time.

.
I like a lot of the things he said, but other items - not so much. For example, i think he gave Sony a harder poke than he needed to. His case would have been better if he had pointed out some areas where the camera companies have done good things, like:

a. Recently, Sony has issued the A7s with a optional silent shutter which is entirely electronic. This is ground-breaking stuff for a sensor that large. One of the reasons i have always like Pentax dslrs is that starting with the K7, they've been using quiet shutters than everyone else (usually :-)) I shoot lots of dress rehearsals and candid shots in theatres - i want a camera that doesn't make me become the center of attention due to its noise.

b. Nikon had one of the first, if not the first quick focusing mirrorless camera, the Nikon 1 series. Now Sony has one in the A6000. But good for Nikon. More importantly, Nikon pioneered some early high iso cameras.

c. Canon came out with a dual pixel focusing system, both phase and contrast - can't remember the model name of the camera, but seems ground breaking to me.

d. Pentax came out with the AA filter-less sensor but able to simulate the blurring sensor with sensor vibration. No longer need to have 2 models of every camera, one with AA filter, and one without. Ground-breaking i think.

Sony has come out with the smallest camera bodies for aps and FF sensors of anyone. We may not like the results, but inventors many times go thru several iterations of an idea before they get it "right". Shame on us if we throw bricks at an idea which hasn't yet been fully refined. And shame on the company if they don't get in touch with the customers and see how a new idea can be refined to make it better.
05-21-2014, 01:25 PM   #21
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QuoteOriginally posted by philbaum Quote
c. Canon came out with a dual pixel focusing system, both phase and contrast - can't remember the model name of the camera, but seems ground breaking to me.
It's the 70D.
05-21-2014, 02:08 PM   #22
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There's a difference between some kinds of "groundbreaking" and something that actually makes a difference for me in my shooting. The AA filter? Ground breaking, except that I've never turned it on. Dual pixel focusing... when does that improve performance? A lot of what's championed as "groundbreaking" is hype. The only thing "ground breaking" in the last 10 years, is the new sensitive sensors.They would change how I shoot. But essentially how I shoot hasn't changed since my *ist.

05-21-2014, 04:13 PM   #23
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QuoteOriginally posted by normhead Quote
Cameras enjoyed a brief boom with the advent of digital. But my guess is, it's pretty much over. I used to say my next camera would be a 24 Mp APS-c. AT this point my next camera will be a 16 Mp ultra-sensitive camera of some variety. 24 Mp for me is overkill, even with my 30x20 prints. 16 Mp was functionally as good... and 24 Mp while a step up isn't what I thought it would be. Now I'm looking for full dynamic range at 25000 ISO on an APS-c sensor so I can push my shutter speed way up for freezing action, or shoot in early morning or late evening light.

I can say without fear of contradiction, Pentax is not going to make this camera and at this point the Sony A-7s is the only possible option. And it's viewfinder sucks in low light as does it's auto-focus, as far as I know. So, I'm probably not looking at another camera in the next 5 years, unless Pentax or someone else surprises me.

If I'm a typical consumer, the camera companies are in for a tough ride. But to be honest, that's the way i was in film. I've bought more cameras in the last 10 years than I bought in the 50 years before that. Things are starting to stabilize again, and are starting to go back to "normal". The digital craze is pretty much over and it's about to return to the ho hum that existed with film cameras for years. I'm not sure why folks miss the fact that digital caused a bump in the curve that had to end sometime. I just hope these guys (camera company execs) are realizing the craze is per and are ready to get back to "business as usual." I suspect those who can't trim down their operations to function in the new reality while maintaining R&D are doomed.
+1. Having used Pentax film and digital bodies since 1966, I fully agree. I do know that the present level of technology, as reflected in the K-3,
produces images "good enough" for me.
05-21-2014, 04:21 PM - 1 Like   #24
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I don't normally pay any attention to Thom and reading this I am glad I don't and will continue to ignore him in the future.

It's a shallow article, full of biases and contradictions, and come across more as a rant than a well thought out opinion.

I sincerely hope camera makers ignore him, just like they did in the 90s.

As an example, a camera that Thom's mother can use is probably not a camera that Thom will buy.

And Apple already is the world's biggest camera maker, 4 out 5 of the most popular cameras used to post photos on Flickr are iPhone models.

The thing is: we are all individuals - people who buy cameras all want different things. The segment that Thom represents is the past - people who want increasingly more powerful DSLRs with ever increasing features (that are somehow, magically, ever increasingly easier to use) don't actually BUY any cameras, they just spend time talking about cameras and posting rants on the Internet.

The pro photographer is disappearing. I can't think of a single occasion/reason why I would actually want to hire a photographer or buy a print. If I ever get married (again) I wouldn't pay for a photographer - I'll just get my friends to post their photos on Facebook or Instagram, and I'll make sure there is at least one person who is competent enough to capture the important shots.

The reason Apple is successful is not because they listen to their die hard core fans (who won't buy enough Apples to keep the company afloat, as aptly demonstrated in the 90s) - they are very good at anticipating the next trend, and in many cases actively influencing adoption of that trend. At the same time, Apple is very good at keeping the core fans faithful - they make sure they never destroy the trust of an Apple-phile - but there are exceptions (Final Cut Pro for example, although they managed to survive that).

Leica in my not very humble opinion has a successful strategy - they know exactly what their customer base is, and they are very good at meeting the needs of that core customer base, whilst cultivating a "premium" or "exclusive" aura to attract the nouveau riche from China. During my recent trip to Hong Kong, I saw so many Leica stores - almost one on every corner, and there are lots of people carrying Leica (compacts of course, but hey these people are happy enough to pay a huge premium over the equivalent Panasonic model).

But that strategy is not a mass market strategy. Leica will never be an Apple, even though they are clearly cultivating the same mystique and brand aura.

Canon and Nikon will really need to decide - do they want to adopt the same strategy as Leica (and be a lot smaller than they are currently), or try and be Apple and anticipate the needs of the next generation of consumers (I won't even call them 'photographers' because I think the term is becoming obsolete). I would argue Canon and Nikon are already trying both strategies - just not very successfully (they probably need to pick and choose one rather than trying to be all things to all people).
05-21-2014, 06:14 PM   #25
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QuoteOriginally posted by normhead Quote
There's a difference between some kinds of "groundbreaking" and something that actually makes a difference for me in my shooting. The AA filter? Ground breaking, except that I've never turned it on. Dual pixel focusing... when does that improve performance? A lot of what's championed as "groundbreaking" is hype. The only thing "ground breaking" in the last 10 years, is the new sensitive sensors.They would change how I shoot. But essentially how I shoot hasn't changed since my *ist.

Has how any of us changed how we shoot since the first SLR? I don't find my way of shooting is that different from when I learned on my MX. Just minor things, like I'm more careful and slow down on film in the field. In a studio setting I shoot them identically.
05-21-2014, 06:22 PM   #26
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QuoteOriginally posted by Wired Quote
Has how any of us changed how we shoot since the first SLR? I don't find my way of shooting is that different from when I learned on my MX. Just minor things, like I'm more careful and slow down on film in the field. In a studio setting I shoot them identically.
Well, I think there have clearly been some significant changers since the first SLR -- auto metering, auto focus, aperture control from the camera body rather than the ring. Most things over time have been incremental, however the sensor jump from the K7 to K5 was pretty enormous. I seldom had to shoot multiple exposures because of the awesome dynamic range at base, high iso a lot better. And looking back, the K10 was an awfully big jump over the K100.

Hard to say though, what advancements have been truly "game changers..."
05-21-2014, 06:44 PM   #27
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QuoteOriginally posted by Rondec Quote
Well, I think there have clearly been some significant changers since the first SLR -- auto metering, auto focus, aperture control from the camera body rather than the ring. Most things over time have been incremental, however the sensor jump from the K7 to K5 was pretty enormous. I seldom had to shoot multiple exposures because of the awesome dynamic range at base, high iso a lot better. And looking back, the K10 was an awfully big jump over the K100.



Hard to say though, what advancements have been truly "game changers..."

Game changers to me would be things like
Film to digital
Screw mount to bayonets
Manual focus to AF
Intro of Priority modes
OVF vs EVF
Wireless flash
TTL flash


More sensitive sensors I wouldn't think of as a game changer even though it makes life easier, it's just advancing the tech to give us a higher ceiling. Same with more accurate and quicker AF, faster buffers.

All that makes shooting easier, but does not necessarily change the way we shoot.

At the end of the day it does not matter what camera you have. We still take photos ye same way, we frame it in either a viewfinder or the back of the screen. We adjust our trinity of exposure settings to get the image we want. We adjust our focus either manually or automatically, and then we hit the shutter. It's been the same for decades.

This is where I agree with tr article. While technology had given us more flexibility and more automation, photography has not really had any major breakthroughs.

That being said, like many art forms I don't think there will be a technological breakthrough that will change the way we shoot the image using a hand held device. Much like how painting, playing an instrument, sketching...has not really changed since they were introduced.
05-21-2014, 06:48 PM   #28
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QuoteOriginally posted by Rondec Quote
Well, I think there have clearly been some significant changers since the first SLR -- auto metering, auto focus, aperture control from the camera body rather than the ring. Most things over time have been incremental, however the sensor jump from the K7 to K5 was pretty enormous. I seldom had to shoot multiple exposures because of the awesome dynamic range at base, high iso a lot better. And looking back, the K10 was an awfully big jump over the K100.

Hard to say though, what advancements have been truly "game changers..."
For me, the game changer is the improvement in high-iso noise in sensor technology. When I have the k-7, I struggled a lot in low light situation and often with high-iso noise. Like many Canon rebel users, I was determined to get a FF camera in order to use iso 1600 or higher without worrying about noise level. The release of k-5 did change my mind a little as I think there was other issues aside from high-iso noise. Despite what most people claim that k-5IIs was just a 'little' upgrade, I find a big jump in responsiveness and image details even though it is from the same sensor.
05-21-2014, 08:05 PM   #29
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QuoteOriginally posted by Rondec Quote
Hard to say though, what advancements have been truly "game changers..."
Being forced to develop my own 'prints' on a compulsory accessory individual computer using compulsory accessory individual software was a game changer.

Being forced to upgrade my accessories every second camera generation was iterative.

That's another reason people aren't replacing dSLR's. Everything else is too expensive to upgrade, and we're at an upgrade point with 24Mp APSc sensors and 36Mp FF sensors.
05-22-2014, 02:04 AM   #30
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To be fair to the camera makers, they aren't going to share any strategic plans with media folks, or even Thom Hogan.

I find it hard to believe that there won't be "photographers" in the future, as Christine stated. I've been doing volunteer photography work for a theater organization for 5 years. And lately, i've been encouraging others in the organization to take over the "job". Sure, there are a lot of smart phones/cams around, but the results i've seen so far, don't compare to what i and other enthusiasts are producing for this theater - AND THEY KNOW IT. Today the job of a photographer is not to just click the shutter, but to be able to process those photos, up to and including any photoshop layer work that may be needed. The average smart phone user doesn't have a clue how to do some of that stuff - at least thats my bias and experience.

More likely, photographers in the future will do more things than just photograph.
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