So what’s going on in the digital camera market?
- Camera sales are way down. Sony is aggressively discounting and has delayed new camera releases. Canon is discounting. Nikon and Fujifilm are about to discount soon. Wow. The worldwide depression is hurting everyone.
- Nobody* knows what the heck people want in a camera.
- Leica continues to do well. Time to consider a red dot somewhere on this site? Could it be that the Leica top-line ergonomics don’t suck too badly in some areas? (On the M9/M240,M-E).
- Nikon and Canon can’t figure out how to make a better DSLR. Same-old same-old, and they have no clue that an optical + EVF would actually be really useful. Or that Live View that doesn't suck... would not suck. Or 50 other things.
- Mirrorless cameras are poised to eviscerate the DSLR market, but they pretty much all suck for ergonomics and haptics or goofy menus or kitchen-sink design or idiotic quirks proving no one designed the damn things, targeting everyone and satisfying no-one.
- Sony sensors rule the roost for image quality. See previous item.
- Film is dead. And it pretty much sucked anyway. Good riddance. So why do platinum prints sell? Same reason I don’t like crappy game-console cameras.
I sure want to get up in the mountains soon. I miss it. With sunblock. Can you imagine worrying about useless crap like Google Glass or an Apple watch or Facebook or similar garbage like that up here? Some things don’t change for anyone who enjoys real life.
* Secret code name for diglloyd.com.
Rodney B writes:
-Economy as you mentioned.
-Ever improving cell-phone cameras/desire to carry fewer rather than more gadgets .
-Most new camera designs only offer incremental improvements and most cameras on the market deliver "good enough" quality already.
DIGLLOYD: I'm sure all these factors contribute, but I’d put it on the economy first and foremost, because of the sudden inflection in demand.
Richard J writes:
The other reason is there are and have been for a few years, cameras that people are very happy with in both quality and features.
Minor upgrades are no reason to run out and by a new camera. Before digital people would have there favorite camera and use it for years, it became a part of them, part of there style and something you would loathe to replace. Perhaps now the same feelings are happing with digital cameras.
I think the enjoyment and excitement in photography (and it always has been) are lenses, and trying different ones. Which is why I was not so excited with Sony RX1's fixed lens nor am I too excited with the upcoming Leica if it does in fact have a fixed lens.
DIGLOYD: No doubt “camera happiness” is a contributing factor, but I don’t think it can explain a year over year precipitous drop in camera sales. As for lenses, I would discount this idea for the majority of users; multiple lenses are a minority thing, with a zoom taking that place for the vasty majority. Camera phones also have one lens. None of this would explain a sea change.
Bruce D writes:
Lloyd, have you considered that DSLR photography is (or perhaps was) a fad?
I remember cycles where it was jogging > skydiving > scuba > hiking > cycling > paragliding > kite surfing... I don't know where the crowd ran off to from there. I've also seen fads among the more the more technical pursuits - radio hamming, astronomy and (to some extent) photography draw from overlapping user bases. Hamming, astronomy and photography all have fads within them.
Several bad things are colliding -
- Canon and Nikon are producing uninspiring products - Canon has completely lost the plot.
- There's no standard mount or interface - thus there's no incentive for a manufacturer to innovate.
- Investment failures and rogue banking has left boomers with the threat of a hungry retirement.
Consumers have developed wide awareness of being manipulated in the upgrade mill. This particularly so with Canon.
On reflection, the lack of new cameras has a parallel in Adobe's migration to CC... they can't think of anything meaningful to add.
The really clever thing that Fuji did was offer an affordable camera that was really desirable. Anyone who has a DSLR can probably stretch to their flagship and some excellent lenses. Buying the high end model comes with the feeling that you're doing ok. Alternatives in the same bracket are signs that your means are few. The message to CNS&P is clear - make a wonderful camera that retails for not more than $1500. Give it everything you can think of. Charge the same amount in Europe, Aus, US, Japan, China. Then get your development team working on an impressive encore.
BTW - I jumped off the upgrade bandwagon when I realised my cameras were usually capable of far more than I was. Suddenly, no new toys meant I didn't have the excitement of going out to shoot images.... I bought a Fuji and was suddenly excited again. Am I a photographer or a faddist? :)
DIGLLOYD: I don’t necessarily agree with all the points made here.
And I do not think that screwdrivers are a fad, just because they only embed screws. Ditto for the DSLR and DSLR-like form factors.