Big fall in camera sales

Discussion in 'Casual Photo Conversations' started by anthony_brookes|5, Dec 13, 2013.

  1. I see that Japanese camera sales fell by 42% this year and they are forecasting another big fall in 2014 due to
    the rise and rise of phone and tablet photos. Are we going to see the end of DSLRs leaving real photography to
    film, rangefinders, and the most expensive DSLRs for specific types of photography. Where do Leica cameras stand
    in all this ? Will their point and shoots still find favour ? Will there still be a market for DSLRs ? The pace
    of change is not slackening. Will there still be collectors of Leica film cameras ?
     
  2. Leicas will never die.
     
  3. I'm no expert on this, but the advent of digital photography interested a lot more persons in photography, some of whom are now using tablets and phones for everyday use. The number of camera buyers will likely stabilize to something a little more than what it was before accessible digital cameras came to the market. Both moderate resolution (beginner or hobby photographers) and advanced DSLR and mirrorless cameras will no doubt still sell and if we want the limited production of film cameras (whether 35, MF or other) to continue (Fuji, Leica, Voigtlander-Cosina, etc.) we just have to keep using (buying) film and, equally important, photographic papers and chemicals.
     
  4. There's also something called the "Great Recession".
    Not to worry if you have "affluenza" -- Leica has not much sold to the hoi polloi anyhow, right?
     
  5. That's the overall drop in shipments of all cameras, and the lion's share of the hit has been the point and shoot market. Cameras with interchangeable lenses are "only" down 20%. That's still not a good sign for future growth, but those cameras are less affected by smartphones. People are buying interchangeable lens bodies with less frequency because the technology has matured leaving less of a need for constant upgrading. Probably just a return to the later part of the film days when people didn't buy a new body every 2-3 years and manufacturer development and production reflected that.
     
  6. >>> Are we going to see the end of DSLRs leaving real photography to film, rangefinders, and the most
    expensive DSLRs for specific types of photography.

    Real photography? Are you saying people taking pictures using cameras not listed above are not engaged
    in real photography?
     
  7. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator

    I see that Japanese camera sales fell by 42% this year...Are we going to see the end of DSLRs​

    Well that sounds huge, but the misuse of statistics leads to absurd conclusions. The bulk of the drop was not in DSLRs or MILCs, it was in compact cameras. Interchangeable lens cameras did take a hit so far this year, down 18%, but there is a huge difference between an 18% drop and a 42% drop. The compact camera drop was not due to a loss of interest in photography, it was due to the narrowing gap in quality between phone cams and compact cameras.

    Of course if one wants to construct a disingenuous argument, it's easy but taking one number and claiming it applies to things it doesn't apply to.
     
  8. It is inevitable - obviously as smaller, cheaper devices take increasingly better shots, most people will shed their cameras that show little advantage. On the other side in "hobbyist heaven" the quality differential for buying a new camera is decreasing all the time. Forums are full of people who maintain they need x MPs and 25 stops of dynamic range and how "it is essential to my "art" etc etc. But I think we know here that for 99% of most photogs and including pros in this, this is not really needed. These factors will inevitably lead to decreasing sales, so it is not surprising to me. The salad days are probably coming to an end for most camera companies - and in fact I see the relentless competition in the mirrorless portion as symptomatic of the difficulties ahead. I am also interested in why there are so many people convinced that DSLRs are about to die and why it seems to excite them so much. Why the Schadenfreude, I wonder? I can understand smugness from the Leica rangefinder camp as they have always been "different", but why from all the other people who have moved to m4/3 and APS-C mirrorless? I don't get it.
     
  9. I agree with Jeff's argument. Perhaps the 18% drop in sales of interchangeable lens cameras is due in part to the perception that they already have high enough IQ for most amateurs and pros and that upgrading to units of better performance is less value-added and taking place at a slower rate. Does the more advanced amateur need more than 24MP or 36 MP in a FF DSLR or other camera type? It is always difficult to suggest that we are near the top of the improvement curve, however, as something sometimes comes along that alters the applied technology or makes something once too costly much more accessible.
     
  10. Surely this doesn't come as a suprise to the Mfrs. They've been bringing new products out at such a rapid pace that I've been expecting the dslr market to saturate for the last couple of years. There are still an awful lot of D100's and 200's, plenty of 10D and DRebels out there in use. A lot of casual users see no need to replace every time a new model pops out. And they're right.

    Rick H.
     
  11. Recession, improving quality of cell phone cameras, usage of reported statistics, all play a part in the current trend, plus, I think, market saturation of the high end devices. If I' m typical, I have more than enough for my purposes. My buying is focused on cameras, lenses that can take me farther in the quest for quality images; for example, my purchase of the Sigma 35 f1.4. Right now, with the D800, I think I can approach the quality results from a large format 8"x10" camera. When Nikon comes out with one that goes further than the D800, I'll look to buying it.
     
  12. SLR sales are definitely in decline, probably because of continued improvements in sensor/lens/software output in smaller bodies.
    Phones have nearly killed the compact camera market, and continue to improve in areas where they were traditionally weak (resolution,sensor performance in low light). I don't think we're at the end of it yet, more like at the end of traditional thinking in camera body design in relation to file quality/size, and what the files are used for. One thing I can't understand is the continuing use of mechanical shutters, in any camera body- I'm pretty sure it's been possible to do that right on the sensor for a long time now (I don't think phones have shutters), but it seems old design habits die hard. Ergonomics are obviously a factor also. Medium format and SLRs will push further into niche use based on their suitability for particular uses. You can probably shoot an ad campaign for a magazine with a fuji x-whatever, but you wouldn't be using those files on billboards. At the end of the day, it'll end up the way it always was- people will use whatever cameras they need for what they need them for. And the manufacturers will adapt to the market like they have since the beginning. All good though, right?
     
  13. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator

    You can probably shoot an ad campaign for a magazine with a fuji x-whatever, but you wouldn't be using those files on billboards.​

    Billboards are actually fine with those cameras. The resolution required for printing is quite low given the distance.
     
  14. You're absolutely right Jeff, that never even occurred to me (I don't shoot many billboards). Makes me even more curious as to why
    phase one make a 180MP digital back.
     
  15. It's not the improvement in cell phone cameras that has caused the drop. It's the ease in which pictures taken with a cell phone cane be shared with Facebook et al that is causing the drop. The users don't want to monkey with transfering pictures to a computer so that they can upload them to social media. The are fine with lower quality as long as it's easy to share them and to post them on Facebook.
    Quality is not important; ease of use is.
     
  16. It's not the improvement in cell phone cameras that has caused the drop. It's the ease in which pictures taken with a cell phone cane be shared with Facebook et al that is causing the drop.​
    It's a combination of availability, good enough image quality, and social networking hook up. No one feature is enough, it's the convergence of multiple ones. You can build a DSLR that easily uploads to lifeinvader, err, facebook, but people won't carry it up with them as they do a phone.

    The other factors in the drop, as far as high end cameras are concerned, are the economy and the fact that camera performance has reached a point where upgrades are not that necessary anymore. Also, given how many things you can do with a phone, only dedicated people will want a device dedicated to just one task - photography.
     
  17. In all this, remember that a DSLR (usually an entry level one) has been used by many as a P&S for purposes of snapshots. Perhaps that's the 18%.
    Remember back in the 1980's when 35mm P&S cameras hit the market in a big way for the P&S crowd? I don't have figures, but I know a lot of semi-serious snap-shooters gave up their nicer cameras for a P&S. With auto focus and autoexposure, some of those P&S cameras were considered astonishingly good back then, enough so that people questioned why they should fiddle with dials and carry heavier, more expensive cameras. And still interchangeable lens, SLR and rangefinder cameras survived.
     
  18. There will 'never' be a consumer renaissance of film ever again, however, hobbyists and Holga enthusiasts, if they keep on buying and processing would keep the medium alicve for a few more years until it turns into a miniscule and specialist art market, in perhaps twenty years time.
    Photography is an expensive business when starting out and the great global recession has surely hit the prosumer market in a major way. My own purchases this year had been second hand. The point and shoot market is probably shrinking faster because of the popularity of phone cameras. There are taking more acceptable snapshots and the drunken antics at nightspots or the inspirational moment shared on Twitter or Facebook does not require much in terms of quality optics.
    I personally believe that Instagram has had a major impact in killing of the sale of point and shoot cameras for the younger generation. I bought point and shoot cameras for my two nephews but they choose to use the inferior camera on their phone. If manufacturers of point and shoot could create devices that take 'better quality' pictures with the push of a button and the ability to attach it to social media posting with messages even more seamlessly, there could be a revival. However, it is this instant sharing that has made the phone camera a winner amongst the Instagram generation. Snapchat is another tool that is allowing the share of 'personal moments' that the traditional point and shoot could not possibly do. The manufacturers need to work on these devices or perhaps get into bed with the phone manufacturers and provide software or lens technology.
     
  19. Just thinking out loud:
    Those of you who are parents with two or more kids probably experienced the same thing: You were probably all over your first born like the paparazzi on some movie star. You ended up with piles and piles of photos that were all more or less the same, and you found you had spent so much energy recording all the moments that you didn't take time to ENJOY those moments. Then with your second born you took far fewer photos, having learned that an excess of photography is not a good thing.
    I wonder whether we, as a society, have gone through something similar, having recorded every single moment in a snapshot until we're becoming burnt out. To ease our burden, we now go to smaller, more convenient cameras, but eventually we might stop taking this excess of snapshots and slow down to a rate of photography that will be meaningful and manageable.
    By contrast, artistic expression keeps ticking along as it always has and always will.
     
  20. But the thing is people are taking and posting more pictures with the cellphone.
    I use to wear a digital P&S on my belt all the time. Then in August I got my first smart phone with a pretty terrible camera that does OK during the day but terrible indoors and at night even with their crummy flash. Depsite this, I haven't used the P&S since.
     
  21. Of course there will still be collectors of Leica cameras. It is almost a cultural imperative, an idee fixee. The gold ring on the carousel, the Maserati of image making, glass annealed in the blood of virgins, a passport to the Saudi Playboy Club. Hoi polloi can use their little thingies, that they hold up for selfies. A real man and a not ordinary woman shows their deftness by comprehending the menus and the buttons, and actually changing lenses...I did that today and my wife' s pal said " See, Gerry I could never bother with that..." I would predict that the form factor of the DSLR will remain for some time, it is ingrained as the emblem of seriousness, the Victoria Cross of cameradom. What do I mean? Look at the latest mirrorless and pentaprismless beauty from Olympus. Looks a lot like the old OM DSLR Huh? Doesn't it. Spittin image some say and that is why they like it. I have heard evocations of the name Maitani whoever he was...some big shot I guess of retro miniaturization which Japan made ubiquitous with integrated circuitry back in the 80's.....I mean OM resurrected as Em-1 even has an ersatz winder lever look- alike (truly) on the left top and a pentaprism 'humpa" or forecastle or conning tower on top ( "hump" word is little bit low class ya know. Hunchback of Notre Dame. Charles Laughton swinging from bell tower, ---OH my apology, sorry. a disabled unfortunate yet venerable fellow. I digress)....
    I do not invest in the companies so their fortunes seem to be not so interesting anymore. Up and down and down and up and smaller niches carved out of smaller niches with expanding photography unstoppable by all hands. ( the overall market could grow you know with more participants, every one will be able to document every thing)......Where does the CCTV camera I own for looking out the garage. Is that photography? I will throw that to the P of P folks:)
    Will innovation stop you ask? Not a chance. Because most of the innovation has been in computing power and that applies to all miniature devices. Companies like Sony fool around and throw out lots of ideas hoping, like darts, they will hit a bullseye now and then. It is more like that than ever in cameras smartphones point and shoots. There is a convergence in technology, but as long as there be a market i.e. -make profit- for cameras with interchangeable optics - even as our wife's family friend lady won't ever choose them-
    I don't see augurs of doom for the major players. Statistics shmatistics. Reuters likes to show down slopes.....I understand. But the company honchos that design and control the market from Korea and Japan. Not throwing in the hankie.... They sell us lenses. We are then hooked.
    For the foreseeable future until we are ready for canes and walkers, there will be bodies to mount them on. And beaucoup overpriced accessories. And Chinese copies that sometimes even work OK.. Does that make sense-?!. Who knows. Some folks here and there really sweat such stuff. Not I. Not this season. Not after looking at B and H winter catalog!
    Mele Kelikimaka sportsfans. Gerry
     
  22. Sarah - I think you have touched on the likley points. There are far too many photos that are discards either through repetition or through irrelevance. The artistic photographer will still pursue his/her hobby, but what type of camera will they use ? Might it even be film ? The big manufacturers won't be interested in this market so we might see the end of cameras from Canon, Panasonic because the sales volumes will be so small.
     
  23. I gather most of the customers are non pro / serious amateurs. I think there are cellphones and these camera available now are so good. My D70 Nikon I still use it, absolutely nothing wrong with it, sure inside the color isn't as good but ouside is great or inside with more PP but most casual people only want Facebook anyway or small prints if that. Now after 9yrs I got a D600 Nikon it's a much different newer look so much diff look than 35mm film and the world is changing towards that and have accepted it. Zoom in the details is just amazing.
    I admit it. Since I had my D600, I haven't printed one image out yet. I did cover someone's wedding on their 2nd event in this city, on their first they had a pro. It's been a month over now I guess they might want some 6x4s to put into a DIY album maybe 1 poster canvas.
    With this summer for us Christmas camp we have for a few days, I am going to use my D70. We also have a 3MP Canon P&S and that is so good compared to say film P&S / minilab works. The detail when zoomed in, maybe too snapshot looking or saturated by casual people like that. The color is more accurate as well than dealing with cheap labs - you know I did it too in the days - shopping malls - pharmacies 3 days turnaround service. Bro got a newer Samsung P&S a week ago, $40US or something, I haven't checked it out but I don't expect much difference to the 3MP one. And also I know some professionals at my camera club, for their facebook personal stuff they use cellphones too in a dark cafe - blurred image, deep incandescent WB .....
    While in Japan is it one of the countries where a larger minority still shoot film. But I guess they would be buying used cameras.
     
  24. Technology moves fast and a company has to be on their game to keep up. Right now I see my six grown kids and all their friends shooting a cell phone for pics and video. All of them share the photos on facebook and such places. None of them want an old school DSLR. That is what the big camera companies are dealing with. Myself I went mirrorless and I do not buy a lot of stuff. Chances are I will not buy a new camera for 10 years.
    Maybe Nikon should come out with a good cell phone because the compact market is dead and the DSLR is dying.
     
  25. I'd love a FF DSLR with a built-in cell phone. One less thing to carry! :-]
     
  26. I'd love a FF DSLR with a built-in cell phone. One less thing to carry! :-]​
    That's what my wife needs. A BIG FF DSLR phone. Every time I call her she can't find the little iPhone in her pocket book to answer.
     
  27. Back when Kodak was king of the photo business and images shared with others were paper prints, their motto of "You press the button, we do the rest" spoke to convenience for the user. Consider the digital paradigms now available ... click a picture using a cell phone, and the sharing of the image is accomplished immediately with a couple of clicks. Compare that with P&S where the images have to be offloaded from the card and subsequently imported into a shareable framework (email, web gallery, etc.). If the cell phone camera is producing image quality comparable to a P&S, then the choice of camera is obvious with regard to post-click convenience. Once the cell phone camera ergonomics, image quality, and response speed evolve to compete with low end DSLRs and mirrorless, then we'll see that market collapse similar to P&S.
     
  28. I'd love a FF DSLR with a built-in cell phone. One less thing to carry! :-]​
    And a coffee dispenser.
     
  29. Recession and Affluenza aside, has anyone considered glut? The market has been glutted with brilliant digital cameras of all kinds. Just how many cameras do people need before they have enough? Even if you have affluenza that would shrivel Veblen, F. Scott Fitzgerald, John O'Hara and Vance Packard, there has to be a limit somewhere.
    I would love to see the statistics on used camera sales. Lots of goodies are tossed on the used market as not up to date. And mirrorless cameras have brought a lot of previously obsolete lenses back to life.
     
  30. Recession and Affluenza aside, has anyone considered glut? The market has been glutted with brilliant digital cameras of all kinds. Just how many cameras do people need before they have enough?​
    Yeah for whatever reason people don't want to acknowledge this simple fact. I mean is there any compelling difference between the T3i and the T5i?
    I think with posters on the internet, "journalists," and bloggers there is a desire for the sensational. You get a lot more clicks by saying DSLRS ARE DEAD than you do by saying DSLRs are now so good there isn't much reason to upgrade very two or three years.
    This is like the housing market, just because new home sales plummeted didn't mean that everyone was instantaneously homeless. Even with foreclosures the vast majority of people were unaffected and kept living in their home just like they had been for years. I've owned three DSLRs. I upgraded the first DSLR in less than 2 yrs. The second one lasted me over twice as along and the third may last the better part of a decade unless there is some marked improvement in the video function. I like using my DSLR more and more but the amount of use at this stage is not in any way correlated with the upgrade cycle.
     
  31. "I admit it. Since I had my D600, I haven't printed one image out yet."
    Funny. When I do use a digital it's a Nikon D40, and I use every bit of the sensor I can. I enlarge to 11x14, and have gone larger using Genuine Fractals. I print and mount them to leave around the house for my wife to go nuts over.
     

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