The Death of the camera industry...

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The Death of the camera industry...

Unread postby bfitzgerald » Wed May 29, 2019 5:07 pm

I've mentioned this before in another thread, about the lack of "sightings" of new gear/cameras.
I was out in Dingle yesterday - one of the top tourist spots in Ireland (had a photo job for a guest house). Dingle is crawling with tourists most of the year, even more so in summer.
A large % of them are American, as this seems to be one of their top locations to visit.

Wandering through the town, for some time there are some clear patterns being revealed.
A: 95% of people are not using cameras anymore - at all. Most are using their phones. It's not even remotely the same as 10 years ago where you would see lot of people using some kind of camera. These are what I would call the average Joe non enthusiast user, they used to buy 35mm film compacts, and digital compacts/superzooms maybe, some maybe an entry DSLR

B: The few cameras I did see almost all of them are "old". By that I mean Canon 5d (MkI) - yes the golden oldie FF body. A 5dMkII was spotted, few entry Rebels, and the odd Nikon D7000, and a D300. There were not that many, of course I didn't see everyone but out of hundreds of people I passed, I would say under 5% were using any kind of a camera. No compacts spotted, one hipster dude was using an A5000. I also saw an A57 in there and no Pentax cameras and very few other makers mostly Canon then Nikon. It's not a scientific test by any means, but it shows how much the market has changed.

My thoughts are simply this, and I did speak to a few people who had the cameras. The resounding response to my question about why they are using xyz is simple. They bought it they want to use it, they like using a camera and don't see a need to "upgrade" bodies/lenses etc. My gear it hardly current, but comparing it to most of what I saw it's quite up to date :D - many of these cameras were 10 years old and some even older

If you mix in the CIPA figures: (next months figures should be out soon)

I think the industry is in terminal decline. I will also say that mirrorless isn't going to make any difference at all in sales
Someone buys an EOS R, are they doing to ditch their EOS mount lenses and re-buy them on the new mount? I would say that most will not. I'm sure some enthusiasts are buying gear, but there are a lot less of them around.

Also the big financial crunch which happened just before the sales started to drop rapidly. I really do think that the effects of this are present still for many. Price up a new system pick E mount or any other mount on mirrorless. You'd want some serious cash outlay to build even a semi decent system from scratch. You can mix in some third party lenses to ease the pain. But my prediction about many mirrorless users "cheaping out" and using adapters I think happens more often than many assume.

I kept my lens price chart from years ago, adjusted the lens prices to inflation, and estimate most modern mirorless lenses are 30-40% above what they should be, even making some leeway for r&d and new tech etc. In short photography "new gear" has never been more expensive, we have older models which have not dropped in price nearly as much as they used to (my old photo mags reveal the price falls were big even 12 months after release - not happening now)

Grim stuff any way out of this? I think the price hikes only damage the uptake of new gear even more. It's almost a self defeating strategy. Most people just ignore it, the best camera they have with them is their phone. I think 3-4 makers are going to be pushed out of the market over the next 5-10 years. Not enough pie to go around...
If anything longer term mirrorless might hurt makers even more, they can't lock you into their mount as well as they used to

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Re: The Death of the camera industry...

Unread postby ValeryD » Thu May 30, 2019 4:00 pm

Absolutely true.
The cameras as such go to the section of professional photographers. And prices naturally rise for this technique, almost manual production is expensive. Without mirror, with mirror - this is all the lot of professionals or very strong photo lovers. I had a similar experience in South Korea two years ago. Even part of the pro. filming was done on the phones! With cameras there were few among thousands of people. Phones Huawei today already have optical zoom with Leiсa lenses, and very advanced built-in software for photo processing (it's one of the reason why they in big trouble). The massive introduction of "zoom" phones will finally kill the consumer camera market.
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Re: The Death of the camera industry...

Unread postby bfitzgerald » Fri May 31, 2019 12:52 pm

I'm not sure the well heeled Amateur or working shooter is enough to support so many mounts and makers, least going forward. Once you've bought what you need, then it's either a case of replacing stuff if broken or upgrading. Most of the working shooters I know don't really buy gear that often, that's what I see.
I think what we see now, is the effects of decline for many years. Particularly last 4-5 years, potential budget ILC buyer who has not bought a camera, is not there to buy a mid or higher level body, or other lenses.
The new optical zoom/processing for low light on latest phones is pretty good, for most people.

There will always be people who want to use cameras, just way less than there were. And the dreaded "good enough" factor comes into play - further reducing demand for new gear. I do think higher prices also lead to losing some of those "maybe" buyers who have some interest. Low demand should mean lower prices, high demand usually translates to higher prices. Don't think you can buck that trend.

What surprised me is just how old the cameras are, I saw out and about. A real lack of newer stuff - no doubt a few area buying, there are not that many of them!

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