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Canon rush to reassure investors as camera profits plunge 64%

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51 minutes ago, Mattias Burling said:

So far I haven't found any reports confirming your theory. In fact the opposite. Leica wasn't even hit very hard during the 2008 crisis.

And none of the Leica shooters I know is "rich" in the sense I suspect you where going for.

True but Leica were at death's door in 2004. In 2005 Dr Andreas Kaufmann put them on the path to digital, and that got Leica back on their feet. Cooperation with Panasonic helped too.

The luxury goods market is almost as fickle as the consumer one, just more robust in an economic downturn.

If normal people, whether rich or poor start leaving their cameras at home, eventually they forget they need one and they'll be out of sight, out of mind, a big cultural and fashion shift away... I know people who just "aren't in that game anymore" when it comes to desktop PCs for instance, and once these people leave, it's very hard to get them back.

Japan needs to face the growing crisis head on.

The enthusiast market alone is just not enough to sustain the level of investment necessary.

Hate to be a doomsayer, a gloomster, but it's the truth.

I only hope the next generation who start on smartphones, graduate to something a bit more exciting later. The young are our only hope.

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I think you are living in a dream world thinking the young are going to embrace Leica, MF cameras. Smartphones are what they grew up with. It fits their needs. Social media, YouTube is what they know. They don't need Cine cameras. They have what they need in their purse or pocket. They will get better and better, and Cine cameras will be less and less desirable.

A Smartphone IS the ultimate Hybrid. For the masses it already has been. We are already Dinosaurs on here. Stick a fork in us, we are done.

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9 hours ago, webrunner5 said:

I think you are living in a dream world thinking the young are going to embrace Leica, MF cameras. Smartphones are what they grew up with. It fits their needs. Social media, YouTube is what they know. They don't need Cine cameras. They have what they need in their purse or pocket. They will get better and better, and Cine cameras will be less and less desirable.

A Smartphone IS the ultimate Hybrid. For the masses it already has been. We are already Dinosaurs on here. Stick a fork in us, we are done.

I estimate that the day you are forecasting is about 10 years off.

Here's why.

There is still a large cohort of people aged 45 - 70 that didn't grow up with smart phones or social media. They know traditional cameras and are still interested in them. That cohort will age 10 years over the next decade of course, with the result that today's 45 year-old will be 55, the 55 year-old will be 65 and so on. Barring disability or severe illness, they'll still be active photographers. The 70+ part of the cohort will start to drop out of the photographic markets of course, as they die off or become too old to continue their hobby.

As the global population is aging and there are more older people than younger now, sales of traditional cameras will still be relatively steady, although there may be some retrenchment in the camera manufacturing industry and makers may have to simplify their lines down to just three or four models at most to cope with declining camera sales. Eventually a plateau will be found, even if it's lower than it used to be.

Smart phones are making incredible bounds in terms of their photographic capabilities, but...

  • There are no smartphones currently on the market that have credible telephoto zooms that can offer lossless image quality.
  • Add-on lenses are somewhat variable in terms of quality and smart phones were never designed to accept them. Some makers, like Hasselblad, did bring out cases with a built in camera and the phone itself would simply act as a control interface and means of storing the images taken, but this idea never took off and it only fits Motorola Moto Z phones from 2016.
  • Computational photography is still in its infancy.
  • There are currently no smartphones that can offer variable apertures down to f22.
  • Battery life is still an issue with many smart phones, necessitating add-on battery cases that increase the weight and bulk of a smart phone. Then you have the problem of what to do if you're using add-on lenses that can only be attached to the camera using a special case or a clip.
  • Smart phones have yet to be optimized for photography. To see what I mean, consider that when taking a picture with a smart phone, you first have to wake up the phone, then tap the camera icon and then shoot. With most dedicated still cameras you just have to turn the camera on, and as the boot-up phase is very quick or almost instantaneous, you're ready to shoot in no time. I'll concede that I'm splitting hairs here.
  • Even with computational photography, there are limits to how much quality and capability you can get out of the 1/2" image sensors most phones have. These limits are dictated by physics.

The reason why point-and-shoot cameras as well as low-end bridge cameras have declined so rapidly is that the smart phone is the modern-day equivalent of a Brownie camera. A smart phone is relatively convenient to use and produces images that are 'good enough'. As for low-end DSLRs, these are dropping in popularity because people are finding they can get a better DSLR or mirrorless camera with more features and capability for not a lot more money. Or, they're willing to make the stretch for a better camera and are willing to use a credit card to get the leverage to buy one.

Another reason why camera sales have declined overall is that we are currently in a state of flux. That is, we're going through a transition in camera technology -  moving from traditional DSLRs to mirrorless. People are interested in and clamouring for mirrorless cameras, but the manufacturers are still coming to grips with how to make good mirrorless cameras. As a result, people are hanging on to the cameras they have and are waiting for the manufacturers to get up to speed in their mirrorless offerings.

 

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13 minutes ago, PolarStarArts said:

I estimate that the day you are forecasting is about 10 years off.

Here's why.

There is still a large cohort of people aged 45 - 70 that didn't grow up with smart phones or social media. They know traditional cameras and are still interested in them. That cohort will age 10 years over the next decade of course, with the result that today's 45 year-old will be 55, the 55 year-old will be 65 and so on. Barring disability or severe illness, they'll still be active photographers. The 70+ part of the cohort will start to drop out of the photographic markets of course, as they die off or become too old to continue their hobby.

As the global population is aging and there are more older people than younger now, sales of traditional cameras will still be relatively steady, although there may be some retrenchment in the camera manufacturing industry and makers may have to simplify their lines down to just three or four models at most to cope with declining camera sales. Eventually a plateau will be found, even if it's lower than it used to be.

Smart phones are making incredible bounds in terms of their photographic capabilities, but...

  • There are no smartphones currently on the market that have credible telephoto zooms that can offer lossless image quality.
  • Add-on lenses are somewhat variable in terms of quality and smart phones were never designed to accept them. Some makers, like Hasselblad, did bring out cases with a built in camera and the phone itself would simply act as a control interface and means of storing the images taken, but this idea never took off and it only fits Motorola Moto Z phones from 2016.
  • Computational photography is still in its infancy.
  • There are currently no smartphones that can offer variable apertures down to f22.
  • Battery life is still an issue with many smart phones, necessitating add-on battery cases that increase the weight and bulk of a smart phone. Then you have the problem of what to do if you're using add-on lenses that can only be attached to the camera using a special case or a clip.
  • Smart phones have yet to be optimized for photography. To see what I mean, consider that when taking a picture with a smart phone, you first have to wake up the phone, then tap the camera icon and then shoot. With most dedicated still cameras you just have to turn the camera on, and as the boot-up phase is very quick or almost instantaneous, you're ready to shoot in no time. I'll concede that I'm splitting hairs here.
  • Even with computational photography, there are limits to how much quality and capability you can get out of the 1/2" image sensors most phones have. These limits are dictated by physics.

The reason why point-and-shoot cameras as well as low-end bridge cameras have declined so rapidly is that the smart phone is the modern-day equivalent of a Brownie camera. A smart phone is relatively convenient to use and produces images that are 'good enough'. As for low-end DSLRs, these are dropping in popularity because people are finding they can get a better DSLR or mirrorless camera with more features and capability for not a lot more money. Or, they're willing to make the stretch for a better camera and are willing to use a credit card to get the leverage to buy one.

Another reason why camera sales have declined overall is that we are currently in a state of flux. That is, we're going through a transition in camera technology -  moving from traditional DSLRs to mirrorless. People are interested in and clamouring for mirrorless cameras, but the manufacturers are still coming to grips with how to make good mirrorless cameras. As a result, people are hanging on to the cameras they have and are waiting for the manufacturers to get up to speed in their mirrorless offerings.

 

portrait mode gets rid of the need for most people to have telephoto glass.  they do have different aputure settings in the pro app programs.  smartphones have a one button click to go into photo mode.  it's really not any slower, for most people.

and I've been fooled by the iphone portrait mode so many times now on instagram.  And I work in this business :) .  Cinema and semi pro photography will continue, but will be more and more niche.  just as film still hangs on.

16 hours ago, Mattias Burling said:

So far I haven't found any reports confirming your theory. In fact the opposite. Leica wasn't even hit very hard during the 2008 crisis.

And none of the Leica shooters I know is "rich" in the sense I suspect you where going for.

You are right.  I am theorizing about leica.  If Mattias you are able to make a prediction, do you think the new-gen leica will offer something more to casual rich people that gets them to want to chuck out their current phone, now that the iphone portrait mode is getting to be "good enough" for most people, and it's one less thing to bring around?

Also aren't you a big Leica enthusiast?  I have no skin in the game.  But I do wish Leica survives, as I do with canon.  I think their glass is really amazing.  I haven't ever used one of their cameras, but I am sure they are quite amazing as well.

 

19 hours ago, Mattias Burling said:

Leica is still selling them faster than they can make them. Luxury is still selling well. The Swiss luxury watch industry just had their best year ever. 

the rich are getting richer for sure.  And watches is a status symbol for many rich people.  High end cameras are not.  I think the iphone x is a status symbol moreso.  Shooting with a camera is dorky, and will always be dorky.  Never sexy. :) Unless it's a film camera then rich hipsters drool over that.  But I don't think rich kids notice whether another kid is shooting with a leica or a sony.  And without the #leica hashtag on a instagram post, no one is probably going to notice the difference between that and most other high end cameras like sony, nikon, canon, and iphone portrait mode.

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Nah I think you are wrong a some of your points. Right now I don't even Have a camera at all, because my stuff got stolen. But you know what even if I had insurance for it, or even won the Lotto not sure I would even buy a real camera now. It was just so much of a hassle to try to take something compared to just reaching in my pocket and bamm, it done. Is it as good, no, but for the average person it is More than good enough. And the average person is who your going to show the footage to to boot, even if you own an Arri who really is going to see it? Heck maybe 4 people on here even post footage at times.

Here in the States there is just about Zero camera stores left. Wal Mart, Best Buy have nothing but cheap, useless P&S cameras. Even the average person know their phone is just as good except for the silly 400x lens on the P&S. 10 years from now you might not be able to give away a real camera. I don't have a clue how camera manufactures are going to even be in business down the road. Sure a few super high end Cine cameras dedicated to Blockbuster Movies might be left, but that is like a 100 cameras a year to sell If you are lucky. 10 years from now there probably won't even be real Actors. So you might not even need ANY cameras for movies or even Soap Operas. All done in computer.

Nah if I was Canon right now I would pick up my marbles and just go home. I really don't think there is a future for what you call real cameras down the road. Why bother fighting the inevitable. There is no money in it anymore. Phones have just flat killed cameras like it or not.

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I think camera's may be coming to a cross roads, they won't be tools anymore, there won't be a noticeable difference in the output of a cheaper DSLR and a high end phone in most situations and for most people's uses. This has happened in lots of industries; computers are one, my 5 year old MacBook Pro still does everything that 90% of computer users need it for but Apple still sell plenty of new ones, cars are another because the current Golf R is far quicker than a Porsche from 10 years ago and the difference isn't that great to even a modern Porsche. 

There will still be a market for people buying cameras like the Leica M, the Fuji's and esoteric products like the ALPA because using them is a different, and better for some, experience to using a phone or a conventional wheels and screens DSLR. Much like the Porsche and Golf example above.

The issue for me will be whether they end up dead industries because of a lack of return on investment and reliability, can companies fund a new camera that we can afford when they know they will only sell a few 10's of thousands of them ? Companies still make film, but how many truly new emulsions have come out since the peak of film ? Companies still make turntables and hifi speakers but there's very little real innovation, because they are cottage industries. 

Perhaps a lack of reliability will be their saving grace, will my GH3 last me as long as my Hasselblad ? I'm yet to actually have a digital camera fail me when I haven't done something egregious to it so perhaps ? 

 

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1 hour ago, mitdelay said:

Karma finally caught up to Canon's greed over the years.

Yeah unlike PanaSony, Fuji, Nikon etc which are all philanthropy driven NGOs who never cripple the gear they release.. ;) 
 

PS. I wonder how many business and economic analyzers who take karma into consideration. I know politicians, included but not limited to the US president, sometimes name drop spagetti monsters and other ghost type creatures when justifying a decision. But I suspect its not as common among science and data driven people. 

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46 minutes ago, Otago said:

I think camera's may be coming to a cross roads, they won't be tools anymore, there won't be a noticeable difference in the output of a cheaper DSLR and a high end phone in most situations and for most people's uses. This has happened in lots of industries; computers are one, my 5 year old MacBook Pro still does everything that 90% of computer users need it for but Apple still sell plenty of new ones, cars are another because the current Golf R is far quicker than a Porsche from 10 years ago and the difference isn't that great to even a modern Porsche. 

There will still be a market for people buying cameras like the Leica M, the Fuji's and esoteric products like the ALPA because using them is a different, and better for some, experience to using a phone or a conventional wheels and screens DSLR. Much like the Porsche and Golf example above.

The issue for me will be whether they end up dead industries because of a lack of return on investment and reliability, can companies fund a new camera that we can afford when they know they will only sell a few 10's of thousands of them ? Companies still make film, but how many truly new emulsions have come out since the peak of film ? Companies still make turntables and hifi speakers but there's very little real innovation, because they are cottage industries. 

What??!!what what?!

I am sure water mills in the 16th century were enough for most industrialists for 100-200 years but then they said, "let's try steam"..

Definitely your computer is worst than my desktop PC and I am planning to spend 3-4.000€ for a new one, and you do not know what you are talking about a 10 years old Porsche, or even a 20 years old one, and Golfs were terrible 10 years ago, and still are (dead last on customers satisfaction surveys for years and years and a lot of scandals under their belt). Turntables cost from 30€ to the price of a Golf,so..

Making a camera now is a lot cheaper than 10 or even 20 years ago, so definitely they can have a profit with a lot less sales and there will always be a need for professional and dependent equipment.

The wrong picture was when years ago everyone were buying cheap dSLRs with kit lenses, shooting 300 pictures on AUTO and then putting them on their closets for ever, that was sad in my opinion and not the specialization of today.

Canon is missing the point, BlackMagic is having the best years of its existance, DJI was nothing in the digital revolution and now they are everywhere.

Also, I do not understand why everyone underestimates the camera aspect of a phone, making a basic phone costs literally nothing (maybe 20-40€ in total), most money are spend on camera modules and camera/video processing and screens.

You were spending 100-150€ for a low-ish film camera in the 90s, 100-150€ for a digital compact, and the same now for a similar camera phone (plus 20-40 for the phone aspect).

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3 hours ago, Kisaha said:

What??!!what what?!

I am sure water mills in the 16th century were enough for most industrialists for 100-200 years but then they said, "let's try steam"..

Definitely your computer is worst than my desktop PC and I am planning to spend 3-4.000€ for a new one, and you do not know what you are talking about a 10 years old Porsche, or even a 20 years old one, and Golfs were terrible 10 years ago, and still are (dead last on customers satisfaction surveys for years and years and a lot of scandals under their belt). Turntables cost from 30€ to the price of a Golf,so..

I'm not arguing that cameras should remain the same, I'd love to see a lossless compression 6k 16-bit RAW shooting FF DSLR size camera with IS and weather sealing etc... I don't think that is out of the realms of possibility either, just that it will take longer to come than before because there are fewer cameras sold to recoup the investment. 

I get to regularly drive a 997 C4 and Golf R and whilst the Porsche is more fun to drive, and as you say probably far more reliable, it is not as fast as the R getting from point to point, definitely faster on the track but not on a country road, much like phones vs DSLR's will soon be. 

Quote

Making a camera now is a lot cheaper than 10 or even 20 years ago, so definitely they can have a profit with a lot less sales and there will always be a need for professional and dependent equipment.

The wrong picture was when years ago everyone were buying cheap dSLRs with kit lenses, shooting 300 pictures on AUTO and then putting them on their closets for ever, that was sad in my opinion and not the specialization of today.

Canon is missing the point, BlackMagic is having the best years of its existance, DJI was nothing in the digital revolution and now they are everywhere.

Also, I do not understand why everyone underestimates the camera aspect of a phone, making a basic phone costs literally nothing (maybe 20-40€ in total), most money are spend on camera modules and camera/video processing and screens.

You were spending 100-150€ for a low-ish film camera in the 90s, 100-150€ for a digital compact, and the same now for a similar camera phone (plus 20-40 for the phone aspect).

 It may cost less to design and build a camera now than it did 10 years ago but, as we have seen from the most recent reports, the numbers sold are far smaller. In mass manufacturing volume is king. I have designed products that wouldn't be profitable till they had sold over a million units because the tooling and engineering costs were so high, if my client couldn't sell that many then the product just wouldn't be built. The world probably wouldn't miss the latest innovations in bottle closures but I will definitely miss innovations in cameras :) 

It gets even worse when the suppliers that every camera manufacturer uses stop investing in developing new sensors, shutters, diaphragm units etc... the whole eco system dies and there's no way back from that. The Arris and PhaseOnes can probably survive, they are used to making small volume, niche, products and they also have no choice to stay in business. Canon and Nikon can fall back to their other businesses and that leaves us with £10-40k cameras - which is far more than I can afford to spend! We have already seen this with Fuji massively cutting down on film production, Copal stopping shutter manufacture ( apart from subcontract work ) but the niche suppliers like Ilford make it work, because they have little choice. 

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This is what you get when you treat your customers like crap, severely cripple your cameras, and don't give the buyer good value for $$$.

They've been living on their laurels for some time now, and have failed to see the hand writing on the wall.

They can't say the weren't warned.

STOP RIPPING YOUR CUSTOMERS OFF, OVER CHARGING THEM, AND THEN STABBING THEM IN THE BACK!

BAD COMPANY

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6 hours ago, Otago said:

I'm not arguing that cameras should remain the same, I'd love to see a lossless compression 6k 16-bit RAW shooting FF DSLR size camera with IS and weather sealing etc... I don't think that is out of the realms of possibility either, just that it will take longer to come than before because there are fewer cameras sold to recoup the investment.

I wouldn't worry that much, I am not a mass customer/consumer, and I believe their phones are perfect for what they do and what they need.

When I was shooting SLR - they were shooting some plastic Kodak. When I  was shooting a dSLR - they were shooting some Canon compact, suddenly, for 4-5-6 years EVERYONE was buying dSLRs! That was the abnormality, right now I find it perfecty normal. The market self regulated, with a hint of the future.

I do not think that the masses worry much about Canon or Nikon, and recently we had a resurrection of film and vinyls. I still buy both. Fuji makes very good money with their film business, especially for a "dead medium".

I do not really worry for Canon, and I do not care. Still have lenses, FD and EF, but haven't buy a Canon body for a decade.

Everyting is getting cheaper, with more features; except maybe Porsche's, they will never be cheap!

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On 8/5/2019 at 6:54 PM, Kisaha said:

I wouldn't worry that much, I am not a mass customer/consumer, and I believe their phones are perfect for what they do and what they need.

When I was shooting SLR - they were shooting some plastic Kodak. When I  was shooting a dSLR - they were shooting some Canon compact, suddenly, for 4-5-6 years EVERYONE was buying dSLRs! That was the abnormality, right now I find it perfecty normal. The market self regulated, with a hint of the future.

I do not think that the masses worry much about Canon or Nikon, and recently we had a resurrection of film and vinyls. I still buy both. Fuji makes very good money with their film business, especially for a "dead medium".

I do not really worry for Canon, and I do not care. Still have lenses, FD and EF, but haven't buy a Canon body for a decade.

Everyting is getting cheaper, with more features; except maybe Porsche's, they will never be cheap!

 

At the end of the day, in terms of image improvements, we have seen CCD vs CMOS chips, and the supporting microchips and image processing that goes with it that has given us a blackmagic pocket 4k and the soon to come out, zcam 2 full frame camera that can do raw 4k - which is quite amazing.  We've seen low light kings with canon and sony as well.  And we have seen skintone kings with blackmagic and Arri.

So we kind of have reached the peak of what it is possible, for now, in terms of low-light, size, and capability.

What remains, of course, is a beautiful image.  A beautiful colorful rich image..  Well for people like me that still think there is magic shooting on celluloid.  How celluloid  reacts to light  and overexposure, and motion, and tungsten lighting, and all color.  For me I don't think one camera does that yet.  And I would love to see camera makers continue to move this way forward.

There's still room to be done, and there's still hope for a way to capture data that's better than CMOS.

But for now, I don't really see many cameras making that much progress now.  I don't believe in the 4k vs 8k resolution wars. I'm pretty happy with what we have for video

But for still photography, I really don't see too much more progress that can happen to be justified to the average semi-pro and consumer photographer that makes it worth it, as an investment in glass, and having to carry a camera around, vs just using an iphone.  Especially to those to upgrade their existing cameras as Kisha said.

Is the next nikon z7 or z6 going to be that much better than the z6 for stills?  Sure the dream is the ultimate hybrid stills/video camera - and maybe someone will get there so it does 4k raw and pro res and also beautiful raw still images - but yea, where was I going?  I don't remember.  This post of mine was pointless.

Mattius wins again!  I need to allow people to win arguments and move on with my life.  there is more to life than arguing or debating on a message board.    LEICA RULES! CANON DROOLS!

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They release their new tech every 4 years. 2020 they will show us what they have been working on, I doubt they will ever go to 2 year cycles like Sony has. It was funny to watch the 1DX II still hold relevance for so long, but it stops being so funny in the last year of its life cycle. 

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25 minutes ago, Snowbro said:

They release their new tech every 4 years. 2020 they will show us what they have been working on, I doubt they will ever go to 2 year cycles like Sony has. It was funny to watch the 1DX II still hold relevance for so long, but it stops being so funny in the last year of its life cycle. 

higher end cameras tend to hold their relevance anyway.. Look at F55, Alexa Classic, c300 classic, etc - Pro Market moves slow as balls compared to the consumer stuff. 

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On 7/28/2019 at 2:00 PM, PolarStarArts said:

I suspect that Fuji aren't far behind in this area either and may well release a FF camera too after they've had a chance to assess the sales of their latest medium-format release, the GFX-100.


Would be very strange if Fuji did that, they can't squeeze FF into their X Mount?

And even *IF* they could, they'd run long term into the same problems Sony has. 

And to put a small FF sensor into a Medium Format Mount would be odd as well?? (but perhaps the most "logical" of all the options)

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I'd argue that cameras will become a very specialised tool, with smartphones the go & do everything majority. In some specific circumstances - at the very difficult types of, say, wildlife photography, or action / sports photography dedicated cameras optimised for that will probably always outperform the general type smartphones. In big film productions, in situations where reliability and where many different aspects need to play together - sound, light, etc. - dedicated, specialised tools will also always hold their own. Always been the case - in any industry dealing with technology. 

I've just worked at a research institute - some of the scanners and devices there are definitely behind the curve on what is technologically possible compared to what a mass market approach could do - but they are in their niche, and small volumes of what is sold, so specific that they are still the best there is. GPS trackers for animal tracking, for example. Not even as accurate as a smartphone, maybe, but produced by two-three person teams for the needs of specific animals. Need to be small enough, light enough, or robust enough depending on each case. That's sort of where I think there'll always be an equivalent market niche for companies on the video / photography side. But that's not through mass market appeal.
 

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