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Andrew Reid

It's wrong to blame market conditions for poor DSLR sales

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A great line from 1001NoisyCameras today:

 

...as Engadget points out above, Nikon was not as bad as the Canon operating profit outlook, revised downwards, saying that sales of high end cameras (in this context they mean DSLRs and iLCs) will be down year-over-year in unit volume for the first time since 2003. A drop from 8.2 million to 8 million, but it's the trend that is more bothersome than a mere 200,000 DSLRs/iLCs.

 

Grumpy Photographer Opines: you know, Mr. Canon, if your last three Digital Rebel DSLRs were not nearly identical, and if your first mirrorless camera was a bit less half-assed than a 85-lb supermodel on a celery and distilled water diet, maybe more people would have bought more of your cameras.

 

Source: http://www.1001noisycameras.com/2013/10/halloween-financial-horrors-canon-nikon-sony-taiwan.html

 

When will Canon and Nikon stop blaming the economy for their sales decline?

 

Do they realise that it's the PRODUCTS that are to blame?

 

Incredibly arrogent to say the least, not to mention dangerous too.

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I would think Canon 5d3 sales would be doing well thanks to the hack Although I have to admit I couldn't take the risk but plenty are.

 

I would most certainly have bought a GH3 if it had 10 bit out and a Nikon d800. I would have pulled the trigger on a canon 1dc if it had been about £5000 even though it is 8 bit.

 

I have been prevented from buying a camera for three years because of crippling hell and waiting for BMD.

 

I feel the manufacturers have missed out on a golden opportunity that could have worked hand in hand with their pro divisions none more so than Canon and their 8 bit cinema line up. At least from my perspective.

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Yes, I wake up cynical every day ;)

 

The reality is, in the thousands and thousands of small TV stations, college a/v departments, churches, local access cable stations ,etc., they get a catalog from B&H Photo, or similar a/v vendor, and pick out a camera that most closely fits their BUDGET and is either in the brand they already use or is the darling of an intern who won't shut up about it.

 

For everyone person in that process who says RAW is the future, there is another guy who says it's over-hyped and stupid.

 

The number one question of 99% of the people who buy even this very technical equipment is, "can I watch the footage on my Macbook Air".  If someone said, "I'm not sure," they won't research it.  They'll just buy the camera on the facing page!

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The pro market is much smaller than the consumer market. And most consumers are stupid. We, and them, fall for it - then buy the next camera thinking its awesome, then realise it's not that much better, then buys an iPhone and forgets about dedicated cameras almost completely.

My opinion is that it's more the all-in-one technology of today then lack of innovation. Mostly.

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When will Canon and Nikon stop blaming the economy for their sales decline?

 

Do they realise that it's the PRODUCTS that are to blame?

 

Incredibly arrogent to say the least, not to mention dangerous too.

 

How big is the percentage of people that actually realise a Canon 550D is basically the same as a 700D? I think it's very small.

 

That doesn't necessarily mean the economy is to blame, although it does make sense. People have less trust in the economy and that stops them from buying stuff, that's a fact.

 

Also market saturation could play a big role. Average Joe who buys a dslr isn't going to upgrade anytime soon. You could blame this on lack of innovation, maybe if things really got better people would be tempted to buy, but then again.. the economy really doesn't help. It's not just the camera manufacturers that notice this, even the shops around the corner do.

 

Thinking a 5D3 Mark III hack makes a big impact on sales is also naive... sorry.

Yes, some people will buy it now because of it. The world isn't full of enthusiasts / indie filmmakers. On the grand scheme that really isn't going to make a big difference.

 

Not defending the manufacturers here, but we're talking mass market here. 8 million camera's. The percentage of nerds like us is just a small part of that.

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Well I bet Andrews and other similar blogs have an awful lot of traffic and those people are in touch with what is going on.

 

I bet companies like BMD are making inroads into the big manufacturers sales and that is going to get worse for them.

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This is a double digit billion dollar market segment... even if ten thousands of people would buy the 5D3 to shoot raw (which I doubt), that would have a tiny impact on the total value.

 

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Also market saturation could play a big role. Average Joe who buys a dslr isn't going to upgrade anytime soon.

 

Couldn't have said it better myself.  The people I know that use DSLRs hardly ever use the video function... if at all.  The stills side of the equation is a mature market.  I hear internet forumites complain about niche features they want in Canon Rebels but the average Joe Blow on the street that uses the latest 3 models has no complaints.  They have no reason to upgrade.

 

 


 

I bet companies like BMD are making inroads into the big manufacturers sales and that is going to get worse for them.

 

 

The little old lady that bought my DSLR when I upgraded recently is never going to be a BMD customer.  Canon and Nikon will continue to have declining sales simply because DSLRs in regards to stills are a mature product and current markets are saturated.

 

Look at hard drive manufacturers.  Everyone has accepted the physics and realizes the capacity gains and price drops of the past are gone.  I remeber a time when the megapixel count on cameras doubled in just a few short years.  Those days are over.  I remeber Canon taking the world by storm with the first true consumer DSLR.  Unfortunately all the low hanging fruit has been picked.  Further large jumps in innovation are going to come a lot more rarely and require far more resources.

 

Video is still in it's infancy.  It can be improved a lot.  But of the millions of DSLR users I don't think the video crowd is that big relative to the whole.  Even if Canon put out the most mind blowing video update for it's Rebel line it won't make up for the hordes of still photographers that are happy with the camera they already have in hand.

 

Look at the comments section for this preview of the Sony RX10.  Post after post from photographers that TOTALLY ignore the innovative video features.  Sony has done something very interesting with this camera and absolutely no one commenting mentioned 4:2:2, clickless apeture, lack of moire/aliasing.  No one even mentions the built in ND filter!  Plenty of people dumped on the camera and even the few defenders didn't mentioned some of the most compelling feature.  No one said a word about zebras or peaking!

 

If you see that as an exec at Canon do you think to yourself spending millions on those features for the Rebel line is going to halt the slide in sales?

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Maybe it's time for them to sell the cameras with a lens that actually gives good quality, I think 80% of the people who buy an entry level dslr never get another lens (maybe the cheap tele lens every brand has)

I mean, these 18-55 1:3.5-4.5 lenses are so shitty you can't justify 600$. Some will just stay with the iphone/droid others will take a m43 which will be even better suited for these kind of people.

I can see these hipster girls and bald british/german/dutch tourists everyday walking around with their 18-55, and I can't stop thinking to myself ,why do you even bother to carry that shitty bulk?

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Economy, specs... etc, just a small piece of a larger puzzle.

 

Photographers are not in demand as much as they were. This has been a downward trend that is inevitable as the price dropped on the high end gear. Now "Uncle Billy" can bring his $1000 DSLR to do the wedding snaps and save the bride and groom some money. It looks like a pro camera and uncle billy did some nice photos in his garden, so what could go wrong?

 

This has spread to alot of creative areas... As the price of the pro equipment drops, the rates you can charge drop and the industry declines. The race to the bottom seems great when you want a new camera with all the bells and whistles, but might not be so great when you go and try to find clients.

 

and no, i don't want prices to stay artificially inflated, just to protect my rates.... But it IS a huge part of the equation of why DSLR sales are on the decline.

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In the 1950s the TV manufacturers used to worry about what would happen when they reached market saturation and every home had a TV. They didn't see that people might want a TV in the bedroom or the kids room or the den. It is however a little different with a camera. Joe Public only really needs one decent camera & before he purchases another it needs to have significant advantages over his current model. It is the same for digital as it was for film cameras.

 

Smartphone photos don't really compete on quality with even the cheapest point & shoot but they have the advantage of convenience. I am sure that the quality will improve. There was a Sony Ericsson phone that was basically a pretty decent digital camera with a phone attached when the camera in a smartphone is capable of that sort of quality the days of low end digital cameras may be over.

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Thinking a 5D3 Mark III hack makes a big impact on sales is also naive... sorry.

Yes, some people will buy it now because of it. The world isn't full of enthusiasts / indie filmmakers. On the grand scheme that really isn't going to make a big difference.

 

Not defending the manufacturers here, but we're talking mass market here. 8 million camera's. The percentage of nerds like us is just a small part of that.

 

Correct, compared to 8 million consumers we are small.

 

But Canon could do a Blackmagic and grab a big profitable market under the $6k C100 if they wanted to with DSLRs. Too risky? No incentive to do it? Weird.

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Correct, compared to 8 million consumers we are small.

 

But Canon could do a Blackmagic and grab a big profitable market under the $6k C100 if they wanted to with DSLRs. Too risky? No incentive to do it? Weird.

 

It is very weird because I believe many studies have shown the exponential effect of mavens.  I have a Nikon D600.  But I only bought it because there was a good deal on Craigslist.  Lots of nice stuff about it, but not enough to stop me from recommending Canons to all my friends and family.  Why?  Because I bought a Canon Powershot a LONG time ago and fiddled with CHDK.  Then I bought your 50D RAW guide, and though Canon didn't get any money from the 50D I bought used, they did from the 2 EOS-Ms!

 

What makes this all the weirder is Canon did NOT make their DSLRs compatible with their old lenses, Nikon did (another reason I bought the D600, I had an old sweet Nikkor).  Canon made the decision to wow people with the future, so why become slow-footed now?  

 

I've been spending gobs of time creating software that will convert EOS-M RAW (or any hybrid canon ML RAW) to good 422 or 444 color depth video (ProRes, Cineform, DxHd, etc).  IMHO, one of the reasons ML isn't taking off is too many people are aiming at the Alexa rather than the higher end H.264 cameras.   At least that's what I want.  I want to take my EOS-M out of my bag, take some ML RAW video, convert it to Cineform, say, plop it into my Vega Studio, post it on Vimeo for friends and family.   It will look a world better than H.264.  Not enough people see that because too much time is spent, again, chasing Alexa.

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Maybe it's time for them to sell the cameras with a lens that actually gives good quality, I think 80% of the people who buy an entry level dslr never get another lens (maybe the cheap tele lens every brand has)

I mean, these 18-55 1:3.5-4.5 lenses are so shitty you can't justify 600$. Some will just stay with the iphone/droid others will take a m43 which will be even better suited for these kind of people.

I can see these hipster girls and bald british/german/dutch tourists everyday walking around with their 18-55, and I can't stop thinking to myself ,why do you even bother to carry that shitty bulk?

 

I haven't seen anything in the iphone line or in micro 4/3 line at $600 that bests a digital Rebel + "Sh-tty" kit lens as far as optical quality and features.  All these camera form factors serve different purposes/niches with some overlap.  But honestly you get what you pay for.

 

And as far as video I actually initially shot more with my "sh-tty" kit lens than my weather sealed expensive L zoom simply because the kit lens has IS.  If someone sees handheld video from an iphone and thinks it looks anything like hand held video taken with the "sh-tty" Canon kit zoom then they need their head examined.  With the rolling shutter on these sensors stabilization of all kinds is imperative.

 

There is more to camera/lens combinations than pretty test charts.

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But honestly you get what you pay for.

 

Really? I think you get what a seller can get away with.

 

In the consumer lens category not really.  It's competitive enough that if someone could produce an amazing zoom lens for $100 and turn a profit they would do it.  Specialty lenses have a bit more of a captive audience.  If there is a conspiracy I wouldn't think it would occur in the consumer kit lens space.

 

 

 

 

 Stock lenses are known to be shitty.

 

 

Compared to what?  He was talking about consumer gear for $600.  No camera lens combo beats something like a t3i/kit lens combo in the sub $600 as an all rounder camera.  Some beat it in terms of size (iphone) but they get whipped on image quality.  m4/3 are nice but there isn't a financial savings.  They are even more expensive than the t3i/kit combo.  And they come with kit lenses as well that in a number of cases don't perform as well as the canon kit lens.

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In the consumer lens category not really.  It's competitive enough that if someone could produce an amazing zoom lens for $100 and turn a profit they would do it.  Specialty lenses have a bit more of a captive audience.  If there is a conspiracy I wouldn't think it would occur in the consumer kit lens space.

 

 

 

 

 

Compared to what?  He was talking about consumer gear for $600.  No camera lens combo beats something like a t3i/kit lens combo in the sub $600 as an all rounder camera.  Some beat it in terms of size (iphone) but they get whipped on image quality.  m4/3 are nice but there isn't a financial savings.  They are even more expensive than the t3i/kit combo.  And they come with kit lenses as well that in a number of cases don't perform as well as the canon kit lens.

Of course the stock kit lenses are shitty. Often the kit lenses are not wide or long enough and start if your lucky at f2.8 although more likely f4. They want you to buy their line of better lenses. That's why you get all the different formats to force consumers to part with money, Whats that if it isn't conspiracy to get as much money out of the consumer as possible.

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 Often the kit lenses are not wide or long enough and start if your lucky at f2.8 although more likely f4. They want you to buy their line of better lenses. That's why you get all the different formats to force consumers to part with money, Whats that if it isn't conspiracy to get as much money out of the consumer as possible.

 

The lens you describe (faster than 2.8, zoom, low distortion, sharp, well controled CA, ≤$200) has never existed in the history of photography.  And your explaination is a 100+ year global conspiracy?

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