From various figures available in Japan the camera manufacturers are starting to realise something. The rest of us have known for ages. Spending is going down and there might actually be some austerity in the world after all.
Most of the figures are flat at best or in decline at worst. There are slight regional variations, but essentially there would appear to be a decline in what is a mature marketplace.
The players are competing for less while profits are being squeezed in the process. This will lead to the value or quantity question. Do they sell fewer items at a higher price or go for quantity at a lower price?
Pros and cons exist to each. At the moment they won’t get both therefore some tough boardroom decisions are likely. It is easy to comment on anything from an armchair. People asking for this and that may think differently if it was their company and money. We can scream for something in the UK or Europe but what if it has no chance of selling in the rest of the world?
A market in decline is no good for anyone, manufacturer or customer.
The conundrum will be whether manufacturers can release a market inspiring product. A competitive price and decent profit will be especially relevant.
I can’t say I’m really familiar with Huawei as a smartphone producer, but apparently their new P8 smartphone is being touted has having a DSLR like quality camera.
The company are even promoting it as ‘professional’.
For most people their smartphones already have a good enough camera.
Can the Huawei P8 bring anything new to the table?
I don’t know, but if this is the beginning of a new improved ‘range’ of smartphone camera technology then things could get pretty interesting.
I firmly believe there is going to be a paradigm shift in digital photography and we will see a convergence of technology between current DSLRs and something more portable, more connected and with MUCH better workflow. I also think a ‘real’ profession camera no longer needs to be camera ‘shaped’ (seriously, how old is that design?).
I’m going to be watching the reviews of the P8. It’s got me intrigued.
If anyone is willing to throw a P8 my way, I would be quite happy to review it 🙂
Thirty years ago the big four camera makers, as they were then – Minolta, Canon, Olympus and Pentax – essentially had four distinctive models at four different price points in their ranges. The starter, intermediate, enthusiast and advanced models in the range. Whatever you want to call them, they were clearly differentiated in both cost and features.
Well I made it!
It wasn’t that hard really. My NEED it list was empty. The ‘would like it’ list is… Well that’s a work in progress. Even if I had the money and inclination we are really spoilt for choice in the gear line.
Would I stay with Nikon? I don’t have enough Nikon equipment to answer yes. A couple of DX bodies and a handful of lenses isn’t very compelling.
So what would I go to? I’m not really sure. Generically less weight and size but with DSLR versatility and performance would be nice.
As a hobbyist I don’t need full frame or 36mp (not sure anyone would unless your making money = pro, not hobbyist).
On the other hand I have considered going to smartphone photography as well. You can’t get much lighter or smaller than that. It would also allow direct uploading to the web, surfing and making a phone call ?, the web connectivity bit is something camera manufacturers are struggling with at the moment. Before I get flamed for this paragraph, let’s think about about how most people view their images these days. I have three large canvasses on my walls plus a few 10 x 8?s and 7 x 5?s, but the majority of my photos are viewed on…. Yep the computer screen. Do we really need the high mega pixel count cameras the marketing departments throw at us? Be honest now. Two of my canvasses were done on a 10mp Nikon D200 which I still own and enjoy using.
If smartphone manufacturers can really suss out the camera side of things, it won’t just be compact camera sales that suffer. There is potential for a decent smartphone camera combo to really disrupt the market for all but the niche forms of photography. We are not quite there yet but you can’t help thinking the camera manufacturers must be looking over their shoulders more often than they used too. Let’s not forget a generation, such as my sons, who have grown up with phones and not cameras. They also don’t worry about legacy glass or lament the loss of film or medium format or darkrooms and chemicals.
So I’m going to wait a little longer and see what happens, it is possible I may have ‘bought my last camera’ without even knowing it.
Will I make three in a row?
Well the year has only just started so I’ll wait and see what new toys may tempt me to put my short arms into my deep pockets…..