Has the Bubble Burst?

Discussion in 'The Watering Hole' started by Biro, Aug 6, 2013.

  1. Biro

    Biro Hall of Famer

    Aug 7, 2011
    Jersey Shore
  2. Interesting read, thanks.
  3. pniev

    pniev Student for life

    Jun 10, 2013
    Thanks for sharing this interesting and thought-provoking article. Nevertheless, using the N. America sales drop to illustrate that the camera market is falling off a cliff is a bit of a stretch. The market is evolving but falling off a cliff?

    We live in an exciting era with exciting new technologies ahead of us (think of the multisensor developments, DR-extension, new devices, flexible screens that are easily readable outside). Smartphones enabled an entirely new "snapshot" market (instagram, etc) where people share experiences in real-time, leading to shifting demands/needs. Google glasses may take that a step further.

    Even when we reach the point that phones/glasses/other devices will be able to produce D800-quality, I wonder if DSLRs will vanish. There are other - very human - factors in play. What else could explain the existence of range-finder-like, manual-focus/exposure-enabling cameras. They do not make life easier. But they do make life fun and bring back memories!

  4. teacat

    teacat Regular

    Jul 27, 2013
    Melbourne, Australia
    And here in Australia, this old woman keeps wanting to buy more cameras because each one of them does something completely different to the others... :biggrin: Tragic, just tragic :D
  5. zapatista

    zapatista Regular

    Jul 28, 2012
    Denver, Colorado
    It seems to be a well-reasoned essay. However, I'm calling BS on the 39k figure for total mirrorless system camera sales in NA in one year.
  6. Luke

    Luke Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Nov 11, 2011
    Milwaukee, WI USA
    pretty good stuff there. One thing I had never thought of that occurred to me while reading this was that maybe camera sales had actually exploded in the last ten years because of the technology race and maybe we are just seeing a return to the norm now that all cameras are good enough. There's no need to upgrade every year because of the improvements of noise and ISO and megapickles.

    If we really do a return to a focus on images rather making technically perfect images, then we all win. Well, maybe except the camera makers
  7. Biro

    Biro Hall of Famer

    Aug 7, 2011
    Jersey Shore
    I agree, Luke, this is exactly what I think has happened. The sales figures themselves are from CIPA, so I presume they are correct. It's pretty simple, methinks. We've reached a point of diminishing returns with camera improvements and 16mp really is a kind of sweet spot. So those who are pretty serious about photography - whether pro or hobbyist - have less reason to upgrade.

    For the masses, smart phones - which themselves have reached a sweet spot in terms of price, availability and picture-taking ability - offer the convenience that really is the most important thing for them. These people were Instamatic and Poloroid camera buyers in the 1960s and 1970s.

    Add to this the economic situation. True, the U.S. is technically in a growth cycle, even if a weak one. But I can only use myself as an example. I weathered the financial crisis and recession fairly well. But it is in this year - 2013 - that I find my flat salary and rising expenses have caught up with me. I have far less money to blow now than I have had in quite a while. so camera purchases go on the back burner, especially since I have a nice kit already.

    Perhaps now we'll go back to something closer to the more-sane world of photography prior to the digital age. But, with a camera market that's shrinking as fast and as much as it is, some players are likely to fold.
  8. For the majority of us, our cameras are a hobby. One we enjoy and become heavily invested in, but upgrading every year is not a priority.
  9. Biro

    Biro Hall of Famer

    Aug 7, 2011
    Jersey Shore
    Add to that the running mantra that "a new camera won't make you a better photographer" may finally be sinking in with many enthusiasts as well. Which may be bad for the camera makers but is good for us.
  10. I think its just that the market is so damned saturated with new gear.. people are drawing a line. The population of this forum is in no way representative of the market... and the market can't (or won't) keep up with new gear. I have friends who are very enthusiastic photographers, but most have gear which is 5-6 years old and have no intention of replacing/upgrading gear that still works for them.
  11. Duane Pandorf

    Duane Pandorf All-Pro

    Apr 25, 2011
    Western NC
    In my opinion, the average person wants a simple easy to use camera to take photos. The average point and shoot camera has become a complicated menu mess. The smart phone has become the average photographers favorite camera now, especially since they can easily and instantly upload to their favorite social media site or Wordpress blog.

    The sub $500 - $700 P&S camera is dead.

    Those of us who want a little more out of current technology do not mind spending the extra money to gain a bit more in quality and the enjoyment when using the equipment.

    We'll soon see which camera company can survive in that market.

    I've come across a few different opinion pieces that dig into these latest numbers from CIPA and more than one author has said it does not look bright for the 4/3rds camera format. I think you can see that in how well the latest APS-C 16 sensor cameras are fairing.
  12. Not in Australia, its not. Its alive and kicking and people are buying cheap cameras. People in *this* forum, or people in our camera clubs might not... but the general population is not as demanding as we are.
  13. Agree. My brother bought a high end Nikon DSLR, but never leaves Auto mode.
    He gets descent shots, but nothing amazing.
  14. My wife wanted a camera that will zoom and take descent pictures. She is not interested in fancy features, she just wants to be able to take descent shots when I am not there

    I got her a $135.00 Canon point and shoot that never leaves Auto mode, unless I use it. She is more than happy.
  15. snkenai

    snkenai All-Pro

    Oct 5, 2010
    kenai, AK
    Stephen Noel
    Buying Bubble Busted (mine)

    I chased the "gota' have a better one", buying and selling train for several years. Spent too much money and was mostly disappointed. Two or three months ago I got the E-p3, from Luke, and initially was under whelmed. Decided I had too much invested too move it out, and kept it. Then gave away my second body (G1), and wound up with the 3' and couple MF lenses. I am liking the 3' more and more. The 3' is a great camera with almost no "grain" at ISO 200. It is locked at 200, almost all the time. Sometimes wish for the VF.

    Added a ball head to my tiny tripod, and very happy with the change and added flexibility.

    Have moved back into the film days mode of shooting, and am becoming more that happy with my gear.

    The camera manufacturers are going to have to look elsewhere for their revenue, at least, for a while. Not chasing the train!
  16. Landshark

    Landshark PhotoDog

    Jul 15, 2010
    I think like any hobby there are ebbs and flows, people get bored and move on to something else, sometimes they come back, other times they never return. Point and shoots are pretty dead at this point, I am still shocked at home people I see shooting with I pads. On the other hand there will always be a serious image-makers both amateurs and pros.
  17. Luckypenguin

    Luckypenguin Hall of Famer

    Dec 24, 2010
    Brisbane, Australia
    I'm about one new lens short of a travel kit I could get years of service out of. I'm also...probably kidding myself.
  18. Darthpnoy88

    Darthpnoy88 Regular

    Feb 1, 2013
    Southern California
    IMHO DSLR have reach there peak in terms of technology. In these next few years were probably going to see more serious compacts 1 inch sensor, APS-C sized, while Micro 4/3, Nikon 1 will continue to evolve. Point and shoots will still have there audience more in the arena of durable, waterproof types like TG series of the Olympus.

    FF DSLR prices will eventually drop to I'm already seeing 6D body only prices though grey imports going for 1.5k dollars and refurbished D600 at same price only a matter of time when full frame reaches the 1K level.
  19. teacat

    teacat Regular

    Jul 27, 2013
    Melbourne, Australia
    Although camera sales may appear to have 'fallen off' in the US - there's no indication of that here in Aus. I do think that most people are looking to their phones though, so it would be interesting to do a comparison between the higher end smart phone sales and the comparative camera sales (point and shoots, compacts).

    That said, each of my cameras does something different and can achieve different outcomes. That's why I'm addicted to gear and to photography in general. I'm still looking at them all. I'd love a studio cam - 5D Mk 2 with a 2.8 70-200 and a 50 prime. But hey, I don't even have a studio LOL so I will just dream on about that one. I'm loving all the new little cams coming out - I can't wait to see what they fit into one next!

    Face it, I'm just a techhead LOL
  20. rparmar

    rparmar Regular

    Jul 12, 2011
    Limerick, Ireland
    I couldn't even get half-way through this badly written article. Did he have a point? No, I don't think so.