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Canon CEO: Camera market will contract for another 2 years (1 Viewer)

Chosun Juan

Given to Fly
Australia - Aboriginal
An interview with the Canon CEO Fujio Mitarai provided this pretty gloomy outlook, but I've put it in the general Photography section since it is likely to have ramifications for all manufacturers, brands, and customers .....
https://www.canonnews.com/canon-ceo-camera-market-will-contract-for-another-2-years

Total market down to ~10 million units per annum (from peak numbers of 114 million compacts in 2008, and 18 million ILC in 2012. Blame smartphones for the former 20 fold plunge in a decade or so). Likely less choice, longer development cycles, and perhaps even more focused product offerings. Likely more diversified businesses, and even some industry attrition for those unable to navigate the new competitive landscape .....

All in all though, I think there's never been a better time to be a photographer, although being a 'loyal' customer seems to be at times painful no matter which brand and/or system you're in ...... it seems enjoyment in the moment with the equipment at hand helps one's sanity ! :cat:




Chosun :gh:
 

etudiant

Registered User
Supporter
It makes one wonder why Sony is trying so hard to become the leaders in this market.
Samsung saw the same volume trends and bailed earlier, yet Sony persists.
 

Chosun Juan

Given to Fly
Australia - Aboriginal
It makes one wonder why Sony is trying so hard to become the leaders in this market.
Samsung saw the same volume trends and bailed earlier, yet Sony persists.
If you look at their latest APS-C offerings, 6100 & 6600, they seem to be doing a pretty good job of imitating CaNikon - ie. many feature sets and specifications are deliberately hamstrung to protect other model lines. A la' the 8 bit video they persist with, and low spec EVF's.

Exactly the opposite of what the times call for. If they can park DSLR refugees (or those frustrated by CaNikon's pace of Mirrorless development) bum's into their FE mount seats, they could increase their market share quite markedly and hold onto that for quite some time (generations of product).

It almost seems that to be more fully vertically integrated such as Canon is with their sensors, is a disadvantage if the volume and profitability is not there to support cutting edge development.

On the one hand the triopoly CaNikONY needs to innovate to supply the market with what it wants - light weight, flawless AF, high IQ, good ergonomics, and good connectivity, and ease of work flow.

On the other hand as the Canon CEO says - many products are "good enough" and customers are delaying upgrading for diminishing returns. The companies are likewise slowing the pace of development. The uncertainty over the Mirrorless transition and especially the road map of new product delivery has customers hesitant too. It becomes a self fulfilling prophecy.

There are key strategies I can think of for maximizing return and market share, which none of the companies are fully implementing, but as the devices become (or should become) more electronic than mechanical (as in computational photography, AI, etc) then the fundamental economics of the industry is a trend of reducing prices proportionally in line with Moore's law.

As you've said before the issue comes in sensor fabrication investment development. M&A activity and new markets can only take you so far.

I could see a case for entire Industry collaboration in a new curved sensor standard which will actually deliver on those key customer wants (especially light weight), but I doubt that it will go this way - it seems fighting for scraps will be the order of the day - possibly risking large scale disruption from outside actors (recognizing that some of those are State actors with self serving strategic intent).




Chosun :gh:
 

Chosun Juan

Given to Fly
Australia - Aboriginal
Is ‘Made in China 2025’ a Threat to Global Trade?

.... - possibly risking large scale disruption from outside actors (recognizing that some of those are State actors with self serving strategic intent).

https://www.cfr.org/backgrounder/made-china-2025-threat-global-trade
Fascinating reading given the context of the discussion and current attempts by the Trump administration to address systematic intellectual property theft, trade imbalances, and foreign military overreach.



Chosun :gh:
 

Overread

Hunting birds with a canon
Even if the market is contracting there is still a big market there to be had, just not "as big" as it once was. Sony might also be considering that whilst the boom has bust for a while it might well boom again and Sony wants to be there as a major name for if it does boom once more.

Even though the mobile phone might have killed many of the compact cameras, your DSLR and similar cameras is still in a league of its own. Furthermore there's likely a bit of a generational aspect going on. A whole block of generations have jumped in at the same time, burned through their money and reached a level that leaves them less need to expand again. Cameras (esp higher grade ones) being something you don't replace every year (esp for lenses).

So give it 5 or 10 years (and an otherwise stable global economic situation) and it could boom once more just from a new generation wanting new stuff.
 

etudiant

Registered User
Supporter
Pushing the boundaries of computational photography a bit more
https://m.dpreview.com/news/5355209...supports-108mp-images-and-4k-video-at-120-fps

Chosun :gh:

Seems pushing the sensor boundaries is also getting to be more interesting.

http://image-sensors-world.blogspot.com/2019/09/darpa-starts-curved-ir-imagers-program.html

The focus is for infra red applications, but the technology would surely transfer easily. Reduced size and simpler optics are the objectives.
 

Chosun Juan

Given to Fly
Australia - Aboriginal
Seems pushing the sensor boundaries is also getting to be more interesting.

http://image-sensors-world.blogspot.com/2019/09/darpa-starts-curved-ir-imagers-program.html

The focus is for infra red applications, but the technology would surely transfer easily. Reduced size and simpler optics are the objectives.
That's interesting - the camera companies have been playing around with curved sensor patents and prototypes in the backroom but I hardly get the impression their eyes are open (and together) as to how this could radically alter the industry.

Unfortunately there are totalitarian regimes in the world heavily militarizing with the technological lines between State and private sector totally blurred. The situation is little better in the US with the super secretive and open chequebook funded NSA, etc. Thus military applications (facial recognition, ultra-high resolution zooming, real time processing vast volumes of data and all the AI and computational photography that involves, etc) are key drivers of technological progress and direction. Add to that Logistics, and Transport etc. Take that into space too .....
https://physicsworld.com/a/curved-camera-chips-may-be-the-next-leap-in-astronomical-imaging/
https://www.digitalrev.com/article/what-is-a-curved-sensor

The (mostly) Japanese traditional photographic and broadcast industry is attempting to change quickly enough to meet the smartphone challenge (itself essentially becoming commoditized and subscription based), though it seems to be a response generationally late.

Almost without exception (provided the ergonomics are there) consumers want smaller and lighter products provided the IQ is there (as well as ease of use /processing /sharing). The move to Mirrorless whilst offering some advantages is nowhere near the step change required. Diffractive optics help some more, but really it is going to take Curved Sensor Mirrorless + Diffractive Optics to deliver that. We could have virtually consumer MFT sized fast FF supertelephoto gear.

Apart from the technicalities it is going to take a strategic revolution. It really does my head in to see half a dozen brands all making pretty much the same product but that is completely incompatible with one another. How much time, effort, money, and resources are wasted on producing nearly identical myriad focal length lens ranges throughout the market?!

If the industry is to not only survive but thrive, then it must come together and collaborate in its entirety. Historically we have seen the strategic alliance BetaMax - VHS, DVD - BlueRay /RedRay wars etc. What is needed is not only for several strategic partners to come together (such as Panasonic-Leica-Sigma in the latest example) , but the whole industry - all the players. In the same way that Broadcast Standards are commonized, and Storage, and Communications Standards etc, the industry needs to adopt 1 common scalable curved sensor design, mount, communications, and memory media Standard. Let the various manufacturers play in their market niches of choice (such as format, specification, capability, volume, price, UI /ergonomics, etc) , but do it off a common Standard.

This gives what are now third party manufacturers and brands, a fighting chance. It also assures the current dominant and bit market players a chance to hold off and navigate through external disruptive changes ...... :cat:
In a world where the population has increased by over 12% in the last decade, whilst the photographic market correspondingly declined ~80% (mostly compacts; ILC's ~ halved) , a mere evolution won't cut it.




Chosun :gh:
 

etudiant

Registered User
Supporter
....
Apart from the technicalities it is going to take a strategic revolution. It really does my head in to see half a dozen brands all making pretty much the same product but that is completely incompatible with one another. How much time, effort, money, and resources are wasted on producing nearly identical myriad focal length lens ranges throughout the market?!

If the industry is to not only survive but thrive, then it must come together and collaborate in its entirety. Historically we have seen the strategic alliance BetaMax - VHS, DVD - BlueRay /RedRay wars etc. What is needed is not only for several strategic partners to come together (such as Panasonic-Leica-Sigma in the latest example) , but the whole industry - all the players. In the same way that Broadcast Standards are commonized, and Storage, and Communications Standards etc, the industry needs to adopt 1 common scalable curved sensor design, mount, communications, and memory media Standard. Let the various manufacturers play in their market niches of choice (such as format, specification, capability, volume, price, UI /ergonomics, etc) , but do it off a common Standard.

This gives what are now third party manufacturers and brands, a fighting chance. It also assures the current dominant and bit market players a chance to hold off and navigate through external disruptive changes ...... :cat:
In a world where the population has increased by over 12% in the last decade, whilst the photographic market correspondingly declined ~80% (mostly compacts; ILC's ~ halved) , a mere evolution won't cut it.

Chosun :gh:

Think you are entirely right and it is a tribute to (or indictment of) the camera industry management that they have totally ignored the lessons of the electronics sector.
The ideas of industry standards and of FRAND industry patent pools appear to have bypassed the sector entirely, even though they have been enormously beneficial, especially in the electronics sector. Open sourcing a la LINUX are clearly anathema as well to camera industry management.
 

Chosun Juan

Given to Fly
Australia - Aboriginal
Jeez - well didn't COVID-19 deliver a double whammy !

The sales figures leading up to that weren't pretty, but now we have seen Olympus bought out, and the profit projections for some companies constantly downgraded and headed for a sea of red ink.

The Olympics has been cancelled for 2020, postponed until 2021, though you have to wonder if the world will still be in the grips of COVID as there is no viable strategy moving forward.

Canon and Nikon have continued to flesh out their new mirrorless mount lens and camera ranges. Canon in particular seems to be having a real go while Nikon is broadening it's market range, though we are still waiting on the high end Z8 .....

All while not exactly giving us what we want (those 600 f4 DO, and 600 f5.6 PF lenses seem to taking longer than the second coming !). I just about cry every time a see a very similar to the competition, lens or camera body come out, designed and built to it's own non-interchangable mount dimensions and protocols. Manufacturer A's 70-200 f2.8, then Manufacturer B's own unique version in the same focal range and aperture, followed by manufacturer C. Whole ranges are ~90% the same. What a giant duplicitous waste for mounts that are within millimetres of one another in design specification.

There are benefits, as well as drawbacks, to this 'internal' competition, but it's really not a long term survival strategy against outside forces .....

https://m.dpreview.com/news/1054243...-are-in-for-a-shake-up-following-olympus-sale








Chosun :gh:
 

Overread

Hunting birds with a canon
I'm annoyed that they are all chasing mirrorless when in reality it doesn't really save you all that much camera body space and weight. Especially once you're dealing with the upper end of the market. Sadly it seems that the DSLR is soon going to be split into casual cameras or 1D line - the 7D was a great middle ground between the two being affordable, whilst pretty high specification.

Now it seems that you've got the 5D line that are well made, but pricey then the 1D that are even more pricey or the new thingy that isn't quite as good as a 7D would have been (esp in terms of AF and weathersealing)
 

THE_FERN

Well-known member
I'm unclear why they haven't been chasing the birding market more vigorously. AFAIK, the obvious thing is to produce a superzoom which can actually focus on fast moving passerines, birds in flight... But perhaps that would kill the market for professional level lenses (or perhaps it's more technically difficult than I assume)
 

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