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Messages - scottburgess

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1
EOS Bodies / Re: Canon to Make a Big Splash at Photokina? [CR2]
« on: August 08, 2014, 12:00:14 AM »
DSLRs and toothpaste are in no way comparable and aren't marketed the same way at all.  That's absurd. 
No, it's absurd to suggest that because products are different one can't reuse a marketing idea from another product.  Again, it is obviously done all the time.  Also, technically toothpaste would not really qualify as a commodity because it is specifically differentiated into types for different functions (whitening, cavity fighting, desensitizing, anti-plaque, etc...) and hence a particular toothpaste from a particular manufacturer is not interchangeable blindly with another in the eyes of a purchaser.  While common usage of the term is something exchanged in commerce (which applies to most products), the technical usage of commodity is applied to products like oil or electricity or grain which are truly equal regardless of their origin and therefore can be traded on exchanges.  Commodities in this sense are mostly used to manufacture other things, and when traded are usually held to a basis grade.  But perhaps you can point to a basis grade for toothpaste on a trade exchange?

Canon and Nikon are in no way trying to flood shelves with a confusing array of bs like laundry detergent or toothpaste.  The product types are absolutely, fundamentally different, in every conceivable way short of both of them being sold for money in stores.  Now, if you want to talk about Pentax and their rainbow colored assortment of DSLRs that might be a different story...
The first line here is reasonably debatable.  In my regional camera stores up to 3/4 of the shelf space allotted for DSLR cameras goes to Nikon and Canon.  Canon and Nikon also dominate searches on popular websites I use.  Perhaps your experience there is different.  The comparison is complicated slightly because of the transition from film to digital, but I can still recall in the 90's the fuss made about Canon expanding from four to five EOS camera lines.  Canon's current count is ten EOS cameras in production.  Four of those lines were started in the last few years, versus one discontinued, for a net increase of three.  That is a 40% increase in the number of EOS camera lines in the last few years and 150% overall, which is what the fuss on here was about originally--claims they supposedly offered "too many" and that the company would soon go bankrupt because of Canon's complete insanity.  I think these numbers qualify as a significant increase in the number of camera lines, though I don't know how you intended to quantify a "flood."

Adding product lines when in a dominant market position is a well-documented way to expand market share even further.  What matters is that the consumer, when faced with a choice, concludes that a) several things your company offers might fit that choice, and b) your company's choices dominate the total number of acceptable choices in sight.  The actual count of lines doesn't matter, it's the relative appearance which generates the desired psychological result in the consumer.  The odds are outsized, in this case, that the consumer will pick one of your products.  How the options are presented to the consumer typically matters a lot more than what category of product it is.  For toothpaste, having 50+ product lines matters to create sufficient visual domination when the consumer looks at the store shelf.  Ten varieties might be sufficient for laundry detergent.  For cameras marketed on, to choose the big example, Amazon, what matters is what the search pages return.  If you look at the top SLRs there, almost all of the top 30 models are Canon sprinkled with Nikon--and more models there can generate the same impression in the mind of the consumer as they would on store shelves.  It might be relevant that Canon began this expansion from 4 camera lines with the development of on-line retail (call that additional circumstantial evidence, since previously lots of models wouldn't have helped as much since photo stores would probably have chosen not to stock every model).

A stronger line of argumentation might have been to argue that the increase in the number of models offered by Canon served a different purpose.  But then you would have to state that purpose, and provide evidence to suggest that this alternate purpose was more important to increasing Canon's profitability.

I'm quite familiar with all of those terms.  I've been working in the computer industry for fifteen years.  What you keep ignoring is the fact that toothpaste is a commodity, which means that any one toothpaste is almost exactly as good as another.  They're literally interchangeable. 
Your statements in this paragraph contradict one another: clearly you don't know how to identify a commodity, you don't know that toothpaste users exhibit some of the strongest brand loyalty of all products, and you don't know that the differences you're trying to point up are irrelevant as noted above, so therefore you can't be "quite familiar" with marketing.  Experience in the computer industry also has no obvious relevance to a marketing discussion.  Ask yourself, would you be called to a courtroom to testify as an expert in marketing something at your company?  If not, citing your number of years served in an unrelated job merely undermines your credibility further.  I have 32 years in the industry--that's not relevant.  But I recently reorganized a plummeting department, developed a new marketing plan for its product, and chiefly by doing this have tripled its size in three years.  That's relevant experience.

To everyone else: apologies that we've hijacked a geek thread with marketing goop.  I hope that if you've waded through all this you'll find it useful in some small way, perhaps over drinks at a party.  :)

2
EOS Bodies / Re: Canon to Make a Big Splash at Photokina? [CR2]
« on: August 07, 2014, 01:09:28 AM »
Funny you should mention that.  The entire collection of DSLR cameras from all manufacturers put together (including Canon and Nikon) come to less than 1% of the camera market once you include all the smartphones, which make up something like 97% of the total camera market.  Canon, in total, also represents somewhere on the order of one percent of the camera market.
No reason to be so obtuse.  By that same logic, smart phones are effectively the only computers and painting canvas.  You could include painting canvas as a photographic medium, too.   But everyone recognizes that desktop computers, DSLRs, and painting canvas have separate target markets from smart phones despite overlaps in functionality.  The discussion was about the number of DSLR models, not an enumeration of every image recording/storing device.

Cameras are not toothpaste.  The assumption that technology is even slightly similar to commodity goods is precisely what nearly caused...
The marketing strategy is what was being discussed.  Any business text or business person can explain to you why DSLRs and desktop computers and toothpaste are all mature technologies and mature markets today and what those terms mean.  These markets all exhibit saturation and incremental technological advances.  Reference the graphs I've posted on the DSLR market and the many articles referenced on these forums concerning saturation of the DSLR market.  If you don't know what these terms mean, and it is becoming clear that you probably don't, then look them up.

That can't not cause customer confusion...
Overwhelming the consumer with choices is part of the marketing strategy as I have noted before.  Go look at how many varieties of Colgate and Crest there are, and their respective market shares--and then explain how this widely replicated and successful strategy can't possibly work in a mature market.  Or don't, but please stop arguing if you are going to continue ignoring observable proof of what actually works in mature markets.

3

but i doubt that they cost the same. where do you live?

I'm in the US.  The prices were from Amazon and B&H.  Each carried one product but not the other.

Perhaps the European prices are different due to trade fees and transport costs, or perhaps Wimberley is using a reselling subsidiary--I've seen these things drive up costs ridiculously on some photo products from Germany.  The Wimberley there costs effectively more than double there what it does in the states.




4
Software & Accessories / Re: Zoombrowser v. Imagebrowser
« on: August 06, 2014, 01:50:03 PM »
I really like Photo Mechanic as well and the thing spits out thumbnails and displays RAW previews so fast it's amazing.  It's a bit pricey, but I like all of the metadata management tools as well.  Embedding IPTC data, geocodes and adjusting for daylight time mistakes and other clock issues is super easy.  I've tried Breezebrowser but didn't like it as well.

Okay, a couple quick questions about Photo Mechanic:
1) Can one edit the lens used in the metadata editing?  That is one specific edit most programs don't support even when they support metadata changes.  But I have a few nonstandard "lenses," so it matters to me.
2) Does Photo Mechanic support Canon's latest .cr2 format?
3) Their website indicates that export to Lightroom is possible.  How about Photoshop, and will Photo Mechanic then preview the returned .psd file in the contact sheet, or at least create an entry for it so I know it's there?

Thanks in advance for any help.  It sounds like the company may offer a DB as an add-on product soon, so this may be a product worth watching, provided the cost doesn't go too high.


5
i had the jobu BWG Pro II, the wimberley and still have the benro GH2.

the jobu is great but a bit to big for my needs.
would be my first choice for a 800mm.
i sold it becaue it´s oversized for my needs.
but very good quality. it uses sealed ball bearings (unlike wimberley and benro who don´t use ball bearings at all).

the wimberley is good but imo overprized.
the benro GH2 is as good as the wimberley. it´s basically a very good clone.
i tested them side by side with a 600mm f4.

the only point for wimberley left imo is the reputation (and a bit of "status") they build in past years.
but im not paying twice as much for just that.  :)

I just checked prices, and the Wimberley II and Benro GH2 basically cost the same ($595 versus $585).  Given that, which would you prefer and why?  Does either company do better at standing behind their product?


6
Software & Accessories / Re: Adobe Creative Cloud 2014 - Jumped yet?
« on: August 06, 2014, 01:08:47 PM »
I say no, but not never.  I'm running CS 5 & 6 from disc, will probably milk that investment for many years before considering switching.  I have looked long and hard at alternative programs and will probably continue to do so.  I strongly prefer a disc and full installation: I'm not willing to rely on Adobe CC software because their validating server can go down.  I expect the costs of CC ultimately to exceed those of purchased software, even though they don't today.  Competitor programs look attractive, even compared to educationally discounted versions of Adobe's Constipating Clod.  I keep hoping for an open-source revolution, and a GIMP which does more than Photoshop.



7
Canon General / Re: What is your Least Used Piece of Gear?
« on: August 06, 2014, 12:07:37 PM »
We go walking, I stop every tenth to take a picture, I stop just long enough not to get grabbed by the ear and dragged forwards like a mother used to grab a rebellious teen! (metaphorically speaking)
Did you have to tough out this phase to get where you are or are you just that lucky?

We would go hiking, except I would end up stopping every tenth of a mile to photograph something for an hour.  She started bringing books along to read while waiting, but that didn't work very well.  I was shooting film at the time and got her to try it with my spare camera, but she didn't like the lack of immediate feedback and asked me to get a point-and-shoot digital.

I prefer to think of it as having chosen wisely.  ;)  :)

"Come to the Dark Side, they make great lenses.  Luke, you can capture embarrassing candids of the Emperor.  He has forseen this.  It is your destiny.  Join me and together we can photograph the galaxy as father and son."
"Uhhh, okay!"
...and they lived happily ever after.

8
Canon General / Re: What is your Least Used Piece of Gear?
« on: August 06, 2014, 03:01:21 AM »
I got my wife hooked on photography.  Now she says, "Can we buy another lens?"   ;)

I've tried.  I've really tried.  How did you do it?

We would go hiking, except I would end up stopping every tenth of a mile to photograph something for an hour.  She started bringing books along to read while waiting, but that didn't work very well.  I was shooting film at the time and got her to try it with my spare camera, but she didn't like the lack of immediate feedback and asked me to get a point-and-shoot digital.  I got a full featured Panasonic with great zoom range, knowing she's a geek and would quickly outgrow it.  A year later she says, "This won't do what I want it to."  So I got her our first digital Rebel XTi, which made us both happy! 

That was fortuitous for me, too.  I was shooting Brownie Ladyslippers one day and took a couple photos with her camera so she could see...  After I saw the scanned film images side-by-side with the digital, I used up the last of my film and got another XTi.  It wasn't because of resolution--it's that I was so used to compensating mentally for the slide film colors that I was blown away by the color accuracy.  Now I'm in love with the digital work flow, too.

I had done shows for some years, but when she had some good pieces put together I encouraged her to do her first show during a busy Arts Alive weekend--I played crier on the street below the gallery space, sending dozens of people up to see her work.  She had a blast!  We both had pieces in a big regional art show, and it was fun to sit together in the gallery and watch people huddle around our work and listen to what they said.

So basically my wife learned photography in self defense.  But she loves it, and is branching us out into astrophotography and still life, while I go ever deeper into macro.  We love being able to spend the time together, sharing the beauty of nature and turning some of it into art. 

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Software & Accessories / Re: c't Digital Photography: A personal review
« on: August 05, 2014, 04:28:41 PM »
There have been a couple hundred views of this now...  If you've checked out their web site, I would be curious if you would or wouldn't subscribe and why.


10
Software & Accessories / Re: Zoombrowser v. Imagebrowser
« on: August 05, 2014, 04:12:24 PM »
I haven't heard anything about a special version, but I used and loved ZB for many years because it's so fast & simple.  IB is a bloated piece of crap that is always "updating the library" for 30 minutes before you can use it or downloading & installing updates and asking you to connect your camera via USB.  It makes DPP seem like the best application ever written :)

Yeah, I find waiting on IB too frustrating as well.  I would prefer a wholesale integration of all three (ZB, IB, DPP) into a single Lightroom-like application.  I would like to see a database used, as that greatly simplifies searches and almost anyone with Photoshop can use Bridge if they don't want a DB.

Why would I like this?  I don't believe I can dispense with Photoshop at this time.  And I think both amateurs and pros would appreciate a single application which facilitates reviewing, searching, lens corrections, and simple edits.  For early amateurs, it might eliminate the need for further software.  For advanced amateurs, it would streamline the Canon software ecosystem and make it more usable and attractive.  I think those could push increases in market share, too.

I would also love an application which accepts plugins.  Okay, maybe they won't be Photoshop/Lightroom plugins, but if a software writer could quickly modify those to work with the Canon platform, I'm sure at least a few of them would and it would open up opportunities for third parties to hook into the Canon software.  I can see that generating excitement for Canon products.  Can you imagine if Nik/Google suite apps were useable in your Canon software?

As I've noted before, I suspect that dropping support for older cameras was necessary (at least initially if not permanently) as part of the ZB move to 64-bit.  I own an older camera, but I am still happy with this decision by Canon because I can continue to use the older version of ZB if I choose.  I generally don't choose to use the Canon software because it is too time consuming to wait for IB, and no individual application has enough features by itself.  If Canon wants to invest time on the software, I think upgrading to a single, more fully featured platform is preferable to making newer software backward compatible with earlier cameras.  From a business standpoint, I am not clear why Canon is offering three separate applications.

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Canon General / Re: What is your Least Used Piece of Gear?
« on: August 05, 2014, 02:07:58 PM »

Now it is the 300F2.8.  I use the longer glass - this is for my wife to use if she wants a mini-great white :)

Man, you've got a great supportive wife. My wife would say "why do you need another lens"?

I got my wife hooked on photography.  Now she says, "Can we buy another lens?"   ;)

12
Software & Accessories / c't Digital Photography: A personal review
« on: August 03, 2014, 05:04:31 PM »
I had the good fortune of getting a couple copies of an uncommon (and relatively young) quarterly magazine for photographers.  After looking the issues over, I thought some folks here might like to know a bit about the magazine.  I expect other readers would have very different opinions about the publications mentioned, so do take this with a grain of salt.  I'm merely offering my impressions and my experience as a writer, editor, and educator for those who want to know what this magazine is all about.  (And no, unfortunately I'm not getting paid for writing this drek.  But I will graciously accept goodies from my Amazon wishlists from those desperate to reward me!  lol)

c't Digital Photography is produced by Heise Zeitschriften in cooperation with Rocky Nook, so it has both German and American roots--it appears much of the production is done in Germany, and the photographs themselves are frequently from Germany and California.  The first thing that struck me, as an American, was the slightly bigger size and heft of an A4 thick paper format compared with American publications.  The samples I had were 138 glossy color pages each with noticeably less advertising per issue than, say, Popular Photography or Outdoor Photographer.  The magazine is a full 0.25 inches thick, about twice as thick as Popular Photography's typical 100 pages.  Since the target audience of these three publications is amateurs at a similar range of levels, and many of you are probably familiar with one or both of these American counterparts, I'll confine my comparisons to these three publications.

What does c't offer that the others don't?  A few things:

1) Longer, in-depth articles on particular topics, sometimes with detailed analysis.  I just spent some time over breakfast finishing a semi-technical comparison of smart phone cameras with compacts and dslrs replete with extensive data tables.  The article did a respectable job illustrating the strides in SNR that have been made, as well as connecting the dots well enough between SNR and low light performance that an amateur could understand what some of the issues are.  From the article, once can conclude that smart phone performance is close to compact camera performance, and that further improvements in sensor technology may push even a few pros into eventually dumping dslr gear.  The authors offered good tips for smart phone users who want to get the best images from their hardware.

2) Free software.  Yeah, you read that right.  Every issue comes with a disc packed with image processing tools, photo tools, sample images from comparison articles, video tools, video tutorials, and even the occasional free ebook.  This is not just junk!  Many of them are quite good.  Many of the applications are available free on the Internet, but you'd spend days digging them out.  The good folks at c't have done that work for you and saved you the download time to boot.  I looked carefully and saw almost no overlap in the listed offerings between the issues: GIMP and Grey's Magic Image Converter appeared in both lists only because of version upgrades.

3) Unique content: big how-to articles, including do-it-yourself projects; and topics uncommonly covered by other magazines.  One issue had a long three-part article on building your own tilt-shift lens, converting your camera into a telescope or microscope, and doing high-speed photography.  The second copy had big articles on underwater photography and 32-bit image processing.  Another issue carried an article on graphics cards.  While few may build their own tilt-shift lens, it was refreshing to see that there is now a magazine which supports that part of our community.

My overall impression of the magazine is that it is still a work in progress.  The writing is a little uneven, like Outdoor Photographer, and at times both the magazine as a whole as well as authors of individual articles don't seem to have a clear idea who their audience is.  An article on nature photography, for example, has a section on photographing trees which expends its text on finding a tree to photograph, but says little about what to do afterward.  Perhaps this is partially due to articles being translated from German: it appears that most of the authors were from Germany.  Likewise, some articles are written for the complete newbie, others for the advanced amateur.  These inconsistencies generate excitement for me about an article when I read the cover followed by a big let-down when I find that it has nothing interesting to say.  It's one reason my wife and I dumped Outdoor Photographer.

I expect this problem comes in part from having few professional photo educators on the editorial staffs.  A professional educator gets a lot of feedback about what is unclear and not working, then has to adjust audience focus, progression of the topic, and so forth when teaching the topic again to correctly carry an audience at one general level to a particular conclusion.  Popular Photography exhibits greater consistency, in my view, but is geared to an amateur level that I've gone beyond.

One would think that less advertising would be grand, but it's not all roses.  Fewer advertisers means fewer opportunities to run across new products, too, and that is one thing that I find acceptable about the American counterparts: I'm always seeing a new gadget that gets me thinking.  Frequently I don't end up buying the product but do initiate a photo project related to what the gadget was for.  Some of the gadgets end up on my Amazon wishlist where a thoughtful relative can scratch my photo itch come Christmas.  Fewer advertisers and an expensive format also means that this magazine will set you back a bit compared to the more generic counterparts.  Still, it was really nice to open up c't and see long pages of explanatory text and clear photos in some of the how-to articles.  The extra space created opportunities for the authors to give ample details, side notes, and illustrative photographs.  I bet at least some folks here will think this is a good trade-off.

One small thing going against this publication is the name...  What the heck does "c't" mean, and why would the editors think that this name connects to an American audience?  I haven't a clue.  It appears to be a carry-over from Heise's similarly-named computer technical magazine, but I had to look that up.  If I were editor, I'd consider rebranding the English language version.  I would probably also add 5-10 pages of ads at the end, and contact big outlets like B&H or Adorama to help fill them.

So none of these publications are really what I personally want, which is a true advanced-amateur-only publication that always assumes many years of experience with photography and a high level of technical sophistication, has good advertiser support, but also allows for deep, involved articles.  I'm not as interested in do-it-yourself articles, but would like more post-processing articles.  I don't expect to get all of that because the audience is much smaller and harder to reach.

But some of you may be interested in what this magazine offers.  The big project and how-to articles are an attraction, as are the software/tutorial discs.  I certainly would like this to remain part of the photography magazine ecosystem and perhaps develop into something really special.  So far, I would call it "quite promising."  And I would like to encourage American photojournalists to consider submissions to this publication for the same reasons (I didn't investigate what this would entail).  If this review has piqued your interest, I encourage you to give it a try.  You can read a couple sample articles at their website.

13
EOS Bodies / Re: Canon to Make a Big Splash at Photokina? [CR2]
« on: August 02, 2014, 07:53:19 PM »

That is the topic of maaaaany threads on this forum.  Does Canon really need 4+ APS-C body price points?  What about low/middle/high setup for APS-C and the same for FF?   What happened to APS-H?  What about a completely stripped down FF model with one AF point?

IMO, even six is probably too many.  They should have one consumer crop body and one pro crop body, plus one pro FF, and optionally one consumer FF.  Make the pro model(s) available in your choice of gripped or non-gripped form factors, but with otherwise identical guts.  There's just not enough product differentiation to support 6 or more bodies.  It drives up R&D costs without providing much customer benefit.

As ahsanford noted, we've been over this ground before, repeatedly.  The numbers just don't support such assertions, nor do the business strategies.  This is Canon we're talking about, not one of the <1% market share companies.  Product saturation is a successful, widely-used strategy for driving out competition when you have a large market share.  Canon is expanding their lines even while the market is contracting precisely to push small players out of the business completely.  Canon currently has eight DSLR lines running, plus one ILC, with three of those nine lines started since 2011.  Nikon has seven DSLR lines with substantially lower market share.

Instead of implying that every company is completely stupid, I recommend you reference the earlier discussions including the actual camera sales numbers if you need a clearer picture.  I've posted graphs in some.  You might also take a close look at the toothpaste section in your grocery store the next time you're there if you want a more concrete example of where the market is going and why.


14
Pricewatch Deals / Re: Canon Mail in Rebate Program
« on: August 01, 2014, 10:21:56 PM »
Mine for the Pixma Pro-10 was rejected because the dealer is an "invalid retailer" - B&H! B&H must be one of, if not, largest Canon dealers in the world! Go figure that one. I have to call cust svc to lodge a dispute.

I bought at B&H recently, and got my rebate back in a couple weeks, no problem.


15
EOS Bodies / Re: 7D the new 6Ti?
« on: August 01, 2014, 07:44:44 PM »
I still think its more likely that Canon takes the whole Rebel line Mirrorless at some point.  Call it a 6Ti perhaps.  But eh.... who knows.  If I could get a camera with the same features as a T5i, and engineer it as a mirrorless (zero moving parts) camera that had OLED EFV technology and a sensor with faster readout speeds, that might be interesting.

Or they could split the Rebels, letting the 6Ti remain pentaprism, and making the 6T essentially a mirrorless knockoff of it.  That would make more sense to me.  Good thoughts, Clayton!


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