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EOS Bodies / Re: The State of the Camera Industry in 2014
« on: February 28, 2015, 01:59:08 PM »
I wonder if that is enough to lead to a pink 5DIV? 

Yeah, because Diane Arbus, Joyce Tenneson, Mary Ellen Mark, Margaret Bourke Wright, Rineke Dijkstra, etc., etc., picked their cameras for its color.

Let's cut the stupid, sexist comments.

EOS Bodies - For Stills / Re: Fujifilm like the EOS 7D mark II
« on: February 28, 2015, 01:50:28 PM »
I'm impressed with his candor, but also with the Fuji products.  If wouldn't surprise me if
ten years from now the big camera vendors are Canon, Fuji and Samsung.

 It would surprise very much when there are brands like Nikon and Sony
Fuji is a small manufacturer, why would they suddenly become larger than  Nikon, Sony?

Fuji is also a survivor. While Kodak went belly up, Fuji successfully navigated the transition from film (once their primary product) to digital.

Will they displace Nikon or Canon? I doubt it. But, I did read once that Fuji is the company that Canon was most concerned about, so maybe the admiration is mutual. Personally, I'm not convinced Sony is in the photography business for the long haul. Maybe as a supplier, but not sure I would invest in their system for fear it could disappear.

Canon General / Re: Spartans, What is your profession?
« on: February 28, 2015, 01:43:48 PM »
Retired in November from managing a press and communications staff for a state legislative caucus.

Now working as a subcontractor for a (formerly) one-man PR firm, doing communications strategy, writing, photography and possibly soon some video. Actually finding myself doing more photography for paying clients than I anticipated.

EOS Bodies / Re: Smartphones Already Won -- Laforet
« on: February 26, 2015, 10:54:42 PM »
This is good news for professional photographers. For the last ten years, competition has exploded because so many people would buy a SLR just to have a decent camera...

...At the same time, the difference between a pro photographer and an everyday photographer will become more obvious to the uninitiated. There's a limit to how large you can realistically print a cellphone picture, small sensors are crap at bokeh, and you can't zoom a tiny lens. These are all things that are immediately obvious and that adds value to the gear a pro owns...

...With a reduction in the number of would-be pro photographers and a clearer separation of quality for the pros, I think the market for professionals may become much better in the long term.

Wow! That's a whole lot of wishful thinking. Let's break it down:

For the last ten years, competition has exploded

You are obviously too young to remember the previous 40 years or so. I have never seen a time when competition was not exploding. The supply of photographers has always far exceeded the demand for my entire life.

But, the problem is not an oversupply of photographers, the problem is the disappearance of markets. Photojournalism as a career is all but dead. Almost no one goes to a commercial portrait studio anymore. Those that remain survive on weddings, high school portraits and babies – all areas where the supply of photographers vastly exceeds the demand.

The most talented photographers working today survive largely through teaching workshops and writing. Scott Kelby may shoot a lot of professional sports, but he pays his bills with his publishing and training empire. Look at Creative Live's stable of photography instructors. Most make more money from teaching and publishing than they do from their photography.

...At the same time, the difference between a pro photographer and an everyday photographer will become more obvious to the uninitiated.

If only that were the case.

Sure, some people do see the difference, but very few are willing to pay for that difference.

There's a limit to how large you can realistically print a cellphone picture, small sensors are crap at bokeh, and you can't zoom a tiny lens. These are all things that are immediately obvious and that adds value to the gear a pro owns...

This is based on the false assumption that anyone cares about prints. Almost every picture looks great on a cellphone and quite a few look pretty good on a tablet. That's where pictures live today and that's not going to change. So, the ability to print an image in a large size is pretty much irrelevant.

I won't get into a debate about whether or not these things are "immediately obvious" other than to say that I've printed 20 x 30 images from both my 5DIII and my iPhone and, while there is a definite difference in the "look" of the images, I doubt if very many casual observers would be able to tell me which is which.

...With a reduction in the number of would-be pro photographers and a clearer separation of quality for the pros, I think the market for professionals may become much better in the long term.

Who says there will be any reduction in the number of would-be pro photographers? As I said the supply has always far outstripped the demand. There is no evidence that will change. As for the "clearer separation of quality" again, that's in the eye of the beholder and there is nothing to suggest that the average customer is going to suddenly become either more perceptive or willing to pay for the difference in quality.

EOS Bodies / Re: Smartphones Already Won -- Laforet
« on: February 26, 2015, 05:27:33 PM »
Here is the CIPA forecast for 2015 along with the history going back several years.  Taking several decades of film camera users and converting them to digital resulted in the huge bubble in the 2010-2013 timeframe.  Likewise, there is a similar bubble in lens shipments - except it lags by about two years.  Some points I see...
1)  Market saturation is certainly occurring.  The question is how low will it go?
2)  The camera industry has seen this kind of downturn before and the big players survived.  In fact, they seemed to be able to deal with shipments of 3.5 million as a nominal level (although many would say with minimal R&D at those points).
3)  The impact of smart phones is most seen in the P&S arena (full CIPA report is at )
4)  I like to think smartphones are great for image capture... perhaps not so good for photography.
5)  Anyone who has watched prints coming off a minilab film printer can attest to the fact high image quality is not demanded by the masses.  As fast as possible 4x6 prints with most of the faces recognizable is what is desired and "good enough" for many people.  Today's expectation is instant sharing of blurry image captures.
6)  The smartphone is also the photo album - it's almost 4x6 inch print sized and holds thousands of images.  It's easy to pass around and share.  DSLR's not so much!

The question is can pros and serious enthusiasts provide sufficient market for the level of development we have come to expect?  It used to be the pro bodies were updated on a ten year cycle and lenses even longer.  We are likely headed in that direction again.

There is a lot of truth to what you say. However, one point that Laforet and the Mayflower Concepts speaker are making, and which I agree with, is that because camera manufacturers have fallen behind the curve on usability, their customers are paying a premium in inconvenience due to a lack of features that are readily available on smart phones. In most cases, there is no excuse for that.

Perhaps the manufacturers can all get by for a few more years without integrating core convenience and connectivity features into enthusiast and professional cameras, but how long can that go on? Sooner or later the "I don't need wi-fi...I don't need touch screen...I don't need to instantly edit and upload photos from my phone" crowd will die out and we have several generations of potential camera customers who find DSLRs laughably antiquated.

Yes, I agree that demand is cyclical and we are at the tail end of the rapid growth prompted by the digital camera revolution. But the key difference is that in all other cycles, persons who moved up from basic cameras to more sophisticated cameras generally gained convenience along the way, or there were significant quality incentives (printing one's own photos was inconvenient, yes, but the reward was sufficient to overcome that inconvenience). The mistake I think manufacturers are making today is that they are penalizing upgraders by removing or rejecting common features that consumers have come to expect and there isn't enough of a reward to offset that inconvenience.

EOS Bodies / Re: Smartphones Already Won -- Laforet
« on: February 26, 2015, 01:34:49 PM »
"The key is that the software on those smartphones, and the social media platforms and instant connection to the web – ARE BETTER and cannot be overcome by camera companies that fail to integrate software within their camera bodies going forward."

What is it about "key" that people can't understand.

Remember this discussion:

This presentation was made at PMA recently by Heino Hilbig of Mayflower Concepts, a management consulting firm.

Here I go again...all major camera manufacturers (Nikon, Sony and Canon) have done a horrendous job incorporating new usability and communication technologies into their higher end cameras.

The entire world can navigate through their phone menus, focus their pictures, switch settings, etc. etc. with the simple swipe of a finger. Yet, Canon produces only one advanced amateur camera (70D) with a touch screen on it.

Try communicating with the internet (uploading images to even professional sites like Adobe Cloud) with a DSLR. Good luck. And, don't even get me started on the lack of basic editing software on cameras that are dedicated to photography as compared to multifunction devices like tablets and smart phones.

And, if you don't think those things are needed by professionals, you obviously don't understand the competitive world many professionals live in.

It's embarrassing that a professional carrying around a $4,000 camera can't scroll through his or her pictures, pick two or three, do some quick edits and upload them for client access on a shared site, when anybody with a smart phone can do it within seconds.

For many professionals, delivering the best looking pictures simply doesn't cut it when the clients have already posted some fuzzy, out-of-focus iPhone shot on their website and Facebook page. Being first does count in business and Canon, Nikon, Sony, etc., are failing us miserably in that regard.

The irony is the technology is neither new nor expensive. It is here, they just refuse to provide it to their customers.  Laforet and Mr. Hilbig are correct, and I would add that smartphones have won because camera manufacturers have collectively refused to move into 21st century communications.

EOS Bodies / Re: Canon Cinema EOS C700x Rumor a Fake
« on: February 26, 2015, 12:56:10 PM »
Someone should do a psychological study of people who concoct these fake leaks, complete with bogus images. It always seems like a lot of work for a pathetic cry for attention within a tiny universe of nerds.

Never had a big white. Will probably never be able to afford one. But here are a couple of thoughts from experience with "little whites."

Mount the camera/lens on a monopod and carry the combination against your shoulder. You'll probably want to add some padding to reduce chafing and switch arms and shoulders a lot, but your arms are made for carrying things, your neck is not.

If you are wearing a backpack and it has some type of handle that you can run a strap through or some other means of attaching the strap to the pack, use that. Having the backpack carry the load is a lot easier than having a shoulder or neck carry it.

For a reasonable fee, I'm willing to accompany you and carry the lens for you. :)

I'm trying to understand the market, and that includes the buyer's motivation. What could possibly motivate a person to spend more on a single photo than most people make in their entire life? Why not buy a Robert Frank for $3,500 as you say? There has to be a reason.

This thread isn't a critique of art, it's about the business of art. There's a million other thread talking about how to take great photos, but very few about why people would buy those great photos.

I try to understand the market and I get insulted and dismissed without anyone even considering the question in return. You talk as if you think wanting to become a financially successful artist is a bad thing -- it's not. If nobody is willing to talk honestly about why art sells, it's no surprise that most art doesn't sell well or at all.

Perhaps because no one knows the answer to that question or even to the question of what constitutes art.

Here's a few tips:

Be born wealthy. It's not a requirement but it helps. Cartier-Bresson was born into a wealthy thread-manufacturing family. That wealth allowed him to avoid the family business and study art at the one of the leading academies in France, where he was introduced to the groundbreaking trends at the time, such as cubism and surrealism. If you study the history of photography, you'll find more than a few great photographers who had the advantage of family money to support them in their pursuit.

Alternatively, marry rich. It worked for Alfred Stieglitz. And, you can always divorce your first, wealthy spouse and take up with a younger, poorer lover after you've made it. That also worked for Stieglitz.

Study under one or more photographers recognized as artists by the critics. You mentioned Gursky. He studied under Bernd and Hilla Becher. Someone mentioned Cindy Sherman. She studied under Les Krimms. The community of photographers recognized as true artists is relatively small and like anything else, connections matter. You'll be accepted more readily as a serious artist if you studied under serious artists.

Get a critic or curator to buy and promote your work. Many of the works that are considered icons of photography today were selected because Beaumont Newhall was the curator of photography at the Museum of Modern Art and when he wrote his history of photography he naturally selected works that were in the collection of the museum. Why would he want to promote the collection of a competing institution.  The result was self fulfilling: The greatest photographers were represented in the collection of the Museum of Modern Art because the Museum of Modern Art collected works by great photographers.

Make sure your art is in style and beware of changing styles. William Mortensen was a leading practitioner of the manipulated image but his vision conflicted with that of "straight" photographers like Ansel Adams. The f64 school decided that only straight photography was legitimate, so Newhall trashed Mortensen and effectively wrote him out of the history of photography. Similarly, Les Krimms was a cutting-edge photographer in the 1970s, until feminist zealotry pushed him out of favor with the art critics and displaced him with his student Cindy Sherman.

Ride the investment wave. Many art buyers today are buying primarily for investment purposes. They buy works in the hopes that they will escalate in value and allow them to make money on the investment. For some of these buyers, it's no different than investing in real estate, except that you get the added benefit of being considered sophisticated. If the investment community decides your work will increase in value, your images will sell. Not that you will ever see any of the money, because most of the sales occur in the secondary market -- one collector buying from another, long after the artist sold the image for a fraction of its current value.

Finally, and most importantly, get lucky. Think of it like becoming a rock star or a movie idol. At any one time, there are millions of talented people all trying to hit the big time. The world has only so much time, space and money for the stars of any field. For every one person who succeeds, there are thousands who never will. They aren't less talented or less deserving or less hard working, they just aren't as lucky. Life is random.

Do you guys have any argument about why you think I'm wrong? I was hoping for some actual discussion of the business and marketing of fine art, not some vague whining. It's no wonder photographers are all broke if that's the level of business talk going on...

Let's see. You make an ignorant, broad-brush assessment of art and then wonder why no one bothers to argue with you. Perhaps it's because your post is so dumbfoundingly uninformed and misguided that there is really no point to furthering the discussion.

Some great artists are financially successful. Most are not. Some great artists are very popular. Most are not.

Many would argue that great art should be intellectually challenging. Clearly, simply producing something that is pleasing to the eye is no guarantee of greatness. That does not mean that art cannot be beautiful, but that beauty alone is no guarantee of art.

Much of Gurksy's work is aesthetically appealing, intellectually challenging and requires great technical virtuosity. Read up a bit about his technique and vision before you spout off. But, more importantly, attempting to judge all art photography by the market's fondness for Gursky displays incredible ignorance.

Art collecting has become big business and has driven up prices for certain artists' work based on market forces that are likely to be transient. Only time will tell if some of the artists selling today will stand the test of time.

For the most part, photography remains a great bargain in art collecting. I did a quick internet search and it looks as though you can buy a photograph by Robert Frank (arguably the most influential photographer of the second half of the 20th century) for as little as $3,500. Imagine being able to buy a Picasso for that.

I'm not sure what point you are trying to make, or if you are just trolling. It sounds as though you want to know some secret to becoming a financially successful artist. Well, being talented and visionary is no guarantee of financial success, but you certainly won't become successful as an artist if you don't start there.

EOS Bodies / Re: Possible Canon EOS 5D Mark IV Spec Talk [CR2]
« on: February 22, 2015, 02:30:21 PM »
I don't believe in getting worked up about detailed specifications in a camera that might be a year away from being released.

It's more productive and enlightening to look at the trends and patterns the rumored specs reveal and to treat them as ballpark estimates.

This sounds as though Canon is taking many of the features of the 1Dx and migrating them down the line to the 5D. That's consistent with past practices.

Canon has just released two niche market 5Ds for those desiring high megapixel count and low ISO performance. It makes perfect sense to tweak the existing 5DIII to focus on users who want high ISO performance, speed and improved autofocus – which I suspect are the three main drivers for most 5DIII users.

Will it be 18 mp? Maybe, but I look at that as a range – likely to be between 18 and 24 based on balancing the best ISO performance against megapixel count.

I doubt seriously that it will have two CF slots. The 5Ds and 7Ds are sister cameras and I expect it to have a CF and a SD slot, both matched to the standards available at the time of development (development NOT release), but backwards compatible.

Aside from the card slot, nothing in these specs would suggest the camera is not suitable as the general purpose workhorse that has made the 5D series so popular.

Canon General / Re: Lost half of my Canon DSLR
« on: February 17, 2015, 10:36:38 AM »
Title says nothing. But then, who cares?

Canon General / Re: Imaging Resource: Canon Q&A @ CP+ 2015
« on: February 17, 2015, 10:35:10 AM »
I think Thom Hogan's "interview" was more informative.

Hogan's a Nikon user, but his commentaries are pretty non-brand specific. His "interview" was much more informative than the Imagining Resource interview.

Too many "journalists" covering technology are nothing more than fanboys for technology of any sort. They are incapable of asking the tough questions and don't have the courage to stand up to the manufacturers by asking probing questions.

Canon General / Re: Decline in DSLR sales explained
« on: February 16, 2015, 03:41:09 PM »
You got me, I won't sit through the whole 50min but I'll free to comment on tidbits people extract :-)

No offense intended, because I greatly respect Marsu's opinions, but I don't believe in commenting on links that I don't read or view. So, I listened/watched the presentation (while multi-tasking -- photo editing on my computer, listening, watching on my tablet)

Anyway, I think he makes some valid points that really should come as no surprise to anyone. DSLRs ARE too much work for most people. Some of that is necessary, but much of it is not. Once again, one of the things he references is the lack of touch screen and inter-connectivity which plagues DSLRs.

Totally ridiculous that Canon (and Nikon) continue to refuse to put touch screens on top of the line DSLRs. I defy anyone who has used a 70D to argue that higher end cameras would not benefit from touch screens. Yet, we have this ridiculous concept that they aren't "professional."

And, to continue my ongoing and oft-repeated rant: there is absolutely no reason why someone with a smart phone should be able to access photoshop and perform a few edits and then upload that photo to a cloud service, while someone with a $3,000 DSLR cannot do the same.

This is the irony – most of the technology that would make using DSLRs easier and more enjoyable already exists and has existed for years, yet camera manufacturers continue to drag their feet in routinely incorporating the entire package of inexpensive, user-friendly options across the entire line of cameras.

His main point, and he is correct about this, is that camera manufacturers have fallen behind because using DSLRs and MILCs is not easy and fun for most people. More people are taking and sharing pictures than ever before in history, yet the best technology for doing that is losing out to inferior technology.

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