December 10, 2017, 09:27:07 PM

Author Topic: What Happened to the Photography Industry in 2016?  (Read 6016 times)

dolina

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« Last Edit: October 16, 2017, 08:26:00 AM by dolina »
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What Happened to the Photography Industry in 2016?
« on: October 16, 2017, 02:04:56 AM »

mikekx102

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Re: What Happened to the Photography Industry in 2016?
« Reply #1 on: October 16, 2017, 07:32:48 AM »
Wow. That's such a huge shift for an entire industry! I had a feeling the fixed lens cameras would be taking a hit but didn't know the extent.

I hope Canon can avoid the cuts to R&D and still continue to produce awesome lenses into the future. There's a few L lenses that I'd like them to update :P

Mike.

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Re: What Happened to the Photography Industry in 2016?
« Reply #2 on: October 16, 2017, 08:09:33 AM »
Wow. That's such a huge shift for an entire industry! I had a feeling the fixed lens cameras would be taking a hit but didn't know the extent.

I hope Canon can avoid the cuts to R&D and still continue to produce awesome lenses into the future. There's a few L lenses that I'd like them to update :P

Mike.

I am a generalist shooter so maybe do not have the perspective of someone who concentrates on one thing, but I am not sure there are any significant advances to be made - the video makes this point but it would be good to know what the faults are in any particular lens because there is a world of difference between 'solve these problems' and 'make this great lens into an excellent one'. The same pretty much goes for camera bodies.


dolina

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Re: What Happened to the Photography Industry in 2016?
« Reply #3 on: October 16, 2017, 08:33:05 AM »
If the brands are smart they would reduce the number of SKUs to increase production.

It is insane how many SLRs, mirrorless and point & shoots SKUs there are. You would think it was Samsung selling smartphones with the sheer diversity.

The video predicts that SLRs and mirrorless will sell more cameras than point & shoots by the end o 2017.

Canon could make do with one SX, one G and ELPH for the point & shoots instead of the 17.
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hne

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Re: What Happened to the Photography Industry in 2016?
« Reply #4 on: October 16, 2017, 11:06:27 AM »
What happened to the photography industry in 2016?
Innovation in 2007-2008 and feature maturity around 2012.
What we are looking at is the dwindling sales of an arcane product to a diminishing loyal customer base (and a very low number of people that make a living off of them, or bizarre hobbyists, much like the vinyl collectors).

If the phone cameras had a little bit of zoom, say a 24-70/4 equivalent, and a way to trigger external flashes, what would you still use a large clunky camera for? Bird in flight and... some sports perhaps?

If the phones were way larger such that you kept it in a bag/backpack and your camera could send images directly to your friends/nas/dropbox/printer, would you still take photos with your phone?
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dolina

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Re: What Happened to the Photography Industry in 2016?
« Reply #5 on: October 16, 2017, 11:25:01 AM »
If the phones were way larger such that you kept it in a bag/backpack and your camera could send images directly to your friends/nas/dropbox/printer, would you still take photos with your phone?
Until this month I havent done recreational photography since March 2016.

I relied on my smartphone 99%

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Ian_of_glos

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Re: What Happened to the Photography Industry in 2016?
« Reply #6 on: October 16, 2017, 11:52:26 AM »
What happened to the photography industry in 2016?
Innovation in 2007-2008 and feature maturity around 2012.
What we are looking at is the dwindling sales of an arcane product to a diminishing loyal customer base (and a very low number of people that make a living off of them, or bizarre hobbyists, much like the vinyl collectors).

If the phone cameras had a little bit of zoom, say a 24-70/4 equivalent, and a way to trigger external flashes, what would you still use a large clunky camera for? Bird in flight and... some sports perhaps?

If the phones were way larger such that you kept it in a bag/backpack and your camera could send images directly to your friends/nas/dropbox/printer, would you still take photos with your phone?
Not sure I agree with this. Yes it is true that mobile phone cameras have largely replaced compact cameras for casual photography, but enthusiasts and professional photographers have always been willing to carry around a large camera and several lenses so why would that change now?
Phone cameras do not give you much control over the resulting image and the sensors are so small that they soon begin to struggle in low light. This is something that is widely recognised and I know many people who bought a DSLR because they were not satisfied with the images that they could produce with their phone.
What I really think is happening is that there was a huge increase in demand for digital cameras when the quality of sensors began to improve about 10 to 15 years ago. At the same time many of the companies who processed film went out of business due to declining demand, and so those of us who still had 35mm film cameras were more or less forced to switch to a digital camera. All this created a peak in demand for digital cameras that is now beginning to tail off. It is not necessary to replace a camera every time a new model is announced so the only demand now is from new photographers, photographers who want to upgrade to a better or more expensive model and replacements for cameras that are nearing the end of their useful working life.

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Re: What Happened to the Photography Industry in 2016?
« Reply #6 on: October 16, 2017, 11:52:26 AM »

unfocused

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Re: What Happened to the Photography Industry in 2016?
« Reply #7 on: October 16, 2017, 12:13:55 PM »
...What we are looking at is the dwindling sales of an arcane product to a diminishing loyal customer base (and a very low number of people that make a living off of them, or bizarre hobbyists, much like the vinyl collectors)...

This.

However, is this a collapse of the industry or rather a return to historical trends? The digital age ushered in a massive new interest in photography as it became more accessible for the average amateur and hobbyist.

It is possible that sales will now fall back to pre-digital levels as the mass audience loses interest, while enthusiasts and professionals continue to buy and use cameras. However, the risk may be generational. Young consumers who have never owned a dedicated camera may not feel the need to buy one if their phone does everything they want.

On the other hand, whenever I travel I do see a fair number of twenty-somethings using DSLRs. It may be that while many, many more people are snapping pictures with their phones and sharing them on social media, there remains a sizable number of young people who aspire to something more and they will continue to buy interchangeable lens cameras. The percentage may decrease simply because the universe of people taking pictures with their smart phones is so large. But, the actual number of interchangeable lens photographers could well remain stable or even grow modestly.

Nikon and Canon have weathered previous boom and bust periods and I expect they are planning for and prepared to weather the current slowdown. To survive, they don't need to increase the percentage of people using interchangeable lens cameras, they simply need to cultivate a reliable and constant base of customers, and find ways to replenish the numbers as their older customers die off.


Joules

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Re: What Happened to the Photography Industry in 2016?
« Reply #8 on: October 16, 2017, 01:46:25 PM »
What we are looking at is the dwindling sales of an arcane product to a diminishing loyal customer base (and a very low number of people that make a living off of them, or bizarre hobbyists, much like the vinyl collectors).
You make it sound like nobody but the strangest people use dedicated cameras instead of smartphones anymore. Or at least that's how I read that.

The way I perceive it, technology just isn't moving quick enough anymore to bring forward new products that are exicting enough for people to upgrade. Combine that with market saturation and you get numbers like the ones above. Therefore the user base is not properly represented by sales numbers. They don't mean that people who use their existing cameras do that any less or that they become bizarre in any way. There may be somewhat less sales of ILC, but  People who bought an ILC in the past may still use that as much or more than ever.

I mean, Smartphone sales are slowing down as well:

https://www.statista.com/statistics/263441/global-smartphone-shipments-forecast/

The sales grew roughly +163% between 2011 and 2014, and just +17% between 2014 and now. The usage of phones is nonetheless insanely high. And the people who use them haven't changed because of the sales numers, I think.

Looking at the charts, in 2016 12 Million Cameras were sold, right? And according to the statistic linked above in that same year 1470 Million Smartphones were sold. So, of the 1482 Million Devices that were sold in 2016 and were capable of taking pictures, roughly 0.74% were ILC. However, looking at these numbers:

https://www.statista.com/chart/10913/number-of-photos-taken-worldwide/

the amount of ILC used must be far, far greater than the sales numbers. Seeing that over 10% of images are taken with a camera instead of a smartphone, despite Smartphone users probably taking more pictures than camera shooters and the number of ILC sold being such a small fraction of the picture devices sold.

Unless I am confusing numbers here due to being fairly tired.

Mt Spokane Photography

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Re: What Happened to the Photography Industry in 2016?
« Reply #9 on: October 16, 2017, 02:38:56 PM »
By now, people really should know the answer, its been going on for years.  But for those still wondering

1.  Smart Phones have continued to cut into the entry level point and shoot market.  There were fantastic numbers of entry level cameras made each year, still over 1/2 a billion, they are becoming a plague on the market, you can find used ones for $15.  Production dropped about 43.9% in 2016, the shift to more expensive models reduced the impact of lower production but still resulted in a 37.6% drop in $ value.

2.  Mirrorless Camera production dropped 3.5% in 2016.  However, purchases of higher priced models resulted in a lesser 1% drop in $ over 2016.

3. DSLR Production Dropped by 15.6% while sales $ dropped even more to 16.4% indicating more sales of lower priced DSLR's and fewer buyers of expensive models.

_________________________________________________________________

BTW, Production is up for all the types of cameras so far in 2017 (Jan - Aug), when compared with Jan-Aug 2016.  The $ value of DSLR's sold has dropped by 5.1%. indicating more sales of lower priced models. 

Introductions of new models has a impact on sales as well.  The 6D MK II and now, the 850D are going to raise sales toward the end of the year.

Mirrorless production is up by 157.8 % of last year for Jan-Aug, and value is up by 167.3%.  There is little doubt that Canon's M5 and M6 are a big part of the increase, so expect more Mirrorless, if they sell, they will be where manufacturers concentrate their efforts.  The trend is for mirrorless buyers to go for more expensive models.  That tells us what to expect.
« Last Edit: October 16, 2017, 02:41:23 PM by Mt Spokane Photography »

scyrene

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Re: What Happened to the Photography Industry in 2016?
« Reply #10 on: October 16, 2017, 05:42:36 PM »
If the brands are smart they would reduce the number of SKUs to increase production.

It is insane how many SLRs, mirrorless and point & shoots SKUs there are. You would think it was Samsung selling smartphones with the sheer diversity.

The video predicts that SLRs and mirrorless will sell more cameras than point & shoots by the end o 2017.

Canon could make do with one SX, one G and ELPH for the point & shoots instead of the 17.

You assert that fewer lines is better business, but what evidence do you have for that?

If the phone cameras had a little bit of zoom, say a 24-70/4 equivalent, and a way to trigger external flashes, what would you still use a large clunky camera for? Bird in flight and... some sports perhaps?

If the phones were way larger such that you kept it in a bag/backpack and your camera could send images directly to your friends/nas/dropbox/printer, would you still take photos with your phone?

Your broad point has some merit, but it's a case of how long is a piece of string? Were a phone capable of most of what a DSLR can do, of course most people (still using a DSLR) would switch - but each person's point of flexure is different. The key is where the future markets lie.

If the phones were way larger such that you kept it in a bag/backpack and your camera could send images directly to your friends/nas/dropbox/printer, would you still take photos with your phone?
Until this month I havent done recreational photography since March 2016.

I relied on my smartphone 99%

The best camera you can ever own is the one with you always.

I dislike this aphorism for various reasons, but mostly because actually there are lots of things that can't be photographed by most cameras - so for instance I wanted to photograph one scene today (only had my phone) and the DR was too great; and another thing I wanted to photograph was too small and far away, and the focal length/digital zoom was far too little. If you have a camera on you that is incapable of getting the shot you want, it's as useless as having nothing at all (which is a good reason why there will always be a niche for *some* dedicated photographic equipment - even as mobile phone cameras get better, they will still have to be generalist, and cheap, so they cannot absorb all the camera market).
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dolina

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Re: What Happened to the Photography Industry in 2016?
« Reply #11 on: October 17, 2017, 12:57:16 AM »
You assert that fewer lines is better business, but what evidence do you have for that?

I dislike this aphorism for various reasons, but mostly because actually there are lots of things that can't be photographed by most cameras - so for instance I wanted to photograph one scene today (only had my phone) and the DR was too great; and another thing I wanted to photograph was too small and far away, and the focal length/digital zoom was far too little. If you have a camera on you that is incapable of getting the shot you want, it's as useless as having nothing at all (which is a good reason why there will always be a niche for *some* dedicated photographic equipment - even as mobile phone cameras get better, they will still have to be generalist, and cheap, so they cannot absorb all the camera market).

I never said it will "mean more sales" but it will mean "better business". What I want Canon to do is to leverage economies of scale in the hopes that fewer SKUs at increased output will (a) reduce their cost, (b) keep the company profitable & (c) keep selling at prices relatively low.

This is especially true for the 17 point & shoots under the ELPH Series, G Series and SX Series cameras.

Dump the bottom 80% SKU that sold the least volume and focus on doing really well the top 20% SKU that generates the 80% profitability.

In a declining industry be more like Apple and less like Samsung.

Canon is doing this rather slowly already. These are the compact series and their last updated product that are not discontinued.

A Series in 2012
D Series in 2014
S Series in 2014

These are the compact series that continued and went up market to stay relevant in the era of smartphones.

G Series increased in image sensor size to APS-C within this week.
SX Series has WiFi and location information via smartphone last April 2017

The ELPH series has not updated since January 2016 and this product line renews on a 11-12 month cycle since 2012. This product line may not be updated anymore and be allowed to discontinued.

And you're the aberration. Your type of photography does not cover the bottom 99% of the global still image market. And this is shown in the infograph I posted where sales of ILCs did not suffer such a rapid decline of sales like the point & shoots.

I would never take a futbol or bird photo with a smartphone and sports scope or binoculars because the image quality would be garbage and a waste of my time.

If the industry wants to increase sales then innovate enough to make smartphone cameras look like garbage by comparison. From a consumer's point of view a dedicated still cameras sold today is redundant to a smartphone they renew every 22 months.
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hne

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Re: What Happened to the Photography Industry in 2016?
« Reply #12 on: October 17, 2017, 09:04:19 AM »
Since the below really stepped on a few toes, please let me explain my view.

At the turn of the millenium, more or less everyone had a camera. The market was gigantic, with room for everyone to produce cameras, lenses, flash... There were billions of cameras around and they all needed film and development and prints that people very rarely did in their homes, so it supported a gigantic service economy too.

About at that point in time, digital cameras took off, going from an odd curiosity priced out of range for most to viable for the masses in the span of roughly 5 years. In 2006 or thereabout, the digital option became better than film for most uses (varies a couple of years depending on who you ask, but most I've talked to center around 2006 at least). There were phones with cameras built in, but if you wanted a photo good enough to print, you had to use a dedicated camera. This caused the masses of people who wanted to still have a camera but transition to digital to buy enormous numbers of compact digital cameras over a span of a surprisingly low number of years.

The smartphone was introduced to the masses in 2007 with the iPhone and quickly followed up in 2008 with HTC Dream as first commercially available Android phone. They had cameras just like the featurephones and they were still crappy. However, they came with a big invention: they completely changed the way we treat pictures. No longer did we primarily take pictures to print and put in albums but we took pictures to share. And not just postage-stamp-sized expensive MMS sharing but reasonably high-resolution images that felt like slightly more than a gimmick: photos of whiteboards in conference rooms, the food we ate in restaurants, selfies... The smartphone invented new ways using pictures but also new ways of sharing pictures. A decade later, you still can't share pictures with your friends from your camera without going through a smartphone.

So, the declining sales we are seeing in the compact camera segment is likely to be dampened to a large extent by people that forgot they now have a smartphone, people that need slightly better pictures than can be had with a smartphone or people too old to learn how to use a smartphone.
Any sort of middle segment (you remember the bulky crossover "prosumer" cameras large as a DSLR but with a fixed zoom lens and tiny sensor?) is even more dead, because there was never any real big target audience anyway.
The DSLR segment would be in free-fall too if it wasn't for the still sizable community of enthusiasts. I don't believe the number of  professional photographers is large enough to sustain such a system as Canon or Nikon have. There wouldn't be a market for even a million cameras a year if only professionals bought them.

We haven't seen the end of the decline in the camera market. Enthusiasts are even rediscovering film, which might lead to even fewer digital camera sales since there are billions of old cameras that are still perfectly serviceable so little to no incentive to produce new exists. I believe we'll see the market shrink by dual-digit percentages year on year for a few more years and then slowly stabilize a bit with only single-digit percentage decreases as the people who knew how to handle film slowly die off.

Unless some real innovation happens again. We are getting used to talking about innovation when all we are really getting is spec bumping and a few convenient features. Sony in particular are masters of this.

We've seen two real innovations hit the camera industry in the last two decades (digitalisation plus picture-sharing-centric photography). If we could have something like holographic or light field photography that really needed larger cameras, we could see the transition away from smartphones as primary cameras. Likewise if smartphone cameras couldn't be made much better but the sharing was properly built into the cameras. Otherwise, people like me who take digital pictures for the print will be but a parenthesis in history.

What happened to the photography industry in 2016?
Innovation in 2007-2008 and feature maturity around 2012.
What we are looking at is the dwindling sales of an arcane product to a diminishing loyal customer base (and a very low number of people that make a living off of them, or bizarre hobbyists, much like the vinyl collectors).

If the phone cameras had a little bit of zoom, say a 24-70/4 equivalent, and a way to trigger external flashes, what would you still use a large clunky camera for? Bird in flight and... some sports perhaps?

If the phones were way larger such that you kept it in a bag/backpack and your camera could send images directly to your friends/nas/dropbox/printer, would you still take photos with your phone?
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Re: What Happened to the Photography Industry in 2016?
« Reply #12 on: October 17, 2017, 09:04:19 AM »

unfocused

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Re: What Happened to the Photography Industry in 2016?
« Reply #13 on: October 17, 2017, 10:24:21 AM »
Since the below really stepped on a few toes, please let me explain my view...

For the most part, you've got it right, just as you did with your original statement.

I think you overstated the popularity of film cameras. The digital revolution really boosted the popularity of cameras, as it took most of the work out of getting to the final product (a picture). While everyone had film cameras, most sat gathering dust because they were either too much work or produced disappointing results for the average user.

But, that is really just a small quibble to your overall points.

The major change that has occurred is that the iPhone revolution changed photography from a commodity-producing enterprise in which the image is the primary goal, to an experience-based enterprise, in which the primary goal is to share feelings and experiences with others. Thus the popularity of selfies, food photos and documenting every moment of one's life.

This is a massive change that most photographers fail to comprehend, because too often, we think that the image itself is the purpose of a photograph. When, for the average person the photograph is just a handy means of sharing an experience.

Unless some real innovation happens again. We are getting used to talking about innovation when all we are really getting is spec bumping and a few convenient features. Sony in particular are masters of this.

We've seen two real innovations hit the camera industry in the last two decades (digitalisation plus picture-sharing-centric photography). If we could have something like holographic or light field photography that really needed larger cameras, we could see the transition away from smartphones as primary cameras. Likewise if smartphone cameras couldn't be made much better but the sharing was properly built into the cameras.

The flaw here is that, in looking for the next "big" technology change, we tend to miss the point of this massive cultural change in how the world views photography.

Of course, one of  the problems with predicting the future is that the future is pretty much impossible to predict. But, I just have a hard time imagining that any technological improvement in cameras is really going to bring about some massive restoration of the camera market.

There may be some new gimmick that fascinates people briefly, but I don't see a renaissance in the near future.

On the other hand, advancements like light field photography are likely to further upend the industry. (Imagine if cameras no longer needed technologically complex and hard-to-master autofocus systems, but that every photo could be sharpened to perfection after the fact. That would have a huge impact on the manufacturers and on the dwindling number of professional photographers as well.)

Future technological advances and the transition to experience-based photography is likely to lead to...

people like me who take digital pictures for the print will be but a parenthesis in history.

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Re: What Happened to the Photography Industry in 2016?
« Reply #14 on: October 17, 2017, 10:58:56 AM »

The major change that has occurred is that the iPhone revolution changed photography from a commodity-producing enterprise in which the image is the primary goal, to an experience-based enterprise, in which the primary goal is to share feelings and experiences with others. Thus the popularity of selfies, food photos and documenting every moment of one's life.

This is a massive change that most photographers fail to comprehend, because too often, we think that the image itself is the purpose of a photograph. When, for the average person the photograph is just a handy means of sharing an experience.


+1...
That is about as good a summation as I have ever read.

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Re: What Happened to the Photography Industry in 2016?
« Reply #14 on: October 17, 2017, 10:58:56 AM »