Is the camera business dying or just returning to pre-digtal "normal"?

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I've often wondered with all the "camera sales slumping", "makers loosing money",.......... But is what we're seeing now really just a return to what was?

What were sales of ICL cameras like before around 2000?

Back when I decided to get an SLR, DSLRs were just starting to reach "affordable" levels. Otherwise I would have gotten a film SLR, it was the hobby I wanted and to be able to get better shot of my kids sports. It's hard to be 100% sure, but if I were in the same position today I think I would still want something "more". Yes cell phones have killed most of the compact camera market, digital / film / .... If all I was interested in was something equivalent to my old 110 or Konica Revio APS camera I'm sure I'd be fine just using my cell phone.
 
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Probably dying. Back in the day you could buy/sell 500mm f4 lenses on the 'cafe' like it was candy. Now you can hardly sell free money on here! :D

Places like FM is probably one of the last bastions of GAS crazed photographers. They're buying and selling just to fill that empty void of gear desire in their hearts! :LOL:
 
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Probably dying. Back in the day you could buy/sell 500mm f4 lenses on the 'cafe' like it was candy. Now you can hardly sell free money on here! :D

Places like FM is probably one of the last bastions of GAS crazed photographers. They're buying and selling just to fill that empty void of gear desire in their hearts! :LOL:
The cafe is actually post digital, after the time frame I'm thinking. Pre 2000.
 
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Before about 2000, only professionals and really serious amateurs bought high-end cameras.

There was also a band of fairly well-heeled, but casual, photographers who bought mid-range cameras — usually with a single built-in lens.

Then there was the rest of the camera users who had some sort of point-and-shoot, or perhaps a Polaroid camera, for the occasional holiday or family snapshot.

Then came a heady decade when everyone decided that they simply had to own a digital SLR — although I suspect many who bought one never learned to use it properly?

Then came the iPhones.
The iPhones suffice for the picture-recording needs of probably more than three quarters of the public so we are probably returning to a situation where only serious photographers will spend serious money on camera equipment?

The camera manufacturers will adjust to the new reality but I fear that prices for the better-quality equipment may increase substantially.
 
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Over the course of the 25 years between 1975 and 2000 I owned 3 SLRS. Typically with a 50/55mm lens. I did have a 135mm for a while, and when zooms improved I had a 70-205 Tamron. Most of my agonizing was lavished on film, mostly slides, but also color print film. In the mid 90's I bought my first great lens, a Nikon 80-200 AFS-D, F/2.8, which I only recently sold.

In the 20 years since DSLRs entered the market I have been through 6 cameras (1 of which is mirrorless) and for the first time I own 2 bodies :eek: I have been through 25+ lenses, and currently have 7.

Yes' I do have more discretionary money now, but I quit agonizing over sensor stats shortly after I sold my D810. Life is good.
 
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I taught Photography I, II, and III at a community college back then. I have the best memories from discussions about everything while processing film, making prints, even a little E6 processing. Cameras were easier to teach when the first class's syllabus mostly dictated a Pentax K1000. When there are only three controls, you get the mechanics of photography quicker. I've had students tell me that Photoshop is way easier when you actually know what a dodge tool is (for example). Even better were the used cases in most mom & pop camera stores before there was an Internet. Every small town could have the greatest unknown deals in their used case, it taught me to get off the interstates and take the back roads through the small towns.
 
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I think it is simply evolving to something different.

The biggest reason for the current decline is probably a combination of a huge inventory of great used cameras and a smaller number of people who are interested in creating high quality still photographs because other things have captured their interest. Between most interested users already having a serviceable DSLR, smart phones, video cameras like the GoPro and drone videos there is a lot of competition facing the DSLR market.
 
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I had a similar conversation with a Verizon phone pusher. I asked the benefit of a newer phone over the one I have. His main point was the camera.
I explained that I have invested thousands of dollars into high end Nikon cameras, not to mention the years of training. I don't plan to create stunning photos from an iPhone. iPhone is fine for a snapshot, a one and done photo. I still have my iPhone 7 (that was a warranty replacement for an iPhone 6, that was a warranty replacement for an iPhone 5).
 
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In two parallel worlds you buy a Nikon F2 (or Canon F1n) in the mid-70s. In the other you buy a Nikon D200 in the mid-90s. Ten years pass... the F2 which merely transports the film and holds the lens is still a viable film stills camera. The D200 is relegated to KEH at $189 because the technology built into the body has been far surpassed. Just my opinion before beers on a Friday...
 
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In two parallel worlds you buy a Nikon F2 (or Canon F1n) in the mid-70s. In the other you buy a Nikon D200 in the mid-90s. Ten years pass... the F2 which merely transports the film and holds the lens is still a viable film stills camera. The D200 is relegated to KEH at $189 because the technology built into the body has been far surpassed. Just my opinion before beers on a Friday...
Yeah, that's what I was trying to say. Enjoy your beer.
 
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A modular format would be really cool. A well made Nikon with an IBIS imaging module that could be updated. A Nikon F2 could be easily upgraded to an F2A, F2S, F2SB, or F2AS. Or add a waist level finder, or sports finder. You could even add an aperture priority module (but it was really awkward). Add a winder or spend more and add a motor drive, or keep it single shot. Cameras WERE more modular. Maybe THAT'S what's missing.
 
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To tack on a bit to Steven's post...

I think that the digital SLR is only far surpassed because the marketers tell us so. Certainly, the sensors get better and the processing engines do a more efficient job as time goes on. I buy what I want and experiment, because - frankly I can. I'll continue to do so as long as finances and physical ability allow me to do so.

For my workhorse/business cameras, I have an 8-10 year cycle before they are replaced. I could do it more often and write off the expense on my taxes...but I value the familiarity in gear and workflow.

I had the Nikon D50 for 3 years before adding a second body, the Nikon D300. I used that thing for 10 years before upgrading it to a D500. My D700 spent a good 8 years with me before upgrading to the D750, which was short lived as I would rather have had the Z6.

The current Z6 and D500 work perfectly for me and I see a good 7 more years use out of them. By then there might be something more compelling to upgrade or by then the digital camera market could be so decimated that I'll be able to get all the good cameras for cheap because no one wants them.

There will be a day when the DSLRs will be in a back room of a camera/electronics store like the SLRs are now...buy in bulk for $20 each. Heck, one of my local camera stores is already starting to get there. In the "bargain room", they have a handful of EOS Rebel digital and Nikon D80/D60/D40 bodies back there for the cost of a Starbucks coffee run!!

I was able to send a DSLR setup to a missionary friend in Africa for under $200USD.

Interesting times, indeed.

</STREAM OF CONSCIOUSNESS VOMITING>
 
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A modular format would be really cool. A well made Nikon with an IBIS imaging module that could be updated. A Nikon F2 could be easily upgraded to an F2A, F2S, F2SB, or F2AS. Or add a waist level finder, or sports finder. You could even add an aperture priority module (but it was really awkward). Add a winder or spend more and add a motor drive, or keep it single shot. Cameras WERE more modular. Maybe THAT'S what's missing.
I'd love to see that in the future. A more flushed out and mature version of what Ricoh tried to do. You'd think that it would be possible to have a sensor/IBIS/shutter module that cold plug into a camera body like a cartridge. Flip down the rear LCD and click it in. Perhaps you have one unit that is 12-20mp that is superior in low light or max FPS. have another sensor module that is 36-50mp for max details.

Oh, but to dream! :)
 
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A modular format would be really cool.
I've always wanted to buy a digital camera that allowed me to replace the sensor every two or three years with a better sensor. It never happened and I doubt that it ever will. That's because the camera manufacturers would lose the revenue from selling an entire new camera. Indeed, the fewer people there are that are buying stand-alone cameras, the less chance that it will ever happen.
 
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I've always wanted to buy a digital camera that allowed me to replace the sensor every two or three years with a better sensor. It never happened and I doubt that it ever will. That's because the camera manufacturers would lose the revenue from selling an entire new camera. Indeed, the fewer people there are that are buying stand-alone cameras, the less chance that it will ever happen.
As much as I like a good conspiracy, I suspect it has more to do with the fact that most sensor improvements require other hardware improvements as well. Certainly higher pixel count sensors require circuits with additional bandwidth between sensor, processor, etc.
 
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