We're taking more pictures than ever ... so why are cameras dying off?

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http://www.nbcnews.com/technology/were-taking-more-pictures-ever-so-why-are-cameras-dying-6C10607491

You would think that in a world where hundreds of thousands of photos are shared every minute, camera makers would be absolutely in heaven. Instead, they're struggling to maintain both their income and their relevance.The same week that Nokia introduced the Lumia 1020 — a smartphone with a built-in 41-megapixel camera — the president of Nikon, Makoto Kimura, said in an interview with Bloomberg that the company might have to "change the concept of cameras" in order to survive. Just a few years ago, camera-phones were junk and digital cameras were a hot ticket. How did we get here?

Photography was originally an expensive game to play, with the cost of film and development making your camera into a money sink. And unless you were among the few shutterbug elites with really nice gear, all you and your little plastic automatic (or even disposable) camera were likely producing was a shoebox full of poorly exposed, red-eye rampant 3x5s.

Then came digital — we take it for granted now, but it was a real breath of fresh air when it arrived. The early 2000s brought the first really usable digital cameras to consumers: chunky little 2-megapixel things whose quality was nothing to write home about, but which brought instant picture taking to the masses. No film, no processing ... no shoeboxes.

Over the next few years, the technology improved, and "real" photography arrived in digital form, with DSLRs like Canon's Digital Rebel.For almost a decade, digital camera sales mounted as people ditched their old pocket 35mm cameras for digital cameras of all shapes and sizes, with shipments peaking at 120 million in 2008. Then growth stalled.

It's tempting to blame the iPhone, which is rightfully credited with shaking the foundations of several other industries at the time. Other phones had cameras, but nothing that could rival a point-and-shoot. And the roomy LCD screen that covered the iPhone's surface made one heck of a futuristic interface for snapping shots.

But early on, the iPhone's camera wasn't great, and there weren't yet apps for picture sharing. Smartphones would eventually be the main reason cameras were hurting, but they got their toehold because of something altogether different: the global recession.

CIPA, an organization that tracks camera sales, blames the economy in this analysis and sales forecast (PDF). Tight wallets meant $500 for a camera was out of the question — but $100 for a smartphone on contract, perhaps in lieu of a new laptop, was a bargain. Besides, nearly everyone already owned a digital camera (well over a billion had been sold at this point), and the constantly increasing megapixels were not enough of a draw to increase demand.

These consumer trends — combined with the 2011 earthquake and tsunami that ravaged Japan, affecting camera makers' production lines — caused the photo industry to withdraw into a sort of stasis, from which, sales-wise at least, it has never emerged.

More text, graphs and pictures at the URL above.
 
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http://www.nbcnews.com/technology/were-taking-more-pictures-ever-so-why-are-cameras-dying-6C10607491


CIPA, an organization that tracks camera sales, blames the economy in this analysis and sales forecast (PDF). Tight wallets meant $500 for a camera was out of the question — but $100 for a smartphone on contract, perhaps in lieu of a new laptop, was a bargain. Besides, nearly everyone already owned a digital camera (well over a billion had been sold at this point), and the constantly increasing megapixels were not enough of a draw to increase demand.

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Interesting perspective. I don't own a smartphone and never really understood the need for one until now. Makes sense; an internet access device, camera and cell phone all rolled up into a tiny box. Until now I have done things the "old fashioned way"; a cell phone for making calls, a DSLR for taking quality pics and a computer for accessing the internet.

Hopefully camera manufacturers will continue to make quality cameras as I still can't read the words on those tiny smartphone device things.
 
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I'd say it depends on what you define as a camera. They are making better cameras in phones then the first digital cameras so they are actually making and selling more cameras than ever, they have just 'mutated' from being plain cameras.
 
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The real issue is the market is flooded with cameras beyond the saturation point. The manufacturers really have nothing new to offer that a 10 year old digital camera isn't capable of doing in the hands of the average person. Plus, many people are sick of being goaded into thinking they need the latest and greatest. Apple is even getting stagnant with their products.
 

Butlerkid

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Although my phone is ONLY a phone....I can see the appeal of having a camera with you at all times.

With a cell phone, spontaneous snap shots of family, friends and situations can be easily taken. Most folks are not trying to create ART, they are enjoying the moment, the people they are with and capturing a shot to remember it by. They have something with them that is small and multi-functional and allows them to do this. AND they can also share the photos immediately via the internet!

I seldom carry my DSLR and lenses with me unless I am specifically doing a photo trip. When taking photos, I AM more concerned about creating a compelling image ....hence more attention is paid to exposure, composition, focal length, DOF, etc. BUT - I miss all the other opportunities to create images....
 
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Interesting perspective. I don't own a smartphone and never really understood the need for one until now. .... Until now I have done things the "old fashioned way"; a cell phone for making calls, a DSLR for taking quality pics and a computer for accessing the internet.

Hopefully camera manufacturers will continue to make quality cameras as I still can't read the words on those tiny smartphone device things.

I don't own a smartphone and suspect that I never will. I use my cellphone (an old flip-style phone) to make/receive calls - and only rarely at that. It does an excellent job at that. And my cameras do an excellent job at taking pictures.

I never really embraced (or understood) this idea of "convergence". Jack of all trades, Master of None IMO. <shrug>

Although my phone is ONLY a phone....<snip>... I seldom carry my DSLR and lenses with me unless I am specifically doing a photo trip. When taking photos, I AM more concerned about creating a compelling image ....hence more attention is paid to exposure, composition, focal length, DOF, etc.

Great minds think alike, I see! :biggrin: (at least with regard to phones). If you want snapshots, I guess that a smartphone works OK. But I want something more than a snapshot when I shoot. (I'm unsuccessful in achieving that 9 times out of 10 though.... :frown:)
 
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But early on, the iPhone's camera wasn't great, and there weren't yet apps for picture sharing. Smartphones would eventually be the main reason cameras were hurting, but they got their toehold because of something altogether different: the global recession.

CIPA, an organization that tracks camera sales, blames the economy in this analysis and sales forecast (PDF). Tight wallets meant $500 for a camera was out of the question — but $100 for a smartphone on contract, perhaps in lieu of a new laptop, was a bargain. Besides, nearly everyone already owned a digital camera (well over a billion had been sold at this point), and the constantly increasing megapixels were not enough of a draw to increase demand.

That is an excellent analysis as of the why of the crisis of the camera industry. Don't get me wrong. It's not the economy. It's the fact that the industry is so blind to understand the real reasons. Probably because you don't want to insult the CEO's of the camera companies by suggesting that it's their fault. Oh no, we have something that's outside our control: the economy!!

The real reason is convenience. It's the same reason the AF compact killed the (mostly manual) SLR's in the 1980s. Everyone likes taking pictures, but a much smaller group is into what we do here: Photography (with a capital P). For most picture takers the camera is necessary evil, needed to take pictures. Except that you don't need to, these days.

Add to it that we can now share those pictures with the entire world through facebook, instagram, reddit, tumblr, pinterest and whatnot, and that the process is one or two orders of magnitude easier on a smartphone (or even cell phone) than with a camera. I'm actually surprised that any cameras. The Nikon S01 highlights exactly why there is a crisis in the sales of compacts: Nikon's response to "people don't like to carry a camera around" is "let's make it even smaller". Still can't upload to facebook with it. So instead of something next to my phone that is inconvenient to use in conjunction with facebook, Nikon now offers something small that is inconvenient to use in conjunction with facebook. Yeah, that'll sell.

The fact that Hogan has been saying this for years and that only now Nikon states that they have discovered this "new development" and are going to develop cameras that "redefine the concept of cameras" (something that the Japanese optical industry has been really good at in the past, :rolleyes:) does not promise much.

Their best bet is a camera with a bluetooth interface and an app for smartphones (on all platforms, obviously). Now you can take pictures with a "real" camera as if you're taking them with your smartphone. But I bet that's a jump in imagination too far for Sony, Nikon and Canon.
 
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I never really embraced (or understood) this idea of "convergence". Jack of all trades, Master of None IMO. <shrug>

But I don't see a lightmeter in your gear list. Which does a much better job than the convergence of camera + lightmeter that we use today :smile:. Not to mention that you're probably using the built-in focus unit, instead of using a specialized range finder and adjusting your focus distance on the camera accordingly. Seems to me you have no problem with converging technology!

Converging technology is rarely ever use because we think it's better. It's used because it's more convenient and the quality loss compared to specialized devices is so minimal that it gets outweighed by the converged devices—who might, working together, even do a better job. It's hard to argue that TTL light metering can somehow be better or even as good as incident light metering. But the fact that it can communicate metering directly to the camera makes it, especially for action photography, a lot better in use. The same can be said for autofocus. Using a high quality range finder that tells you exactly what the distance is to what you want to focus at. How can that be better than a gizmo in you camera that 9 times out of ten has to guess what you want to focus on, and even then can get confused by lack of contrast, patterns, etc. Well it can be better because it's faster and that's more important. That is misses sometimes... a small price to pay.

The smartphone is a good example of that. Nobody (well, apart from some hipsters) thinks that you should use an iPhone to shoot a wedding. But, on the other hand, a quick snapshot of your friends at a bar, a snapshot of a damaged product to send back to the vendor, an airliner barely making it to the Oakland runway... those are all examples where the lack of quality compared to an SLR is outweighed big time by the fact that you have the thing with you in the first place, not to mention that uploading those pictures to whatever service you want is ridiculously easy with a smartphone, while you'll have to wait until you get back home (in the office, internet cafe, etc) with an SLR.

If pictures and only pictures is the goal, then it's hard to beat a specialized camera. But if we want to do something with those pictures, and preferably right now, then it's hard to beat the Jack of All Trades who can not just take the picture, but treat it with a 70s-style Polaroid filter, add a caption and put it on your facebook wall. All while giving you live traffic updates.

That might not be your interest. But for 90% of the public in the US (or even the world) it is.
 
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... all you and your little plastic automatic (or even disposable) camera were likely producing was a shoebox full of poorly exposed, red-eye rampant 3x5s.

This describes 98% of the people who took, and take, pictures. Cell phone cameras have better IQ than what came out of the box cameras that most people were satisfied with. Not to mention that images now are basically ephemeral things that are are dispersed and disappear.

People who participate in photography forums, have just about nothing to do with the general population, and are just another lunatic fringe group.
 
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I think they are missing the point of the Advanced/Artistic photographers. There will always be a market for those seeking the best images. And as one can tell from the type of equipment we buy here, the pricing can be above the market for the other segments who take images because this market will buy expensive items.

Why are painters still painting? Musicians still playing real instruments? Its because their need is very different from "most" people. People who use advanced cameras for art or a hobby in which they have intense interest will keep some camera makers in business. It might be a smaller market but it also might be a more profitable market. Medium and large format were always more expensive but folks (professional and hobbyist) bought a lot of them. Would I pay $2000 for a D7100, yes if I had to. We are already paying over $1K for prosumer Nikkors (17-55, 12-24, 80-200 f2.8 2r / 70-200 f4, 300 AFS f4.0), I think we'd still buy the bodies. Will some firms fail. Most certainly. Who will it be, not sure, if I was I be a rich man:)
 
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I think they are missing the point of the Advanced/Artistic photographers. There will always be a market for those seeking the best images. And as one can tell from the type of equipment we buy here, the pricing can be above the market for the other segments who take images because this market will buy expensive items.

Why are painters still painting? Musicians still playing real instruments? Its because their need is very different from "most" people. People who use advanced cameras for art or a hobby in which they have intense interest will keep some camera makers in business. It might be a smaller market but it also might be a more profitable market.
 
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The smart phone with a decent camera is so handy. Pictures are a decent quality as Karen said to "capture the moment". It seems with most people thyat the quality of the picture doesn't matter as much as just having a picture. e tend to use a higher standard when looking at photos.
 
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The smart phone with a decent camera is so handy. Pictures are a decent quality as Karen said to "capture the moment". It seems with most people thyat the quality of the picture doesn't matter as much as just having a picture. e tend to use a higher standard when looking at photos.

Agree! Since my eyesight sucks I use my smartphone camera a lot to take a picture and zoom in to see what I'm looking at. Works great and is so convenient.:smile:
 
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I believe its all about convenience, which for the vast majority of the population has trumped image quality.
About four years ago just before the birth of our first grand-child my wife wanted a digital camera (partly because I only shoot film).
I bought her a very nice Canon Point and Shoot which she used for a few months to take literally hundreds of shots. Then gradually, she started leaving the P&S at home and began using the camera in her Blackberry for her photos. This has been echoed in the behaviour of our two children and their spouses who now never use their various P&S cameras but shoot almost exclusively with their phone cameras.
They tell me its just easier and more convenient to use the device they're carrying anyway than to have to schlepp the bulkier camera around.
And the quality of the photos they are all taking?
Not always up to the standards of a knowledgeable photographer, but certainly good enough for their facebook postings and for the small prints they make for each other and the three sets of grandparents.
And this behaviour is also echoed on the streets when I'm shooting at the various street festivals here in Toronto. Far more people are using cell phone cameras or the cameras in their other hand-held devices (I don't even know what they're called) than are using P&S or full-sized DSLRs for their photos.
 
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I believe its all about convenience, which for the vast majority of the population has trumped image quality.(...)
They tell me its just easier and more convenient to use the device they're carrying anyway than to have to schlepp the bulkier camera around.
And the quality of the photos they are all taking?
Not always up to the standards of a knowledgeable photographer, but certainly good enough for their facebook postings and for the small prints they make for each other and the three sets of grandparents.

I've highlighted the key phrase. As a whole, we are taking more pictures because we don't need to bring a camera anymore!

We shouldn't be complaining about this. The worst thing that ever happened to the written word was the invention of moveable type? Because look how much worse a cheap $5 softcover novel that falls apart after three months is compared to a handscripted bible bound in leather, that after 600 years is still in good condition? I doubt anyone will claim that the printing press was a bad thing.

A large part of photography is about preserving memories and sharing moments. That gets done more than ever. Surely there is a market for quality imagery, but the snapshot market isn't it. And as long as Canikon doesn't understand that the primary needs of 90% of consumers is sharing and not printing they will lose out to the phones because they meet the needs of the average consumer much better.
 
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I believe its all about convenience, which for the vast majority of the population has trumped image quality.
About four years ago just before the birth of our first grand-child my wife wanted a digital camera (partly because I only shoot film).
I bought her a very nice Canon Point and Shoot which she used for a few months to take literaly hundreds of shots. Then gradually, she started leaving the P&S at home and began using the camera in her Blackberry for her photos. This has been echoed in the behaviour of our two children and their spouses who now never use their various P&S cameras but shoot almost exclusively with their phone cameras.
They tell me its just easier and more convenient to use the device they're carrying anyway than to have to schlepp the bulkier camera around.
And the quality of the photos they are all taking?
Not always up to the standards of a knowledgeable photographer, but certainly good enough for their facebook postings and for the small prints they make for each other and the three sets of grandparents.
And this behaviour is also echoed on the streets when I'm shooting at the various street fesivals here in Toronto. Far more people are using cell phone cameras or the cameras in their other hand-held devices (I don't even know what they're called) than are using P&S or full-sized DSLRs for their photos.

I've highlighted the key phrase. As a whole, we are taking more pictures because we don't need to bring a camera anymore!

We shouldn't be complaining about this. The worst thing that ever happened to the written word was the invention of moveable type? Because look how much worse a cheap $5 softcover novel that falls apart after three months is compared to a handscripted bible bound in leather, that after 600 years is still in good condition? I doubt anyone will claim that the printing press was a bad thing.

A large part of photography is about preserving memories and sharing moments. That gets done more than ever. Surely there is a market for quality imagery, but the snapshot market isn't it. And as long as Canikon doesn't understand that the primary needs of 90% of consumers is sharing and not printing they will lose out to the phones because they meet the needs of the average consumer much better.

I think you both have summed it up very nicely, and by coincidence I came face to face with the reality you both have posted.

I have always been the family recorder emailing my pics that would soon appear on Face Book, or, are added to their family files. Yesterday after a great grand daughters birthday, I came home to PP my pics and send them out, heck Face Book was covered up with phone pics of the event, some posted while I was still driving home, many were nice captures, surely some of the phones take as good a pic as CP 5000, of 2000/2002.

I cut back of family reunion pics some years ago, a lot of work and no appreciation, I think this year, I will just leave all that gear in the truck, and let the phones do all the work.

Yep, ease, connivance and a lower threshold of what quality photos are has changed the whole game.
 
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I've highlighted the key phrase. As a whole, we are taking more pictures because we don't need to bring a camera anymore!

We shouldn't be complaining about this. The worst thing that ever happened to the written word was the invention of moveable type? Because look how much worse a cheap $5 softcover novel that falls apart after three months is compared to a handscripted bible bound in leather, that after 600 years is still in good condition? I doubt anyone will claim that the printing press was a bad thing.

A large part of photography is about preserving memories and sharing moments. That gets done more than ever. Surely there is a market for quality imagery, but the snapshot market isn't it. And as long as Canikon doesn't understand that the primary needs of 90% of consumers is sharing and not printing they will lose out to the phones because they meet the needs of the average consumer much better.

I wasn't complaining or lamenting this at all. Just making a observation.
Remember, I shoot only film with mechanical, manual focus bodies and lenses, and have managed to avoid the Digital Revolution so what others use for photography is really immaterial to me.
Not by choice my cell phone has a camera in it, but except for taking some very nice photos of the inside of my pants pocket, I've never used it.
The shots my wife, and our kids take of each other and our Grand-children seem to suit them, and those in their circles just fine (because either they don't know any better or care). When I want better quality, I take a film SLR or rangefinder with the appropriate lens and take the shot myself.
 
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CIPA, an organization that tracks camera sales, blames the economy in this analysis and sales forecast (PDF). Tight wallets meant $500 for a camera was out of the question — but $100 for a smartphone on contract, perhaps in lieu of a new laptop, was a bargain. ...

funny how off the mark they are, digital made headways because it was faster than film to get results, whereas smartphones made it that much faster to get instant feedback, the recession has very little to do with it, pre-recession I was alone in the streets with DSLRs, so it seemed - now a days everyone but my grand ma has a DSLR

Someone hasn't done their research correctly
 

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