Poke around on Craigslist, and you’ll find that it’s filled with ads selling professional services at dirt-cheap prices, including photographers offering to shoot weddings for just a few hundred dollars. Does this spell doom for the wedding photography business? Probably not.
Well yesterday [a friend] called me and I could tell he was kind of upset. I asked what was wrong and he said “Jeff, do you know what they are charging for weddings on Craigslist? How can I compete with a $300 wedding?” I told him flat out that he can’t, nor should he. It took me a few minutes to get through to him but when I did, he finally saw the light. I asked him if he thought that the people that were hiring a $300 wedding photographer would pay $2500 for the same service. Probably not. That’s means that he isn’t really competing for those customers. His customer is the one that recognizes the value of a true professional that will deliver professional results. Get that? The key word here is professional.
His point is that you shouldn’t be competing on price, but on quality. Focus on that, and you’ll be targeting a different segment of the market.
Japanese electronics giant Pioneer is dipping its toes in the digital camera industry. It has partnered with camera maker Asia Optical to make Pioneer branded cameras in Brazil to sell in the Chinese market. The company aims to have sales of half a million units by 2015. Up to this point, the company had focused on things like car audio systems, television, and DVD players. It’ll be interesting to see if Pioneer can find a foothold and steal some market share from the big players.
People seem to be having a hard time swallowing the idea that Nikon could do well if their upcoming mirrorless camera only packs a 2.7x crop sensor, but Thom Hogan argues that there’s a logical “hole” in the market that Nikon could be the first to fill:
So how much change does it take to make a real difference that gets noticed? The number 1.4 is meaningful in photography in so many ways. Turns out, that something around that number makes a lot of sense for capture size change, too. Each 1.4x change doubles the area of light captured. Hmm, that sounds an awful like a “stop.” [...] So if we were to make cameras about a stop apart, what would we get: a progression close to MF, FX, DX, m4/3, and whatever Nikon calls their 2.7x product.
[...] all this discussion that a 2.7x size choice is irrational is incorrect, IMHO. Having three very different choices with clearly different and increasing performance at each size is on its face a rational decision. If Nikon can deliver a stop+ better performance than the best compact camera but keep the overall size close, that represents a gain to photographers.
Though there does appear to be a “hole” in the sensor size progression of existing cameras in the market, whether anyone actually wants a 2.7x sensor remains to be seen — especially as MFT cameras get smaller and smaller.
A study conducted by market research firm J.D. Power and Associates has found that “Nikon Pro Series” DSLRs rank highest in customer satisfaction. The company surveyed 4,500 verified online DSLR buyers to find out their satisfaction across five factors: image quality, durability, features, ease of use, and responsiveness.
The Nikon Pro Series ranks highest in online buyer satisfaction with a score of 914. The Nikon Pro Series performs particularly well in shutter speed/lag time, durability and reliability and ease of operation. The Canon Mark-Series follows in the rankings with a score of 909, and performs particularly well in performance and picture quality. The Canon D-Series and Nikon D-Series rank third in a tie, each with a score of 889.
Overall, customers were most satisfied with image quality but least satisfied with durability and responsiveness. Read more…
CNBC ran this short segment a couple days ago in which they invited CNET’s Dan Ackerman to explain the changing landscape in the digital camera industry. He thinks point-and-shoot cameras may soon become extinct due to the rise of camera-equipped phones, but also that DSLRs are the cameras here to stay. A recent study found that phones have replaced digital cameras completely for 44% of consumers, and that number seems bound to rise as the cameras on phones continue to improve.
My guess is that in five years, we’ll see digital camera users divided into three camps: mobile phone, interchangeable lens compact, and DSLR. What’s your prediction?
Needed a Polaroid picture for a project I’m working on, so I purchased a Polaroid One Step camera for $15 off a guy on Craigslist and a pack of Polaroid 600 film that expired back in 2003 for $26 with shipping from eBay. I was a bit concerned that the film wouldn’t work anymore, but found that the battery in the film pack still had some juice and that the film still developed, though the upper corners of the image are messed up.
Expired 600 film is selling for up to $50 to $60 a pack (10 photos) on eBay these days, even though new Impossible film for 600 cameras costs $24. You can also buy unexpired performance-guaranteed 600 film for about $5 a shot in bulk. Seems like a lot of Polaroid lovers are still snatching up Polaroid film while they still can.
Production issues experienced by Canon and Nikon (caused by the earthquake and tsunami) may soon allow competitors to eat into their dominant DSLR market shares and, according to a story by USA TODAY, Sony is pegged as one of the main benefactors:
Canon has 44.5% of the digital SLR market, followed by Nikon at 29.8%, Sony with 11.9% and Olympus at 5.1%, IDC says.
[...] At a time when many Canon SLRs are hard to find, due to production issues, the Sony models are not only in amply supply, but discounted to sell with special promotions.
[...] Sony has the name recognition, and ample shelf space in prominent stores.
These gains would likely be limited to first time buyers who are looking for their first DSLR — camera owners already committed to Canon or Nikon’s mounts are unlikely to switch systems just because of a temporary shortage.
Market research firm IDC released its findings about the worldwide digital camera market recently, with interesting details about the current market shares of camera manufacturers. From 2009 to 2010, Canon’s share remained perfectly constant at 19%, while #2 player Sony increased its share from 16.9% to 17.9%. Nikon also grew from 11.1% to 12.6%. The worldwide market for digital cameras is also growing — last year it increased 10% to 141 million cameras sold. Read more…
The stock prices of major camera equipment manufacturers took a major — and expected — dive after the earthquake on March 11, 2011. Though they made a brief recovery afterward, they’re continuing to fall due to the risk that gear prices may soon skyrocket soar once decreased production isn’t able to meet demand.
[...] GE is looking to introduce its first Micro Four Thirds-like camera before the end of 2011. While no other details were revealed, it is clear that the company is hoping to be treated more seriously as a camera-maker. And with GE’s strategy focused on producing affordable cameras, it will be interesting to see how it will change the ILC industry. For consumers, this may also mean that ILCs will finally hit mainstream prices.
General Electric-branded cameras first hit the market in March 2007, and are also known by the brand name “General Imaging”. Who knows… maybe in the future they’ll be one of the dominant players in the camera market.