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Thursday, 24 October 2013


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You've got to wonder how much of this has to do with global markets and how much of it has to do with other companies perhaps doing a better job of meeting consumer demand.

My experience with Canon goes back to the halcyon days of SLR's. I owned the Fx, FTB, F1 and right into the 20d digital, 5d etc. Canon had finally left it's old nemesis Nikon in the sensor dust and OWNED the market.
As a street shooter, I wrote to Canon several years ago asking them to turn out a camera based on their old Canonet Ql 1.7...No response.
They still haven't done anything and they (in my opinion) have been left in the mirrorless dust. Like IBM and Xerox, they have grown fat and lost their edge and hunger.
I am saddened, but I DO believe they will never return to become what they could have been...innovators.
I still love my Canon's but my love affair is growing weak.

Temporary? Does he live in a cave. Canon, I think, has only one non-reflex or evf camera.

I see big trouble for both Nikon and Canon if they don't get their act together.

Just sayin'.

Since Canon has basically been out to lunch (in their camera development) for over two years it's no surprise that they would forecast a "temporary downturn". Duh.

(BTW, I've no direct relation to Toshizo.)

Downturn, or just the wind of opportunity changing course?

Life can be so simple, some days. One can relax and wait for the ever-relevant Thom Hogan to post one of his incisive comments.

It's not difficult for me to imagine a camera that's a combination of hardware, software, and content, and which connects in to one of the growing worlds we're seeing emerge (iOS/OS-X, Android, Windows8ormore). But it seems like it must be for the camera makers. Cameras aren't about prints you hang in frames any more. That's just one of the many things that a modern camera should be able to do, not the main thing. [……]

Given that they've got Final Cut Pro, Aperture, iPhoto, iCloud Photo Sharing, a smartphone camera design group, how long will it be before Apple decides to disrupt the camera market, too? The one good thing going for the camera makers is that they only sold 60m units or so this year, so they look like a much smaller target to a company like Apple than some other targets. But I'll bet there's someone in Cupertino—the town where I grew up—that's sniffing around and thinking "might this be another 100m unit market if we disrupt it right?"

44% of a global market looks intimidating. 44% of a receding market on the verge of being bypassed by technology, somewhat less so.

I don't think there is any great mystery as to why interchangeable lens camera sales are off. Cell phones keep getting better and better and really most people I know that aren't photographers and bought a DSLR to take pictures of their kid at a soccer game have a good enough camera and don't feel the need to upgrade every year or two.

Interesting on a couple of points. Wonder if that is why we are seeing some deep discounts on the 6D and 24-70 II last week on B&H. I have been wondering if I should just sell or reduce my investment in my DSLR gear collection while I can still get good $ on Craigslist. Is the time of the DSLR over?

."..a big papery blog filled with yesterday's news.",

Sounds like Canon too ;-)

I do hope pride does not prevent Canon from waking up to the fast changing market. As a long time Canon user, I passed on upgrading to yet another overpriced, feature crippled new release. My 5dmkII still works fine, but my M43 Olympus and Fuji X kits are SO much easier to carry and have reached an impressive level of image quality with features that trump my Canon gear.
and then there's the new Sony......

44 percent? No bloody way! Canon was Johnny come lately here in Canada with cameras not here in Southern Ontario until the mid-1970's. Nikon, Pentax, Miranda, Minolta and a handful of other German makers had the market tied up.
I started with Pentax however soon found all my friends had Nkon and in those free-wheeling days a number of those same friends were able to borrow all kinds of specialty glass for Nikon and other makes
from their employers Downtown Toronto seemingly had a camera store on every corner (now replaced by Tim Horton's coffee and Starbucks although none sell photographic gear, yet). First was a Nikon F with a 50mm lens for the price of C$75.00. Have had all manner of other gear over the years, including German, Russian and
any number of other foreign brands. No Kodak though although a Speed Graphic was in there as well.

Bottom line the digital camera madness is similar to the numerous automobiles that were manufactured from 1890-1940 (50 years), and how many of those companies and their vehicles are still produced today?

Much like Kodak and film, both Nikon, and Canon as well as Sony, Pentax, OLympus and others shall all die one day from over
population? Too many products, not enough of a "large" market share to survive long-term; oh and the varieites of models, as well. They'll all die. I'll stay with film, for now digital, it's nice but will it last as we've known film?

Hogan's quote elicits a huge "duh!" from me. Apple has disrupted cameras, with the help of Facebook and Instagram and a few others. Serious cameras don't need to do those things that a phone does better. I have too many friends looking to step up who ask me to recommend "a DSLR" to think that making old-fashioned products is the cause of a weakness in sales. Serious photographers still want serious cameras, and traditional SLRs are still seen as the serious choice. There are fewer of those people, but they're still buying. The iPhone killed Kodak, not Canon.

(And we know maybe the biggest reason for Canon's current dominance of that market. I walk around with my SLR and people ask, "Oh, you shooting video?")

I don't think it is entirely true that Canon has ben asleep at the wheel. What has happened is that the success of the 5d ii with the film making community completely surprised them and then they thought that there was a whole untapped market for them. So what has happened is that considerable time and effort has been put into the cine line. The C100 and C300 have been well received as have the new line of lenses. I like many others have started to shoot video pieces but, and it is a very big but, we don't have the money to stump up for the cheapest C100 which is around $16K (told you its a big but). Panasonic whith its GH line and now Blackmagic are pulling the rug from under Canon's feet by providing better products at a lot lower price point and that is key in these fiscally challenged times.

A glimmer of hope for "real" cameras: a friend of mine who is a soccer mom with a Nikon D90 showed her pictures to all the other moms (and dads?) who had many many of their own cell phone shots.
They all want her images (prints, mostly) and have now pretty much given up using their cell phones. The quality difference is obvious to them, and its not just that my friend is paying attention to her imaging.

@ Hugh Smith (and any Canon corporate onlookers)

My restored Canon QL


Many a truth lies hidden in etymology.

A "bellwether" is a sheep leading other sheep. Usually a castrated ram.

Interesting times - could be that the mirrorless and DSLR markets are just too saturated to make competition worthwhile. If certain rumours are to be believed, perhaps we'll see Canon moving upmarket, with medium format or medium format like products. I think historically and still today, Canon has always been strong at the pro end of the market in both bodies and lenses, and perhaps they see this as the place they need to make their stand. The recent number of L lens upgrades might be an indication of this.

Just a quick note for those expressing dissatisfaction (perhaps completely justified) with Canon's product decisions:

This is not specific to Canon -- the market for interchangeable-lens cameras of all types is down about 20% so far this year compared to last year. In unit terms, DSLR cameras are down about 18% and mirrorless CSCs are down about 19%.

Nikon already lowered its ILC forecast for this year. Every other ILC maker is likely doing the same. There really is a downturn, and I don't think we can blame Canon's stupidity for it.

Addendum: to be perfectly precise, I guess I should say shipments are down about 20%, which isn't exactly the same thing as the market, per se, but over the time period in question (CIPA has figures for 8 months of this year) is a very good proxy for it.

I think that folks who really use a DSLR will still buy DSLRs. Many, if not most of the folks I know who purchased DSLRs over the last few years use them like a point and shoot camera and now use their smart phones as their main photographic tool. The camera phone has your images available at any time to show folks their kids, their animals or whatever ..or to post on facebook. Few if any of those images have any artistic quality to them and are simply documentary images. Hence the drop in sales of DSLRs. BTW, I have my new Pentax K3 on pre-order and will continue building my battery of lenses.

Robert says "I can't get my head around the notion that eight million cameras is not very good." Compare that to the biggest camera seller that sold 9 million units over a weekend. Yes, I'm talking about the latest iPhones...


Maybe finally consumers have found out they don't need the next instalment of in essence the same to fill their ....book and ....ter accounts or post on ...cker. And even printing for the most of us is limited to A3+ or A2 and that means 16 Mpixel can do the trick quite nicely (for most people, not for the odd 20/20 sighted photoenthousiast).

So I hope this will lead to the realisation that digital camera's have been developed, that the upgrade bonanza is over and that camera manufacturers should start making money with their camera systems (flash, remote controls, lenses, and what not) again and not so much with their camera bodies. That was the way they made most of the money in the 60th, 70th, 80th and 90th when we all bought a camera per decade.

And rest in the camera development gives me room to buy lenses, flashes, remote controls and even motorised panorama mounts (okay since only small companies are developing those at horendous prices I more or less build my own). So Nikon, Canon, Olympus, Panasonic and what not, give us glass......not bodies.

Greets, Ed.

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