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Monday, 06 August 2018


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Wow, ung-believable.

Apple is leading the photo world into it's view by hyping the concept of Discernment. They are teaching us to see. We then know what to look for and how it should look, and finally giving us canned thumbnail adjustments from which to choose. With Apple's deep pockets they can afford to present a constant series of Pro-Photographers on the back pages of The NewYorker Magazine, finely tuned to whet the appetite of every picture taker out there. It's way too easy and perhaps that is the entire point.

You can’t compare revenue with market cap like that. It’s like comparing one person’s annual salary with another person’s total net worth including the value of their house. Apple’s annual revenue is a bit over $200 billion, so it’s four or five times as big as the camera industry, not twenty times as big.

There are two aspects to "photography": cameras and photographs. If the cell phones are taking over from cameras, then talk more about photographs. Talk about what you can do with them, beyond sharing them on the web.

I think an article on the lack of customer engagement by camera companies would make interesting reading. Difficult to get their points of view, of course, but they should all be forced to answer why they think the customer has also to fulfil the role of final line inspection supervisor.

No inferior copies of anything should ever escape the factory.


“I've always been curious about what's going to kill TOP, and it appears it might be something simple: I can't sell iPhones.”

No, but you’re in the ballpark. Your blog faces the same issues that every publication faces: it has to be informative and entertaining. It has to be relevant to attract and retain readers. That’s a challenge for any one-man site. But it’s especially challenging if you anchor in technologies rather than in end results. (Just my opinion, of course.)

...I can't sell iPhones...

Why not?

Because Apples doesn't have an affiliate program for them and doesn't allow e-tailers who do have affiliate programs, such as B&H Photo, to sell them either. --Mike

"The global digital camera market is negatively influenced by the availability of superior camera functions on smartphones."

What is "superior" function on phones? I'd like to know how market analysts define superior. [I assumed the phrase meant "superior to the what they used to be," but there's nothing in the language that mandates this particular assumption. —Mike] New phones are becoming better photo tools, and an old phone is improved with apps that add functions such as exposure compensation. My long in the tooth Canon G15 (1/1.7" sensor) will give new phones a run for their money. One inch sensors in newer cameras are small by many people's standards, but they are "superior" to phones for low light situations. You could make a long list of why dedicated cameras are superior.

Not that I'm saying you shouldn't use a phone's camera. They are great for a large segment of the population. But if phones are to replace a segment of dedicated cameras, I would design them as an advanced compact camera with a phone/computer added to it. But nobody listens to me.

[I'm listening Mike! —Mike]

Two things to remember:
The trillion dollar number , while impressive , is only today’s share price times the number of shares outstanding and not some number that Apple has sitting somewhere. It is basically what investors think it is worth (today).
And rather than looking for harbingers of what will kill TOP look at it as a roadmap for survival and prosperity- the more you do things like print sales (or become a local custom printer), grow Patreon , and monetize your writing, the brighter the future will be.
There will always be cameras and other merchandise to talk about (and sell) so it is just a question of degree.
The more you do one thing, the more vulnerable you become, —and vice versa.
There will come a time when folks will tire of the hyperbolic internet and sites like yours will be more valued than they are today- it you will still have to monetize and market your talents.
One example would be a curated store of all the varied products you have researched with a story about why you chose each.
Lots of like minded people who need a product would be happy to trust your research.
Look for the good news .

I happened to see something over the weekend that helps put this into perspective, about the relative size of a million and billion (which most people underestimate):
1 million seconds = 11.5 days
1 billion seconds = 31.7 years (billion meaning 1000 million)
Going a step further:
1 trillion seconds = 31,710 years (would this then be an Applesecond, similar to a lightyear?)

On a related note worth taking a look at the classic Power of Ten movie, created by the studio of designers Charles and Ray Eames, in 1977 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0fKBhvDjuy0

Mike wrote, "I believe the total global digital camera market revenue is about US$20 billion, or roughly 1/50th the size of Apple."

The one trillion dollar headline refers to the market value (sometimes referred to as "market cap") of Apple stock. Apple's revenue for the last quarter was $53.27 billion and revenue for iPhones alone was $29.91 billion. Multiply by four to get rough annual numbers.


This past Saturday I was perusing the photo book sections at Rochester NY's largest Barnes & Noble. Over the years they have generally had a pretty good selection of titles, presumably because Rochester was home to Kodak and George Eastman Museum, and local interest in all things photographic is higher than the American average. B&N divide their photo-related titles into two sections. Monographs, criticism and art-related photo titles are shelved in the art section, next to painting and graphic arts. This section has maintained its presence pretty well over the past decade, and still includes a nicely eclectic selection of books.
On the other hand, books on technique, hardware, lighting, Photoshop and other software, and basically all the nuts 'n bolts of photography, are shelved over by the software and tech titles. This section has radically shrivelled over the past six months especially; it's now down to a little less than two sections of the tech shelf. If you remove all the Photoshop & Lightroom titles, you could fit all the books onto one shelf.
This unfortunately dovetails with plummeting sales of compact cameras and D-SLR's, with compact ILC/mirrorless cameras about the only bright spot. 'Good enough' smart phone cameras seem to be on the verge of turning photography as I have known it into a niche hobby, like stamp collecting or vintage autos.

Well, Sony is about a 70 billion company, but they are a media company that happens to have a camera division.
Canon is about a 35 B photocopier and printer company that happens to have a camera division.
Nikon is about a 6 and a half billion optical products company that happens to have a camera division.

The closest thing to all photography all the time companies that I can find are Fujifilm at nearly 18 billion and Snap, at 16 billion, better known as Snapchat who sells cameras that look like eyeglasses from vending machines.

It's the smartphone screens as much as the cameras that suppress traditional photography.

I, and I suspect many others, now basically never see photos on paper.

Once your "camera" can saturate a smartphone screen, let alone a 4K or 5K display, more imaging power is pointless.

Yes, you (and I) can print very large very detailed magical quality prints, quite easily from todays cameras. And they're basically never seen - even by me.

It's the screens as much as the cameras..

One minor point, I think you have mixed "revenue" with "market valuation".

I think AAPL's revenues are still a lot more than digital camera revenues, but only 10-12 rather than 50 times.

And of that "just" about $30 billion is from iPhones. So bigger than cameras still but 1.5 times.

The superior camera functions on smarphones are the ability to quickly edit, backup, and share with minimal effort. Panoramas are quick and easy to make and HDR is a quick setting change as well.

The camera companies are all way behind on this. My Leica SL still requires a number of steps and WiFi setting changes to connect to my iPhone. My last few Nikons (D700, D4, D4s) didn’t even include WiFi connectivity without an external adapter. All my cameras lack internal flash storage and have no simple way to share or backup or edit photos.

Begs the question..."what's wrong with this picture?"

Or, One could open his/her Firefox browser in private mode, type in NYT and read it there. Eleven, twelve, twenty times. As many times as that person wants.

I like and second, third, whatever what Michael Perini and Ken Tanaka wrote. YOU are very relevant, and are somewhat outside of the race to uniformity that the iPhone exemplifies.

Print sales, photo philosophy and photo appreciation posts are both what I like best about your site and what makes you unique. Equipment topics are definitely secondary and even unnecessary, except that often you approach equipment in a totally unique way, like you did with the Olympus 25mm/1.2 lens. I can get as much basic information about equipment as I want all over the place.

Stick to what you do, that voodoo, that you do so well.

My opinion, of course, today; here; now.

It’s interesting that someone says “lack of engagement“ could help kill camera companies because canon, at least, is doing sensational job with their YouTube channel for video people, and their website for stills shooters. I’m sure part of the problem is the presenters and many of the writers are no longer in their 20s and the way they offer information lacks the hysteria and deranged chest thumping of more popular Internet figures.
And why the hell can’t you sell iPhones via your site?

The Guardian: I primarily read the articles, but, yes, I also look at the pictures. Good pictures are easier to find than good writing. The Guardian has both.

Dear Mike
Forget gear talk and get on to writing about the creative side of photography.
BTW how many of those complaining have ever seen a well printed image from one of the latest generation of smart phones? I think they would be quite surprised by the quality....

"Please be horrible!
Tear down your photography into pieces.
Don't bother about glamour,
destroy the surface,
take care of your innocence,
your fantasy is more important than reality remember, your pictures are jumping like rabbits into your
camera when you understand
photography is not about photography"

Anders Petersen

I scored a free copy of both of Tufte's books. They were in a lunchroom pile of "Take them they're free!" books.


@ Hugh Crawford
Re Percentage of revenue derived from photography, for 2017 "Photo Imaging" accounted for 10-12% of Fujifilm's revenue.

I don't think it is possible to be only a mainstream 'Camera Company' anymore , even the High end Niche players are having challenging times.
Unless , of course , if you happen to be Dora Goodman

I think the diversification is mostly good for those of us who like cameras.

The Guardian is free to read online with only the politest of nags at the foot of some articles. If you get hooked then, besides subscribing, you can support with one-off payments or regular small amounts.

#GearSucks #PhotosRock #RetinaDisplaysRule It really is that simple. The future of still photography isn't gear or prints. The future is well-done photos displayed on screens.

All p̶h̶o̶t̶o̶s̶ art has one thing in common, well-done work attracts attention, shoddy work does not. Therefore inspiring how-to-make-art books could be outstanding sellers for Mr Johnston, or others. I'm looking at Amazon's Kindle as a way to publish my work https://kdp.amazon.com/en_US/ Check-it-out, if you are interested in publishing anything. There is more money to be made selling your own products than there is being an affiliate.

I've bought my last printed-on-paper book or magazine, but I do have a Kindle reader on both of my computers and a tablet. I may be a stubborn-old-man, but I refuse to live in the past.

+1 for Kindle books, seems made for you.

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