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Monday, 17 August 2020

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I "Self Churn". Shoot a job with a Sony A700 with either a Sigma 30mm F1.4 or a Sigma 70mm F2.8, or my Sony A900 with a Sony 85mm F2.8...See it printed 60"x40"and hanging in a retail store,(Pre-Covid) or see it on the Web for their E-commerce. My last camera was purchased in 2014. (olympus EM1) I only see the need for new stuff if you need museum quality printed big. Challenge yourself, use what you have. Use the money for that large format printer. Buy some good wine. Give to the local food bank.

It looks like this churning of a product is the same as buttering up the product.

I would argue that this is exactly Leica's strategy with special editions: take a product that has been out for a few years, and won't be replaced for a few more, and promote it across the internet.

I think it's a wonderful idea to promote products already available and still perfectly good to use. It's what all the camera makers once did. Nikon, Canon, Olympus, Pentax, Minolta all kept products available for years and continued to promote them. It gives a warm, fuzzy feeling to know your gear is still important.

Or does it?

My preference would be incremental small changes in products without a complete overhaul and model change. Like Nikon did with all the F2 and F3 models over the years, making them better but not reinventing the wheel.

I recently bought a Ricoh GR III, which has been out for 18 months or so. Shortly after I bought it, the "street" version came out which sports a shiny yellow lens ring, a new finish on the body and added focus feature among a few other differences. It's a nice looking camera in my opinion but I wouldn't pay the extra they want for these features. I think they have released special editions for awhile now, so maybe Fuji is taking a page out of Ricoh's book.

I appreciate how this might speak to a consumer who's trying to consume less: "unbox" an old favorite.

Ahhhh....marketing! The art to sell you something, you did not need.

Leica did that for decades didn’t they?

I'm sure this is not unique, Canon routinely sends out (Especially Canon Europe, profiles of Photographers, or features about techniques where they feature Photographic work and particular Products like a lens or a flash or a Body / Lens combination. I find it very refreshing that they don't only feature the latest gear. I agree with you that it is a very effective way to get people thinking about both your products and the enjoyment of Photography. Ive seen articles from getting better after school soccer pictures to how to shoot motor racing or lifestyle portraits. While not exactly what you are talking about it is in the same vein.

Agreed, this is a refreshingly honest and gimmick-free way to keep selling a good product, and--perhaps more importantly--to justify keeping it in production and actively supported.

It's a little dismaying that this approach is so novel that people flummoxed, or are mistaking it for a gimmick. (Well, maybe the novelty alone makes it technically a gimmick?) But those who know the lens seem to agree that it really does continue to kick major butt, years after its introduction.

So, yes, why not take a victory lap? It seems that Fuji has every right to crow, gloat, beam, whatever. And on the other hand it's a welcome departure from the often cynical and exhausting product update rat-race. "Churn" is a good word for it. I'm sure the current state of economic uncertainty was a motivation, but I, too, hope the approach catches on.

The only problem with this strategy is with a new product, you have no choice but to buy new and put money in the manufacturer's coffers. With an older product, a lot of people will just buy used copies.

Leica, with its LHSA repackagings of older classic lenses, might be an example. Many would agree that these lenses are fine just the way they are, and still others want to go back to earlier versions...

New web pages, updated packaging, special marketing campaign - for the 'New' Classic Line!

Of course, it does depend on having more than one lens that's considered a 'classic'...

I had that 35/1.4 on my "to sell" list, but now I'm having second thoughts. I think you're onto something here.

Maybe because there is a lot of internet chatter about newly-introduced fast lenses of Chinese origin for Leica M and other cameras. Fuji reminds us they have a high quality lens of that specification too!

Mike,

This post also nicely ties in with your recent post, "Sunday Support Group for Earthlings: Wise Man (OT)", aka The Story of More.

I hope other manufacturers do follow suit, Mike. The constant flow of new models can be counter-productive e.g. when they get a camera (or a car) just right - and then it is 'improved' - and the sparkle or whatever it was of the 'old' model just isn't there anymore.
Much better to market a product as so good it doesn't need to be changed.

It’s even worse with computers. Apple this year updated a couple of the laptop lines: the MacBook Air and the MacBook Pro. The Pro refresh was especially interesting. The lower two (of four) models were essentially the same as Last year’s model: same processor, same screen, same design. There were two significant changes: a) the keyboard was changed, and b) the base specification had twice the amount of storage for the same money. So little real difference, in ways that would matter: the new machines would complete computing tasks at the same speed as the previous year’s machines.

But, oh, you should have seen the number of YouTube videos. First there were the ones announcing the upgrades; then there were the Unboxing videos (when did taking something out of its packaging become a thing?); then the reviews to roundly criticise the lower-spec’d versions because they were no improvement at all; followed by the videos extolling the virtues of the better-spec’d machines, and whether or not they needed even further options adding; then the revisionist videos arguing that the lower-spec’d versions *were* worth buying because with the larger storage they were a much better deal than last year’s; then the videos arguing that you might as well keep using last year’s machines unless you were doing such-and-such tasks, professionally, in which case the new machines were an excellent buy; then the videos showing how you could upgrade machines from 6 years ago to be - well, not as good, but not too bad, and excellent value for money; then the videos arguing that there were Windows laptops from various manufacturers that were at least as good and cheaper; and so on, for a couple of months.

For Apple, the whole thing must have been well worth the minimal cost of the upgrades in marketing terms.

Ha. I was surprised to learn how long I’ve had this lens (2006!). Like many of its prime peers in the X lineup it’s light, small, and optically terrific. It’s a great value if you’re a prime-style photographer.

Fuji’s campaign, I would argue, is not “marketing” so much as it’s just plain ol’ advertising. “Marketing” is more of a strategic plan for promotion. Advertising is a tactical component of marketing.

Also, realize that there’s nothing unusual at all about Fuji advertising one of their older products. Those of us who have followed the digital photography tsunami are accustomed to every ad representing a brand-new product or line. But those times are mostly over. The wave has washed over us. The great majority of advertising budgets are devoted towards simply REMINDING consumers about existing products, which is exactly what this Fuji promo is doing.

“Mmmmm, hot day, isn’t it? Wouldn’t a nice, cool little 35mm lens look great right now?

If this is “churn”, then what might one call the rate at which Mr Tuck acquires and disposes of gear, both new and used? ;~)

[Froth? Wait, that has different connotations...

Actually Kirk is just engaged in sober and serious investigation, trial, and testing. --Mike]

If a company still makes something, why would advetising it seem unusual to anyone? Any number of companies advertise the products they make. It should, in truth, seem bizarre for a company to not advertise something in its product line, shouldn't it? Why would any sane company not do that?

It's about selling into a saturated market. That's hard unless you can make consumers dissatisfied with their current product e.g. telling them it's out of fashion or the new model has "super new" features (8-bladed lubricated massaging razors anyone?).

The UK govt under pressure from the motor industry many decades ago put a year of registration on number plates so people would trade in perfectly good cars for new ones to keep up with the Joneses.

The other way to sell is if your product falls apart after a few years and needs replacing. I'm not saying anyone does built-in obsolescence on purpose but often the pressure to keep costs down - especially in price sensitive market areas such as the budget end of product ranges - means materials and build quality are not top notch (and that's often fine, there's a place for such products). White goods for example are not built to last.

In many areas technology does genuinely move on and many products of only a few years ago have been superceded by genuinely improved or different technology. But not razors.

Ironically, the Fuji 35mm f/1.4 is definitely one of the lenses that could use an update, the AF motors on that lens are terrible.

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