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Valued Contributor
Posts: 456
Registered: ‎10-18-2016

The future of Cameras and Lens Mounts

This is a continuing debate that I see in the various fora to which I belong.  Just to add a bit of spice to the whole thing Tony Northrop has produced his take on what the future holds.  Now, I realize that he has some controversial views on elements of photography, but apparently he was a director of marketing for a fortune 100 company and accuratlely predicted both the challenges around 2000 and the demise of his own company.  Business analysis is his thing...

 

Anyway for what it's worth, here is a link to his presentation: Are DSLRs Dead?

 

Doubtless this will invoke some reactions from our own members Man Wink

"All the beauty of life is made up of light and shadow", Leo Tolstoy;
"Skill in photography is acquired by practice and not by purchase" Percy W. Harris
VIP
Posts: 11,199
Registered: ‎12-07-2012

Re: The future of Cameras and Lens Mounts

The big camera makers, Canon included, missed the opportunity.  I and a bunch of photographers I know told Canon they need to make P&S cameras act and respond more like a cell phone.  They didn't heed that and they lost a market that will never recover. Just now are they offering touch screens, GPS, and wi-fi that works.  Too little, too late.

 

Ole Tony's best asset is Chelsea!  I don't agree with a lot of what he says. He's entertaining I guess. Sexiest Geek Alive is hardly high credentials for .......well, much of anything.

EOS 1DX and 1D Mk IV, even less and less other stuff.
VIP
Posts: 8,163
Registered: ‎08-13-2015

Re: The future of Cameras and Lens Mounts

I think Northrop is a well paid shrill. Too many of his claims are complete nonsense. He has an infamous video advocating that aperture needs a crop factor, too.

I asked an innocent question to clarify why aperture needs a crop factor. He bit on the hook. I responded by asking if he had ever seen a light meter with a crop factor compensation. No response.
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"I don't rent software. I use Photoshop CS6, ACR 9.8 and Lightroom 6.8 ."
Valued Contributor
Posts: 456
Registered: ‎10-18-2016

Re: The future of Cameras and Lens Mounts

[ Edited ]

As I said: Doubtless this will invoke some reactions from our own members

 

Q.E.D. !!! :Smiley Wink

 

For me this simply creates a focus on questions that were already there:

 

1.   Did the big camera companies drop the ball in improving camera interfaces (as has been suggested) and has that had a significant impact on the camera market?

 

2.  Is the disruptive dominance in the market of cell phones a function of their multifunctionalism and convenience, combined with the types of images that people are taking for social purposes in particular - and could camera manufacturers actually counter that?

 

3.  Did the big camera makers take into account the dramatic drop in market size of cameras (in this case DSLRs), when they decided to invest in a new tech - especially new lens mounts?

 

4.  The new FF DSLRs are coming in at an expensive price point, does that mean that the target market for this tech is the much smaller prosumer market rather than the previous one where for example Canon dominated in the lower-end units (and seems to still do so within its shriking boundaries).   In Canon's case we have the M series and EF-M lenses, but to look at Nikon: they gave up on the Nikon 1 mount fairly quickly.

"All the beauty of life is made up of light and shadow", Leo Tolstoy;
"Skill in photography is acquired by practice and not by purchase" Percy W. Harris
Valued Contributor
Posts: 456
Registered: ‎10-18-2016

Re: The future of Cameras and Lens Mounts

I have huge respect for the major players in the camera business - my gear is massively dominated by Canon, but I also use Nikon and Olympus for specific reasons.  I would be sad to see that history and diversity go, especially to the cell phone monster! Smiley Frustrated

 

I agree with one comment from Nelson.  With the shrinking market and the plethora of brands and lens mounts our there something has to give - I just can't see them all surviving. I feel pretty confident in Canon, a but less so about Nikon - their market share is much smaller overall, and certainly desite user loyalty some of the other brands face a bleak future.

 

The question we get time and time again in this forum from new users often comes down to whether to buy gear based on the EF, EF-S, EF-M or RF mounts, in other words what should they invest in for the future, Right now we are crystal ball gazing and I wonder how much the manufacturers are looking at theirs...

 

 

"All the beauty of life is made up of light and shadow", Leo Tolstoy;
"Skill in photography is acquired by practice and not by purchase" Percy W. Harris
Esteemed Contributor
Posts: 3,340
Registered: ‎02-17-2016

Re: The future of Cameras and Lens Mounts

I don't think lens mount has much to do with it. Many people just use the lens that came with the camera. What matters is this from a The Online Photographer comment:

"a few weeks ago, as I was sitting in the first class lounge in Union Station (Chicago)—at the mid-point of our three-city/three-train/3,000 mile trip—I overheard a conversation wherein a woman was asking for help with her new camera, a mid-level Nikon DSLR. She was desperate, inasmuch as she was on special trip for which she had purchased the camera, and as yet had been unable to make a picture. Literally, unable to make a single picture.

"I stepped up and offered to help. You might think, after nearly two decades of digital camera(s) usage [also, Mark is an accomplished professional—you met him in the post "Elephant Tongue and Hypnotized Chickens" —Ed.], it would not be a herculean/rocket science task to get her started. While I was eventually able to get her reasonably set up, there was not a single camera function for which access was intuitive. What a bad joke the whole experience was, both for her and me.

"After getting her functional (in a very rudimentary/basic fashion), off she went, reasonably happy, only to return five minutes later with another it-won't-work issue. Utterly shameful and ridiculous on the part of camera makers who have created this mess."

 

This was from a post that Cameras are no longer "fun" - which is another part of the problem.

VIP
Posts: 11,199
Registered: ‎12-07-2012

Re: The future of Cameras and Lens Mounts

" Utterly shameful and ridiculous on the part of camera makers who have created this mess."

I actually agree because like I said a bunch of us sent letters and talked with Canon reps which both fell on deaf ears.  You have to make electronic gear that functions similar to a cell phone. These younger people have one in their hands around 8 years old. It is what they know. They were the future 10 years ago and now they are lost as we have all seen.

 

However, I find it extremely difficult that somebody could not take a single picture with a Canon or brand_N camera.  Both have a totally automatic mode where nothing from the user is required. Had it been a D5 or 1DX, yeah, more challenging.

And, BTW, the pro market will still be here.  That is Canon and Nikon as there are no other pro cameras made. I understand some may think their expensive Sony or Olympus, or whatever is a pro model. It is not just don't kid yourself.

 

I suspect some form of the intermediate market will still be viable.   You always have the enthusiasts that doesn't want to drop ten grand to start taking high quality photos.  Photos that so far a smartphone can't deliver again don't kid yourself.

 

And, Canon if you happen to read these replies don't miss the boat again and screw it up all over.  Make these intermediate cameras more functional like a cell phone.  Wi-fi that works, GPS that doesn't drain the battery and touch screens that anybody can figure out.

 

EOS 1DX and 1D Mk IV, even less and less other stuff.
Reputable Contributor
Posts: 540
Registered: ‎01-25-2018

Re: The future of Cameras and Lens Mounts

As Canon and others navigate this rapidly changing market, they should end up with consumer and pro models with very different interfaces.  As Ernie noted, the lower and midlevel models aren't as intuitive as they should be and many newer users are overwhelmed by the multitude of controls.  For this market, models with a simple and intuitive interface that is largely accomplished through the touch screen will work well.

 

However I hope that they don't go "touch screen crazy" for the upper end models because having separate dedicated and semi-dedicated controls are extremely useful for those of us who want to be able to get the most out of the gear and change setups quickly when needed.  When I need to change shutter speed or aperture on the fly I don't want to have to deal with a touch screen; I want something that is easy and intuitive to change without taking my eye away from the viewfinder.  I recently bought a set of Hensel studio strobes that feature a nice WiFi interface and dedicated app to control the lights but there is still something satisfying about using the nice quality rotary control on the back of the strobes to set the output rather than sliding a finger on my iPhone or iPad which takes some real precision if you want to use the one tenth F steps the strobes provide.

 

The interface needs to be function over form and this drives me slightly crazy in the automotive market.  I have three vehicles and in my GMC Sierra 2500HD Denali pickup and Corvette Z06 there are a multitude of real controls for the HVAC and infotainment systems that are well placed and I can easily make any setting change I wish without having to spend time with a touch screen although both vehicles have that capability. My Cadillac ATS has a beautiful interior but the touch screen and touch controls (no real buttons or knobs) require far more attention than real dedicated controls.  With the ATS I have to look at the controls and display screen while in the Corvette and pickup I can reach over and use the controls without taking attention from the road, the same feeling I get with my Canon 1 series DSLR bodies.  I will never care for video as much as I do for still photography and although my Canon XF-400 camcorder performs quite well and produces nice video I hate the control interface which is almost entirely driven from the nested menus on the touch screen.  It has a limited ability to assign functions to a few actual buttons and rotary controls but for me it will never have the smooth intuitive interface that I get with my 1 series cameras.

 

Rodger

EOS 1DX M2, 1DX, 1D M2, EOS 650 (film), many lenses, XF400 video
Esteemed Contributor
Posts: 4,981
Registered: ‎06-25-2014

Re: The future of Cameras and Lens Mounts

[ Edited ]

@Tronhard wrote:

As I said: Doubtless this will invoke some reactions from our own members

 

Q.E.D. !!! :Smiley Wink

 

For me this simply creates a focus on questions that were already there:

 

1.   Did the big camera companies drop the ball in improving camera interfaces (as has been suggested)

 

Possibly.

 

and has that had a significant impact on the camera market?

 

I don't think so.

 

2.  Is the disruptive dominance in the market of cell phones a function of their multifunctionalism and convenience, combined with the types of images that people are taking for social purposes in particular

 

Yes.

 

- and could camera manufacturers actually counter that?

 

Not unless they want to make their cameras function as cell phones. And the only thing that could conceivably make that a good idea is Donald Trump's trade war. And I wouldn't want to gamble on that if I were in their shoes.

 

3.  Did the big camera makers take into account the dramatic drop in market size of cameras (in this case DSLRs), when they decided to invest in a new tech - especially new lens mounts?

 

Maybe not, but I think it's largely beside the point. My take is that the drop in DSLR sales represents a hopeful enthusiasm for the new mirrorless technology. Perhaps too much enthusiasm, but that will work itself out in the long run.

 

4.  The new FF DSLRs are coming in at an expensive price point, does that mean that the target market for this tech is the much smaller prosumer market rather than the previous one where for example Canon dominated in the lower-end units (and seems to still do so within its shriking boundaries).   In Canon's case we have the M series and EF-M lenses, but to look at Nikon: they gave up on the Nikon 1 mount fairly quickly.

 

Did you mean to say "FF mirrorless cameras"? (If not, I don't understand the question.) If so, I think the answer is a qualified no. I think the high price point indicates that they're very serious about making the R series good enough to be accepted by professionals. But I don't think they expect the R to be a major success; I think they're looking toward the R Mark II.

 

I've got my doubts, though, that the M series will survive very long in its present form. An APS-C mirrorless camera series is probably a good idea, but I think it has to natively accept the R's lenses. It can't do that now, can it?


 

Bob
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania USA
Valued Contributor
Posts: 363
Registered: ‎01-31-2017

Re: The future of Cameras and Lens Mounts


@Tronhard wrote:

I feel pretty confident in Canon, a but less so about Nikon - their market share is much smaller overall, and certainly desite user loyalty some of the other brands face a bleak future.

 



Their market share is indeed smaller than Canon's, but by all accounts, Nikon had a fabulous 2017-2018 and I hope the trend continues. That D850 seems to be gaining increasing favor among pros and enthusiasts alike. 

 

From DigitalTrends:

 

Nikon’s focus on high-end cameras as the company restructures appears to be paying off, and could mean more advanced cameras like the D850 in the company’s future. In its 2017-2018 fiscal year results, announced on May 10, Nikon posted more than eight times the profit of the previous year overall, with the imaging division posting a 76.2-percent increase over the previous year. With the D850 (shown above) driving much of that increase, the company says it will continue to focus on high-end cameras — and that mirrorless could be an opportunity for the company in the future.

From DPR:

 

Nikon restructuring and strong D850 sales lead to 8x increase in annual profit.
Of course, this reflects Nikon Corporation as a whole, but the news out of the Imaging division was also positive. While overall unit sales fell—due to the continued demise of the compact camera segment—strong demand for the D850 is said to have increased the sales of "high-class" cameras "significantly," leading to a 76.2% year-on-year increase in operating profit. Restructuring helped here, too.

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