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Thom Hogan: the camera industry has started teaching customers that big discounts are the norm.

Submitted by Roland on Wed, 2012-11-21 00:03

Thom Hogan writes on ridiculous discounts on cameras from companies like Olympus and Panasonic, what he calls the JC Penney effect:

QUOTE

This is not just a Panasonic problem. Olympus has the same problem, so does Nikon, so does Canon, so does Sony, so does everyone. They all overproduced to demand, had lingering inventory when new products hit, and thus now have to discount the old product to get rid of it, eroding margins and teaching customers that the actual value of the product is far lower than the initial list price, which then devalues the new gear.

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I'll repeat, the camera industry has started teaching customers that big discounts are the norm.

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This is happening at every level of camera sales now, from lowest compact to FX DSLRs. We have a global oversupply of camera gear

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Yet the Japanese companies still overproduce. Worse still, they overproduce when the yen is worth less against the dollar and Euro, then complain when they are still trying to sell those products at discounts later when the yen is worth more. 

From a customer standpoint, this is great (other than the fact that the gear you bought last year is worth less than 50% of its cost now, so you won't be getting much back on selling used gear). We're getting supremely good new gear at very low prices. But it's also bankrupting the camera manufacturing industry

END QUOTE

I am loving my $200 Olympus E-PL ($250 included the kit zoom which although bulky is a decent lens; check out my E-PL1 pics on flickr!) and the VF-3 EVF and the Panasonic 20mm f1.7 prime lens. Still a great camera even though it's 2 years old and obsolete. I am buying into the Micro 4/3 eco-system not into the E-PL1 itself and I am banking on the price of what I really want, the weather sealed OM-D going down to $600 from $1300 in a couple of years!

Is this sustainable for the camera manufacturers? I guess not.

Does this leave them open to disruption from somebody who can produce a truly social camera with apps, sensors and connectivity? Definitely!

I have Nokia Cameraphone Stockholm syndrome, the N8 continues to rule!

Submitted by Roland on Sun, 2011-05-01 16:33

fern! - 043020116311 043020116308 A dandelion between the cracks 043020116231 Purple flower of Cedar Cottage - 032720114585

I have Nokia Cameraphone Stockholm syndrome :-) which means I neglect the (un)usability of Symbian in order to get fantastic photos like the ones above! I can't stop taking photos with the Nokia N8, and I can't repeat it enough, the photo quality is amazing, thanks again to the Nokia team responsible for the N8!

My question, who will top the Nokia N8 in cameraphones? Will it be somebody on Android, Windows Phone 7, WebOS, or will Canon and Nikon or some camera upstart like Panasonic do the right thing and incorporate 3G connectivity with software programmability (I love Eye-Fi but unless it's built in it's a kludge! And the built-in WiFi in various Nikons and other cameras from traditional camera manufacturers is unusable since it's not programmable and not flexible) so that an ecosystem of cameraphone apps can spawn around a fantastic cameraphone (the iPhone4 has an excellent ecosystem of cameraphone apps but without a dedicated camera button, I can't use it as my goto cameraphone).

My guess it will be be an Android cameraphone with a dedicated camera button that will top the N8 but I'd love to be proven wrong by HP, or Panasonic or other upstart. (And feel free to think that my obsession with cameras with built in connectivity that is programmable is crazy but I think there are many 1000s of people like me!)

Nokia could win big with a social camera

Submitted by Roland on Wed, 2010-06-30 07:36

Dave Winer has been writing for many years about a social camera. I have been writing for years about how ShoZu + Nokia Cameraphones are killer apps and built-in ShoZu would be a killer app (e.g. Nokia should buy ShoZu).

My current thinking is:

Canon or Nikon's sensors and lens +  Nokia phone with "comes with world wide connectivity and built-in easy to use app for uploading photos and HD video to all popular social sites e.g. flickr, facebook, picasa" + sideload to your Computer and OVI files (i.e. Eye-fi done right, not as an aftermarket kludge - don't get me wrong, unlike Dave I love my Eye-Fi card; it's done well but at the end of the day it's a hack!) for backup in real time using ShoZu-like technology to do it in the background and auto-resume if connectivity lost  =

an awesome social camera that would sell well

The current Nokia solution is Share Online which is:

  • a) hard to use 
  • b) hard to configure 
  • c) doesn't work in the  background and auto-resume like ShoZu  
  • d) requires folks to figure out the whole "3G/WiFi don't automatically switch to 3G when I am roaming" dance

As Dave points out if Nokia doesn't do it (and Nokia is the only company with all the pieces including camera hardware and software, ShoZu-like tech, etc) and the biz dev clout to do something like a "Comes with bandwidth" partnership like Amazon did for the Kindle), somebody else will do it e.g. Apple or Google or some social camera upstart.

 

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