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Dismal Camera Industry Sales Numbers
Old 05-15-2019   #1
Ted Striker
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Dismal Camera Industry Sales Numbers

The latest camera sales numbers are in and the bloodletting that the industry has been undergoing the past several years shows no signs of letting up. There's still a massive contraction in the camera market with revenues down severely. Something has *got* to give.



What is going to save the traditional camera industry? Can it be saved?
  • Canon down 23%
  • Sony down 7%
  • Nikon down 21%
  • Fujifilm down 3%
  • Olympus down 24%
  • Ricoh (Pentax) up 4%
  • Overall camera shipments (CIPA) were down 25% in dollars
  • Overall lens shipments (CIPA) were down 13% in dollars
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Old 05-15-2019   #2
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Canon Nikon continue to build larger and larger cameras and lenses that now ,
approach the look of long large mirror lenses that outweigh the user..
Sony has never corrected it's coded menu, a holdover from Minolta.
Maybe others have found the Enigma machine, but sadly not me and everybody else..
Strangely no numbers from Leica, but they so small, almost insignificant in numbers..
Ricoh/Pentax up! I guess making cameras and lenses for some small company..

The phone camera is devastatingly good, handy, small and loaded with superb photoshops..
Until the companies re-think, it's way of dinosaurs..
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Old 05-15-2019   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by leicapixie View Post
The phone camera is devastatingly good, handy, small and loaded with superb photoshops..
Until the companies re-think, it's way of dinosaurs..

Very true. I have not shot my Fuji X100 in years, since I got my iPhone. Why carry another camera when the iPhone produces incredible results.
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Old 05-15-2019   #4
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If we ignore the obvious low-end camera vs. cell phone issue that results in lower sales numbers, I think the biggest “problem” for the industry is their success at producing cameras that are so good that there is little reason to upgrade. Until a major innovation comes through, such as global shutters, I don't think sales numbers will change much.

Let's hope the manufacturers never consider a “subscription model” for cameras... $1 per day of usage for your camera body?
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Old 05-15-2019   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by leicapixie View Post
The phone camera is devastatingly good, handy, small and loaded with superb photoshops..
Until the companies re-think, it's way of dinosaurs..
Yeah, absolutely, for the vast majority of people there is no point in having a stand alone camera. Each advancement in phone hardware and software eats another chunk out of the traditional camera companies.

Canon, Nikon, Fuji etc will probably follow the Leica route - ever expensive 'luxury' cameras for an increasingly small niche market.
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Old 05-15-2019   #6
Peter Wijninga
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Quote:
Very true. I have not shot my Fuji X100 in years, since I got my iPhone. Why carry another camera when the iPhone produces incredible results.
Because it's not much fun making pictures with a phone. And, as you know, high-end phones sales -with enhanced camera capabilities, are tanking.
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Old 05-15-2019   #7
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Mass production and consumption belongs to mobile phones. If you need regular subject picture or video for sharing on social media, no cameras are needed.
Manufacturers who are only making consumer products are in trouble. Those who are in professional market are not. For those who are not aware, professional cameras are also made for broadcast, production and film industry. Canon is one of manufactures. Cameras and Lenses.
Panasonic also makes cameras for this market. And they are not cheap.

Those who are wining about camera and lens size needs to realize what quality comes with size. And image quality is not something always visible on mobile phones and tablets
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Old 05-15-2019   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Peter Wijninga View Post
Because it's not much fun making pictures with a phone. And, as you know, high-end phones sales -with enhanced camera capabilities, are tanking.


I don't think the fun factor really comes into it ... that's a perspective unique to people like us who actually enjoy using a real camera. The average Joe or Jill couldn't give a fig about the form factor of what they use to capture an image ... they just want the image and everyone carries a smart phone these days.
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Old 05-15-2019   #9
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I dunno folks, maybe the old line companies need a gimmick.
Hey! I’ve got it! They could go back to and promote film. I’d like a brand new, factory fresh OM-1n.
I’ll flap my arms and fly to the moon to, about the same time that happens.
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Old 05-15-2019   #10
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Quote:
The phone camera is devastatingly good, handy, small and loaded with superb photoshops..
Until the companies re-think, it's way of dinosaurs..
You got it.

I’d also add tablet computers like the iPad.
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Old 05-15-2019   #11
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Such continuous worry about all things related to a hobby can’t be good for you.
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Old 05-15-2019   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Peter Wijninga View Post
Because it's not much fun making pictures with a phone. And, as you know, high-end phones sales -with enhanced camera capabilities, are tanking.

Hardly tanking.
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Old 05-15-2019   #13
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...tanking.
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Old 05-15-2019   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Peter Wijninga View Post
...tanking.

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Old 05-15-2019   #15
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Such continuous worry about all things related to a hobby can’t be good for you.
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Old 05-15-2019   #16
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Tanking. Your stats are ancient.
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Old 05-15-2019   #17
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Originally Posted by Peter Wijninga View Post
Tanking. Your stats are ancient.

Hilarious!!
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Old 05-15-2019   #18
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Tanking isn’t the right word, but...

https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.dig...ne-news/%3famp
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Old 05-15-2019   #19
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And if ... tariff threats from this past weekend, that'll add 25% to the price of iPhones and some other smartphones sold here in the States. I think that will put a big damper on smartphone sales.

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Old 05-15-2019   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jsrockit View Post
Tanking isn’t the right word, but...

https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.dig...ne-news/%3famp

No it is not. With 1.43 BILLION sales last year, that does not even remotely fall into the tanking category.
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Old 05-15-2019   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by leicapixie View Post
...
Strangely no numbers from Leica, but they so small, almost insignificant in numbers..
...
I think these data are from CIPA members. Leica is not affiliated with CIPA.
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Old 05-15-2019   #22
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Not surprising. Back in January, Canon President Fujio Mitarai said he sees the digital camera market decreasing by 50% over the next two years. That's what Canon is planning for.

https://petapixel.com/2019/01/28/can...ext-two-years/

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Old 05-15-2019   #23
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Honestly I can’t wait for the crash. The major manufacturers can no longer pump out microscopic variation of microscopic variation of mundane committee designed plastic lumps.

The people that really want to use a camera will still buy real cameras and the rest of the world will use whatever 7 lens, 1mm sensored AI piece of junk phone is the flavour of the month before it becomes toxic landfill the next month when the new model comes out.
And honestly, my iPhone is godawful as a camera. Awkward and unresponsive to use, and the results are low level digital sludge.

Companies like Fuji and leica and Cosina will survive because they make cameras for people that want to use a camera. The market is definitely shrinking but it will always be there.
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Old 05-15-2019   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mackinaw View Post
Not surprising. Back in January, Canon President Fujio Mitarai said he sees the digital camera market decreasing by 50% over the next two years. That's what Canon is planning for.

https://petapixel.com/2019/01/28/can...ext-two-years/

Jim B.

Yes, you are correct. A lot of people, most in fact, severely discounted what Mitarai-san said, but he's in a position to know a lot more than the forum cognoscenti. The market for traditional cameras is collapsing, and if we get anywhere near a further 50% contraction, there simply won't be enough volume and revenue to go around with the current players. There will be severe contraction coming.
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Old 05-15-2019   #25
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In the 1950's, the average family camera was a Kodak Brownie. It was good enough and easy to carry around for those special occasions that required pictures. Serious photographers were using expensive 35mm and rollfilm cameras the average family wouldn't consider using.

When digital cameras came along, the average family camera was a digital point 'n shoot. They were good enough and easy to carry around plus no one had to pay the drugstore guy for printing the pictures. And they could email the relatives pictures of the new baby or the recent vacation. Serious photographers were using expensive DSLRs and other esoteric cameras the average family wouldn't consider using.

Now that digital photography has been around a while, the average family camera is their smart phone. It's good enough, it's always there and it's easier do the things with it they like to do, like send pictures of their breakfast to Instagram. Serious photographers are using expensive and advanced digital cameras the average family wouldn't consider using.

Full circle. What goes around comes around. Is anyone surprised...really?
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Old 05-15-2019   #26
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Originally Posted by Dogman View Post
Is anyone surprised...really?

Of course people are surprised. There are literally billions of more people on the planet now that the 1950's. China, India, and all kinds of other people have moved hundreds of millions of people into the middle class. Yet traditional camera sales can't pick up a few million? That is a paradigm shift of epic proportions.


I remember when I bought Fujifilm P & S cameras like the F31fd, Fuji sold close to 10 million cameras per year. Per year! How many factories did it take to pound out that many cameras? A LOT. And Fujifilm was a bit player compared to Canon and Nikon. All those plants have had to be shut down. There is no need for that kind of capacity now. And worse, all that revenue used to fund Fuji's other camera endeavors. All gone.


Remember, the bloodletting is far from over. -50% and more is coming in just two years. That's enormous pain for those in the industry.
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Old 05-15-2019   #27
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Nobody mentioned instax yet? There, fixed that.
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Old 05-15-2019   #28
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It is to be expected with mature technology. Newer cameras have had diminishing returns for years now. There is very little difference between older cameras and newer ones. The megapixel race is over. People realized that they don't need "better" when their old camera was more than good enough "back then" and is still more than good enough now. The whole mirrorless thing is just a sidestep to something different that has little to do with performance in an effort to increase sales.
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Old 05-15-2019   #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ted Striker View Post



What is going to save the traditional camera industry? Can it be saved?
FILM!!!!

Why bother w digital when my phone has better jpegs and can do lots of other stuff too?

Obviously the masses have agreed, hence your topic.
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Old 05-15-2019   #30
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Originally Posted by Keith View Post
I don't think the fun factor really comes into it ... that's a perspective unique to people like us who actually enjoy using a real camera. The average Joe or Jill couldn't give a fig about the form factor of what they use to capture an image ... they just want the image and everyone carries a smart phone these days.
They are crappy images. Sorry to be mean but that is the truth of it.
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Old 05-15-2019   #31
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It is kind of ironic that film and stand alone digital cameras will both be niche items.
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Old 05-15-2019   #32
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Peter Wijninga View Post
...tanking.
The tanking process begins in the major markets:
https://mobilesyrup.com/2019/05/10/d...g-record-rate/

The decline in digital camera sales will continue for some years before it will level out, probably in the 10 million units region.
A problem for us? Not really.
Maybe 1-2 of the weaker manufacturers will quit the market. But enough manufacturers will remain.

And we should not overlook that the demand for film cameras is increasing (new and used). Fujifilm alone has sold 10 million instax cameras in their last fiscal year.

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Old 05-15-2019   #33
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dogman View Post
In the 1950's, the average family camera was a Kodak Brownie. It was good enough and easy to carry around for those special occasions that required pictures. Serious photographers were using expensive 35mm and rollfilm cameras the average family wouldn't consider using.

When digital cameras came along, the average family camera was a digital point 'n shoot. They were good enough and easy to carry around plus no one had to pay the drugstore guy for printing the pictures. And they could email the relatives pictures of the new baby or the recent vacation. Serious photographers were using expensive DSLRs and other esoteric cameras the average family wouldn't consider using.

Now that digital photography has been around a while, the average family camera is their smart phone. It's good enough, it's always there and it's easier do the things with it they like to do, like send pictures of their breakfast to Instagram. Serious photographers are using expensive and advanced digital cameras the average family wouldn't consider using.

Full circle. What goes around comes around. Is anyone surprised...really?
I'd mostly agree with this; for the consumers, not much has changed, even compact RFs gave way to bridge cameras, which gave way to cheap DSLRs, which gave way to entry-level mirrorless. (which, if I remember correctly, were predicted to be the death of Canon and Nikon with their pretty weak 1 and EOS-M offerings). We as 'serious' photographers long for the days of brick-like SLRs but forget the majority of cameras made have always been cheap Kodaks, Arguses (Argi?) and the like. Theres a similar amnesia in the bike industry..

Anecdotally (and I know OP hates anecdotes), I'm both pleased and surprised to see how robust the consumer market is since I worked at a retailer almost 15 years ago. Back then: Minolta was on its last legs, Olympus was floundering with Four Thirds, and Pentax had some pretty weak offerings in small format. To be fair, everyone seemingly was playing catchup with Nikon and Canon since AF came around. Now, my local shop has hugely expanded floor area, Sony's built up into one of the most popular brands, and Olympus has a sizable stable of respectable cameras.

But as Mr. Striker has noted, the bottom falling out of P&S and money moving to mobile phone manufacturers does leave a big hole in revenue of actual camera manufacturers. I don't really know how that will work out in the future. I really don't see the industry as a whole dying off solely because of smartphones, but perhaps wildly reorganizing. Then again, most of these companies are diversified in some way: Sony with seemingly every electronic gadget, Canon with office imaging, Nikon and Olympus in medical imaging, etc etc.

I may not be that old, but I've been in the photo community long enough to have seen plenty of predictions of doom: film is dead, point-and-shoots are dead, SLRs are dead, standalone cameras are dead (with smartphones/Lytro), and similar parallels in the video industry. Yet here we are with Nikon still plugging away with the F6 and a handful of Coolpix models, and so on.

What I do see, or at least hope to see, as someone alluded to, is a winnowing of models and a smaller production cycle. On a related note, every so often I go waste time on Camerapedia and look at the awful SLRs that came out in the 90s-00s and scores of P&S cameras pumped out with little variation between them. I'd hope that era might finally go away.
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Old 05-15-2019   #34
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Well, maybe the big ones need to scale down a bit. Go back to production cycles from the past (Nikon F3 was produced for 21 years) rather than releasing a new gimmick every 1-2 years.
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Old 05-15-2019   #35
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Glad to see Pentax is still alive and doing OK
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Old 05-15-2019   #36
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Maybe the smartphone is still causing a dent in camera sales, but I really doubt the people in the market for a sony/canon/nikon mirrorless/dslrwould give that up for a smart phone.



Personally, and with absolutely no evidence to back this up, I think it is more related to the constant deluge of new cameras with marginal features that are pumped out.



There were 7 (numerically) Leica film cameras since the first. There are 6 (numerically) nikon F cameras since the beginning. Now, we see a new digital camera every year or two, which means that these companies have to continue to develop new cameras all the time, just to stay "competitive" and there has been a climax in features. I have a d600 as my digital camera, which does literally everything I need from a digital camera, no matter what nikon throws out there, I have little reason to buy a new Nikon digital.



This is starting in phones as well. The iphone 10(x) sales have slumped, the galaxy s10 sales have been abysmal, and these are top of the line phones. People just aren't going to "upgrade" every single year anymore, the upgrades are not needed.

That, and there is way more competition now.
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Old 05-15-2019   #37
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Quote:
Originally Posted by traveler_101 View Post
They are crappy images. Sorry to be mean but that is the truth of it.

I have a friend who owns some very nice camera gear ... a 5Dlll Cannon and a couple of Fujis (X100F and XT3) and a good range of lenses for both systems. She also has a Galaxy S9 and while the images from it obviously won't become prints on her walls the quality of what comes out of that Samsung stuns me ... particularly the way it captures colour.

And I don't think you're being mean ... but you certainly are generalising and that has little to do with truth!
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Old 05-15-2019   #38
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They are crappy images. Sorry to be mean but that is the truth of it.
Not anymore. you can make stunning prints from the latest phones:

https://www.outdoorphotographer.com/...e-photography/
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Old 05-15-2019   #39
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jsrockit View Post
Tanking isn’t the right word, but...

https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.dig...ne-news/%3famp

The interesting thing there for me is how fast Huawei are hunting Apple down. And yes tanking is certainly not an accurate description ... sales have flattened for sure.

I'm still perfectly happy with my old i-phone 6 ... which I bought second hand. I can take a photo, tap the screen and seconds later it appears on my sister's phone in New Zealand. Photography is not all about cameras ... it's about snatching fragments of life and whether they finish up on the wall of a gallery somewhere or on a screen somewhere on the other side of the world there is little difference ... the intent is the same.

The photography arrogance and elitism I encounter here at RFF at times stuns me!
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Old 05-15-2019   #40
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It had to happen sooner or later..
Only 2 cameras will survive ..
The Veriwide..and the 8x10..
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