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HOWL! Where I See Camera Makers Going (with apologies to Allan Ginsberg)

Discussion in 'The Watering Hole' started by entropic remnants, Sep 20, 2013.

  1. entropic remnants

    entropic remnants SC All-Pro

    Mar 3, 2013
    John Griggs
    Howl, Reimagined

    I saw the best cameras of my generation destroyed by marketing, in colors, with wifi,
    desperately iterating new models for reviews by blogs, looking for an easy win,
    angelheaded hipsters burning for the ancient heavenly retro body, high ISO starry dynamo in the machinery of night,
    who impoverished by GAS and hollow-eyed through pixel peeping, sat up editing in the supernatural brightness of IPS monitors, zooming to 100% and contemplating raw conversion,
    who bared their brains to Heaven in the forums and saw Recalcitrant trolls blasting the pixels their photographs illuminated,
    who passed through DPReview with radiant cool eyes hallucinating Superiority and Best Gear posturing among the scholars of uselessness,
    who were expelled from the posers for crazy & publishing actual artwork on the windows of the skull...

    I saw the best camera makers of my generation destroyed by marketing, in colors, with wifi, left profitless in a land of plenty...

    [again, apologies, Mr. Ginsberg -- I've just been howling about camera makers silliness lately, and thought of you, lol]
     
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  2. Biro

    Biro SC All-Pro

    Aug 7, 2011
    Jersey Shore
    Steve
    OMG... wait until Gary responds to this! I am with you at B&H!
     
    • Like Like x 1
  3. TheRubySusan

    TheRubySusan SC Top Veteran

    646
    Sep 2, 2013
    Henry, IL
    Ruby
    I hear you!
     
    • Like Like x 1
  4. Lawrence A.

    Lawrence A. SC All-Pro

    Nov 8, 2012
    New Mexico
    Larry
    wonderful
     
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  5. Jock Elliott

    Jock Elliott SC All-Pro

    Jan 3, 2012
    Troy, NY
    John, just so both our poetic licenses can be revoked . . .

    "I know what you're thinking, punk," hissed Digital Harry to his new editor, "you're thinking, 'Did he peep pixels on six new cameras or only five?' -- and to tell the truth, I forgot myself in all this excitement; but being as this is a bridge camera, with the most powerful zoom lens in the world, whose focal range will blow your perspective clean off, you've got to ask yourself one question: 'Do I want to peep pixels or shoot pictures?' -- well do you, punk?"
     
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  6. Yeats

    Yeats SC All-Pro

    Jul 31, 2012
    New Jersey, USA
    Chris
    I like cameras that are available in colors, just like real tools. :wink:
     
    • Like Like x 3
  7. donlaw

    donlaw SC All-Pro

    Sep 14, 2012
    Texas
    Don
    John,
    Not only are you a talented photographer, but you good with words. Nicely put.
    Yet silly cameras can be fun too.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  8. entropic remnants

    entropic remnants SC All-Pro

    Mar 3, 2013
    John Griggs
    As I've said multiple times, though nobody seems to get it -- in itself making cameras in colors is not bad if the public is DEMANDING them. But if it's being generated by desperate marketing people taking orders from desperate executives then it's a sign of a PROBLEM and will likely just make it worse.

    It's particularly bad for brick-and-mortar (or really any stocking) camera seller. Camera makers only give you a good price if you agree to buy so many of each type of unit. Nikon was HORRIBLY abusive in what they made their dealers buy in the Nikon 1 system for instance.

    So, I'm a camera seller -- not a manufacturer -- and I want to maximize my sales and my profits. When I make my buy, how many do I order of each color? Will I get stuck with some? Will I lose sales if I don't have the right colors in stock? What do do? My money will be on the line and the camera company can't prove to me I'll be able to sell these things.

    No. Colors that are being enthusiastically demanded by the public would be a good thing. Only they really aren't. So it's likely a further sign of the deterioration of a camera industry that in general is losing its way.

    Didn't you enjoy the pseudo-Ginsberg more? Didn't you, punk?

    Loved the "Dirty Harry" bit, Jock!
     
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  9. Yeats

    Yeats SC All-Pro

    Jul 31, 2012
    New Jersey, USA
    Chris
    John, I don't recall ever reading your opinion on cameras being available in a multitude of colors.

    Many great products have been developed without without the public knowing they wanted them, e.g. mp3 players, smartphones, "funny" cigarettes...

    Waiting for the public to demand something sounds rational and conformist. I appreciate the irony, given your excellent riff on Howl. :2thumbs:

    I've been told there's strong demand for colorful electronics - including large-sensor cameras - in Asia, especially Japan. Come to think of it, colorful electronics are popular here in America, too. Look at the skins and cases available for personal electronic devices.

    I'm with you on the rest of it, though. The fundamentals of picture-taking equipment (how about big bright OVF's on DSLR's instead of tiny tunnels?) are taking a back seat to technomongery.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  10. entropic remnants

    entropic remnants SC All-Pro

    Mar 3, 2013
    John Griggs
    My opinions on color cameras have received some rather negative reaction, lol -- because people thought I was ridiculing the idea of a color camera, rather than WHY manufacturers are making them.

    Skinned devices are a different deal, and so are devices that sell in such mass quantities, and therefore are manufactured at lower cost, that the "price of color" is small. But the investment by a seller of cameras in a range of colors is a big deal if you're in business. In America, where camera sales have steeply declined, such tactics look like desperation rather than innovation.

    I know what you mean about innovation not following demand and it's a good point -- but does it really apply to a brightly colored camera? Especially in light of your comment about how other things on cameras aren't being advanced.

    Frankly, some design standardization by a manufacturer that results in lower cost production -- and mirrorless lends itself well to this -- could result in much larger sales even though per-unit profit would be lower. Getting more folks into your product with a really good price point for a great product is REAL innovation but Sony appears to be the only one pushing down there. If they continue to do with cameras what they did with some other products and combine that with their vertical integration (making their own sensor) they can really rule in many segments of the camera market long term.

    Which I will mourn as I don't like Sony handling, lol.


     
  11. Jock Elliott

    Jock Elliott SC All-Pro

    Jan 3, 2012
    Troy, NY
    "angelheaded hipsters burning for the ancient heavenly retro body, high ISO starry dynamo in the machinery of night,
    who impoverished by GAS and hollow-eyed through pixel peeping, sat up editing in the supernatural brightness of IPS monitors, zooming to 100% and contemplating raw conversion,
    who bared their brains to Heaven in the forums and saw Recalcitrant trolls blasting the pixels their photographs illuminated,
    who passed through DPReview with radiant cool eyes hallucinating Superiority and Best Gear posturing among the scholars of uselessness,"

    I like it! It's not only a good parody; it's true!

    Cheers, Jock
     
    • Like Like x 2
  12. Luckypenguin

    Luckypenguin SC Hall of Famer

    Dec 24, 2010
    Brisbane, Australia
    Nic
    Since it is impossible for me to be representative of the total global demand for cameras across all buyer demographics there is not a lot of relevance in me in telling camera manufacturers what colours they should make their products.
     
    • Like Like x 2
  13. entropic remnants

    entropic remnants SC All-Pro

    Mar 3, 2013
    John Griggs
    That's not what I'm doing: I'm calling into question their wisdom in how they iterate models and what they promote. I've done it with Olympus also -- for instance the E-P5 was a huge waste of resources with no significant gains for the camera market place. Manufacturers are squandering their resources and floundering for a formula to sell the idea of a camera more than the actual camera. Obviously, I'm not a fan, lol.

    I would have said Fuji was a little bit of an exception until the A1 -- which dilutes their brand and calls into question the "value" of X-Trans by the average consumer. We've already heard from people with X-M1's saying they feel a bit smacked by the X-A1. Why not make the X-Trans at that price point? Bet it could be done without making yet - One. More. Body. Same mistakes as Oly.

    To play upon Zack Arias analogy in his X100S review: the really hip kid in the bar just started marketing t-shirts and coffee mugs, lol. Not so hip anymore.
     
  14. entropic remnants

    entropic remnants SC All-Pro

    Mar 3, 2013
    John Griggs
    Oh no! Somebody else who thinks somewhat like I do! The world is not safe!!! lol - Thanks, Jock.

     
    • Like Like x 1
  15. TheRubySusan

    TheRubySusan SC Top Veteran

    646
    Sep 2, 2013
    Henry, IL
    Ruby
    Maybe it's because I'm sort of a newbie, but I'd rather have a camera that will bracket exposures than one that will create "special effects," and in the tentative shopping I've been doing since the Minolta Dimage Z3 died, I'm seeing all sorts of bells and whistles (that I have apps for) but not that sort of basic functionality. And I'm appalled that optical viewfinders seem to be going the way of the dinosaur. Holding even a little thing like my loaner Coolpix S4000 out where I can see the LCD screen makes it tons harder to hold it steady. (I haven't ventured very far up the ladder pricewise as I'm currently unemployed.)
     
    • Like Like x 1
  16. entropic remnants

    entropic remnants SC All-Pro

    Mar 3, 2013
    John Griggs
    I'm a viewfinder person, Ruby. I'm almost 60 and it may be a bit biased, lol -- but I want one. Like you, I find I'm able to hold the camera much more steadily with 3 points of support (2 hands and face).

    That said, it did take awhile to make me an electronic viewfinder convert. I think it started to click when I was shooting the E-M5 at a wedding as a third camera and I realized that I could see my shot in the dark reception where I couldn't with my D7000's. I was using a flash bounced off the ceiling with a small bounce card as well when shooting the Nikons so exposure was not a problem -- but actually visualizing the shot in the darker-than-reality reflex viewfinder was difficult. With the Olympus, I felt like I could see in the dark.

    The X100S I have now with my X-E1 are both cameras that are mostly camera, and very little fluff. They just work. No mode dial even: they have an actual aperture ring and shutter speed dial. The X100S has that hybrid viewfinder where you can go optical or electronic. Great for a fixed lens camera.

    I'm sorry to hear about your employment situation! Too common these days no matter what the unemployment statistics suggest. Hope things improve.

    There are a few "real" cameras without "bloatware" on them. They will be showing up used as GAS consumes folks and we go for the next, big, thing, lol. But in these days where hype is more important than real performance I don't know how long they will be available at reasonable price points.
     
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  17. Luckypenguin

    Luckypenguin SC Hall of Famer

    Dec 24, 2010
    Brisbane, Australia
    Nic
    Every other camera competing in the same category brings into question the value of X-Trans. When competing for dollars in the much higher volume segments down lower in the market, value becomes an even more important criteria and the X-A1 has to compete with NEX-3Ns and Olympus E-PL5s, et al. I wouldn't know how much an X-Trans sensor costs compared to a conventional one, but $200 seems a lot relative to the cost of the X-A1 kit. I don't really see the pricing of the X-A1 as a mistake. If anything the X-M1 was the mistake, however since it shares everything bar the sensor with the X-A1 it shouldn't be a costly R&D mistake and if they can sell it to enough people who want a smaller body but must have the X-Trans sensor there might be a business case for it.



    Define hip :cool::smile:
     
  18. entropic remnants

    entropic remnants SC All-Pro

    Mar 3, 2013
    John Griggs
    Oh, I agree the X-M1 should have been much cheaper and made the A1 unnecessary.

    Hip? If you don't know what it is, you aren't, lol. Seriously, did you read Zack's review on the X100S?

     
  19. Luckypenguin

    Luckypenguin SC Hall of Famer

    Dec 24, 2010
    Brisbane, Australia
    Nic
    Assuming that it was his "Why Fuji is the new Leica" piece then yes, but I don't quite know if Zack is an undeniable authority on hip-ness. My own wish last year that Fuji would make something other than retro inspired bodies and do something with looks and controls that were a bit more modern. They have done that now with the X-A/M1 (don't love the blue version myself, however!) although I'm not really in the market anymore.
     
  20. Ray Sachs

    Ray Sachs SC Legend

    Sep 21, 2010
    Not too far from Philly
    you should be able to figure it out...
    All good points John (and I loved the take off on "Howl"), but I tend to look at it from the end user's standpoint, not the camera shop's. And colors have been ok for me. I once bought a red GF1 and got an insane price on it probably BECAUSE it was red. No doubt it hurt the seller, but I never minded the color as much as I liked the price and the camera! So, it's all a double edged sword - some good things about it, some bad I guess. I tend to prefer to focus on the good edge....

    -Ray
     
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