Camera companies in crisis?

This is the time of year when we are innundated with annual (financial) reports from manufacturing industry, not least, the ‘big’ three camera manufacterers, Canon, Nikon and Sony.

It seems that they’re all in a bit of a fix, with revenues being reduced, sales (obviously) too – and warnings that ‘things will have to change’ because they’re not making enough profit.

I tend to think this is a little like people who say they « lost money » on the stock market. They didn’t loose anything – they just didn’t make the profits they expected. I got (slightly) uppity a few years ago after the Lloyds ‘crash’ in the UK – people were wringing their hands and moaning that they’d have to sell a house, or a horse, or both, due to the huge « losses » they had endured – total nonsense – they had, as one does, counted on the huge profits they had made simply continuing, and had adapted their (already extravagant) lifestyles to meet them.

When everything went down the toilet NO-ONE had made prevision for this and thus they were all up a creek without a paddle – however, for a few, the British government stepped in to help – they never helped me when I was strapped for cash…

Back to cameras – it seems that the manufacturers have missed one key aspect of marketing (and this brings to mind the previous paragraph) – after many years of sometimes spectacular growth, people don’t seem to be buying as much camera equipment as they did…and the manufacturers can’t seem to figure out why?

It’s actually relatively simple – you can only sell so much – there is a point where everyone (except the readers of the Nikon Rumours forum who seem to have inordinate amounts of disposable cash and will buy ANYTHING) is equiped, perhaps not with the very latest model, but at least with equipment which serves their needs – and they are not going to buy more just to please the camera companies. (NR members excepted, of course)

Instead of just trying to keep up with the Joneses, why don’t the manufacturers put a little more (a lot more…) time and effort into development (you know, R&D – research and development) No one can really afford to change camera body every year, so don’t keep making so many different models – reduce the number, increase the quality, respond to the real needs of photographers and the problem will go away – if not entirely, at least it will maintain a certain equilibrium which will allow the manufacturers to make profits, and the photographers to use state-of-the art equipment.

Seems pretty simple to me…