It’s a wonderful time for photographers who focus on cameras more than on taking pictures. Lots of new cameras have been introduced to the market lately and a few upcoming exhibitions will present us even more wonderful camera porn.
But, what’s that? Look at those insane prices compared to your average DSLR.
For some years already the mid-range average amateur DSLR with Kit-lens is sold for values (both USD and EUR) in the 550-750,- range. I’m thinking of Canon’s T2i, T3i, 550D, 600D and Nikon’s D3100, D5100 and earlier models.
Now we’ve been presented with:
- smaller sensors
- smaller lenses
- more coloured plastic
- less complexity (mirrorless, electronic shutter, less mechanical parts)
Miniaturization by reducing capabilities to a more or less still acceptable level, filled with compact camera software gimmicks to add up marketing value.
But all of this at same or higher price levels:
micro Four Thirds at a range of 500-800,-
- Fuji X10 at 600,-
- Nikon 1 at 600-800,-
Adding to this the retro-camera wave that adds no more value than an integrated prime-lense and APS-C (just as the average more flexible DSLR) and thus size-reduction to a level where it doesn’t fit in your pocket, but is still lighter to carry around than your D3, 1D or whatever big Monster you feel you should have to cut from, while actually not having ever seen one in real.
- Those go for the range of 1.000-2000,- ! Examples: Fuji x100, Sony Nex-7 (not so much retro), Fuji X-1 pro, Olympus OM-D (expected).
The Pro-DSLRs are raising their price, too, while only minimally adding low-light capabilities to the earlier model and some video feature missing before.
- D4 +1000,-
- D800 +1000,- (expected)
Don’t forget the dispersed market prices, i.e. between US and Europe. While the recently introduced Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 85 mm 1:1,8G is set to a US-List of 499,- USD, Nikon’s European offer is at a EUR-List of 529,- EUR, which makes a approx. 26% increase based on the current USD-EUR exchange rates, while our past price-lists showed 1:1 conversions.
All of this, while Europe, Japan, US are facing crisis times that won’t be solved that quickly, requiring at least another 3-5 years to overcome, if not falling deeper into recession?
What’s in those manufacturers mind?
- compensating for a rebuild of destroyed manufacturing plants?
- compensating for a diminishing compact camera market, shocked by the mobile phone camera’s quality/acceptance?
- cutting margin from big money of young hipsters who get stuff paid by their rich family
- Bail-out of Japan and US?
Not all of these cameras are built in Japan. Many of those are manufactured throughout the cheaper labor regions of Asia (i.e. Thailand, Vietnam, China, …) at reduced cost.
It’s time that somebody jumps into this semi-professional market to disrupt it, as it’s been done by Apple on the consumer compact market.
A well coded application that allows capturing multiple shots with a very fast and excellent lense integrated into a mobile phone will quickly reach the resolution of and virtually combines multiple exposures to a larger sensor format, gaining a lot of low-light quality this way. Sounds crappy, but actually, it’s manageable and can create excellent low-light high-resolution pictures similar to those over-expensive cameras available today.
The future lies in software bundled to a smaller piece of excellent hardware. Your technical photo will be made 70% by software and 30% by the lense/sensor.
Of course, individual composing/modification/execution will be the heart of your photo, but technically, software will take the job of many physical features currently still implented as hardware. All of this, while those lenses will be able to capture full-HD video at 50-60fps shortly, anyway, eating the new crema of the now introduced Video-DSLRs.