To a large extent, this is still true today. Most buyers of DSLRs
are conservative and still desire a camera with familiar controls and
features. Canon and Nikon users are well looked after in this regard.
Anyone can pick up the newest model and immediately be able to
use it without reading the manual.
Ironically, this has put traditional camera manufacturers, especially
Canon and Nikon, at a distinct disadvantage. Because they are losing
the mass market, they cannot experiment with new features in compact cameras. Yet if they experiment on DSLR cameras, they run the
risk of alienating their “old” buyers who do not necessarily want these
new features—at least not yet.
When you think about it, today’s camera is basically a computer
with an image sensor and a lens. That’s how I would describe an
iPhone. It seems that for the majority of users, the phone part of
the iPhone is the least important. My son, for example, now uses
his iPhone as his TV, game player, Internet portal, camera and
occasionally for making phone calls. He hasn’t touched his old PC
in over a year.
No wonder the success of smart phones has led to hundreds of
innovative add-ons—both software and hardware.
It’s in the software area that the camera manufacturers have
fallen far behind. Can you imagine what you’d be able to do with
your camera if it was an open platform and third-party developers could add functionality?
This is where I think there will eventually be tremendous
growth. At least Nikon has jumped on this development with
the recently announced Coolpix S800c camera, which uses the
Android operating system. It’ll be interesting to see what becomes
of this. If developers can really access the camera’s core functions,
we will end up with a smart camera.
The irony is that thanks to smart phones, photography today is
more popular than ever because it’s so easy for a person to snap
photographs and instantly have them viewable online and distributed to family and friends at zero cost.
As the photography bug gradually catches on with many smart
phone users, they’ll want to move up to a better camera; however,
they won’t want to give up the connectivity and expandability (in
software) they’ve enjoyed with their smart phones.
Not surprisingly, new camera users want a camera with a good
lens, great quality, ease of use and all the bells and whistles. Few of
them want a bulky DSLR. That’s why the growth of small mirrorless cameras is ensured—they meet newcomers’ needs. Yet most
of these cameras are still lacking the connectivity and upgradability
capabilities expected by new users who have been groomed on
It’s easy to see why Canon and Nikon are in a quandary. If they
develop leading-edge, small cameras with interchangeable lenses and
all the necessary features, they will inevitably cannibalize sales of their
DSLR cameras and, worse yet, their high-profit large lenses. That’s why
the next few years will be crucially important to these two camera
giants. Will they be able to maintain their market share against
companies like Sony, Olympus and, to a lesser extent, Panasonic,
Pentax and Fujifilm, who can afford to concentrate on offering the
most exciting, leading-edge cameras because they do not need to
worry about cannibalizing their pro-level DSLR sales, since they are
so small or non-existent?
HENSEL_Rangefinder_1212 1-2pg APPLE:HENSEL_Rangefinder_12
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