The new reality (price increases everywhere)

Photo-Rumors-Zoltar
When I first reported the rumored price of the new Olympus E-M1 Mark II camera, I was hoping that it was a mistake. Few hours after my post, I received a confirmation from a good source that the European price will indeed be 1,990 Euro (around $2,200). Then I noticed that the price of the Pentax K-1 camera also went up by $150... and just few weeks ago the price of the RX1R II went up by $600. I think we just have to get used to the "new normal" - a good MFT camera will cost $2,000, other prices will go up as well, product lifecycles will get longer (Ricoh, Nikon and Leica did not make any significant announcements at Photokina this year). Even Sony who announced 8 cameras last year and 17 different models in 2014, has only 4 new models this year. Some products will just die (compact cameras), others will be delayed (the new shipping date for the Hasselblad X1D is now November). Some companies will look at medium format as the savior (Hasselblad X1D, Fuji GFX) while others will try to venture outside of photography by investing in/buying small companies.

So yes, this is the new reality - get used to it.

Updates:

digital-camera-market-forecast

Here is the latest camera shipment data from CIPA (orange: 2016, black: 2015, blue: 2014 click for larger view):

cipa-camera-shipment-data-2016

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  • Zos Xavius

    Sad, but true.

  • Duarte Castelo Branco

    the slower life cycles may actually be a good thing. We Will have more progress from one model to the other and all cameras will retain their value in the used market better.

    • KT

      and in the process, a few companies will go belly up due to poor sales

    • Mistral75

      > We will have more progress from one model to the other

      I am afraid you will not. R&D will slow down at the same pace as the launch of new models, to improve the EBIT margin in the short term in the context of a declining market.

      • Jeffry De Meyer

        Not really, Cameras on a whole might see longer shelf lives
        Their components which are mostly gotten from out side of the company (except for canon) still have other industries that are pushing advances there for industries that have higher refresh cycles.

  • CHD

    How is this a surprise? The actual ‘pro’ market is very small….the enthusiast market slightly bigger. The largest segment of the market already own cameras that far out spec their owner’s abilities….it’s called an iPhone.

  • ZMWT

    No reason to be sad; this is a very positive thing. Manufacturers will follow sane trends of true development, real upgrades, real improvements, cameras and lenses will hold value, and the market will not be saturated with tons of debased and practically redundant junk cameras (Sony, Fujifilm, looking at you).

    • Was going to defend fuji here but yeah. . . way too many body variants.

  • Anonymous

    Maybe shipments would increase and sales would grow if companies stopped jacking up prices, when they do that they prevent people from entering that market, it’s like they’re encouraging people to buy phones and lesser quality gear because they all just want to shut down but are too big of cowards to admit it

    • a-traveler

      Not everybody wants/needs a camera. There are many people who wouldn’t take a camera as a gift.

      To put it another way: I don’t smoke cigarettes. If RJReynolds gave me a carton of Camels, I wouldn’t start smoking—I’d just pitch them into the trash.

  • roos

    Downsizing is hard, but in spite of that, it looks like what big actors we have on the camera market today will make it through anyway.

    1. The MF-bunch always struggle a bit, but are not that affected by the shrinking market. Neither is leica, really.

    2. Canon and Nikon are still the main actors and it looks like they are keeping their big market shares for now, even though they are defensive. Rico act as the third option and there will always be poeple that want what the big actors deliver, but made by someone else.

    3. Panasonic has profiled itself as the small video option and olympus as the small enthusiast option.

    4. Fuji and Sony are the offensive ones that are slowly, but quite successfully carving out a parallell mirrorless small frame market for themselves. Fuji allready went through their downsizing and transition from negative film to instant and digital. Sony are suffering from the collapsing pocket camera market but have the resources to handle it and have more or less cornered the sensor market. So neither of them are going away either.

    5. Sigma. I dont really see how they can have been making money on their cameras even when everything pointed out. Business as usual there too, i guess.

    6. The chinese manufacturers will continue to produce cheap alternatives. They will came and go as usual under whatever names.

    In a few years time, we may see changes, but right now? Hardly!

    • I agree, I really like what Fuji is doing right now. I cannot say I am excited by any other company. And yes, Nikon and Canon will remain with a big chunk of the market – this is a long term marathon, not a short term sprint.

  • fanboy fagz

    let the companies fight and bring out tons of cameras every year. good for me. I couldnt give a rats ass that sales have gone down. the prices are way too high with little in innovation. bring prices down or innovate or continue with bad sales, im happy using gear for longer, digital cameras perform well the last few years. huge tech advancements arent as big. today steps are incremental.

    • Geoff Neuer

      This entire DSLR industry could of turned out much different, much more powerful than it will. They should of opened up their firmwares for hackers to keep power junkies interested, but now you have less options to modify before digital. They should of standardized the lens mounts, but adapters still stand alone as the only option. Motherboards should of been replaceable, but they are still trashed with the entire camera. Digital for this industry should of opened doors just as it did for typewriters, calculators, communications, TV…but sadly it just repainted the tired old ones.

      I put about $7k every year into a gaming rig, but I won’t put that into a DSLR that will last 10x that. I’m trying to buy one, but I’m still holding a D90 because of what I see. I don’t know, people just want to see the same good ol’ boy camera. Nobody goes out of the box, they just make new ones :-/

      • KnightPhoto

        Yes to most everything you say, except justifying still owning a D90. You are three models and 2 full generations of digital sensors behind there. Sensor performance moved mountains since the D90.

  • Steve Matko

    Most of these price increases are exchange related. But there are still bargains around and great sales will be happening. And people will decide if they pay as much for a feature packed camera with a small sensor, versus APS-C or FF bargains, like the Sigma SD Quattro or the Pentax K1. And although the X-T2 seems already forgotten at the Photokina, it’s features and IQ can easily keep up with most of the high-end DSLRs at an affordable price.

    • That is true too, the dollar is very strong right now

  • markz

    I’m not even going to pretend to be sad even though this does actually mean delaying my next upgrade – and that’s not because I can’t afford it, rather that, at the extra price (in this case for the GH5), I’ll instead plow the camera upgrade/replacement budget in to my next trip.

    not entirely surprised and to some degree have been expecting this for a while.
    Market and technology has matured (less dramatic improvements per iteration and many people realising not only that part but also that they don’t actually NEED the latest and greatest if it’s just minor upgrades)
    Thanks to smart phone cameras getting to the “good enough” for most consumers the budget end has almost dried up to support the flagship models (which in turn may affect R&D which will affect future improvements which will…. go round and round)

    I’d be happy to see a higher price / longer life cycle on enthusiast & pro models _ if _ it comes with improves durability and support (part pricing, warranty, firmware etc)

  • Benno Hessler

    Just one small general correction, Peter, if I may: There are no ‘EuroS’. 1 Euro, 10 Euro, 2,000 Euro… 😉

    • KnightPhoto

      Didn’t know that!

    • J. Doe

      How about dollars? Oh, right…

    • Abiatha Swelter

      That’s a Euro convention. In America, we can have euros.

      • Benno Hessler

        So Americans Tell Europeans how their currency has to be spelled? Interesting point of view…

  • TinusVerdino

    On the other side there still are a lot of value packed mid level bodies. We will see the sales hike because of new models only in 2017, because they have been shown, but not introduced.

  • tl;dr, people aren’t buying cameras like they used to, so we’ll see fewer new models, and those that do come will be more expensive.

  • Ron Hendriks

    If the market will stay this slow for the coming year, then I do wonder wich manufacturer will step out of the camera business. There isn’t enough market for all.

  • a-traveler

    How long will the camera gear web sites last? Decreasing camera sales mean less affiliate money to be made.

    Will DPReview turn into Food-Processor-Review when camera gear sales dry-up at Amazon.

  • KnightPhoto

    Thanks Admin for posting this article…

  • Muc Cica

    Didn’t Sigma do a similar thing several years ago with its SD1 APSC camera, pricing it at 10,000 $, leaving it to its fans to defend the move? Seems like there will be camera makers, not cameras, up for sale soon…

  • I guess I’ll stick to D810 for a couple more years. wait for some real innovation and camera manufacturers to come to their senses.

  • I would expect that rather than lose companies, that those in danger will cut models, become specialists in one or two formats, at most. It wouldn’t be any surprise at all, for instance, if the DSLR market culled down to just Nikon, Canon, Leica, and maybe Pentax, which will nonetheless remain in the MF market with high quality at the basement price. Leica, on the other hand, is entrenched in the DSLR and MF market with dedicated buyers who will pay whatever price it demands for them to be an available choice.

    Panasonic, Sony and the rest, not in the MF market, might cut back to only produce compact and “Go-Pro” type models, and for Sony and Panasonic, also DSLR CMOS chips for others, while so-called “bridge” cameras will disappear, yielding to the DSLR or compact, and/or phone. If there are liquidations, I would expect it to be in what settles into this group.

    The medium-format long-time exclusives, like Hasselblad, Leica and Pentax, as previously noted, will likely remain, Hasselblad enjoying the same market pricing advantage as Leica. Any others in this format will be struggling, like Phase, until they’re gone, as DSLR models creep into an MF overlap.

    That’s my tenuously translucent crystal ball. I’m long-term, dedicated Nikon (first was new ’69 Ftn), my last model (D750) in hand, so I’m not in the game anymore and have no stake.

  • Refuz Tosay

    The Chinese will buy one or 2 of the medium tier brands and drive prices down until the big-2 capitulate. All they have to do is adopt Nikon and/or Canon lens mount format (focusing on selling bodies at first) and hire Americans to develop a modern user interface / menu system and allow third parties to write apps for it and mod the GUI.

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