OP ED: This is the Year that Camera Manufacturers are Fighting to Survive

We haven’t seen anything like this from camera manufacturers in years; and it’s insane.

This piece is being written objectively from the point of view of a journalist embedded in the photo industry for over 10 years. At the helm of one of the largest photo blogs in the world, I can tell you with all certainty that it looks like every camera manufacturer is fighting to survive harder than they have in previous years. Not only are we seeing a lot of entries into the world of full-frame mirrorless, but we’re seeing partnerships, innovations, etc. to remind the general public that cameras are still relevant. You and I know better of course; but in a world where everyone is so incredibly satisfied with their phone’s convenience and an ILC camera that shoots in auto mode, I feel like camera manufacturers need to do even more to survive.

This statement isn’t just one that applies to cameras and lenses but it also applies to the photo industry in general. Lots of folks aren’t getting gigs and it’s pretty difficult to do that when people are uncertain about how to spend their money.

The folks who are benefiting you’d think would be the consumers, but in truth, I don’t think that that’s the case. Due to high prices in order for camera manufacturers to survive, I genuinely think that the outlets that are most benefits are the retailers. The reason for this is not because a consumer can’t be completely satisfied with their products, but because the manufactures deliver very short product cycle lives to ensure that sales can continue. That’s good for consumers because they’re all trying to outdo one another and deliver better products to us all. But lots of these new products are more expensive than they’ve ever been before.

This is a trend amongst consumer tech overall though. I mean, look at how expensive flagship phones are these days! Personally, I’m not sure what to go with. I’m embedded deep into the Apple ecosystem but the company hasn’t created a product that I want to spend money on or really like in many years. Further, I’m not a fan of Android’s fragmentation. I used to use Android devices and then went iOS as a response to how most people interact with our website. All of these phones have great cameras that are being marketed as being able to outdo DSLRs and mirrorless cameras. And in truth, those phones are doing amazing jobs with the use of software and tech that traditional camera manufacturers haven’t been implementing. For what it’s worth, it seems almost like they don’t want to because it would hinder sales.

I believe that if camera manufacturers really want to continue to thrive and get consumers back, they need to have folks available that forget all that they know about photography and completely relearn it from a modern-day perspective. Maybe then we might not see such a dip in sales overall.

Chris Gampat

Chris Gampat is the Editor in Chief, Founder, and Publisher of the Phoblographer. He also likes pizza.