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artuk

State of the camera market

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artuk

Having spent a great deal of time travelling in South East Asia, I made a number of observations about the cameras that people are using and what seems to be happening in the market. 

All these comments relate predominately to SE Asian markets, and may not apply to where people live in Europe or North America, as trends vary significantly be region.

1. Camera Phones

As already noted in another thread, camera phones dominate for most casual users.  Almost all tourists seem to use them, and snap away casually at almost anything that passes in front of them.  Younger Asians seem particularly addicted to a combination of camera phones and social media, and it often seems like no moment or experience passes without being snapped and reported on.  Often the same moment gets snapped 10s or 100s of times to achieve the perfect fake lifestyle look before posting on social media.  Almost no drink or meal escapes endless snapping for some.  Young Chinese women seem particularly keen on this approach.

2. Compact Camera

I saw very few compact cameras, given the comments about camera phones above.  The ones I did see were either enthusiast compacts often being used by older (middle aged+) men, or very simple often older point and shoot models.  Some people with P&S cameras also used camera phones too.  I saw no trend in what they were using - I noticed the odd Sony, Canon, Fuji etc. 

I'm going to talk about each brand now as their demographics seem different, even within the same camera type.

3. Fuji

Fuji seem very popular in some parts of SE Asia, particularly with younger women who seemed to own the cheaper models with kit lenses such as the X-A and X-M models.  I was told by a dealer that they liked them because they were very small and light.  The more expensive models (X-T10 etc) seem to sell to younger male customers.  In SE Asia, there is often a tendency to be very influenced by what people think will make them look like they know what they are doing (basically, people can be quite self conscious and want to look like they know what they are doing).  As a result, the retro old fashioned look of some of the Fuji cameras seems to appeal to them.  I didn't see many X-Pros or X-T1s.  Dealers have large displays of the Fuji range.

4. Olympus / Panasonic

Although different companies, I will talk about them together as the m43rds mount is shared.  Although Olympus offer a similar retro appeal to the Fuji cameras, and also make very small light models, they didn't seem as popular and I didn't see many in peoples hands.  I did see a few of the smaller models often being used by young Chinese women, and the OM-D range in the hands of generally younger Asian men who looked like they were enthusiast photographers, or at least wanted to appear that way.  I didn't see much Panasonic at all.  Both brands are sold at most dealers but seem to have less prominence than Fuji.

5. Sony (mirrorless - E/NEX mount)

I think Sony's range falls into 2 segments - their APS-C offerings and their full frame range.  The full frame range is widely available at many enthusiast type dealers who carry a wide range, and they seem to be marketed and sell to both Asian and Western enthusiasts.  I would say the age range spanned 30 somethings to the middle aged.  Their APS-C cameras seem to be owned by younger customers, the A6000 by men and the smaller viewfinder-less models to women.  The APS-C models feature more in high street electronics dealers, whereas the full frame models were featured heavily at enthusiast camera stores.  They appear to be the camera of choice for enthusiasts who didn't want an SLR.

6. Nikon SLR

In some (Asian) markets Nikon SLRs seem to be the choice for the enthusiast who considers themselves more "serious", though it's hard to justify exactly why I got that impression.  They often leave the large "I am Nikon" stickers around the front barrel or hoods of their lenses.  I saw 1 Nikon only store that also have small gallery.  I didn't see so many Nikon SLRs, and not many of the lower tier cameras.  The Nikon 1 system is almost non-existent at dealers, though enthusiast dealers carry decent ranges of SLRs.

7. Canon SLR

Canon really does seem to be the camera of choice for anyone who wants a camera just like everyone else, and probably because of my comments about wanting to look like they know what they are doing.  Enthusiasts all brandish their large APS-C SLRs and the odd full frame model like the 6D or 5D, often with 70-200 tele zooms for reasons I don't understand, whilst I spotted many casual users snapping away with some of their entry level models.  They often seem to be used in auto mode with a kit zoom.  Canon just seem to be everywhere, ubiquitous.  A few young Chinese were using the EOS M cameras, one assume because the power of brand transcends the fact that the cameras aren't very good by all accounts.

8 Samsung NX

In case anyone had forgotten, Samsung still officially make their NX cameras like the NX-1, NX Galaxy, NX-10 etc.  However, I visited the companies technology centre in Seoul where they showcase their new technologies, and there was not a camera in sight.  Even as you leave the gallery via a very large shop, there were no Samsung cameras there at all.  As far as I can tell, the NX camera system appears to be dead. I actually think this is a shame, as they did much right, but even in South Korea I didn't see anyone using a Samsung camera, though their phones were ubiquitous.

 

I photographed at physique sports competitions, where press and enthusiasts are often present, and it was one of the few times where I saw a lot of SLRs (mostly Canon, some Nikon), followed by Sony E mount (mostly APS-C) and Fuji X low tier models.  Elsewhere, even SLRs were thin on the ground and often in the hands of enthusiast western tourists, although I met several other enthusiast users with Sony A7 cameras.

I came away finding it hard to believe that camera sales had only dropped by the volumes reported, since as far as I could tell hardly anyone bought compacts, with only small mirror-less models being slightly popular with consumers.  Only the most committed casual user had a smaller SLR.

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MadDog

Commenting on #1 the 4th sentence - how true this is.  Especially when it comes to young girls taking vanity photos of themselves.  The new generation prefers to call them selfies perhaps in an effort to keep themselves from admitting that they are so intrinsically self possessed with their looks.  

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mikescri
10 hours ago, MadDog said:

Commenting on #1 the 4th sentence - how true this is.  Especially when it comes to young girls taking vanity photos of themselves.  The new generation prefers to call them selfies perhaps in an effort to keep themselves from admitting that they are so intrinsically self possessed with their looks.  

And not only regarding photos.  I'm amazed how many mostly younger, mostly female people in elevators spend their time examining their faces in the mirror. I'd always assumed that mirrors were put in elevators to make the space feel larger, and that most people were inhibited about public displays of self-absorbed narcissism. But apparently not. Could also comment on young women putting on their makeup on public transport (have never seen men shaving while traveling to work, but who knows what's around the corner ...).

Perhaps I'm just becoming a grumpy old man?

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veejaycee
6 hours ago, mikescri said:

And not only regarding photos.  I'm amazed how many mostly younger, mostly female people in elevators spend their time examining their faces in the mirror. I'd always assumed that mirrors were put in elevators to make the space feel larger, and that most people were inhibited about public displays of self-absorbed narcissism. But apparently not. Could also comment on young women putting on their makeup on public transport (have never seen men shaving while traveling to work, but who knows what's around the corner ...).

Perhaps I'm just becoming a grumpy old man?

Yep! The early signs are there. Welcome to the grumpy old farts club. :)

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artuk
17 hours ago, MadDog said:

Commenting on #1 the 4th sentence - how true this is.  Especially when it comes to young girls taking vanity photos of themselves.  The new generation prefers to call them selfies perhaps in an effort to keep themselves from admitting that they are so intrinsically self possessed with their looks.  

At a beach resort, young Chinese women would dress deliberately in outfits that appeared to have been inspired by Chinese romantic travel novels (large sun hats, Jackie O sunglasses, simmer dresses, shawls, it was all very deliberate and not what they wore elsewhere) and would get their boyfriends / husbands to endlessly take photos of them, often for more than an hour, all in search for the perfect fake lifestyle photos of their holiday. Its a far cry from the snaps on our family Kodak 126 camera during my childhood holidays.

 

edit: I'm mindful that this thread was not intended to be dedicated to talking about how young women are self absorbed, nor singling out people by race or nation - I only wrote about what I happened to see at the places I visited. I know some younger men who spend a lot of time photographing themselves for social media, though in different ways to women, and there are plenty of westerners who are also suitably self absorbed.

Edited by artuk
equality

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farrell
On 7/15/2016 at 7:22 AM, veejaycee said:

Yep! The early signs are there. Welcome to the grumpy old farts club. :)

I'll be 75 soon;since I was  50 or so when an aircraft's crew lined up to say "g'bye"

I was thinking OMG don't tell me those boys were flying this plane!

I can be deliberately challenging, even confrontational, when in my view a business

is trying to give me the grand wazoo.

I deeply regret being so acquiescent as I have been in my younger years.

 

Edited by farrell

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