Every wave of technology poses a challenge to its predecessor. Some leverage this as an opportunity to innovate and improve on their offering. For others, however, these times represent a significant inflection point as their current business model is predicated on the maintenance of the status quo. The camera industry may have a penchant for the latter.
Last week, research firm IDC lowered its expectations for shipments of DSLR cameras by 9.1% to 17.4 million units. There are any number of potential reason for this drop, but many attribute it to displacement by smartphones. There has long been competition at the lower ranks with “point and shoot” cameras, but this represents a challenge at the higher end of the spectrum.
When asked to comment on the matter, Canon spokesman Takafumi Honga had this to say:
“Taking photos with smartphones and editing them with apps is like cooking with cheap ingredients and a lot of artificial flavoring. Using interchangeable cameras is like slow food cooked with natural, genuine ingredients.”
Sadly, this is not the story of a customer, but more a brand’s justification for not having a story aligned closely enough with the customer’s narrative. Amongst photographers, there is a saying “The best camera is the one that’s with you.” Canon’s metaphor fails to acknowledge the value of the camera that’s always there – the one that may not shoot in RAW but does capture the highlights of our day-to-day lives. And if our mobile photography highlights are any indicator, the mobile phones we carry don’t exactly inhibit photographers from creating some amazing works of art.
Of course, this is not the first nor likely the last time we’ll hear this argument. There is no doubt that those who embrace the wave create opportunities to not just survive, but thrive. Let’s hope that Canon and its ilk can learn to swim fast enough to keep from drowning. Kodak tried to swim against the stream – to its demise.Read More