Tuesday, 9 March 2010

market driven

sounds so ideal doesn't it ... products being made according to what the market wants.

But what if the market doesn't have a bloody clue?

Cameras are a great example. There's no end of people out there (like me) suggesting what would be good in cameras, most of us seem to be saying similar sorts of things. However the market research people seem to be ignoring this and focusing on trawling the various forums given the state of the camera market.

Many years of observation in the real world in various countries over some years, I have grown to believe the market is rather naive and not know what the difference between a DSLR and a camera like the Powershot G10 is in the first place.

Further I am skeptical that people grasp what size the sensor is with comments made about micro 4/3 such as "it {micro 4/3} has a smaller sensor than a DSLR".

Aside from repeating mantra such as "bigger sensors give better IQ" I wonder if many of the people wandering around giving advice know what a sensor is?

When my wife bought an A520 Powershot Canon back in 2005 one of our acquaintances heard we'd bought a new camera. His first question was "how many pixels does it have".

Of course everyone now wants a DSLR (until they have to carry it round for long, then the honeymoon usually wears off), though few seem to actually know what that means. Given some of the questions I've seen and some of the answers its clear that noone grasps the most basic mechanical operations, so what hope have they got of getting to grips with the finer points in making an informed choice, let alone drive the market?

Sadly I think the market is going backwards. Most struggle with the concept that a lens can be change these days; having stood with my mouth open at comments such as:
  • I would never change a lens in the field
  • does it damage your camera to change the lens
  • you should avoid changing lenses frequently
  • changing lenses will get dust on the sensor, thats why zooms are better
  • you should get that done back at the camera dealer

and the list goes on...

I somehow think that over the years since the 35mm cameras like the OM / ME Super / AE-1 sorts of cameras that people have lost any concept of what goes on in a camera, and that those who came to the party late (starting in the digital age) by and large know even less.

So while I personally leaped on the G1 (getting perhaps the first one in Finland) and love the combination of compact / light weight / interchangeable lenses / great legacy lens operation / high image quality / high accuracy live view

but sadly I reckon its lost on the masses.

Just the other day at work a colleague with a large FD lens collection said that he was waiting for a digital camera that would work with his FD lenses. As a heavily invested and long time FD user he should have some concept of why his FD lenses don't work on later EOS cameras or other makes ... although he seemed surprised when I mentioned that I use OM lenses on my EOS and wondered how that could be.

I mentioned that I have the G1 and it can use the FD lenses with a simple mechanical adapter, that doesn't need an optic and gives you infinity focus. Even when I told him I'm doing just that he seemed to just say "oh, ok"

When I brought the camera in to work, with a pair of FD lenses and showed him how it works (under the guise of wanting to compare my FD 50 f1.4 on extension tubes to his FD 50 macro cos he's a macro person big time) he went "oh hey, it can use the FD lenses"

drippingMushroomFFS ... talk about Jesus guiding Thomases hands into the wounds

"and so now do you believe"

He was impressed with how well the diopter adjustment worked (he's a glasses wearer) and the magnify image on the swivel screen would be great for macro shots on the forest floor.

But at the end of the day he said "I think I'll wait till something comes along which allows me to use my FD lenses better"

In the face of this just how could you expect the market to drive anything?


Lens Bubbles said...

hardcore (D)SLR users like you and me are few and in between among photographers. Most people I know just want a couple of zoom lenses and are happy. It's tragic if the market research team uses focus group with these kind of people who do not know how to properly use the gears, but unfortunately, they are the majority of the DLSR buyers.

obakesan said...

I was amazed in Tokyo just how many kamera-oyaji there were out in Shino-bazu ike with their "dream" Leica or Pentax LX's taking photos of shit.


one day I got a call that there was a rare duck on the pond. I got down there to find 3/4 of a million dollars in L series lenses on the shore.

most couldn't see the duck ... but it didn't matter