The latest CIPA (Camera & Imaging Products Association) figures have been released and the numbers don’t make for good reading – in fact they’re enough to make every person working in the photography industry wince. The fact that people are buying less cameras is indisputable, but the reasons for this change of buying behaviour are less clear.
However, rather than dwell on the negative, I want to present some solutions, because I think there’s plenty camera brands could be doing to reverse those CIPA figures and turn the photographic industry around…
One – Work together:
Teamwork makes the dream work, right! We recently saw Sigma team up with Panasonic and Leica to form the L-Mount Alliance, an arrangement that boasts such obvious benefits for all parties. While brands may want photographers to only buy their own-brand optics, more affordable lenses on the market may be enough to sway shooters into buying that new camera body. So, could brands partnering up with third-party optic brands to offer additional lenses be a possible solution?
Two – Stop hindering video specs:
Today’s photographers want to shoot more than just stills and desire a truly hybrid camera that can deliver excellent video and stills performance. However, some brands have been slow to transition their video technology over to DSLRs and mirrorless cameras. This is likely to protect sales of video-only products, but with camera sales going south, perhaps no is the time to throw caution to the wind. A more positive step would be to introduce more pro video features, such as Log profiles and external mic ports, to more affordable models.
Brands need to try new things to get photographers buying new cameras.
Three – Listen to photographers:
Despite camera sales falling, there’s been a number of new products that have come to market that have left photographer’s tearing their hair out. Menu systems that are hard to navigate, autofocus performance that’s too slow and battery life that’s too short are just a few examples. It seemed that these models had been designed by engineers for engineers and not for the end user who is passionate about image-making. By listening more to photographers and their needs during the design stage of building a camera, brands will produce cameras that are easier to use in the field and will, in turn, sell more cameras.
Four – Sell camera models in every territory:
Another habit that niggles photographers and restricts the number of cameras that can be sold is when brands only release a new model in certain territories. Why do this? It just gets photographer’s backs up as they have to either miss out on the camera completely, or pick one up from a territory that is selling this model while on holiday there. If a brand has spent money and R&D time to bring a camera to market in one area, it should be confident enough to share it with the rest of the world.
Photographers want cameras that can shoot great video as well as stills.
Five – Offer better protection:
One thing that DJI does very well (along with building amazing drones) is offering ‘shield’ protection for their products – a safety net, if you will. Granted, you’re more likely to fly a drone than a DSLR into a tree, but brands could still attract more customers by offering a similar program that would repair any cracked LCDs or broken battery flaps for a one or two year period. This would give photographers more confidence to invest in a a new camera, but also to use it more out in the field, too.