More on Sickness and the Cure

A common response to yesterday's article was "I get it, compact cameras are dead." Some of you asserted that they've long been dead. No, I wrote "sick" not "dead." Now, certainly if you get really sick and do nothing about it you can die, and that might be the fate of the compact camera if things stand as they are.

However, that's not how I see it. Consider this: more people are taking more photos than ever before. The cameras with which they're doing so are low in performance and basic in features. I outlined the proper marketing response in the dad/son quotes (next article). There's actually a larger opportunity to up sell into a decent camera now than there ever was before, because we have more people using cameras (smartphones) and eventually hitting the limits of them. 

The problem is as I described quite some time ago: camera makers still don't understand workflow or what users actually want. They made this same mistake back at the end of the film era, when "instant" and "disposable" ate their lunch. Workflow changed, the camera makers didn't. Now we're seeing the same thing again: smartphones changed the workflow, and again the cameras really aren't changing fast enough or correctly. This whole "put an app on the mobile device and pipe some WiFi to get the images over" isn't being done right to start with, but that response isn't exactly the answer users seek, either. Not to mention that almost none of the camera makers have got it working without adding to workflow. 

The opportunity is huge. If you can figure out the "next camera for smartphone users" before Apple or Google does, you'll have billions of people to sell to. If you wait for Silicon Valley to show you what to do, you're back to playing from behind at the best case. 

The camera industry is sick. It needs the right treatment. This matters even to those of us who are already happy with and shooting with top-end gear (e.g. D800's and D4's and great lenses). We need Nikon and the others to stay financially healthy in order to keep making and repairing our gear. 

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