More weather-related interruptions. While parts of the photo/electronics industry are still recovering from delays caused by the earthquake and tsunami in Japan in March, now Thailand is inundated with monsoon floods. Many major companies—including Nikon, Canon, Sony, Western Digital, and others—have plants there and a number have been forced to stop production entirely. Looks like a bumpy road ahead
What’s next? We’re still waiting for some highly anticipated new product announcements from several of the big guns. A fever is rising concerning Canon early this week, with most bets on a knock-out full-frame, high-ISO, high-DR, high frame-rate professional body that departs from the previous series of 1D and 1Ds bodies. I suspect Canon is tired of Nikon being the standard-bearer in the “shoot in the dark” category. If you’re interested in best-guess specs, see here.
More convergence. Smartphones are cameras too, right? The buzz at the moment is Apple’s new iPhone 4S, which now sports an 8MP camera. Of course there’s a whole lot more to the 4S than just a higher-resolution camera…like iOS 5, iCloud, voice recognition via the Siri assistant, and much more. With more and more imaging apps popping up for mobile operating systems, smartphone photography is an expanding arena
Digital replacing film. This is hardly a surprise, but regardless of affection for film-based media, the marketplace eventually dictates. Most know that Kodak is in big trouble, and in the movie industry several big-name camera makers (ARRI, Panavision, Aaton) are calling it quits. Not a happy circumstance, but it’s the way the world is moving.
Sorting out consumption. As times change in the media world along with new delivery systems and evolving consumer desires (driven to a considerable extent by clever advertising and appetite enhancement), content is adjusted in an attempt to grow (or at least retain) customers (it’s business, right?). But what sometimes appear to be solid trends don’t always turn out to have real legs. Some are suggesting that heavily loading the online versions of newspapers with video content isn’t working out so well, and that still photo galleries continue to be a big draw. Perhaps this is another example of the fallacy of assuming certainty in future predictions, or that massive acceptance of a medium in one sector (videos on YouTube) doesn’t necessarily indicate the same medium works as well in all other sectors. This is sobering stuff. The rush to video during the last 4-5 years has driven camera makers to include the capability in almost every new still camera, dramatically expanded the aftermarket industry, and helped crater the still stock photo business. Now it’s beginning to look as though expectations aren’t turning out quite as anticipated. Time will tell.