DPReview Senior Editor Barney Britton on Phase of Industry

The cinema5D Virtual Show is a great occasion to discuss with colleagues such as Barney Britton, senior editor at DPReview. During this conversation, we discussed camera manufacturers, the state of our industry, and freelance photographers/filmmakers. 

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Image credit: Barney Britton

DPReview and Barney Britton

Barney Britton has been in the camera industry for nearly 15 years. He started his career as a journalist for magazines in the UK before starting to work for DPReview. DPReview is one of the oldest and established camera review websites on the Internet. Indeed, they started their journey back in 1998, doing in-depth camera reviews.

In 2007, Amazon acquired DPReview. In 2010, Barney Britton and the entire DPReview staff moved to Seattle in the US. Nowadays, our colleagues at DPReview don’t only do in-depth camera reviews but news and stories around the photo and video industries in general.

 

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Image credit: Statista

Camera Industry – 87% Drop in Sales in a Decade

The past few years have been difficult for every camera manufacturers. The compact camera market, for example, is not what it was back in 2007/2008. Indeed, in just a decade, camera sales dropped by a whopping 87%. How can we explain that drop in sales?

There are a couple of reasons; cameras are getting better and better every year (more reliable and last longer), and on top, smartphones are becoming a legitimate tool for taking high quality pictures and videos. Lots of R&D is invested in developing the camera side of smartphones. Recently, we have seen that many camera manufacturers are trying to implement more features in their DSLR/Mirrorless cameras to try to “get the market back.” As Barney Britton said, “smartphones are inevitable,” and it took years for manufacturers to realize that they are not a competitive product to “traditional cameras,” but more of a complementary product.

However, there is still growth and profits for companies in the camera industry. Also, not every territory is the same: sales in China are going up as opposed to Europe and the US, where the markets are shrinking. The Coronavirus pandemic is probably causing one of the biggest hits the camera industry ever faced. While there is always danger, Barney Britton made a good statement by saying that most of the “major” camera manufacturers like Canon, FUJIFILM, Nikon, and so on make most of their money from other products and divisions such as medical, paramedical, printers, scanners and so on.

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Image credit: Barney Britton

Freelancers and Pandemic

Finally, we talked with Barney Britton about what freelance photographers/filmmakers are facing during this pandemic. For Barney, freelancers that have the most robust relationship with their clients are doing ok. On the other hand, creatives that are just starting are having a much harder time and must make short/long term adjustments to their business. One key point in this conversation is customer satisfaction and customer service. With this pandemic, this is more important than ever, and it’s probably going to change how you should/must treat your customer relationships forever.

On a bright note, the crisis is showing the value of our community and the mutual aid we give to each other. Indeed, not only in our photo/video community but in the world and every industry in general.

In general, how often do you upgrade your primary DSLR/mirrorless camera? How is your freelance life being impacted by the pandemic? Let us know in the comments below!

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Guy Welch

Sure, you could say there was an 87% drop in camera sales in a decade, but that depends on your definition of what a “camera” is. Obviously the definition being used here is the traditional one-trick-pony mirrorless, dslr or compact “happy-snap” cameras. If you actually start considering smart phone cameras “cameras”, then how much have camera sales actually jumped in the last 10 years? I know that my iPhone camera is leaps and bounds better than any compact camera I had 10 years ago and way more convenient. In many ways, My iPhone’s camera is quicker, simpler, more user friendly and has better iq than most compact digital cameras on the market today. So why is it not considered a “camera”? If the major “camera companies” keep treating their products as loss-leaders to their more profitable “products and divisions such as medical, paramedical, printers, scanners and so on”, yeah- sales are bound to plummet. Canon has been riding on their name recognition since Sony came out with their a7 line. It’s been so frustrating as a pro Canon shooter to be at the receiving end of this attitude. And while I look forward to the advent of some of their announced future, promising looking releases (R5 anybody?), I’m ready to be disappointed. As far as I can see, it’s still vapor, and frankly, even if it is “all that”, considering where Canikon was in the market, it should’ve been a reality at least 2 years ago. Instead, all we had was their M cameras which were so lame it was infuriating! Sorry- the “Camera” industry has done this to themselves.

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