Thread: Canon layoffs

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    Quote Originally Posted by John Brawley View Post
    The big guys will struggle along, but fundamentally, people aren't taking photos with cameras anymore.

    This pretty much sums up how upside down things are. Cameras are not being used and professional markets are not large enough to sustain R&D. I think we are in the glory days now with companies exiting the space over the next five years. How many GH11's are they going to sell when the GH7 is a killer machine? One could argue that anything beyond 10bit 4K will essentially never be needed outside of major cinema productions. 4K RAW will be some kind of selling point but the space requirements will be massive and compression will take away some RAW-ness.

    Seems like another division outside of photo/video is needed to survive for the long haul.


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    Quote Originally Posted by puredrifting View Post
    Whats sad to me is that this writing has been on the wall for anyone and everyone to see the last five years at least...
    The other side of the argument is that they have been in the know about the direction, just surprised about the speed of the decline.

    43Rumors published a purported 32 MPX MFT sensor that will come out at some point. As I had mentioned above, a much smaller (about 10 times in area) Huawei already has 40. So, what happened is the Japanese Big Four have been throttling the various developments in the field of photo-video that found their ways into smartphones instead. And now that the gap has narrowed - obviously, a quality ILC still delivers a superior image - to the point of irrelevance, it seems "Sayonara" for the whole crew (except Sony, since it makes sensors for everything).

    Quote Originally Posted by John Brawley View Post
    ... I think the bigger point here is that people are taking less photos with a dedicated camera and using a "device" instead, no matter that it's creatively more limiting, it's just what mass consumers are doing...
    JB, that was pretty much my point over the entirety of this "Canon layoffs" thread. Smartphone cameras are replacing the stand alone cameras, whether ILC's or P&S, whether mirrorless or the DSLR. (and, to repeat myself, the performance of all of them are getting to the point where both the resolution and the dynamic range are at levels way above the human eye or the available display technology) and the total profits from the declining sales figures can no longer support the huge logistics tail and the corporate.

    Of course, as Paul F mentioned above, the sensor technology keeps moving forward. The next threshold is the self-driving cars, with more sensors that a dozen of L16's (which has 16 cameras per unit, for those who don't want to do math).

    PS. Side note on Olympus, they could have made their own version of GH-1/2/3/4/5 but chose to abstain from the market. Referring to an article from F-Stoppers I linked to a few pages ago, Ricoh/Pentax and Olympus are the current top candidates to quit the photo/video business (following Samsung's preference to fry bigger fish).


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    By the way, I assume that, by now, everyone realizes that a camera, being essentially a computer with a built-in sensor, is a hundred percent homogenized industry. Every component of every camera can be had off the shelf, sensors included. Every manufacturer either buys of sells these component on the open market. The same is the case with the auto and the computer industries, where the margins are relatively low at ~ 10%-20%. (auto includes the back-end financing profits)

    This is five years old but painted a grim picture for the PC manufacturers.

    https://www.theguardian.com/technolo...novo-asus-acer

    I looked up Dell's financials. They do a lot of volume but still incur a loss from operations.


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    I used to build custom PCs when running a small company in San Diego. Later after moving to LA, I bought Mac Pros (dual booted) as they were powerful, well made, reliable, and for a fair price. When I needed a powerful 4K editing machine a couple years ago, Mac Pro wasn't an option (not powerful enough, not very upgradeable), so back to building from components. Due to a faulty CPU (replaced under warranty- never had one fail before), I ended up building two nearly identical machines (one for backup). Other than not (easily) being able to dual boot and also run OSX, these machines are vastly superior to anything that's available from Apple, even today. Top of the line PSUs (sine wave etc.), MB, RAM, GPU, huge slow fans are nearly silent, NVMe (on one of them), lots of USB 3.x ports, easily upgraded and worked on.

    At client sites (media related and software development), there's a mix of iMacs and PCs (high end HPs and similar), haven't seen a Mac Pro (trashcan) in years (though friends in media use them, so far no developers in my circle). At the corporate level, it's all pretty much pre-made and supported computers (vs. built from parts, though for a recent AI/ML startup project the developers had fun spec'ing parts and building the machine themselves- this is rare these days).

    There's quite a few people on this forum that would love to build their own camera in the same way a PC is built: buy premium parts and build exactly what they need for their budget. There was long debate about this here, with one point of view that building cameras is hard, the other it's easy (I took Henry Ford's position). There's been a few open source projects and small companies giving this a spin, Z Cam and Kinefinity are perhaps two examples which show promise. Black Magic is far more funded and builds more complete products, yet still struggles with quality control. Our one BM hardware purchase, a capture card, never worked reliably and that was years ago. This is a leadership/management issue, perhaps related to thin margins and profit. For whatever reason they either choose to ignore QA or their business calculus tells them they can skimp on it and maximize their profit. A lot of Canon bashing here (some of it deserved re: crippling), yet Canon is perhaps the most reliable brand? There are issues with Canon, yet there's not a lot of them (vs. e.g. Sony overheating, QC with X-T3, major sound flaw with the GH4 etc.).

    What's needed for the camera market to be like the PC market is a decent backbone- processor and OS, from which small companies can build cases which can house sensors, lens mounts etc. With Linux the FFMPEG/x264 libraries can be used to capture H.264 (including RGB 444 ALL-I) and there's also various CPUs which include low-power H.264/265 hardware support (and GPUs for more custom processing capabilities: 4K and beyond). So perhaps an Android phone (ARM + custom chips) would provide the most open starting point, including GUI touch screen, then opened up to support e.g. full frame sensors and a full camera can be created (H.264/265 can be easily written to cellphone level hardware memory, including SD cards etc.).

    Even when this becomes possible, most people just want a camera that does what they need for a fair price and is reliable. Very similar to what happened with the PC world, where even today, most people purchase pre-made computers and a small group builds theirs from parts (mostly gamers, small companies, and individuals (non-corporate)). Perhaps when this happens the pre-made cameras will be a lot less crippled, smaller, sexier, and easier to use! (since feature-wise custom cameras will blow away the current crippled cameras).

    EDIT: The MAVO S35/LF looks pretty cool!

    http://www.kinefinity.com/mavo/?lang=en



    No longer has wavelet compression in camera though their RAW compression goes up to 10:1. When we have open source cameras, we can install wavelet again.
    Last edited by jcs; 05-15-2019 at 02:26 PM.


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    Quote Originally Posted by jcs View Post
    This is a leadership/management issue, perhaps related to thin margins and profit.
    I'm thinking the emperor has no clothes.

    Their talking heads say how wonderful the G2 dynamic range is and yet a recent buyer has to unplug the battery to get theirs to power off.

    And what was the other one? A camera that wouldn't power on but tech support wouldn't RMA the unit without a video?

    Is BM taking lessons from Movi tech support?

    Or you go to a BM sponsored event and you know more about their cameras than they do.

    I don't even bother anymore.


    Quote Originally Posted by jcs View Post

    There's quite a few people on this forum that would love to build their own camera in the same way a PC is built:

    I like this thought, but even massive Intel is laying off.

    The Chinese have the potential to eat the Australians lunch.

    We'll see.


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    Quote Originally Posted by DLD View Post
    By the way, I assume that, by now, everyone realizes that a camera, being essentially a computer with a built-in sensor, is a hundred percent homogenized industry. Every component of every camera can be had off the shelf, sensors included. Every manufacturer either buys of sells these component on the open market. The same is the case with the auto and the computer industries, where the margins are relatively low at ~ 10%-20%. (auto includes the back-end financing profits)

    This is five years old but painted a grim picture for the PC manufacturers.

    https://www.theguardian.com/technolo...novo-asus-acer

    I looked up Dell's financials. They do a lot of volume but still incur a loss from operations.
    Simply not true. Many manufacturers sell their products to other except for certain items that they hold for their own. There are certain Sony sensors that are Only available in Sony products. Believe me when I tell you that Panasonic has numerous in-house developed technology that is not on the market for others to buy. And so on.

    People keep using these examples of consumer technology in comparison to our industry. Build a cell phone, ship several million of that product. Build a $10,000 camera and ship 10,000 in its lifespan of 5 years if it’s a huge success. We are different industries and the rules of commerce apply differently.
    Mitch Gross
    Cinema Product Manager
    Panasonic System Solutions Company


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    Quote Originally Posted by jcs View Post
    I used to build custom PCs when running a small company in San Diego. Later after moving to LA, I bought Mac Pros (dual booted) as they were powerful, well made, reliable, and for a fair price. When I needed a powerful 4K editing machine a couple years ago, Mac Pro wasn't an option (not powerful enough, not very upgradeable), so back to building from components. Due to a faulty CPU (replaced under warranty- never had one fail before), I ended up building two nearly identical machines (one for backup). Other than not (easily) being able to dual boot and also run OSX, these machines are vastly superior to anything that's available from Apple, even today. Top of the line PSUs (sine wave etc.), MB, RAM, GPU, huge slow fans are nearly silent, NVMe (on one of them), lots of USB 3.x ports, easily upgraded and worked on. ...
    Apple has a bit of an edge due to its operating system that many consumers prefer over what they perceive to be a buggy OS from M-soft.

    As to the cameras, the original mid-80's units had digital backs on top of the Nikon SLR's (no "D"). IMO, a camera can be made very modular a la that Hasseblad attachment for the Motorola phones. That one failed on the market but an ILC might not.


    Quote Originally Posted by Mitch Gross View Post
    Simply not true. Many manufacturers sell their products to other except for certain items that they hold for their own. There are certain Sony sensors that are Only available in Sony products.
    Sony will hold onto some sensors for a limited time - 12-36 months - but will allow others to slightly mod them or use on the dissimilarly featured models, as it had done with Z6/Z7, D850, EOS RP, etc. This, naturally, gives other companies a plausible deniability that they are not Sony clones. But then someone tears down the camera and finds an exact sensor model straight from the Sony catalog.

    PS. This is not to say that the sensor is a be-all-end-all for a camera. Obviously, a full feature set of a model - codec, media, AF, etc. - make a huge difference. But the commodization of an entire electronics industry is precisely why the features become as important as the components because the features are eminently adjustable. Why does a GH-5 have 10-bit internal but A7II does not? Why does A7RII/III have a full sensor 4K (line skipping) but 5D MKIV only offers an APS-C crop? Yes, Sony has to give up something in return here and there too. It's making bug bucks off everyone but it is not allowed to become the sole photo-video monopoly either. It's one of these arrangements of partnership and competition at the same time.

    PS. Of course, if someone wanted to compete with Sony, it could. There is a myriad of companies making sensors.

    People keep using these examples of consumer technology in comparison to our industry. Build a cell phone, ship several million of that product. Build a $10,000 camera and ship 10,000 in its lifespan of 5 years if it’s a huge success. We are different industries and the rules of commerce apply differently.
    That's true but, in the high end market, Red wedged itself into a significant share by delivering a far greater value than the Japanese. But Red can not compete on the consumer/prosumer/entry level pro tiers - which is why partnership with FoxConn was pondered about - because it doesn't have the required manufacturing capacity of its own. And now that a $1,500-$2,500 camera can deliver stunning images, Red itself is in danger because its specs may no longer justify its price.


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    Quote Originally Posted by DLD View Post
    By the way, I assume that, by now, everyone realizes that a camera, being essentially a computer with a built-in sensor, is a hundred percent homogenized industry. Every component of every camera can be had off the shelf, sensors included. Every manufacturer either buys of sells these component on the open market. The same is the case with the auto and the computer industries, where the margins are relatively low at ~ 10%-20%. (auto includes the back-end financing profits)

    This is five years old but painted a grim picture for the PC manufacturers.

    https://www.theguardian.com/technolo...novo-asus-acer

    I looked up Dell's financials. They do a lot of volume but still incur a loss from operations.
    I don’t completely buy that. Are Panasonic’s “VariCam sensors” in any cameras outside of Panasonic. My understanding has always been they were/are Panasonic designed and manufactured(at the least designed). Arri’s ALEV sensors? The Sony sensor used in the F55? The F65?


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    Quote Originally Posted by Run&Gun View Post
    I don’t completely buy that. Are Panasonic’s “VariCam sensors” in any cameras outside of Panasonic. My understanding has always been they were/are Panasonic designed and manufactured(at the least designed). Arri’s ALEV sensors? The Sony sensor used in the F55? The F65?
    On the ultra high end, most sensors are custom made or, at worst, heavily modded/tweaked off the high end consumer models. Alev was custom made by ON Semi (itself spun off Motorola a decade earlier) on ARRI's specs. Which proves my point that there are a lot of manufacturers that can make these products if there's enough money to fund their production runs. As Mitch said above, when you move 10,000 units during the entire cycle, it's a different economic model in play. The photo-video industry is in a 10,000,000 units range annually with the ILC's and another 10,000,000 with P&S. The problem was that, a decade ago, it was ~ 20,000,000 ILC's and 100,000,000 P&S. I assume there's a lot more sharing now. That Nikon P1000 super-zoom, obviously, has a smartphone sensor and those are a dime a dozen (OK, about $12-$25 per unit ... close enough).

    PS. I found a few fresh reviews of the OnePlus smartphone. It has a 48 MPX sensor (among its 3 cameras in total), which they admit to being a result of the "software algorithms" rather than the pixel shift. Sounds like it's a digital zoom.

    If anyone is interested, below's the link to their camera page. It will list for $700 and thus undercut the iPhone XS Max price by several hundred dollars (depending on the configuration). So, the mobile phone industry is going through the same stages as the photo-video has gone. It's just slightly earlier in the game for them.

    https://www.oneplus.com/7pro#/camera


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    Quote Originally Posted by Run&Gun View Post
    I don’t completely buy that. Are Panasonic’s “VariCam sensors” in any cameras outside of Panasonic. My understanding has always been they were/are Panasonic designed and manufactured(at the least designed). Arri’s ALEV sensors? The Sony sensor used in the F55? The F65?
    This tech is not shared. True that ARRI doesn’t own a foundry, it designed the sensor and hired a foundry to execute.

    Another interesting example is Vision Research, maker of the Phantom high speed cameras. From day one all of their sensors have been in-house custom designs that a foundry was then hired to produce. That’s extreme customization for a tiny user base.
    Mitch Gross
    Cinema Product Manager
    Panasonic System Solutions Company


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