Category Archives: Business

The Value Illusion – Adobe CC 2014

June 25, 2014

I’ve long been skeptical that Adobe’s Creative Cloud program would bring significant benefits for consumers (See this post for example: Adobe’s Empty Promise of Innovation). The recent release of the Adobe CC 2014 software has generated a lot of discussion about the new features available to users. This is especially true since CC subscribers tend to think they get the new features for “free.” In other words, there is no additional cost to the customer beyond the CC subscription cost.

I’ve downloaded the update, and I’m underwhelmed. There are some new features, but how many of them will I actually use? Few, if any. Continue reading

Has Scott Kelby Just Stepped In It?

January 7, 2014

Scott Kelby just announced his new pricing initiative which combines NAPP and Kelby Training memberships into one product — appropriately named KelbyOne. Previously, you had to subscribe to NAPP to get Photoshop User magazine and Kelby Training to get access to the online courses. Both are great products. Now one subscription covers both services — so far, so good.  The details of his new offering are here: http://scottkelby.com/2014/creatives-unite-at-kelbyone/.

Now the tricky part, pricing. Continue reading

What Nikon Doesn’t Understand About Mirrorless (and DX) Customers

October 4, 2013

Nikon and Canon have not had much success in the smaller-sensor interchangeable lens camera market. The EOS-M is now heavily discounted and lackluster sales of the Nikon 1 system led the President of the imaging division to indicate that the company will focus on higher margin DSLRs in the future. Meanwhile, Olympus, Panasonic, Sony, and others are launching well received smaller-sensor (micro four thirds (MFT) and APS-C) mirrorless cameras. Why the difference in outlook for the various firms? Continue reading

What Is a Disruptive Innovation?

October 3, 2013

The term “disruptive innovation” is often misunderstood. I frequently describe micro four-thirds (MFT) and mirror-less technologies as disruptive. Every time I write an article describing these developments as disruptive, I get many nasty responses telling me that these formats are not disruptive to the industry, the improvements are minor (or nonexistent), and I don’t know what I’m talking about, I am a moron, etc.  To clear up any confusion about the term disruptive innovation, I will define the term for those that are not familiar with the academic and mass market writings in this research stream. Continue reading

What We Need Next from Olympus and Panasonic – A System – Part 2

September 24, 2013

In my last post, I talked about the fact that the Micro Four-Thirds (MFT) format is making great strides in several areas. The Olympus E-M1 looks like it will close the gap with DSLRs in autofocus performance and the Panasonic GH-3 already has industry leading video performance. Nevertheless there are a few holes in the system that need to be filled if the MFT movement is going to take hold. A lack of high quality telephoto lenses was discussed last week. Today I’ll identify two more points that I think are critical for success of the MFT system. Continue reading

What We Need Next from Olympus and Panasonic – A System – Part 1

September 18, 2013

Now that the E-M1 and GX7 are official and have been warmly received by reviewers (if not actually available), what do we need next from Olympus and Panasonic? We need the MFT system to expand rapidly and capture new users into the MFT universe. New adopters will improve the economies of scale for the companies in the consortium and provide a wider range of accessories for users.

The Micro Four-Thirds manufacturers have produced some marvelous cameras over the past two years: the E-M5, GH3, GX7 among others. Technology is improving rapidly in so many areas (sensor, EVFs, processing, etc.) that the tradeoffs inherent in a smaller sensor camera are now minuscule for most users.

Although some may disagree, I sense that the tide is turning for smaller sensor mirrorless cameras. Their acceptance among pros is increasing (e.g. see the recent conversion of Trey Ratcliff), and more enthusiasts are embracing the advantages of smaller, lighter cameras. As I’ve mentioned previously in many posts, the switching costs of changing camera brands is prohibitive for most users. This means that if the technology has indeed reached a tipping point and consumers are willing to consider changing from Canon and Nikon, manufacturers have a rare opportunity to lock-in a new group of consumers for many years. Currently, photographers switching to smaller format cameras have a plethora of choice: Sony, FujiFilm, Micro Four-Thirds, and others. Some might say that Canon and Nikon have a natural advantage if they move into mirrorless in a big way. While brand loyalty may help, consumers moving to smaller sensor cameras will need new lenses and accessories to maximize the utility of the format, even if they stick with the Big 2. The playing field has been substantially leveled. What will make the difference for many users? A system. Continue reading

Should Olympus Go Full Frame? No!

Olympus 12-40 f/2.8

Olympus 12-40 f/2.8

September 13, 2013

The crowds are lining up for the newly announced E-M1. Immediately after the announcement the camera vaulted to the Number 1 Best Seller ranking in compact system cameras on Amazon, and Amazon issued a high demand warning indicating the company may have difficulty meeting demand when the camera becomes available in October. Early reviews of the new 12-40 f/2.8 lens are also very promising.

As I mentioned in my last post, I’m excited about the new camera. The E-M5 is so good that it would take significant improvements for me to feel the need for the E-M1. In that regard, I think Olympus has hit it out of the park. The main limitation for me of the E-M5 is it’s continuous autofocusing ability. According to reports emerging over the last few days, the C-AF on the E-M1 is very good. It won’t beat a state-of-the-art DSLR from Nikon or Canon, but it seems like it will be adequate for my purposes.

So now that Olympus has delivered another outstanding mirrorless camera, what next? Continue reading

Why I’m Excited About the Olympus E-M1

EM1__flont_M1240_BLK_______HLD7_September 11, 2013

The new iPhone wasn’t the only big technology announcement yesterday. Olympus announced it’s new flagship micro four-thirds camera, the OM-D E-M1. Like the iPhone, this was one of the worst kept secrets in the corporate world. Images and specifications had been leaking for weeks.

The Olympus slogan for the camera is “A camera as revolutionary as you.” A nice slogan, but frankly the camera seems more evolutionary than revolutionary. Nevertheless, there is one significant improvement: the autofocus system. The E-M1 has a dual autofocus system that uses CDAF for most purposes, yet has PDAF on the image sensor for continuous autofocus and legacy four-thirds lenses. Improved autofocus tracking is what I was hoping for, and it appears we may have it. Continue reading

Mirrorless Sales Decline: What Does It Mean?

August 12, 2013

Olympus and Nikon announced sales results last week that indicated mirrorless sales were falling short of expectations.  The New York TImes reported that Nikon reduced its sales projections going forward. Digital Photography Review also reported that sales of PEN cameras by Olympus were disappointing. These results led to a flurry of web commentary that indicated the end is nigh for the mirrorless revolution.

The mirrorless doomsayers are making a fundamental error; they are confusing the state of the industry with the state of the technology. Make no mistake; mirrorless will be the dominant style of camera in the moderate term. Mechanical mirrors have certain advantages currently, but those advantages will be eroded as mirrorless technology improves. Eventually the improved technology and lower cost will make the SLR design obsolete.   Continue reading

A Throwable Camera

July 12, 2013

ballcamera_20130708_001

Image provided by Serveball: (http://www.serveball.com/press/ballcamera_20130708/images/ballcamera_20130708_001.jpg)

Here’s an interesting article about an inventor that has developed a throwable camera: http://www.gizmag.com/squito-throwable-camera/28223/

Aside from the cool concept, it’s also interesting from a business perspective. Inventors now have many channels to get their goods in front of an audience: social media, kickstarter, etc. This company has done a great job with public relations to get this product noticed.

A YouTube video about the product is here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=8BYSSKNS5Ks

The company website is here: http://www.serveball.com/

I don’t know if this gadget will make it commercially, but I want one!