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Old Jan 18, 2010, 9:19 AM   #31
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I dunno about that. They're a pretty big company. ;-)

We were just discussing the same thing in the recent thread about the new Sony A450 (a new dSLR model that looks like it's being targeted at Europe, which is one of Sony's strongest regions for dSLR sales).

Here's one of the posts I made discussing the number of dSLR models they have now:

http://forums.steves-digicams.com/so...ml#post1035668

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Keep in mind that the market has been shifting from point and shoot to dSLR models for a while now (the point and shoot segment has been decreasing, at the same time the dSLR segment has been increasing). So, users that would have bought a point and shoot model a few years back due to price constraints, are now looking at entry level dSLR models instead.

Look at a major manufacturer's point and shoot lineup. For example, you'll find some 41 different listings for Canon point and shoot models at a vendor like buydig.com. Some of that is color variation. But, they still have some 16 different models for sale (A1100, A2000, A480, G11, S90, SD1200 IS, SD780 IS, SD890 IS, SD940 IS, SD960IS, SD970 IS, SD980 IS, SX1 IS, SX10 IS, SX20 IS, SD200 IS), and they're missing a couple of models you may find elsewhere like the new D10. That's just one manufacturer's point and shoot models still offered in new condition from one vendor. :-)

Yes, you'll find a lot of overlap between models. But, you see the same thing in other product lines outside of photography. For example, look at the motherboard lineup from a vendor like Asus. I was just looking through them earlier this morning, and they've got some 10 different motherboards for the Intel LGA 1366 (X58) based CPUs alone, often with very minor differences between them. That's not even counting the boards offered for other CPU types.

Consumers like choice. Look at clothing, automobiles, etc. Even within a given model car, you'll find numerous variations. For example, look at what Toyota offers with the Camry. You've got a base Camry, as well as an LE, XLE, SE and Hybrid (and each one of those can be customized with a variety of options).
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Old Jan 18, 2010, 9:29 AM   #32
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Tulio - I'm with you (as are a lot of upset Sony users on other forums). I think trying to turn the DSLR market into the digicam market is a mistake Sony will pay for. DSLR users are a bit more savy than digicam users. They're not happy when features are removed or when Sony releases 2 models with the lesser model acually performing a bit better in certain areas than the upper model but still having stripped features.

They made great inroads because of great cameras in the A100 and A700. I think they've dropped the ball a bit instead of that approach of two direct shots hitting bulls-eyes, going with a 20 guage shotgun approach and hoping they hit something and planning on figuring out what they hit and why after the fact. Besides cost of the different models you also create confusion in your market by over segmenting it. And, unless a retailer carries all models (unlikely) then you end up with a situation where a consumer in an actual store doesn't get to see the model they're after. Again, it will take a year or two to see. Until then, we're all just speculating.
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Old Jan 18, 2010, 9:30 AM   #33
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P.S.

I thought something Thom Hogan said in his 2010 predictions was pretty interesting (I had to chuckle at the analogy):

"Sony's using a shotgun to hit the target, then going back and finding which pellet hit the target and trying to figure out the gun that would do that by itself."

http://www.bythom.com/2010predictions.htm



But, that's the same kind of thing we've been seeing in the point and shoot market niche for a while now, too. So, I suspect we're just going to see more of that in the dSLR niche as time passes (given that the dSLR niche is growing at a faster rate).


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Old Jan 18, 2010, 9:33 AM   #34
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnG View Post
...I think they've dropped the ball a bit instead of that approach of two direct shots hitting bulls-eyes, going with a 20 guage shotgun...
I posted before I saw your post But, Thom Hogan is the one that apparently originated that analogy about Sony with his 2010 predictions. I had to laugh when I first read it.
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Old Jan 18, 2010, 9:39 AM   #35
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...DSLR users are a bit more savy than digicam users.
Existing point and shoot users are the new dSLR buyers. ;-)

It's the fastest growing market segment, and rather than a buying point and shoot model, many new buyers are going with an entry level dSLR model instead.

So, I expect we'll see a lot of the same type of thing from other manufacturers going forward, too (more similar models in the entry level dSLR niche, just as manufacturers like Canon and Sony have been doing for a while now in the point and shoot niches).
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Old Jan 18, 2010, 9:44 AM   #36
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It's worked for them, too (as Canon and Sony lead non-dSLR digital camera sales if you look at world wide market share).
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Old Jan 18, 2010, 9:53 AM   #37
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JimC View Post

...But, that's the same kind of thing we've been seeing in the point and shoot market niche for a while now, too. ...
Huge difference between the P&S and DSLR markets IMO. P&S are (still) cheaper (at least a great majority of models are) and they are not systems. DSLR on the other hand becomes more of an investment. The initial cost may, in some cases, be very close to a top of the line P&S but then comes the lenses, flash, camera bags, filters, etc., etc., etc. As John pointed out, people get confused when faced with so many models to choose from. This one has this feature but not that while that one has that feature but not this. Imagine someone looking for a camera such as the Canon T1i or Nikon D5000. Which Sony model would he/she be comparing them with?
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Old Jan 18, 2010, 10:01 AM   #38
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Imagine someone looking for a point and shoot model anymore. You've got a *huge* number of choices that are very similar from major manufacturers like Canon and Sony. ;-)

I think that many "camera savvy" members frequenting photography forums look at the market in a different light, just like an Audiophile may look at stereo equipment in a different light, or someone that's a Car buff may look at new car models in a different light, or an IT person may look at a new computer in a different light..

But, when it comes down to it, they're all just products that many consumers buy, without understanding a lot of the finer differences between them.

As for the system argument, I think you'll find the same thing has been the case with many SLR owners over the years, too. They buy a camera with a kit lens (50mm, or perhaps a 35-70mm or similar) and never bothered to buy anything more.

Just because you see a lot of camera buffs in the forums that consider photography a serious hobby, doesn't mean that's the case with the average consumer. ;-)
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Old Jan 18, 2010, 11:09 AM   #39
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IOW, what you want in a camera, or what I want in a camera, is not necessarily what the average consumer wants (or needs) in a camera.

For example, my wife has many thousands of prints from a film SLR using a 35-70mm lens. She doesn't know one lens from another, and doesn't care about how fast the camera is, or what features the camera has. She used it just like a point and shoot model in Auto mode, and she was perfectly happy with it for years.

I suspect you'll find the same thing to be true with many consumers. They want to share their photos with friends and relatives and as long as a camera is easy to use, they're fine. Chances are, many buyers are looking at how many megapixels one camera has compared to another, if it's easy to hold and use, and even the colors available (i.e, does it look stylish or not). More scene modes (Sunset, Beach Mode, Sports Mode, etc.)? Great. ;-)

So, from a camera manufacturer's perspective, I can image that the more choices they can offer in the entry level niche, the more likely one of them will appeal to a given buyer.

Now, if I'm buying a new camera, I'm going to care about more of the differences between them and how one compares to another in various areas. But, when it boils right down to it, most new dSLR models are going to take pretty nice pictures in most conditions, and a typical entry level buyer probably doesn't care about expensive lenses, how one model compares to another as for speed, if an external flash would work better than the pop up flash, etc. Ditto for how a 100% crop from one camera compares to another. ;-) IOW, we tend to "split hairs" a lot more than a typical consumer would care about when comparing camera models.

They're more likely to want to have a new digital camera to share photos with their friends without the film development costs; or want to upgrade from their point and shoot model because they heard a dSLR is supposed to be better (and most of them would be compared to a typical point and shoot).

You can buy an entry level dSLR model with a kit lens for around $500 now. My first several point and shoot digital camera ran close to twice that much (and that was when a dollar was worth a lot more than it is now). Technology is advancing at a relatively rapid pace, and right this minute, the entry level dSLR segment is the fastest growing.

Would I prefer more emphasis be placed on a more limited number of models that offer more benefits for the type of shooting I may want to do? Sure. But, that's not what everyone else may want in a camera.

For those that are looking for more in a camera than a typical consumer, that's where digital camera sites like these can come in, offering reviews of the latest models with sample images; forums to ask questions about how one model compares to another and more.

But, from a marketing perspective, I can see where a manufacturer is going to offer more similar models with little difference between them for a variety of reasons (probably including to try and get more shelf space for them, too).
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Old Jan 18, 2010, 11:18 AM   #40
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IMO, the average consumer will be even more confused than the savvy when faced with so many different models offering different features and functionality. Al least the more experienced photographer can pinpoint the differences and identify which brand/model offers the features that are must haves. A few years ago a co-worker was looking for a camera to take pictures of her kids. I suggested at the time either the Sony H1 or Canon S2. Another co-worker influenced her more and convinced her to buy the Nikon D50. She never felt comfortable with it, never learned all the features the camera had to offer because she did not have a good basic understanding of them (neither was she interested in learning them). Bottom line, a year later she bought a P&S and sold her D50.

Anyway, my question still stands...what is a Sony comparable model to the T1i and D5000?
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