I have been buying and selling gear for 20 years, and for a period worked at a store.
I take an interest in finance, especially the the still image markets.
What used to take 6 years to cycle now takes 6 months. 6 years was the unwritten agreement held by the manufacturers because in Europe and Japan 6 years was the effective tax write-off period independent businesses (Professional Photographers) could write off the cost of their gear to zero.
A decade ago that started to shift and speed up and it was mostly because of the booming economies of the western world and tax write-off periods didnt seem to matter as much anymore, because disposable incomes were higher in comparison to the cost of the cameras. Additionally, we were already a generation into prosumer digital cameras- the first three generations were solely in the realm of institutions and consortiums with the prices of cameras in $15-25,000 a camera which in todays money is about 22-32k a piece.
When Canon brought out the D30 -the first major selling consumer DSLR- the turn around on gear was 4 years. By the time the 20D happened it was two years, straddled between the Nikon models. Nowadays Cameras like the 5DmkIII and Nikon D800 are dinosaurs within two years, and in many ways they are out of date a year after they come out. They rely on an older age-group of buyers who were brought up thinking that the DSLR is the benchmark for quality, as do their clients.
I dropped out of DSLRs 4 years ago in preference for mirrorless and have never looked back. I have purchased only four new cameras in my life, the Eos 5, which started a trend for me, to buy three Enthusiast aka semi-pro bodies for the price of one pro body and getting the same level of value out of those three bodies as my buddies ere getting out of their $3x pro bodies.. the Second purchase was my personal step into digital cameras with a Canon G1, a premium level point and shoot. followed by some time later by a productive years work and a flush account, I got a Canon 10D, and shortly after that a new 1DmkII, a rash decision that I now regret. Three years ago I got a Fuji X-Pro1, I bought it new because I was in need of a new definitive look to my images and the Fuji sensor was where it was at. I wasted no time and pre-ordered sight unseen and still have it. I traded some older lenses for a second body and that camera is still valid today, though the market has dropped for resale, so these are resale losses.
The Sony A6000 is a milestone in the financial side of the mirrorless scene primarily because it is a definitive price tactical change which will effect the market around it as it breaks new ground and infringes on DSLR territory. Big sellers like the Fuji X100 will be dwarfed in sales numbers by the end of this year from the sales of the A6000.
The market is tiered by expectation and the belief from the consumer that the more you spend the longer the investment is, which is completely rubbish. When the Leica M8 came out it was an $8000 camera and everyone who bought it believed it was the camera they would take to their grave. The truth is, the best thinking is in the lower middle range of product: look at the tech in the marketplace and the price from top to bottom to the point and shoots, which are now dead from Cellphone infringement, and the best thing to spend your money on is the cameras like the NEX5, A6000, Xe2, GX1, etc anything under $1000 because it will be worth 60-65% of its street launch price within a year.
Because digital cameras are now being marketed alongside other technologies the two year trade-show epiphanies are getting shorter. Every year we have CES and every two years we have Photokina, and now theres NAB and numerous other smaller events which all bring new release dates closer together.
At the end of the day we buy these things to make pictures, and the quality of the pictures has got to a point which is way ahead of the flexibility of film in about 70% of applications. 35mm film for professional use is dead because digital is more flexible, so toy cameras rule the 35mm market, enthusiasts mop up out of date junk films and spit out hipster art disposable mementos. The race is for the 50mp point with 4k output which will eat into the medium format realm. In 4-6 years Sony and Canon will have 60-100mp cameras and that will be the end of all film and photography will have transitioned completely into digital. Remember, in 2004 when sony entered into negotiations with Minolta, they said that within ten years they would be camera manufacturer #1 or #2, they make all the sensors for everyone except Canon and Leica and some of the exotic medium & large format cameras.
It blows me away that in December 2013 Sony announced the A7 & A7r, and they weren’t on shelves until March and used prices were floating at $1600 and $2200 and in just the last 6 weeks you can now buy a new A7r for $1825 and a used A7 for $1100… those prices are going to fall again in September when Photokina happens, they will settle within 2 months Until January when CES show happens and the pro-deals happen, and then they will fall again. By the end of summer 2015 you will be able to buy a used A7 for $700……………………..
Last night I watched an industrial designer put his engineering mind to work by bringing a medical project to life on the Milling Machine. A complete pleasure to watch as he weaved the machine like a pen around the product as it was taking shape in front of us.