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Taking Care of Business
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Old October 12th, 2006, 07:00 AM   #16
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Marcus, your rant is on target. Why do you folks think that the Sony HC3 and Canon HV10 have no line/mic in and LANC controls? Those low end products would be good enough for some pros without paying the premium of the larger models. Look at the Sony A1 and see what a small upchange does to make a "consumer" product a pro product. And see how Sony has not currently revamped the A1 to match the HC3. They are leaving off the extras in attempt to protect their gravy market of business customers. That is why RED is being successful. It is not as profitable to change the market to what you can do as it is to give them what you easily profit at doing.

Not that there is anything wrong with this. But as a consumer, it is OK to recognize that you are not profiting from their maximizing profits. We just need more competition in the market.
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Old October 12th, 2006, 11:43 PM   #17
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> I really think that an HDV equivalent to the PD170 with the same light sensitivity (for more portable lighting rigs) would make tons of money for Sony.

I'm with Marcus, though companies make what people are willing to pay for. If you want an example in the DSLR industry, take the Nikon D2H. Even when it came out, 4 megapixels was less than what the competitors offered. It was cheaper, offered 8 frames/second with a pro body and top-of-the-line autofocus. I have one and love it because it suits my needs for indoor action sports. The fact is that even "lowlight" customers balk at lower resolution because higher resolution is more useful in better lighting.

On your note, a large-sensored video camera with great 240 frames/second progressive recording, multi-area focusing and the ability to take 35mm Nikon/Canon AF lenses would seem awesome. Why doesn't it exist ? Because market research shows that it is not profitable enough for the company to make.
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Old October 13th, 2006, 12:11 AM   #18
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I have to laugh, market research.....
When was the last time that Panasonic or Sony ever did any indepth research to what people on this forum or some of the others sites in the industry really were really concerned about.

Sure they lurk on these forums, but have real conversations??? really solicit input... after all we are just the people who use and buy this stuff.

It is interesting, Microsoft when the decided to make a big commitment to HD DVD decided to allow their top executive for their effort to actively participate in an online forum, to interact, ask and answer questions, even have a road trip to meet the real users. Unfortunately the Japanese Video product companies never seem to understand the value of customer interaction.

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Old October 13th, 2006, 01:14 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by Sharyn Ferrick
I have to laugh, market research.....
When was the last time that Panasonic or Sony ever did any indepth research to what people on this forum or some of the others sites in the industry really were really concerned about.

Sure they lurk on these forums, but have real conversations??? really solicit input... after all we are just the people who use and buy this stuff.

Sharyn
But you have to remember that the majority of the people who buy these cameras are not on these forums. We are a very small "comparatively" niche.
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Old December 18th, 2006, 01:22 AM   #20
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Laws of supply and demand. Research and Development come into play here.

The best personal analogy I can give you is this: While it's cheap to duplicate a DVD of a production you shot/edited, how much time/labor was put into the content on that DVD? Should your clients only have to pay 30 cents (about the cost of a DVD) because that's how much blanks cost?

With imaging chips, you have to pay lots of people (engineers), tech support folks, distribution (airplanes, trucks, etc.), marketing costs, and much more. These are all factors in price points.

Also, let's not forget that high end cameras do not have as large sales as cheaper consumer cameras. There aren't many Genesis cameras sold, but because the R&D is the same (probably much more so, but for sake of argument it's the same) but the company needs to get a Return On Investment. As the technology gets older (DV cameras of today look better than $100,000 cameras back in the early '90s), prices go down. New technology takes over (HD, lower light sensitivity, better glass).

And your 1/1.4" chip digital camera? Is that a still camera or a video camera?

As someone in another post said, it's easy (i.e. inexpensive) to get decent video with newer cameras. It's a little bit more expensive to get higher end quality, and as you reach closer to matching film with CineAltas, your costs go up. That last bit that closes in on getting "perfect" image quality costs you. Just like in the audio realm, you can get "decent" audio on a Shure SM57, for example. But there's something about those Neumann mics that make people want to pay more. Clarity, depth, "character", whatever you call it, it's there.. Most people might not be able to tell a difference, but their perception on "pro" vs. "average joe" does change whether they know it or not.
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Old December 11th, 2008, 02:01 AM   #21
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I just bought a digital camera with a 1/1.7" CCD which is larger than a 1/2" CCD and the whole package cost $300 including a gigabyte of memory.
Post the model number of that camera and I suspect we'll find there's a typo on the sensor size, but your point still has some validity. The Canon 5D Mark II proves that a camera with a full-frame 35mm sensor capable of recording HD video at decent bit rates can be produced for a reasonable price, so why aren't we seeing this technology in a proper video camera? You can buy a Sony EX1 for under $6K which would have been considered amazing for the price a few years ago, but that's still not quite what you're talking about. As others have noted there are R&D costs to recover, plus we can probably assume the manufacturers don't want to undercut sales of their best cameras by producing a $5K model which is almost as good.
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Old December 11th, 2008, 04:42 AM   #22
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Old December 11th, 2008, 06:58 AM   #23
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WOW, old thread back from the dead!

I suspect at least a part of why cameras cost as they do is marketing... someone sits in a dark room contemplating what "the market" looks like... someone from engineering slips some diagrams and mockups under the door once in a while, and eventually management decides to produce something that's a compromise in as many ways possible without being a total flop...

R&D and the "engineers" see things one way - everything is a "new and improved TOY" (channelling the geek in me)...

Marketing sees everything as a challenge to sell snow to eskimos...

Accounting of course operates with two places to the right of the decimal point, and everything but the pie chart is B&W (or maybe red in the current economy).



The problem is the END USER, yep, the guy/gal who actually decides to pay for and use the end product may have an entirely different idea than "all of the above"... Thus explaining why some products are considered "hot", and others flop... and we get fits and bursts of technology so that "the market" remains in equillibrium until something like the 5DMk2 (or the HV20 when it hit) shakes things up a bit.

And of course "one size does NOT fit all"... any more than with clothes/styles. The average consumer (of which there are many...) may want a pocket cam to shoot bad U-TOOB videos, and that's the end of it... not everyone hopes for an Oscar for their camera work, some are just happy to have a passable (or even horrible by "pro" standards)memorialization of the moment, and don't really give a poop if there are tiny black spots around a few lights...
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Old December 11th, 2008, 07:28 AM   #24
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I suspect at least a part of why cameras cost as they do is marketing... someone sits in a dark room contemplating what "the market" looks like... someone from engineering slips some diagrams and mockups under the door once in a while, and eventually management decides to produce something that's a compromise in as many ways possible without being a total flop...

...Marketing sees everything as a challenge to sell snow to eskimos...
Sounds like someone slipped a little "cynical" into your morning coffee. (grin)

I think this whole metric becomes clear once one looks at it in terms of the overall value proposition (perceived by the consumer) and not in terms of what it costs the manufacturer to make. As an example, in the early 80s I worked for a minicomputer manufacturer that sold a 40MB fixed/removable hard drive that was field upgradable to 80MB. The upgrade cost was many thousands of dollars but could be done by a field engineer by throwing just one switch. Customers paid the money because they needed the capacity. They perceived the value as worth the price. Cost of goods really didn't enter into the discussion for them.

There's also some basic B school economics at play. For example, Canon will sell many times more US$200 DV camcorders than they will XH-A1s so they can spread all of the development costs over the larger number of units produced, so the price for the consumer is lower. For the sake of argument, say that Canon sell 1/10th the number of XH-A1s as they do the consumer cam, that means the burdened cost of the A1 is that much higher.

It's all pretty easy to understand if you take the macro view.
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Old December 11th, 2008, 09:09 AM   #25
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I don't buy ANY of the reasons why larger sensors must jack up the price a hundred fold with no exceptions. Does anyone remember 35mm film for still cameras? There were $15 35mm still cameras as well as models that cost thousands of dollars. Glass vs. plastic lenses, zoom capability, external flash, interchangeable lenses, the list goes on of differentiation without compromising the imaging element. It is entirely possible to build varied business models around a quality focal plane. If they would standardize on two or three imager sizes, they could have plenty of market breadth without hamstringing $5000 HDV cameras with 1/3" chips when $150 p&s cameras have 1/2" chips. 1/4" and 1/3" chips in prosumer HD cameras should have never happened. There are plenty of other factors to adjust costs without sacrificing the imaging element.

I didn't mean to resurrect this old thread when I linked to it from another forum but rather to show I knew the truth years ago and I guess Red, Nikon, and Canon had the same ideas.
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Old December 11th, 2008, 09:39 AM   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marcus Marchesseault View Post
I don't buy ANY of the reasons why larger sensors must jack up the price a hundred fold with no exceptions. Does anyone remember 35mm film for still cameras? There were $15 35mm still cameras as well as models that cost thousands of dollars. Glass vs. plastic lenses, zoom capability, external flash, interchangeable lense
Ah, but the "imager" in film was the film and it did cost a HEFTY premium to move up from 35mm to medium format and then up to sheet film from there. Over simplified, the camera around the 35mm was nothing more than a hole that stays open a certain amount for a very specific period of time to capture an inverted image projected by a piece of plastic or glass onto it's surface.
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Old December 11th, 2008, 01:02 PM   #27
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The fact of the matter is... its a racket, plain and simple!!!

I have gone over this in my head many times and come to the conclusion that pricing is not fair... it is not based on production costs or R&D, it is based solely on what fools are willing to pay...

Lets use film cameras as an example, why was a 35mm slr with a set of good lenses selling for 5k... and a ARRI movie camera, which is essentially the same thing with a fast motor drive, selling for 250k WITHOUT lenses...

The truth is, if you are perceived as being able to make money with any given product, the price will reflect that... and the more money one is expected to make with a given product the more it will cost...

Canon HV20 $500 - No potential for profit, Canon Xh-a1 3k - Some potential for limited profit - Red camera 30k Significant potential for profit, Sony F950 200k Almost guaranteed potential for profit, Panavision cinema camera $priceless (they are only available to rent) will DEFINITELY be used to make profit.
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Old December 11th, 2008, 01:35 PM   #28
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If the only difference in the equipment is the price you pay, why not use the canon hv20 instead of the Panavision cinema camera ?
The only difference according to your post, is the price. there is no difference in research and development between the two cameras.

Here is reality. it might cost the exact same price to R&D the hv20 as the Panavision cinema camera (although obviously even that is not true) but canon can sell thousands and thousands of the hv20, and the cost of R&D is spread amongst all of that model.
how many of the Panavision cinema camera is sold by comparison? if there is a 2 million dollar R&D cost and there is going to be a very limited market, the camera price will be higher to absorb that cost.
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Old December 11th, 2008, 04:08 PM   #29
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Okay I'm going to interject here. It isn't just R&D costs or manufacturing costs. People who work for the companies have to be *paid*. Just like you and me they need their monthly salary coming in so that they can feed their kids.

Take ENG cameras for one example. How many of, say, the Panasonic 3700 do you think they sell worldwide? How many of the XDCAM PDW-700? Fact is that if they are lucky it gets to tens of thousands. Not hundreds of thousands, not millions.

Sony for example might claim a certain number of XDCAM units in circulation. But in reality a lot of those figures they give are not just for camcorders but also decks etc. There's a very low profit margin on them.

Lets see now. The camera cost has to cover not only R&D and manufacturing, but also a constant monthly income for the people who work at the company, funding of future developments, funding of developing new firmwares, funding of marketing, funding of distribution, and lastly they have to make a profit.

Of course a company like Red can make the cameras for less. They have less infrastructure to support.

Quote:
Unfortunately the Japanese Video product companies never seem to understand the value of customer interaction.
They do. That's why they listen to the likes of Alister Chapman, Phil Bloom, Greg Boston and myself, and lots of other working camera ops.

The reason they don't take part on forums is because it doesn't really have any benefit. They *do* read them though. If only you knew the reaction to some of the posts here on DVinfo in the past!
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Old December 11th, 2008, 05:31 PM   #30
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Originally Posted by John Brinks View Post

Lets use film cameras as an example, why was a 35mm slr with a set of good lenses selling for 5k... and a ARRI movie camera, which is essentially the same thing with a fast motor drive, selling for 250k WITHOUT lenses...
Crystal sync, mission critical drive components, over/undercrank in EXACT increments, a shutter that needs to fire problem free 24 times a second for thousands of hours without fail, video tap, limited install base to amortize the R&D costs... and I don't work in film so I'm sure I'm missing about 1000 things.

Don't get me wrong John, I don't think you're entirely off base but I think you've inadvertently overlooked some VERY key features that differentiate mass market consumer gear from pro gear. In order to get to the 98th percentile from the 97th probably costs ten time the amount to go from the 96th to the 97th.
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Last edited by Shaun Roemich; December 11th, 2008 at 05:31 PM. Reason: I don't think "fiolm" is a word anymore...
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