Customer Power

In general, I try not to talk about camera news here.  It’s not because it doesn’t interest me, it’s just because I can’t keep up to date enough to contribute any better than some of the other blogs out there.

So, instead of discussing Sony’s new announcement and Red’s price drops, I’d like to take a moment to talk about the camera market as a whole, how it has changed in the last three years and why these changes occurred.  It’s a testament to the power of customer satisfaction and the Invisible Hand.

Evolution…Like the Dinosaur

We’ve seen epic change in the low end professional camera market recently.  From the early beginnings of the 5DMII, with it’s almost-an-afterthought 1080p recording, we’ve watched the camera world evolve.  Today, 4k is an affordable reality offered by even smaller camera companies (and cameras!)

While this is a byproduct of technological advancement, it’s also a testament to the power of the market.  When 5DMII’s and 7D’s started to sell to filmmakers, other camera companies sat up and took notice.  It sparked an Invisible Hand competition between the camera companies to see who could better tailor their cameras to fit the needs of their customer base.

Customer Satisfaction

It would be foolhardy to assume that we alone created a world of affordable 4K, but we can’t ignore the impact our influence had on the market.  It’s evidenced in the firmware updates that emerged for DSLR’s – 24p, audio meters and the like were all developed to satisfy customer needs.  The entire Magic Lantern firmware, developed to make these cameras filmmaking workhorses, was inspired by customer dissatisfaction – a hole in the market.

Seeing DSLR’s being used as true film cameras, other companies began to develop new cameras and modify existing designs based on the needs of the filmmaking customer.  Red scrapped their original Scarlet design to fit the new needs of the market, while Black Magic leapt forward by introducing their own camera.

Our voice had been heard – we wanted affordable, high resolution film cameras with large sensors and interchangeable lenses.  Manufacturers said yes.

Strength in Numbers

I can’t even begin to describe how thrilled I am to see these camera companies, large and small, listening and responding to our requests; indirect as it may be.  Our community drove this change, using our economic power to tell the market exactly what we wanted.

I want to see this continue.  Let’s get out, let’s get shooting and let’s use our customer power to influence creation and innovation.  If we had sat back three years ago and let the 5DMII pass us by, this change would not have happened.

It’s not dissimilar to voting, is it?  So let me shamelessly add this: I won’t judge you based on who you voted for, but I will judge you based on if you voted.

So let’s get out there and exert some influence.

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