Just Hold It By The Clean End And Polish It

british-106-copyI see that a well-known maker of extremely expensive cameras and lenses is going to enter a section of the market that has been occupied by less prestigious makers. This is not the first time that this high flyer has descended to a lower altitude but the conflicting nature of the market and the engineering needed seems to be very strange.

There is a world of difference between the trendy toy camera – the play and discard device that has been a feature of photography for 70 years – and the prestigious state-of-the-art instrument that trades on precision and status. And it may be indicative of the difficult nature of business today that the manufacturer has decided to try to play both games.

If your main product is an instrument that costs $ 10,000+, why do you seek to enter the throw-away instant camera market at $ 400? A market that is more than amply served by three other makers, and which will depend upon the film materials of one of those makers. Will there be such profits to be made or will you just be placing yourself athwart the trade barriers of your own economic community to keep out the other?

If the original principal maker of the plastic camera has already flooded the market with them at $ 200, are you going to be able to trumpet exclusivity, style, status, or nationalism to beat it? Have you got enough fan-boys and fan-girls to pay for the R&D?

Or are you going to take an expensive optical bath?

Note: Those who quibble at the use of the term throw-away in reference to what is now a successful instant film camera system might care to remember the Polaroid cameras of the 1950’s, 60’s, 70’s, and 80’s. And the Kodak 126, 110, Disc, and Instant films. Instant can be gone in an instant.


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