Rant - Opinion: March 2005 Archives

Various Japanese industry analysts believe that in two to three years, the number of major manufacturers involved in compact digital camera production will be halved. The relentless 6-month product cycle, deep discounting of old stock, competition from camera-phones, market saturation, and huge R&D investment is not sustainable over the long run. Who will survive? Let's look at the field:

  1. Canon
  2. Nikon
  3. Minolta
  4. Sony
  5. Kodak
  6. Pentax
  7. Olympus
  8. Panasonic
  9. Leica (Panasonic)
  10. Casio
  11. Ricoh
  12. Sanyo
  13. Kyocera/Contax
  14. Toshiba
  15. Epson

We've already seen Epson, Toshiba and Contax leave the field (although Epson is trying to get back in with the R-D1). Casio and Ricoh are struggling to stay in play, and Pentax is looking weaker in recent months. According to a recent report, Panasonic only holds 3% of the compact digital camera market in Japan. Also check this listing of sales.

Have thoughts who will remain? Post a comment here.

Since the cold-war days of 1952, there has been a law on the books that journalists from foreign countries must apply for I-visas before entering the U.S. But it hasn't been enforced in the past several decades and journalists from foreign countries have freely visited the USA. Those from Japan, Europe, and other friendly nations have entered on the same 90-day visa waivers as tourists without thinking twice about it.

Now, it seems that the current administration has decided to enforce the I-visa restriction. If you identify yourself as a journalist at immigration and tell the CBP officer that your intent is to work as a journalist during your visit to the USA and you are not in posession of an I-visa, you may find that you will be denied entry, fingerprinted, photographed, and deported with prejudice. This can result in your being denied entry in the USA in the future for any reason (usually this lasts from 5-10 years and then you can file a request to have this travel ban lifted).

In an earlier blog, I commented on how I didn't like how professional series Minolta SLRs tended to be ... button and dial profuse... in comparison to the professional series Canon EOS SLRs which tend to be button and dial sparse. A reader wrote back to me saying how he preferred the proliferation of buttons because it meant he could tell the camera settings at a glance.

This is only my own opinion and it only counts for my own working style (although I know many professional photographers agree with me), but I prefer control spartan cameras because basically I never change the settings. With my SLRs, I almost always shoot in aperture-priority, one-shot focus, single-shot drive mode. I have the auto-focusing control shifted to the rear '*' button so I can control it with my thumb, auto-exposure lock is thus set with the shutter button. This is how I shoot 99.9% of my work. Never changing modes means I only have to think about the photograph not the camera.

When taking the Amtrak to my professor's house, I was shocked that the conductor on board the train asked for IDs as well as tickets. I understand that Greyhound buses also are requiring IDs. What has the U.S. come to? Are we living that much in a culture of fear that we allow this?

Of course the standard response is "security" but what security are we gaining?

  1. First, there is no security to be gained. The conductors only glance at the name and photo. Any bad guy can buy a fake ID for $50 at a college campus (or make their own with an Epson printer and Photoshop) that would pass scrutiny. So we gain no security.
  2. Second, for the honest people this means that people without licenses, passports, or State ID cannot ride the train. This is a group of people that largely includes the urban poor and recent immigrants. Suddenly, we are restricting the travel of a certain class of people. This should bring up shades of Plessy v. Ferguson for most reasonable people.

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About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the Rant - Opinion category from March 2005.

Rant - Opinion: January 2005 is the previous archive.

Rant - Opinion: April 2005 is the next archive.

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