Sunday, January 28, 2018

You Shall Hear of Cameras and Rumors of Cameras

It's late January, with the holiday season but a memory now. Hopefully you would have gotten the camera that you were hoping for. If that doesn't describe you, then hopefully the camera that you have is the one that are happy with. Why? Because a new year brings a fresh season of camera rumors. Just a few tips to remember if you find yourself hoping for the next thing on the horizon:

  • There are only a limited number of cameras and lenses released each year; if a rumor site publishes multiple posts everyday, ask yourself this: Are you being informed or are you being entertained?
  • Camera companies issue patents and test prototypes all the time; most will not see the light of day. Remember how the rumored specs of the D300s replacement kept changing with each passing year? That's probably because Nikon had tested multiple prototypes, but only released the D500 when they felt ready.Yes, that also means that Nikon has probably tested multiple mirrorless options even though they haven't had a followup since Nikon 1.
  • With mainline cameras, the question is only a matter of when. Will there be a Sony A7 Mark III? Absolutely... when it makes sense for Sony. Reporting that this camera is coming is not hard journalism, but getting the release date right is, which leads us to the next point....
  • With some rumor sites, if they release enough material they will eventually get it right. Others only release when there is some degree of certainty. The former have some kind of credibility rating to make it seem like they are being judicious with what they publish. The credibility ratings are largely irrelevant, as finding out what's next is not the true business model of the website. Imagine hitting an accurate prediction 6 months out, far in advance of anybody else and then you are done, no more posts.... not a great business model to build a website on, is it?
  • No manufacturer's field tester or sales agents will knowingly leak information to a third party. The people with the prototypes are the most vulnerable in the organization, as any leak can directly be traced back to them.
  • Likewise, no retailer with advance information will knowingly leak information to a third party. The consequences of breaking a non-disclosure agreement are dire, as that could jeopardize their future ability to sell that item. Camera chains are in the business of selling cameras, not web-page impressions. Ask yourself this; with it's huge presence and first-line access to manufacturer's, when was the last time you heard of a rumor originating from B&H?
  • Some manufacturer rumors seem to come in a long steady stream and turn out to be true every single time, whereas other manufacturer's seem to have completely accurate rumors that pop up only a day or two before launch.... Your author has a phrase that he uses often in his own line of work: "If something happens over and over again in business, it's not by accident, it's by design."

Which is to say that this isn't a post to disparage rumor sites, as most have vibrant communities in their comment sections. What is salient, though, is that the market depends on maintaining a sense of desire in the consumer; and even though it seems as though the rumor sites are the Robin Hoods of industry, taking information from the rich manufacturers to the poor consumers, they are in fact, deeply a part of the marketing machinery itself.

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