Wednesday, August 3, 2016

In 1990 Photo Retailers Vote on Favorite Products

It's finally time to throw some things away, going through a pile of clippings, photos and notes saved from my days as an entrepreneur. I stumble over the November 1990 issue of the trade publication, Photo Trade News. (It no longer exists.)

But back in 1990 all the camera store owners got a free copy once a month telling them of new products and the status of the industry.This was back in the film days and the dealers were voting on their favorite product.

The article ledes off with "35mm SLR retail under $400" and the winner is a Minolta Maxxum 5000I, Canon EOS 700 and Pentax SF-10. PDF then goes to those SLRs between $400 and $1000 which includes Nikon N8008, Minolta Maxxum 7000I and Canon EOS 10S.

The review moves to accessories grouping top three photo albusm, frames and carrying cases. Camera bag is a carrying case?

The top brands for dealers were Tamarac 605, Coast Oasis and the Domke F2 Original. With the brief description: "professional photographer Jim Domke designed the F2 and tailored it to the specifications of his colleagues. It continues to be an all-time favorite."

Made the first F2 in 1976 and here it is being picked in 1990! I don't know if the dealers are simply slow or it proves it was a steady seller. Don't see any mention of the Nikon F. Actually for the high end SLR, the dealers pick Nikon F4 "that continues the tradition of the F3" and Canon EOS 1. For Canon it was the new lens mount "as more EF lenses are introduced."

Working on an eBook: Professionally Branded: By a photographer for photographers. Which I hope to release on Kindle by late August. It has been a chance to reflect on how making the bag to work from, get the roll of film quickly, change lenses and not fight the camera bag.

Today you can still rank cameras at different price points, but they are all digital. There isn't a need for the "single-use camera" the smart phone fills that need. Accessories in 1990 were Cokin Filters, now we have Photoshop, Snapseed and Instagram. Minolta pioneered auto-focus auto-exposure camera stores liked the "creative expansion cards" that popped into the camera to help photographers shoot better sports, bracket or customize shots. This is back in the old film days!

First Kodak SLR launched around 1994 for $25,000. Nothing for the camera store, They were interested in "shutter camera" for under $150, or the "35mm shutter camera" for over $150. A new category was added, the "bridge" camera. Defined as a "new concept camera with 35-135mm zoom lens." With an anti-red-eye flash system and infrared remote control. Olympus, Ricoh and Chinon brands were featured.

Those were the days. My book Professionally Branded shares how business needs to find a niche, and get branded. I'd like to thank all the photographers who helped make this possible. Sharing ideas at trade shows and snail mail.
Advertisment: 1989 taken by passerby who was handed a camera by David Burnett in Buenos Aires, Argentina, covering Pope John Paul.