Seriously: how long did you think camera companies could churn out higher- and higher-megapixel cameras before consumers became fatigued with it all?
They're figuring out that a new 12- or 14-megapixel camera isn't a necessity when jobs, hours and salaries are getting cut.
That 6- or 8-MP camera most of us bought a year or two ago will do fine, at least until the recession moderates.
As a result:
- Ritz Camera filed for Ch. 11 bankruptcy protection this week. Hundreds of stores, stocked with Fuji, Nikon, and Olympus cameras that no one's buying. Most Ritz stores were mall-based, within easy clobbering range of the Target or Best Buy across the parking lot. If you bought a camera from Ritz, I hope you didn't pay extra for a Ritz warranty.
- Ritz's court filings say they owe Nikon USA more than $20 million. That kind of liability isn't going to make things easy at Nikon. Take good care of that D90 or D300; customer service may get whacked.
- Olympus downsized a portion of its U.S. sales and technical staff this week. The last Olympus digital camera I adored was the C-5060. Today's crop of pocket Olympus models have a few interesting bells and whistles. But no one raves about the quality of their photos, and it's all about getting great photos.
- Kodak's 3,500-4,500 layoffs by mid-year have a lot to do with the recession, but fewer shoppers in fewer retail locations don't create an optimal situation for the inventors of the digital camera.