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After the Second World War, if you were a professional photographer, then you would have used cameras from companies like Hasselblad and Leica. Photojournalists tended to shoot predominantly with Leica cameras, and they were essentially the standard. This was predominantly due to the smaller, lighter form factor when compared to larger format cameras. Cameras from Leica were some of the best options available at the time and the great quality they offered came with an even greater price. The price points were one of the most prohibiting factors for many people looking to enter the photography industry. It’s not as though most people had the money to afford cameras from companies like Leica; even to this day, this point remains. This meant that there was room to compete if a company could produce cameras at a much lower price. The answer at the time came from lesser-known companies that were based in Japan.

二战后,如果你是一名专业摄影师,你会使用哈苏和徕卡等公司的相机。摄影记者会倾向于主要用徕卡相机拍摄,这基本上是标配。这主要是由于和较大的格式相机相比,哈苏和徕卡的相机有更小,更轻的优势。徕卡相机是当时最好的选择之一,当然他们提供高质量相机的同时,相机的价格也更高。对于许多想进入摄影行业的人来说,价格是最让人难以接受的因素之一。大多数人都负担不起像徕卡这样贵的相机,直到今天,这一因素仍然存在。这意味着,如果一家公司能够以低得多的价格生产相机,它就有了竞争的空间。腾游棋牌_[官网入口]而当时的答案来自一些不太知名的日本公司。

Japan Changed the Camera Industry: It may seem somewhat odd to us now, but it wasn’t long ago that Japanese-made cameras were considered inferior. Industry-leading companies like Canon were, at the time, only known for producing knock-off Leica cameras. If you couldn’t afford the “real thing” that was produced in Europe, then you’d buy a cheap Japanese-made camera instead. Companies like Canon only saw real success when they started to produce their own cameras. Ever since Leica produced the M3 in 1954, Canon decided to move away from producing Leica copies. In 1956, Canon produced its very first original rangefinder camera, the Canon VT. One could consider this to be the true beginning of the company.

日本改变了相机行业: 对于现在的我们来说可能有点奇怪,但就在不久前,日本制造的相机还被认为是“次品”。当时,像佳能这样的行业领先公司以生产冒牌的徕卡相机而闻名。如果你买不起欧洲生产的“正品”,那么你可能就会买一架便宜的日本产相机。像佳能这样的公司只有从开始生产自己的相机时才会看到它们真正的成功。自从1954年徕卡生产M3后,佳能决定不再生产徕卡的复制品。1956年,佳能生产了它的第一部原创测距相机,佳能VT,可以认为这是该公司真正崛起的开始。



The Canon VT. Photo by Leonard Bentley and licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 佳能VT相机

Fast-forward to more recent times, and we now see how European companies like Leica and Hasselblad have become far less prominent within the photography industry. Even in terms of revenue, Canon individually generates more than most (if not all) Europe-based camera manufacturers. The reputation that Leica had as a company for professionals is no longer present. More professionals and enthusiasts shoot with Japanese cameras, and it’s clear to see why. These cameras, for the most part, offer better, more effective, and a wider range of features at a much lower price.

到离现在更近的时间点,我们会发现,徕卡和哈苏等欧洲公司在摄影行业的地位远不如从前。腾游棋牌_[官网入口]即便是在收入方面,佳能单个公司的收入也超过了大多数(即使不是全部的话)欧洲相机制造商。徕卡作为专业相机公司的声誉已不复存在。越来越多的专业人士和摄影爱好者开始使用日本相机拍照,原因显而易见:这些相机在很大程度上提供了更好的,更有效的,更广泛的功能,而且还有着更低的价格。

These Japanese manufacturers quite literally changed the whole industry. Even competition from companies is predominantly from other Japanese manufacturers. There are quite literally no other manufacturers in the industry that can compete on the same level. Finally, and most importantly, the negative reputations that Japanese manufacturers once held have all but faded. Almost no one thinks twice about buying a camera made from Japan. Most people don’t even think about that and simply buy a camera based on the individual company’s reputation.

这些日本制造商确实改变了整个行业。即便是来自企业的竞争,也主要是来自其他日本制造商。毫不夸张地说,在这个行业里没有其他制造商可以与日本制造商竞争。腾游棋牌_[官网入口]最后,也是最重要的一点,日本制造商曾经有过的负面名声几乎已经消失。购买日本制造的相机,几乎没有人会犹豫,大多数人甚至没有考虑到这一点,而是会根据个别公司的声誉购买相机。

The Shift to China: Fujifilm’s decision to have their flagship cameras manufactured in China was quite a big step in my view. The Fuji X-T3 is in my view the best APS-C camera currently on the market. I absolutely love shooting with this camera. As far as I know, this was the first flagship camera that Fujifilm had manufactured in China, and this is reflected in the price. For some time, the X-T2 actually costed more than the latest model; so, there are clear advantages to manufacturing across the border.

向中国转移: 在我看来,富士公司决定在中国生产旗舰相机,是迈出了一大步。在我看来,富士X-T3是目前市场上最好的APS-C相机,我非常喜欢用这个相机拍照。腾游棋牌_[官网入口]据我所知,这是富士公司在中国生产的第一款旗舰相机,价格上也反映了这一点:有一段时间,X-T2的价格实际上比最新款XT-3还要高。因此,跨境生产具有明显的价格优势。



The Fujifilm X-T3. Reportedly Made in China. 富士的X-T3相机,据说是中国制造。

Admittedly, this individually isn’t a huge point that I’m making. What makes this an interesting point is when you look at the industry from an overall perspective and see how things are shifting across it. There are huge advantages (aside from many moral issues) to manufacturing in China mostly down to the cost. This puts competitors in a difficult position because competing with a Chinese company could be tough unless certain measures are taken. The shift to China could be inevitable.

不可否认,这并不是我想要强调的重点。这一点之所以有趣,是因为当你从一个整体的角度看待这个行业,会看到在整个行业中是如何发生变化的。中国的制造业有巨大的优势(除了许多道德问题之外),主要是会降低成本。这让竞争对手陷入了困境,因为除非采取某些措施,否则与中国公司竞争可能会很艰难。因此向中国的转移可能是不可避免的。

The Rise of Chinese Brands: Over the last couple of decades, we’ve seen a huge increase in Chinese manufactured products. Many of these products have been copies of products from well-known brands. Due to this, Chinese made products tend to hold a negative stigma of being cheap and inferior. This is similar to the perceptions people held for Japanese made products not so long ago.

中国品牌的崛起: 在过去的几十年里,我们看到了中国制造产品的巨大增长。这些产品中有许多是名牌产品的复制品。因此,中国制造的产品往往带有廉价和劣质的负面标签。这与不久前人们对日本制造产品的看法相似。

Companies like Venus Optics (more commonly known as Laowa) is a great example of a Chinese brand that’s been developing high-quality products. What seems to be separating it from many other manufacturers is the fact that it produces somewhat unusual and interesting lenses. Laowa’s most notable product so far is the 24mm f/14 probe lens which in my view is incredible. Laowa seemingly understood that it would be difficult to compete directly with many of the other manufacturers on the market. For that reason, Laowa produces products that put it in a separate category.

像长庚光学(通常被称为“老蛙”)这样的公司就是中国品牌开发高质量产品的一个很好的例子。它与许多其他制造商的不同之处在于,它生产的镜头有些不同寻常,也有些有趣。到目前为止,老蛙最著名的产品是24毫米F14特种微距镜头,在我看来,这个镜头是极好的。老蛙似乎明白,直接与市场上的许多其它制造商竞争是困难的,因此,老蛙生产的产品属于一个单独的类别。



The unusual Venus Optics Laowa 24mm f/14 probe lens 不寻常的长庚光学老蛙24毫米F/14微距镜头

I interviewed the founder and CEO of Venus Optics, Mr. Li, and he described his thoughts on the industry and what they aimed to achieve. “What we can see is that the traditional photography industry is being slowly occupied by smartphones and other convenient devices,” Li tells PetaPixel. “The market is gradually shrinking. However, if we carefully study the market trends, you will find that photographers who pursue fun, creativity, and uniqueness in photography are increasing. They are looking for personal photographic styles, creative shots, new experience, etc.”

我采访了长庚光学的创始人兼首席执行官李大勇先生,他描述了他对这个行业的想法以及他们的目标:“我们可以看到,智能手机和其他便利设备正在慢慢侵占传统的摄影行业,”李告诉我们:“传统的摄影市场正在逐渐萎缩。然而,如果我们仔细研究市场趋势,你会发现,在摄影中追求乐趣、创造力和独特性的摄影师越来越多。他们在寻找个人摄影风格、创意拍摄、新体验等等。”

Another company that comes to mind is DJI. This company has managed to grow at an incredible rate. Currently, DJI is the leading manufacturer of drones in the world. No other company comes close. The drone and gimbal industries as a whole are being led by Chinese companies, and there are no viable competitors anywhere else in the world.

我想到的另一家公司是大疆。这家公司正在以惊人的速度发展着。目前,大疆是全球领先的民用无人机制造商,没有其他公司能与之匹敌。无人机和云台行业作为一个整体都是由中国公司主导的,在世界其他任何地方都没有值得一提的竞争对手。



DJI dominates the global drone industry. 大疆在全球无人机行业占据主导地位。

Pro Cameras from China? Japanese companies like Nikon initially started off as optics manufacturers. Although it produced copies of Leica cameras, the products it produced themselves were mostly lenses. Eventually, of course, both Canon and Nikon produced their own cameras and rose to the top of the industry. In the same interview with Mr. Li, I asked if it were possible for us to start seeing more professional cameras from Chinese manufacturers. “Yes, we have seen this change,” he says. “But digital cameras are different from film cameras decades ago. Japan’s transcendence began with autofocus, which was at the time when electronic cameras were getting popular. Japanese companies changed their manufacturing methods and drastically reduced costs. They also turn the complex photographic techniques into simple camera operations.



Cinema Cameras: For DSLR and mirrorless cameras, we may not see a new major manufacturer enter the industry for some time. The main reason is that the margins are simply not there. Consider what the cost differences were between Leica and Canon rangefinder cameras. For that reason, it would be difficult to compete effectively. Cinema cameras, however, could be where the battle is won and lost. A high-end RED camera system can cost more than $180,000. Even if we’re looking at just the brain section of the system, the 8K version is currently priced over $50,000. The alternative is a company from China called Z-Cam.

电影摄影机: 对于单反相机和无反相机领域,我们可能在一段时间内都不会看到一个新的主要制造商进入这个行业,主要原因是考虑到徕卡和佳能相机的价格差异,这个领域的利润根本就不高。因此,很难有效地竞争。然而,电影摄影机可能是这场战争胜负的关键。一个高端的RED摄像系统的价格可能超过18万美元。即使我们只看系统的大脑部分,8K版本目前的售价也超过5万美元。另一个选择是来自中国的Z-Cam公司。

Z-Cam currently offers a number of cinema cameras including one with a full-frx sensor that shoots up to 8K. Of course, the RED Monstro is better in almost every regard, however, considering that it costs almost 10 times that of the Z-Cam, you can see that there is room to compete. If Z-Cam starts producing cameras with similar features at a much lower price point, it could start to change the cinema industry.

Z-Cam目前提供了许多电影相机,包括一个全画幅传感器,最高可拍摄8K。当然,RED Monstro几乎在所有方面都比Z-Cam的产品更好,但是,考虑到它的成本几乎是Z-Cam的10倍,所以你可以看到竞争的空间。如果Z-Cam开始以低得多的价格生产具有类似功能的相机,可能会开始改变电影业。



The Z CAM E2-F8, a professional full-frx 8K cinema camera that costs just $6,000.

Z CAM E2-F8是一款专业的全画幅8K电影摄像机,售价仅为6000美元。

Final Thoughts: It’s not a huge leap of the imagination to say that companies from China may start to change the photo and video industry. Cinema cameras may be the first to be hit because companies like Z-Cam could start eating away at profits from companies like RED, Panasonic, and even Canon.The difference in manufacturing cost is very real and this could give Chinese companies a great advantage over their competitors. I imagine that in the next decade we may start to see a few notable buyouts and mergers that solidify China’s impact within our industry.

最后的想法: 说中国的公司可能会开始改变照片和视频行业,并不需要多大的想象力。电影摄像机可能是最先受到冲击的,因为像Z-Cam这样的公司可能会开始蚕食RED、松下甚至佳能等公司的利润。制造成本的差异是非常真实的,这可能使中国公司比他们的竞争对手有很大的优势。我想,在未来10年,我们可能会开始看到一些值得注意的收购和并购案,它们会进一步巩固中国在影响行业的影响力。