The Two-Tone Car Problem For Camera Designers
The paint schemes in the 50's changed as years went by. Where pink/charcoal grey sold well one year, turquoise/white scored big the next. The trick to clearing all the older models was to have just enough of them before the new schemes were presented and the public ran over to buy them. Designers and marketing teams conducted massive research campaigns in an effort to predict just what would appeal to the masses - one bad colour combo in the fall and you had thousands of dollars slumped on the lot next spring - and then had cars that went out at bucket prices as a result.
Japanese camera manufacturers are in the same boat today - they need to accurately predict what will cause the buyers to foam at the wallet and they need to nail it a couple of years in advance. If the big makers sometimes seem to be running a footrace with each other design-wise, it is probably because they have invested millions on market research and ninja spies. Even then, they can get it " not -necessarily-to-their-advantage " ...to quote a famous son of heaven. Sometimes they get it wrong big time and frankly, Scarlett, the public doesn't give a damn.
Smart firms pay attention to their fans and their wannabe fans. Fujifilm apparently does, and monitors the rumour site that hovers round their brand name. Let us hope that the others do so as well, so that they can give the rest of the trade good gear to sell. We can all benefit from the cautionary tale of the three-toned schemes that Packard tried on their 50's vehicles.
Packard? Did they make cars? Wasn't that Petri? I know they made dishes...