Lenses and Features Driving Replacement of Studio Cameras
When compared with the turnover of a huge number of camcorders in their many formats, the world of studio television cameras has been rather sedate. Once clearly the superior quality solution to acquisition, setting aside mobile/OB applications, where they are the preferred kit, studio configurations remain an almost static realm. At any given time – against camcorders installed base of hundreds of thousands of units among professionals -- especially true in the smaller DV-oriented ones – the world of full-blown studio cameras seems like a privileged private London club. Numbering only in the tens of thousands of installed units, worldwide, these systems tend to be bulky and, unlike a decade ago when they were clearly of pristine quality compared with their lighter weight, more compact field brethren of the portable variety, they – the studio breed -- are no longer that much better a source of signals. Even for HD, there are today many camcorders that put out signals competitive to their ‘studio-quality’ competitors. The major difference is often not the studio camera itself, but its lens, capable of pulling in longer distances because of superior magnification and controls that supplement the studio camera chassis inherent abilities. That explains then, why such lenses can often be priced at greater amounts than the cameras themselves. The net result is a cost per camera that makes camcorders with their improved lenses seem like deeply discounted bargains.
According to our just released first time global Studio Cameras World tm 2007 report, which was published in February of 2008, HD is driving most of the new camera sales today, as despite their run-up in recent years, leaves many smaller stations and producers still equipped with analog or early (non-HD) digital cameras that needs to be replaced. This has been particularly true in the U.S., but that demand to be HD-ready is also rippling through Europe and the rest of the world, as well. Mobile/OB trucks as well as conventional studio operations, both at stations, networks, groups and production facilities have been scrambling to get upgraded. Even rental houses, despite their proclivity to provide mainly camcorders, have been spending to bring in HD studio models. In all, globally, the survey interviewed over 600 respondents drawn from broadcasters and other TV professionals in four geographic regions. These interviews were conducted, mainly by telephone using regional calling centers, among seven vertical segments including: broadcast and cable, mobile/OB, production facilities, independent producers, institutional users (corporate in-house, educational, religious, governmental and medical), rental houses and event video-making businesses.
Respondents, overall, stated that there is a ranking of a number, of what they consider significant, studio camera product strengths that they appreciate most. Among them: the type of Lens was considered the most important factor. Value for the Price was second. The type and number of Connectors was third. Imager quality (of the CCDs) was fourth. Compact Size and Resolution-to-Noise (S/N ratio) were tied for being the fifth most important strength. Native Signal Output was the sixth ranked. Overall Picture Quality was seventh. On-camera Controls was eight and that it be HD-capable the nine in ranked order. This ranking underscores the importance that the lens plays in what the value of the camera will be and the performance itself of the camera. On balance, studio cameras, while not undergoing the kind of boom seen in camcorder use, are being quietly replaced by HD models, worldwide.
About D.I.S. Consulting Corporation: D.I.S. Consulting Corporation, located in New York, is a leading supplier of market research in broadcast and professional segments, worldwide, and is the sole research partner of the NAB. They may be contacted through the website at www.disresearch.com or by E-Mail to the CEO and Chief Analyst Douglas I. Sheer at