Cameras and Cars

One of my friends recently bought a new camera. This guy is passionate about photography and one of those types that meticulously researches a purchase like this. So when he told me decided on his next big camera purchase I assumed it would be Canon, Nikon, or maybe even Leica. What I didn’t expect was his answer–Fuji.

He explained that when it comes to mirrorless cameras, there is a lot of stiff competition from companies that weren’t even in the ring a few years ago. That got me thinking about cars.

The mechanism that is an SLR camera–the mirror, the shutter, and the rest–is a bit old and creaky. Removing it in mirrorless cameras made competition from outsiders easier. I’d argue the same is true for the internal combustion engine. Existing car makers have so much specialized knowledge about how to make the best and most reliable internal combustion engines and, for many years, the acquisition of this specialized knowledge was the barrier to entry for anyone that wanted to make cars. However, that is changing. Electric cars are much simpler. There is an electric motor that is attached to a chassis with some sort of braking and steering mechanism. Carburetors, pistons, engine blocks, smog absorbers, oil pans, and all that other junk that are required to make an internal combustion engine all get thrown out the window with an electric car.

Like the high end camera market, cars are also easier to design and build now thanks to these advances in technology. This is why companies like Google and Apple seem to be ramping up to get in the car business. They don’t need the expertise that was mandatory a few years ago and new types of expertise, like batterie and software, will soon rule the day with respect to making cars. Those new subjects just happen to be right in Apple and Google’s wheelhouse. Like my friend’s new Fuji camera (that he loves), you may be surprised who people are buying cars from in a few years.