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SHORTS & BRIEFS: May 19

$17 mil for early mixed media work…Panasonic announces 9mm prime for M43…Camera supply still sketchy

$17 mil for early mixed media work!

One of photography’s most over-rated images, Man Ray’s 1924 Le Violon d’Ingres has sold for $17.7 million at Christie’s New York auction of Surrealist art. This is far and away the highest price ever paid for a photographic print at auction.

Initial estimate was that the photograph would make $7 – 10 million.  The previous record holder was Andreas Gursky’s 1999 landscape photo, Rhein II, while sold at Christie’s in 2011 for around $6 million.

This is the first time the photograph, acquired from Man Ray himself by a successful New York fashion retailer in 1962, had been offered for sale.

Man Ray first photographed model, performer, and lover Alice Ernestine Prin (aka ‘Kike de Montparnasse’ and then painted the f-holes onto the print before photographing it. It is apparently resonant of Ingres’ 1808 painting The Valpincon Bather.

While Man Ray was a photographic trailblazer, especially with his solarization techniques, he had a few misses along with his hits. He himself would probably be surprised that the somewhat undergraduate Le Violon d’Ingres  (a term alluding to a ‘hobby’ or an ‘enthusiasm’) is still regarded as among the latter – to the tune of $17 mil.


Panasonic announces 9mm prime for M43

Panasonic has announced the Lumix DG Summilux 9mm F1.7 Micro Four Thirds lens, with a local RRP of $849.

The new wide-angle prime weighs just 130 grams, and features a dust and splash-resistant design.

Macro shooting is assisted by an exceptionally short minimum focusing distance of 0.095m with a magnification ratio of 0.25x (35mm camera equivalent: 0.5x). The filter diameter is 55mm, with a 7-blade circular aperture diaphragm.

Videographers are catered for by aperture blades which open and close without visible steps, ideal for variable lighting conditions.

It will be available in July.


Camera supply still sketchy

Production and shipment figures from the Japanese camera manufacturers indicate signs of recovery, surpassing rates in the first quarter of 2020 – when Covid sent the world into a spiral – but still not reaching 2021 levels, when a lack of camera components, particularly computer chips, hit production hard.
Digital compact camera shipments continue to drop away, while the edge mirrorless cameras have had as the growth segment of the interchangeable lens market seems to be levelling off as well. And that’s not before time: the half a million DSLRs shipped in Jan-Mar this year are valued at about $20 Billion yen. On the other hand, the 654,000 mirrorless cameras shipped in the same period are valued at $74 billion yen. So working off the proverbial back of an envelope, mirrorless cameras on average are almost three times the value of DSLRs.

An interesting aberration in the first quarter 2022 figures is that in ‘The Americas’ market, which includes the US, DSLRs are making a major comeback: While mirrorless shipments to The Americas are down 25 percent on Jan-Mar 2021, DSLRs are up 16 percent, and more in value terms. Worldwide, overall shipments of interchangeables are down around 15 percent on 2021 levels.

Lens shipments are slightly more buoyant, tracking just under 2021 levels.

Another snippet of camera market data, this one from US market data analysts NPD, is that the Nikon Z9 is the top selling professional flagship full-frame mirrorless camera in the US in the Jan-Mar 2022 quarter, with 57 percent of the market for full frame mirrorless cameras over US$5000.


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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