I confess: I’m a photo gear junkie. I’ve bought dozens of cameras and lenses, way too many tripods, camera bags and backpacks, and many thousands of dollars’ worth of filters, flash units, and other accessories. I’ve tempered my obsession over the last few years, mostly because there’s only so much room to store these things, but from the flood of new products hitting the market recently I’d say I slowed down just in time.
Most of the gear I’ve bought has come from what are still the dominant camera brands―Canon and Nikon. Of course, there have always been many more choices: Leica, Pentax, Olympus, Hasselblad, just to name a few. Now, however, thanks to crowdfunding we’ve entered a different photo gear universe. And, as Monty Python so cheerfully sang, this one is amazing and expanding.
To learn more about this new universe, I looked at the data behind the top 100 most successful photo gear campaigns on Kickstarter and Indiegogo. I also spent some time talking with the people behind some of these campaigns to get their perspectives. Here’s what I found out:
In the last five years alone, nearly $50 million has been raised for the development of new photo gear on major crowdfunding platforms like Kickstarter and Indiegogo. And whether you’re interested in serious fun (like Furbo: World’s Best Treat-Tossing Dog Camera) or serious work (like The Lomography Daguerreotype Achromat 2.9/64 Art Lens), there’s something for everyone in the new invest-and-buy marketplace.
Crowdfunding for photography gear has grown from non-existent as little as ten years ago to what has quickly become an important force in the development of new products. As someone who has bought an unreasonable number (50? 100? I’ve lost track) of camera bags and backpacks over the years, it’s hard for me to believe that the marketplace for new bags is not already well saturated. And yet, the two largest Kickstarter campaigns for photo gear were both for camera bags…