Before the rush

Before the rush
by evan-pak

Submit your Photo
Hall of Fame

Please participate in Meta
and help us grow.

Photography Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for professional, enthusiast and amateur photographers. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

How does the bill of materials for a camera contribute to the actual cost and/or price of the camera and how do the hidden costs in developing, manufacturing, and marketing a camera to the public compare to the material cost?

share|improve this question

closed as not constructive by Itai, Matt Grum, John Cavan, jwenting, jrista Nov 14 '12 at 18:50

As it currently stands, this question is not a good fit for our Q&A format. We expect answers to be supported by facts, references, or expertise, but this question will likely solicit debate, arguments, polling, or extended discussion. If you feel that this question can be improved and possibly reopened, visit the help center for guidance.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

With technology items this in non-sense IMO. It takes billion-dollar factories to fab the silicon for sensors they have to be run, maintained, updated and developed after extensive research. The bill gets distributed among purchasers and is not part of any materials. – Itai Nov 13 '12 at 14:54
To follow up what Itai says, you not only need to know the cost of manufacture, but also the total R&D expenditure and how many sales they intend to repay the R&D costs over. – Matt Grum Nov 13 '12 at 15:25
I think the premise is poor (that a list of materials will prove the cameras overpriced), but the basic question seems interesting. – mattdm Nov 13 '12 at 16:04
Nikon, Canon, and others aren't going to divulge their BOM. That is basically part of the trade secret of the product, just like it is with many other products in many other industries. What you are asking is unreasonable and totally unrealistic. Also, this business is competetive enough that a basic camera can't be "overpriced" and be a successfull product. If people are buying it, they obviously think the price is worth it. – Olin Lathrop Nov 13 '12 at 18:40
It's funny but I find the title of this question really interesting but the actual body is uninspiring. Would it be possible to redo the body to make it a better question? – user9817 Nov 14 '12 at 14:42

Obtaining the exact bill of materials will not be possible, or very hard not only for photographic equipment but also for any kind of goods, be it a LCD television or a car. But if you know the components and their approximate wholesale prices, you can estimate an amount that might be close to actual cost. The estimates on iPads will be a good example for this. link to EE Times Apple did not give any of this information but since the components are well known, an estimated figure can be calculated.

Manufacture cost is not always related to sales price. A company might sell goods for loss since it wants to dominate or hold its position in the market, like Sony currently does with its Television sales or if it already has devout fans it can sell for a hefty amount of a profit like Apple does.

As of date of this post the sales price of Nikon D7000 is $1,199.95

Using internet for replacement parts gives the following figures

Image Sensor: $375

LCD screen: $35

Main board: $125

Mirror box: $90

Since these will be the most expensive parts, and are already at inflated consumer prices, it will be safe to assume that there is a profit margin.

share|improve this answer

A single lens reflex camera or mirrorless camera is basically made of some oil, metallic ores and a handful of sand. A few dollars worth at most. By this metric such cameras are vastly overpriced.

But looking at materials does not cover the costs of R&D, buying/researching/running the manufacturing plans, wages, marketing, legal costs and a whole host of other expenses that the purchase price has to cover.

Finally cameras ultimately end up priced at roughly the level of demand, meaning it's not possible for them to be "overpriced". For proof of this, look at what happened with the Sigma SD1 Merrill.

share|improve this answer
Matt, of course, the BoM does not include NRE. But the concept is widely used, see iSupply about iPhone, iPad, and various other smartphone things. Usually, the retail price is 5x to 10x the BoM cost. There can be a lot of NREs to cover. – Pat Farrell Nov 14 '12 at 16:47
iPhone is also seel at "level of demand", but still... – Paolo Nov 15 '12 at 16:47

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.