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Beating a dead horse -why sales of digi cameras are hosed
Old 02-16-2017   #1
Huss
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Beating a dead horse -why sales of digi cameras are hosed

My boss just emailed me this pic. He knows nothing about photography, just pointed his iphone through the window and took the snap (i.e. shot through dirty glass)
For the avg Joe/sephine this is more than enough. Why buy a 'real' camera when they can do this w/ their phones?

'We' know why to buy a real camera, but we make up a tiny fraction of the buying public.

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Old 02-16-2017   #2
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in optimal conditions cellphones can perform well. But taken out of those conditions is where real cameras shine.
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Old 02-16-2017   #3
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in optimal conditions cellphones can perform well. But taken out of those conditions is where real cameras shine.
I wouldnt say the pic above was taken in optimal conditions. It was taken at dawn, hand held, thru a dirty window on the 27th floor.
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Old 02-16-2017   #4
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When my personal robot in a few years expresses an interest in photography, I'm going to encourage him/her/it to shoot film.

Many cellphones can shoot, pretty much without assistance, technically wonderful photos. But, like the screed against landscape photographers, "Another rock, another tree," how many lovely skyscrapers in the mist photos do we really need? Whether shot with a cellphone or a Sony A7rII.
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Old 02-16-2017   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Huss View Post
I wouldnt say the pic above was taken in optimal conditions. It was taken at dawn, hand held, thru a dirty window on the 27th floor.

Everything you mentioned sounds absolutely optimal. Except for the dirty window part but he's not blowing this image up either.
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Old 02-16-2017   #6
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Just curious, what would you consider unoptimal conditions for a cell phone?

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Old 02-16-2017   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Huss View Post
...Why buy a 'real' camera when they can do this w/ their phones?...

That's a fair question if we ask it honestly and not rhetorically. All most people want from a camera is to quickly take a reasonable quality image of some person, view or event they'd like to remember or preserve. Cell phones do a remarkable job of that. They are, in fact, a continuation of and improvement on Barnack's original idea of a light, portable picture taking device of reasonable quality that one could have on his/her person at all times.
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Old 02-16-2017   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Huss View Post
Why buy a 'real' camera when they can do this w/ their phones?
Agreed. Many on this forum just don't get how much the photographic landscape has changed and will continue to change as a result of the cellphone camera. The consumer market for new digital cameras is shrinking rapidly and this market shrinkage will continue.

Going forward, there will be new photographic equipment available for pros (at a considerable cost), but an enthusiast like me will have increasingly fewer choices when it comes to new equipment. Many camera makers today will be out of business in several years.
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Old 02-16-2017   #9
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The best camera is the one you have with you when the opportunity to take a great or not so great photograph arises, that is why these cell/mobile phone cameras are hard to beat.
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Old 02-16-2017   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JP Owens View Post

Many cellphones can shoot, pretty much without assistance, technically wonderful photos. But, like the screed against landscape photographers, "Another rock, another tree," how many lovely skyscrapers in the mist photos do we really need? Whether shot with a cellphone or a Sony A7rII.
It's not what 'we' need as a collective, it's what 'we' need as an individual.
The 'we' in this case wanted to take the photo and was very happy with it. He now uses it as his desktop.
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Old 02-16-2017   #11
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Everything you mentioned sounds absolutely optimal. Except for the dirty window part but he's not blowing this image up either.

Low light, high ISO, slow shutter speed is optimal for cell phones? Got it.
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Old 02-16-2017   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kevin m View Post
That's a fair question if we ask it honestly and not rhetorically. All most people want from a camera is to quickly take a reasonable quality image of some person, view or event they'd like to remember or preserve. Cell phones do a remarkable job of that. They are, in fact, a continuation of and improvement on Barnack's original idea of a light, portable picture taking device of reasonable quality that one could have on his/her person at all times.
Never thought it that way, but yeah, completly agree with you. I suppose 35mm cameras faced the same attitude from the large format camera users than the cell phones are facing from the camera users in general today.

Regards.

Marcelo
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Old 02-16-2017   #13
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Actually, it is fine conditions for at least iPhone 5 or newer and me as not Huss boss. I'll hold it against of the window to have no hand shake and enable HDR mode.
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Old 02-16-2017   #14
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Sure, phones do a great job in many conditions. That's pretty well known.
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Old 02-16-2017   #15
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Why are we worried about what other folks take pictures with? Film camera production and consumption took a dump when Digitals came out, sooner or later the same was destined for big ugly digitals. Mirrorless is taking up a lot of the DSLR market now. Something will come along that's better and they will go down the tube. I believe that's the nature of things.
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Old 02-16-2017   #16
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I'd be very surprised if those of us on the forum with these smart phones haven't tried out the camera and looked very critically at its pictures. They worry me...

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Old 02-16-2017   #17
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"Huss" , I'm somewhat envious of your boss . Peter
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Old 02-16-2017   #18
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Originally Posted by Moto-Uno View Post
"Huss" , I'm somewhat envious of your boss . Peter

No kidding, right?

Anyway, the point of this is that when phones can make pics that 99% of the public like, camera mfgs are royally shtonked.
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Old 02-16-2017   #19
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I'm not surprised phones have gutted the point and shoot market. But am somewhat confused why the hobby/enthusiast market has been impacted by phone sales. Why are all digital camera sales down so much?
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Old 02-16-2017   #20
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'we' could argue about the accuracy of the 99% but I give you that you are in the ballpark
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Old 02-16-2017   #21
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The irony here is that camera phones have much in common, historically, with 35mm film. Camera phone=Barnack, one century on.
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Old 02-16-2017   #22
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The only thing deficient about phone cams is that they aren't 75mm equivalent, and aren't native true monochrome.

Honestly with the way things have been going, the latter seems more likely to appear on a cell phone than any non-Leica camera.
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Old 02-16-2017   #23
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Originally Posted by zuiko85 View Post
I'm not surprised phones have gutted the point and shoot market. But am somewhat confused why the hobby/enthusiast market has been impacted by phone sales. Why are all digital camera sales down so much?

I think because at one point in time, hobbyists needed the better cameras to get results they were happy with. But for most they are a drag to carry around. Now everyone carries a phone, and the cameras in them have become good enough for the avg user to be perfectly satisfied with the results.
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Old 02-16-2017   #24
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Originally Posted by JChrome View Post
Everything you mentioned sounds absolutely optimal. Except for the dirty window part but he's not blowing this image up either.
The dirty window no doubt reduced the contrast, helping to keep the shot within the iPhone's dynamic range.
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Old 02-16-2017   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Huss View Post
I think because at one point in time, hobbyists needed the better cameras to get results they were happy with. But for most they are a drag to carry around. Now everyone carries a phone, and the cameras in them have become good enough for the avg user to be perfectly satisfied with the results.

No they are not.
They want better cameras to fiddle around with.
Let's not lie to ourselves - there is no way iPhone produces lesser technical quality picture than Canonet or some crap like that...
It's the process not the result that is attractive for enthusiasts.
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Old 02-16-2017   #26
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One of the concepts of product markets is that they pass though broadly similar phases of product adoption, growth and decline.


You can see the concept here:

https://solutionmarketingblog.com/20...-or-solutions/

Early on it's mainly innovators in the community who take up a new product (and who pay a premium for the privilege - who remembers people paying over $1000 for a camera with less than 1 megapixel because they wanted to explore the new technology?), then the early adopters begin buying as the product gets better, followed by the early majority as more people decide the product can offer them something. This is the product's boom time when the sky is blue, everyone is buying and money is rolling in to fund yet more research and development and ever newer products and features.

Then the late majority follow (and discounting begins in a big way to squeeze every last drop out of the market) but after this it is all down hill. The market has reached maturity and must inevitably decline. The big dilemma in high tech is how to stave off the decline by more innovation and new technology throughout its life cycle but as the market and money dries up this becomes tougher. We have seen that in the camera industry as one wave of innovation has preceded the next. But the time inevitably comes when the gravy train ends. Especially when the market is disrupted by new technologies like mobile phones which in this case has also helped take the wind out of the sails of the big camera companies.

Cameras will still be around no doubt but they will be commodity items and we will be unlikely to see the yearly announcements of new products with new features and smarter technologies.

I must admit I am not one who rushes out to buy new camera gear at every announcement. I have almost never bought a new car in my life and almost the same for cameras - why spend double when you can wait a year or two and get a still excellent product then for far less money? This still helps overall because it means I am buying (more often than not) from someone who wants to spend on a new camera or lens and I free them up to do so. But it still does help in the long run, especially given that I can't see the benefit in changing my equipment over every year or two like some people. And this latter behaviour is the real problem for the camera market given it takes reoccurring revenue out of the system which means there is less money available for R and D on which their innovation relies. In any event eventually everyone who needs or wants one has a camera so the market more or less dries up. That's life.
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Old 02-16-2017   #27
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Old 02-16-2017   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mpaniagua View Post
...I suppose 35mm cameras faced the same attitude from the large format camera users than the cell phones are facing from the camera users in general today.

Regards.

Marcelo

I'm fairly certain they did. Just like we look down on selfie-obsessed cellphone camera users, the large-format professionals of Barnack's age mocked his puny camera, too.



Quote:
Originally Posted by David Hughes View Post
I'd be very surprised if those of us on the forum with these smart phones haven't tried out the camera and looked very critically at its pictures. They worry me...

Regards, David

What worries you? I was a wedding photographer, and I put my 5d's and my Pentax 645n kit away for two years and shot with nothing by my iPhone. It was liberating, and I actually got better at closing the gap between the instinct that my brain had sensed a "picture" and acting on that instinct. Nothing deadens that instinct more than having to go back to the car to retrieve your kit.


Quote:
Originally Posted by zuiko85 View Post
I'm not surprised phones have gutted the point and shoot market. But am somewhat confused why the hobby/enthusiast market has been impacted by phone sales. Why are all digital camera sales down so much?
Maybe people are just sick of trying to keep up with technology? As I said above, I put away my pro gear for 2 years, and I'm shocked at how fast things have moved in the interim.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Huss View Post
...Anyway, the point of this is that when phones can make pics that 99% of the public like, camera mfgs are royally shtonked.

Maybe that's a good thing. I'm to the point now where a camera either "literally" fits in my pocket or it doesn't, and that excludes every classic Leica ever made, as well as "compact" cameras like the Fuji X100T, Sony A6000 series, etc.. If I'm going to commit to carrying a camera, then a "compact" has no real advantage over a DSLR, or maybe even a small medium format rig.

Good topic, btw, thanks!
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Old 02-16-2017   #29
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Good topic, btw, thanks!
Kevin, I can tell you are a man of good moral fiber and exceedingly good taste.
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Old 02-16-2017   #30
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^^ Long live medium format ! Besides no one can ask to see the (mediocre) picture I just took !!! Peter
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Old 02-16-2017   #31
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Kevin, I can tell you are a man of good moral fiber and exceedingly good taste.
I've never been convicted of a crime, if that's what you mean.

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Old 02-16-2017   #32
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Huss View Post
My boss just emailed me this pic. He knows nothing about photography, just pointed his iphone through the window and took the snap (i.e. shot through dirty glass)
For the avg Joe/sephine this is more than enough. Why buy a 'real' camera when they can do this w/ their phones?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Huss View Post
Low light, high ISO, slow shutter speed is optimal for cell phones? Got it.
The thing is, as your boss shows, that low light, high ISO, and slow shutter speed in no longer suboptimal for a phone camera. In fact, low light, high ISO and slow shutter speed are all problems that phone makers have moved to software.
Effectively if you quickly take, stack, and merge a lot of images in software then you overcome all of those issues. You can also extend the dynamic range while you're at it. If you think about it, there aren't that many advantages that a real camera has over a phone that can't be shifted to a software solution (for general use*). Tactile manual controls are all I can think of.

*Things like sports and motor racing are not general use, they are a niche that will continue to be filled by a true camera.
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Old 02-16-2017   #33
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Nothing really has changed. The mass market has never had much interest in "real" cameras. They bought box cameras, instamatics, autoloading point and shoots etc. Full featured cameras have always been niche products, and will always be niche products.

Now those cameras are just built into a phone. For somebody who just wants to point a thing at a thing and get a thing, this is great. Anybody who still desires complete control over exposure, depth of field, shutter speed, etc. still looks for a full featured camera. Same as it ever was.
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Old 02-16-2017   #34
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Quote:
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Sure, phones do a great job in many conditions. That's pretty well known.
Yes, they let you speak with friends, family, co-workers, clients, from almost anywhere.

Oh? That's not what you meant?
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Old 02-16-2017   #35
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Yes, they let you speak with friends, family, co-workers, clients, from almost anywhere.

Oh? That's not what you meant?
A cellphone camera in your pocket is a better camera than the pro kit in your house.
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Old 02-16-2017   #36
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Originally Posted by tunalegs View Post
For somebody who just wants to point a thing at a thing and get a thing, this is great. Anybody who still desires complete control over exposure, depth of field, shutter speed, etc. still looks for a full featured camera. Same as it ever was.
There are Apps for almost all of that already. And more of the "advanced" features can be increasingly simulated in software. DoF for example; sure the current version isn't quite perfect, but I bet in 5 years it will be.
The only sure thing is that technology will march on.
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Old 02-16-2017   #37
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kevin m View Post
A cellphone camera in your pocket is a better camera than the pro kit in your house.
How about this:
If you want to share your photo with family and friends, the cellphone in your hand is better than the pro kit in your hand.

Until camera makers can solve that they will continue to lose ground.
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Old 02-16-2017   #38
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Yes, they let you speak with friends, family, co-workers, clients, from almost anywhere.

Oh? That's not what you meant?
I don't believe I have talked on my iPhone more than 10 minutes total in the two years I have owned the current one. I use Skype at home and biz, and have a Skype local telephone number.

I don't think my friends would know what to make of a phone call, they would think I was living in the dark ages. I text (in various forms), or Facetime.

I have no older relatives to talk to (because they can't use a computer), I am the older relative.

Quote:
Originally Posted by michaelwj View Post
How about this:
If you want to share your photo with family and friends, the cellphone in your hand is better than the pro kit in your hand.

Until camera makers can solve that they will continue to lose ground.
It is a tough act to follow, I can take a photo, crop it, change the exposure, convert it to B&W, and post it to mail, message it, put it on Facebook or Twitter. And geo locate it with a landmark, with time, and a description. And if you are on a current iPhone the image can be 3 seconds long as a film with sound

Using an app like Hydra, a landscape image can be 4k.
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Old 02-17-2017   #39
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Phones have had great little sensors and glass for a while now (especially iPhone)

The digital point and shoot market is near extinction, this is obvious. Nikon just abandoned their announced DL series. Sony is seeing low sales of their high end RX100 line.
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Old 02-17-2017   #40
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Originally Posted by kevin m View Post
...What worries you? I was a wedding photographer, and I put my 5d's and my Pentax 645n kit away for two years and shot with nothing by my iPhone. It was liberating, and I actually got better at closing the gap between the instinct that my brain had sensed a "picture" and acting on that instinct. Nothing deadens that instinct more than having to go back to the car to retrieve your kit...
Hi,

What worries me is that the Barnack killed MF and LF or rather knocked out 80 or 90% of it and I can see the common P&S going that way and that will have a knock on effect on the serious P&S's that so many of us have.

I agree a smart phone is useful as a pocket camera but we don't all want wide angle shots at f/4 all the time. I do a lot of macro work using a 100mm, so I'm biased...

Regards, David
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