The future of photography...

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by VirtualRain, Mar 1, 2015.

  1. VirtualRain macrumors 603

    VirtualRain

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    #1
    There's been a lot of discussion lately about the fate of Aperture and the future of photography software at Apple with Photos clearly being an iPhone focused app.

    I was recently chastised on this forum for advising someone who's looking for a point-and-shoot camera to just buy an iPhone. Their argument was that nearly any point-and-shoot camera is better than your phone camera. My counter point was that iPhone cameras are "good enough" and the benefit of having it on you all the time with the ability to instantly share anywhere trumped nearly every other benefit of a point-and-shoot.

    Even a month or so ago, the iPhone was already recognized by Flickr as the most popular camera in the world. But since then, a couple of additional damning pieces of evidence have caught my attention, suggesting my advice was totally sound.

    First, is the state of the Photography Industry for 2014 has been published by the CIPA. It's shows that there has been a 75% drop in camera sales since 2010. That's hard to believe.

    Second, there's more and more sites, awards, or collections of mobile photography showcasing how absolutely stunning images are being obtained with a mobile phone. Apple's latest home page is just one example. There's also Flickr's 25 Most Popular Smartphone Photographs. And some of the most prestigious photography awards now include a mobile phone category.

    We all know how disruptive the iPhone has been to the mobile phone industry. While, I think it's clear that there is still a niche for professional photography, I'm wondering how the ever shrinking market is going to ultimately play out for enthusiasts.

    Will Nikon survive long-term? Sony seems to be smart by focusing on sensors and selling them to anyone who wants them (including Apple). What does Canon's future look like? Will entry level DSLRs cease to make market sense and disappear? Will pro-grade DSLR gear get incredibly expensive to offset the loss of revenue from consumers?

    What do you see happening?
     
  2. close2reality, Mar 1, 2015
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2015

    close2reality macrumors 6502

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    #2
    Canon lost a customer.

    Cliff Notes:

    - I paid $3,699.99 for a 5DIII (w/24-105 f4/L) 3 days ago.
    - Canon revised pricing over the past 24 hours to $3,099.99

    Conclusion:

    - Returned camera and walked out. Kiss my ass Canon, I don't want your DR lacking inferior overpriced POS anyway.

    P.S - I feel sorry for all the people who cut off the UPC code and actually mailed in for the 300.00 rebate. They do not have the luxury of walking into the store and returning it.
     
  3. MCH-1138 macrumors 6502

    MCH-1138

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    #3
    Not sure I understand the logic here. Are you upset because the price dropped in the three days since you purchased it? Why not ask (nicely) for a price adjustment? Or return it and repurchase?

    Or is it that you are not happy with the camera itself? I seem to recall that you purchased the 6D after much deliberation and then exchanged it to upgrade to a 5DIII.
     
  4. VirtualRain thread starter macrumors 603

    VirtualRain

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    #4
    First, why post that here? Second, most people would be pleased to save $600... your timing was perfect... why not take advantage of that?
     
  5. close2reality, Mar 1, 2015
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2015

    close2reality macrumors 6502

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    #5

    For starters the fact that 6D > 5DIII for ISO and 6D < 5DIII for AF.

    The catch? 6D was after the 5DIII, no excuse to put in such a outdated AF system. And don't give me "to keep the sticker down" propaganda because it's a technology they already HAD. It was purely a marketing tactic and I think their a bunch of grease balls for doing it. Want me to add the fact of the difference the price was between those two cameras for the past 2 years?

    But hey the apologetics will give me the "it's Canons entry level FF camera at a decent price" and my response would be then the 5DIII is no less of an entry level DSLR than the 6D. What's so pro about it? the build? the few extra features in on-screen?

    Canon nudered the 6D on purpose and made you pay and arm and a leg more for a camera with better AF and worse ISO performance.

    How funny would it be if Canons next 5D was the 6D's ISO technology combined with the AF of the 5DIII. Christ Canon could have done absolutely NOTHING in their engineering department the past 2 years and would still have a product to put out this year that the Canon fanboys would be begging them to take their money for.

    For now Ill take pictures with my iPhone 6, when I cool down maybe Ill look at Nikon.
     
  6. v3rlon macrumors 6502

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    #6
    I have remarked in the past that I believe cel phone cameras will continue to improve until it eventually (EVENTUALLY) ends all others.

    Around 1991 I was at a seminar "Is Film Dead?" brought by Leaf Systems. It was a 3 Shot system (RGB) at 1/30th fastest shutter speed for each one and costs like a small RA-4 lab. THIS wasn't going to end film, but I could see where it was going.

    The advantages a point and shoot has over an iPhone don't outweigh the convenience of always having the phone, never mind the various phone apps that make the photos more useful to you. Obviously, it depends on your P&S. If you have a $150, yeah, might as well give that to the kids and move on. If you have a $500, it might have some legs, but which camera is always with you?

    Now, DSLR shooters love to get on their high horse, but that day is coming too. It is just further away. Will it pretty much always be possible to pack more features into a DSLR than a cel phone? Of course. Will they matter once the cell phone is better than the human eye?

    The real show stopper I see is the form factor. There simply isn't enough room on an iPhone 6+ for all the buttons I like quick access to. This is magnified by the fact that I like physical buttons so I can navigate by feel and keep my eye on the action. What happens if someone finds a way around that? Imagine being able to control shutter speed, aperture, ISO, and white balance by thought (not as far fetched as you might think - look at thought controlled games).

    At the moment, the lens is too small to compete with bigger glass. I suspect that work will continue on this, possibly resulting in a dual lens and solve for better in the future.

    DOF is a product of larger sensors. I have said elsewhere on this forum that I see a digital solution coming for this sooner rather than later. It is one of biggest selling points of larger sensors than cannot be currently duplicated on smaller ones.

    If I can accurately simulate shallow DOF of full frame on APSC, I can instantly save on body (size, weight), lens (size, weight, cost), sensor size (which is a fixed point in manufacturing costs for FF cameras), power requirements, batteries, and more. There is too much to be gained, so I would bet that Nikon/Canon/Sony/Panasonic/Olympus are all working toward that.

    Imagine getting medium/large format on your FF or APSC sensor, then extrapolate out until it fits on your iPhone 10 (12, 20, 38s).

    So do DSLRs eventually go away to the land of collector's items and museum pieces? Is there a day when all pro photographers give up and carry cel phones? Yes, but today is not that day, and tomorrow probably isn't either.
     
  7. MCH-1138 macrumors 6502

    MCH-1138

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    #7
    But didn't you know that (6D vs. 5DIII) before you bought? You'll run into just as many quirks with Nikon is my guess. (I shoot Nikon, if you care). Tech changes. Pricing changes. There will likely always be a next best thing. And if the iPhone is good enough for your photography needs, then just about any current DSLR should do just fine, no?
     
  8. close2reality, Mar 1, 2015
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2015

    close2reality macrumors 6502

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    #8
    It's not about the next best thing man...I get that of course. It's how Canon marketed their product line the past few years.

    Look I know you all want to flame me because I'm being "that guy" right now but your crazy to not see my arguments.

    Heres what one of these manufacturers need to catch onto....no one videos with a DSLR anymore.

    remove the feature all together and use that sticker room for **** a photographer desires.

    Future of photography is manufactures continuing to figure out more effective and innovative ways to getting inside your wallet while giving the bare minimums required to remain on the competitive radar. Theres your future.

    Let me give you an example because I know some of you are going to say...thats life, you see it with all products. Not true.

    Apple's computers lets use for example...their product line is linear, and priced accordingly. Show me one instance where one of their computers is priced higher that contains an inferior spec to a computer that is priced lower than it.

    C'mon someone make my argument INVALID.

    You want to sell a 5DIII for that kind of cash? Thats fine, but you BETTER be damn sure it outperforms a camera that is being sold for over 1K less in EVERY aspect.
     
  9. VirtualRain thread starter macrumors 603

    VirtualRain

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    #9
    The 5DIII came out first, then the 6D came out and improved in some areas like high ISO but you can't make the 6D better than the 5DIII in every respect... you need market differentiation. So for now, the 5DIII is more expensive and has slightly less high ISO performance. That will be rectified next cycle when the 5DIV is better than the 6D in every respect, until the 6DII. :)

    In Apple terms, the Mac Pro came out first, and the new iMac came out and improved in some areas (highest single-threaded clock speed) but Apple would have been dumb to make the iMac better than the Mac Pro in every respect, the Mac Pro needs market differentiation... so for now the Mac Pro is more expensive and slower.
     
  10. close2reality macrumors 6502

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    #10
    Thats not a fair argument a MBP vs an iMac....that would be like more using DSLR's and Video Cameras together...if your going to argue it then compare the MBP to the MBP line, or the iMac line to the iMac line.

    Look I'm just pist and to make matters worse I'm taking philosophy and ethics and society in the same semester...i'm more argumentative than a politician right now
     
  11. simonsi macrumors 601

    simonsi

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    #11
    Your argument isn't invalid (I ditched Canon when they changed the lens mount with the EOS AF introduction), but it is irrelevant to your being upset with a purchase you clearly now regret, after all Canon's marketing "the past few years" was set when you purchased.

    Oh and FYI there is always a "last full price purchaser" before a price drop/sale of any item anywhere...you had better get used to it.
     
  12. dc52nv macrumors member

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    #12
    I would agree that my iPhone has replaced my P&S as my on-the-go camera but no way will any phone replace my DSLR for my pro photography's needs. I shoot weddings, parties, sporting events, etc. and can't imagine using my iPhone and putting out a quality product. I would more than likely get fired on the spot if I just showed up with my phone. I've taken some amazing pics with my phone but all of them have been still shots of non-moving objects.
     
  13. v3rlon macrumors 6502

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    #13
    Lots of people use DSLR for videos, even now. It still has some great features that you cannot get in a comparably priced camcorder.

    There are price point issues all the time because what is important to YOU will be different that what is to ME.

    If you want a FF DSLR and screw the Video stuff, there is the Nikon DF. Illogically (to me), it costs more than a D750, but knock yourself out. You might value the physical knob for ISO and the ability to mount 1959 lenses more than Videos, and that is fine.

    If Nikon one day releases the DF2 or the DG and it causes prices to drop, then SOMEONE is going to be the last person to pay full price for the DF. Sorry, but that is just tech. Prices get lower and devices get better. It is normally best to develop a good case of selective amnesia as soon as the return period is over.
     
  14. MCH-1138 macrumors 6502

    MCH-1138

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    #14
    I'm not trying to flame you -- I'm just trying to understand and think critically about your argument. I understand your complaint (I think) about the 6D's ISO performance vs. the 5DIII's AF, but are the 6D and 5DIII both so incapable that your iPhone is a better option for your photography needs today? Although it might make sense at some level to expect the more-expensive model to outperform the less-expensive model in every respect, the flip-side of that argument is that it allows less-expensive models to benefit from advances in technology quicker than waiting for them to trickle down from the more expensive model. In this case, I assume the 6D's sensor is different from the 5DIII's (hence, the improved ISO performance). Should the 6D have been intentionally crippled by withholding the available sensor? As VirtualRain pointed out, if Canon also added the 5DIII's AF module, build, etc., then you wouldn't have a 6D at the 6D's price-point; rather, you have have a 5DIV (or 5D3.5 or something). But that is all water under the bridge. What I'm having a hard time understanding is what the recent decrease in the price of the 5DIII has to do with it.

    Ah, perhaps this is the heart of the problem then. ;)

    I think this is as good a prediction as any. Of course, maybe there will come a day when we don't need to carry cell phones either. But again, that is probably neither today nor tomorrow.

    Personally, I think (and hope) there will be a market for dedicated cameras for a long time. Maybe they will meet somewhere in the middle -- I tend to think that mirrorless may be the future. But whether that means medium-format, 35mm "full-frame," APS-C, or M43, who knows...
     
  15. Apple fanboy macrumors P6

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    #15
    Like all technology DSLR's will have their day. I suspect mirroless will replace them rather than cellphones (for now).
    Nikon and Cannon have both seen falling sales. Their approaches couldn't have been different though.
    Nikon have released a new camera every month or so. But they now have features muddled across the range. For example tge D5500 an entry level/enthusiasts model has a tilting touch screen. The D750 prosumer FF model doesn't (tilt only). Then you have the issues with rushed released D600 (and the subsequent non product recall). Has any of this helped sales? No.
    Cannon until recently had not produced any new DSLR's. Was this a result of seeing where the technology goes or just reducing costs? Who knows.
    Then you have Sony who have recently been producing some very nice models. They have the advantage of producing many other products. After all they sold the PS3 at a loss for years just to establish Blueray as a format.
    Whatever the future holds, there will be DSLR's and the like around for my lifetime.
     
  16. Meister Suspended

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    #16
    iPhones replacing P&S? What else is new?
    iPhones replacing DSLRs? No.

    ----------

    Look at the thread where you were given advice. I told you to get a D8xx instead of a 5d. The D6xx, D750 and D8xx all outperform the 5d.
     
  17. Destroysall macrumors 65816

    Destroysall

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    #17
    Interesting topic.

    I don't think it's a bad motive for a high quality camera to be available in a simple mobile phone. I do photography myself and when I shoot digital I much prefer using my phone, especially for street photography.

    I do believe that there is a certain limitation to phone photography however. While yes, the mobile camera has become comparable to most P&S cameras, I don't ever expect them to replace the DSLR or Mirrorless cameras out on the market today. People still even use film (I'm one to testify on behalf of this). There is a certain flexibility offered with these cameras that a phone will never be able to offer. I think this is why the majority of the brands perhaps don't mind the mobile domination, it's because of that limitation.
     
  18. VirtualRain thread starter macrumors 603

    VirtualRain

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    #18
    Nice thoughtful piece. I think you may be right about a lot of things. However, I'm not sure Canon or Nikon are likely working on this shallow DOF on smaller sensors, you talk about. Sony might... They seem to be the only one who can see what's happening. As far as I can tell, Nikon and Canon are like deer caught in the headlights. I think they are the equivalent of Blackberry in this disruption and likely headed for a similar future. I don't think they really recognize how bad the problem is, if they do, they seem paralyzed and unable to act. It's like they both pretend smart phones don't even exist. They must be the only companies on the planet not trying to tie their products to the mobile revolution through an app or integration of some kind. It's bizarre.

    They could be doing so much more to embrace smart phones...
    - seamless tethered shooting from your iPad or phone with live view
    - seamless sending of photos from your DSLR to your iPad or phone
    - touch screens on DSLRs (tap to zoom? Swipe to advance?)
    - retina displays on DSLRs
    - Apps to control time lapse on your DSLR

    It's remarkable to me that phones have had GPS, WiFi, and retina touch screens for years but these are mostly absent from expensive cameras.

    You've got me thinking... I think you're right that there's a lot of potential in the smartphone camera yet. In particular, what can be done with software to compensate for small form factors. The Panorama feature in the iPhone is just one example of such innovation. I think it my be worse for the likes of Nikon and Canon than it seems.

    Canon and Nikon need to wake up.

    ----------

    I don't follow Nikon so it's hard for me to comment on their recognition of the disruption they are experiencing... Do you think they get it? Do they have a strategy? I follow Canon closely and while it's impossible for them not to know what's going on, it seems like they are paralyzed and unable at act. As you say, not much in the way of new product, certainly nothing that acknowledges its anything other than business as usual for them. EDIT: upon further thought maybe Canon is moving consciously upmarket with products like the 50Mpx 5Ds and ultra expensive and exotic lenses. Maybe they are slowly abandoning consumers.

    ----------

    I agree there are currently lots of limitations to phone photography, but a lot less now than there was even a few years ago, and if the mobile phone cameras keep knocking off limitations at this rate, or better yet, continuing to do more things DSLR cameras have never done (editing/sharing), then where are we in 3-5 years or 10 years? Especially if the DSLR camp continues on a rather stagnant path of incremental improvements every few years.

    ----------

    LOL... So true. Best advice ever! ;)
     
  19. JDDavis macrumors 65816

    JDDavis

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    #19
    I'm more of a "whatever tool meets your particular need at the moment" type of guy. I recently talked to a very successful photographer who uses an old large format (8x10) to produce very large hand printed B&Ws. They are amazing and incredibly detailed. Also in his gallery are beautiful, large, detailed B&Ws taken with a Nikon D3. I'll bet (confidently) that most folks couldn't figure out what photo was taken with what camera. The technology (and portability) of both are light years apart but the images are superb out of both.

    Now you can find a FF digital DSLR about anywhere (if you have the money). Quality large format film cameras are a bit harder to find but they are still out there and still being used and sold. 20 years from now an imaging system that fits in a box the size of today's cell phone may be able to produce the IQ and resolution necessary to print really large fine art type prints. Heck, you might be able to "holoscan" yourself and produce a 3D selfie by that time with your phone. I guess my point is that artists will continue to use whatever tool they feel they can express their ideas best with and your DSLR won't stop taking good picture just because tech marches forward in cell phones.

    I think an interesting question to ask is "how will people be consuming images?". Clearly there is a huge market for the consumption of images on the internet and through mobile devices. You don't need a 36mp image for that market. How will people who buy large pieces and fine art photography consume work? Recently at a very "expensive" gallery I saw what I would call (for me) the first high quality digital installation. It was on a new 90" super thin flat screen and it was digital art work that changed ever so slightly (a landscape scene) as time went by. It was the first time I was impressed by art displayed digitally. They were selling the whole thing (art, flatscreen, computer...an Apple Mac Pro BTW) for a tidy sum.

    I started photography late. I didn't shoot in the film era. I'm not nostalgic for it. 40 years from now when I'm nostalgic I'll probably pull out my old D750 and go take some "real photos". Maybe I'll even be famous for being that guy who still uses a DSLR for all his art. I guess the thing that concerns me is one day will technology take all of the human element out of photographic art? Will your kid's mini drone that follows him constantly be able to snap images that rival (or mimic) one of the great photographers. Will we be able to tell the difference and what does it mean if you can't?
     
  20. r.harris1 macrumors 6502a

    r.harris1

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    #20
    I think there will always be both a need and a market for a tool who's main job (see, I didn't say "focus" :)) is to produce top quality images. It will likely be a much smaller market though as our swiss-army-knife pocket supercomputers continue to improve at the rapid pace they seem to be doing today. I'm not sure Nikon and Canon are capable of being the ones to define that market either. I'm not sure about Canon, but Nikon's sales channels are based on up-selling: Buy this P&S, but if you want feature X, well, you probably need this mirrorless or APS-C. Wireless? Here's an attachment. Geotagging? Another attachment. If you want all of those included, here's a nice top-of-the-line model for you, dear customer!

    With my smartphone, I'm used to taking the image, (at least some) post processing, storing (to the cloud or wherever), sharing (mail, message, cloud, etc), availability (phone, Mac, etc), and a whole host of other functions. I think camera makers need to (a) have fewer models and (b) differentiate more by function than basic features. In other words, all models should have most of the basic features I have with my smartphone from a workflow standpoint but differentiate by, say, sensor size and/or body ruggedness (or whatever). Key functions are the same, menus are the same, and concentrate on better, fewer.

    While I don't follow Canon, Nikon is stepping all over themselves right now, the ground littered with missteps. The company has no clear vision, no obvious roadmap. The closest thing to perfection probably being the d810, they've got a gazillion models with lots of shiny colors at very odd price points that tend to be hobbled in some way. UI/UX is not their strong suit, they write horrible software. They don't think about workflow even slightly, except as it was 10 years ago.

    It's funny that the imaging industry is being led around by the nose by the smartphone manufacturers and they don't even know they're being led (it seems). The future of photography is that it will be even more ubiquitous than it is now. People love to make images and I don't see that changing. The easier it is to do and the higher quality those images become, the more that feeds in on itself - people will demand better images from their cameras of choice and will expect workflow to be relatively convenient. The camera makers will, I think, need to pay attention to these trends if they want to survive.
     
  21. steveash macrumors 6502

    steveash

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    #21
    I think however great the image quality of phones becomes (assuming they can get past the physical issues of tiny lenses and sensors) enthusiasts and professionals will always want something made for the purpose of photography with manual controls, comfortable grips etc even if its just to make them/us feel different to the average snapper. In comparison, you can buy a supercar-fast yet practical family wagon and yet Ferrari are selling more cars than ever.

    When you bought the camera you presumably considered it worth the price tag, did the product loose its value to you when the price came down? Perhaps you would be less angry if Canon followed the Peter Lik sales strategy and increased the price over time?
     
  22. JDDavis macrumors 65816

    JDDavis

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    #22
    I agree, I don't know why DSLR makers have not integrated more mobile computing into their top end cameras. My D750 has wireless built in and I can access the images on the SD card with an app on my iphone. It's nice but not really "integrated". I think a more OS/Android driven operating system would be great step forward for DSLRs. Perhaps the Google and Apple are in no way interested in working with that market and perhaps DSLR makers are just as nostalgic as we are about the cameras.

    I actually think a company that could be incredibly disruptive in this area is Nokia. In 2016 they get the rights back to produce cell phones again. They also produced some pretty amazing cell phone cameras (that I'm sure MS will screw up). They have the history and the engineering chops to produce quality products. If I was manipulating this crazy thing called reality I'd have Nokia buy the consumer photography division of Ricoh (or someone like that) and just see what they could come up with.
     
  23. phrehdd macrumors 68040

    phrehdd

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    #23
    It took me a while to read through nearly all the comments here. I'll just throw a peanut or two into the gallery -

    In the 60's, Kodak had the brilliant idea of the "Instamatic" line of cameras that used cartridge cased film. They made the price of the camera low, the body was very light, and even offered the flash cube to go along with it. This pretty much made photography available to everyone. Polaroid also followed suit and came out with few models of lightweight "instant photo" cameras with fixed lenses. In my estimate, these are akin to the smart phone photo phenom.

    Hobbyists went for lower line 35mm cameras such as the Nikkormat from Nikon and Canon, Konica, Olympus and others had their versions as well. These might be akin to the simpler mirrorless cameras we see today. Of course the line between mirrorless and DSLR cameras is beginning to blur.

    Advanced hobbyists found themselves along with professionals getting the higher end 35mm cameras which is akin to the upper line DSLR.

    The point is that there was a ratio of type of 35mm (and smaller) film cameras and we see a similar ratio today with digital cameras. Since smart phones are fairly commonplace so will be the ability to grab a photo shot which the public in general seems satisfied. Those wishing to take a step up will go to DSLR or mirrorless. The real catch is the market model that camera makers are faced with and again, the "grab a shot" camera will have the largest market share (smart phones).
     
  24. Designer Dale macrumors 68040

    Designer Dale

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    #24
    Camera phones may improve in quality as compared to current P&S systems, but given the pure physical space dedicated to image processing hardware in the latter I don't see camera phones ever replacing P&S in terms of quality of results. What I do see is a dumbing down of the end user to the point where they actually believe a device that is an Internet and game platform first, phone second and camera third is a replacement for a dedicated camera of any type.

    As someone who cut his teeth on film and view cameras, camera phones stop at the user experience. I just can't grasp holding a small device in front of my face as using a camera. For a lot of us with experience its all about the feel of the process. My off-hand wants to be out in front with some weight on it and my elbow wants to be jammed into my chest.

    Besides, it won't fit my tripod and just rattles around in my camera bag. I mean, why???

    Dale
     
  25. v3rlon macrumors 6502

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    #25
    Well the iPhone has more computer processing power than computers that used to fill entire rooms, or even what we used to send men to the moon (mission control was on par with a Commodore 64). I imagine if you told the designers of Univac that one day a wallet sized device would out-perform their grand creation, they would have said "there is absolutely no way you could get that many vacuum tubes into a device that small. Even if you could, how reliable would they be and how would the user train them??

    If you told them about annoy script kiddies, they would say "It takes years of training to understand machine code, I'm a PhD for cryin' out loud and I have trouble with it. There is no way some wet behind the ears hoodlum could do it."

    The smaller sensor size is a problem. All the manufacturers are aware of it because it is a big issue. One of the things that helps drive prices down and performance up in semiconductor manufacturing is shrinking the die size with smaller geometries (65 nanometer to 40 nanometer to 32nm to 20nm to 14nm and intel is looking at 7nm. By comparison, red light has a wavelength around 650nm). Currently, one of the obstacles to this is that the die size IS the sensor size, and thus fixed, for full frame sensors.

    The area on the wafer is not getting smaller in manufacturing. THIS is a problem everyone wants to solve because it is big money. You can get 4x as many APSC sensors on a wafer as FF (area is squared). 9x as many m4/3 will fit. Also, smaller size at same technology level will have less die lost to manufacturing defects (I do this for a living, though not for camera sensors. I could go on for days).

    So intel is looking at 7nm and part of this means an end to silicon wafers. We are moving to something else that will be more expensive (silicon is found almost everywhere and is easy to extract). This will drive wafer costs up. Eventually, that tech will hit cameras and the drive to shrink sensors will continue.

    As for a digital version of shallow DOF, look at focus peaking technology, or focus masking in Cap1 Pro 8. Ok, now use an APSC Sensor, and read the focus masking, but narrow the range a bit to more rigidly define it. As the focus gets weaker, apply a bit of blur. Its a crude example (I DON'T do that for a living), but something that shows something in the neighborhood.

    In semiconductor manufacturing, we run into "walls" all the time. You can't go smaller than this because _____." We keep going through them. "It will never be cost effective to advance technology past _____." It always becomes so. When presented with a wall, we either improve the technology or manufacture around it.

    Lens makers do the same (multiple elements, special coatings, nitrogen filled, optical stabilization, vibration control, silent wave motors).

    Have you seen the Lytro camera? https://www.lytro.com It is a bit of an odd thing, but again look at where such technology might take you.

    Canon and Nikon may seem like "deer in the headlights," but they are aware of the problem. Where was Sony on the camera scene ten years ago? "Uhm, uh, er uh point and shoot isn't the answer? Can we make a gimmick? Oh crap! BUY SOMEONE QUICK!" Thus Minolta cameras merged with Sony who (eventually) released a couple of pretty god toys. Where was Panasonic before the Lumix GH1? A good camcorder company, but just a point and shoot maker for stills.

    They all have some very smart people working for them, and they will figure out a way to solve these problems. Mirrorless has its advantages and drawbacks at the moment. Some of those drawbacks are Nikon's strengths, and so Nikon plays to that. As those are overcome, Nikon will adapt or die.

    When we all have holographic cell phones with thought controlled interfaces that can see better than any human eye and offer realtime post processing (also thought controlled), will there still be people shooting with old DSLRs and film? Probably. Some people enjoy the process, and old habits die hard. I own a sword that was forged by a blacksmith, but I wouldn't argue that it is the best tool to carry off to war on a modern battlefield.
     

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