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Smartphones Wipeout 40 Years!


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2 hours ago, Andrew Reid said:

Take the size of the film camera market today

That will be size of digital camera market in 10 years 🙂

I wonder if lack of a need for upgrade is a factor. A 5D Mkiii from 8 years ago is obviously much better than any cell phone, but also pretty comparable to a DSLR bought yesterday. I think cameras have been good enough for a while. This is obviously the case for video cameras...

My partner takes photos for her business with a Canon 60d and an iPad. That camera is 10 years old and still more than enough for most quick product photography shots for the web... Why would she upgrade?

The film market is pretty decent right now. Tons of people shoot film, but all of those cameras already exist. There are more than enough to supply to demand, unless you want a particular point and shoot, Leica, certain medium format cameras etc.

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3 hours ago, BenEricson said:

I wonder if lack of a need for upgrade is a factor. A 5D Mkiii from 8 years ago is obviously much better than any cell phone, but also pretty comparable to a DSLR bought yesterday. I think cameras have been good enough for a while. This is obviously the case for video cameras...

My partner takes photos for her business with a Canon 60d and an iPad. That camera is 10 years old and still more than enough for most quick product photography shots for the web... Why would she upgrade?

The film market is pretty decent right now. Tons of people shoot film, but all of those cameras already exist. There are more than enough to supply to demand, unless you want a particular point and shoot, Leica, certain medium format cameras etc.

I think another factor is that the expectation for quality is also dropping. It's become so easy with cell phones that anyone can do it so now the "viral" photos are based on who is in the image vs. the skill that was required to create the image. A horribly lit and composed cell phone picture of Kim Kardashian will get 50M views yet a photographic masterpiece that took weeks of planning and years of experience to create will barely get seen by 1,000 people. Another factor is no one prints anymore, so even if a camera were to advance by the magnitude of a decade or two....the typical viewer would never be able to tell the difference because it would never be viewed on anything other than a cell phone.

The same thing can be said for video....who needs 8K raw when the average viewer is going to watch the final video on YouTube using their cell phone? If your client can't tell (and isn't going to pay for) the difference in quality between a $15K camera and a $2K camera why would you buy the $15K camera?  I have to face these harsh realities each time I consider my next equipment purchase, I would love to own the Inspire 2 but my clients are not going to be able to tell the difference between the Inspire 2 and the Mavic Pro. Likewise the C70....why bother buying the C70 when my clients are going to pay me the same if I use the S5 instead. Thanks to cell phones which are "just good enough" for most people they are less and less willing to pay for quality.

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10 hours ago, BenEricson said:

I wonder if lack of a need for upgrade is a factor. A 5D Mkiii from 8 years ago is obviously much better than any cell phone, but also pretty comparable to a DSLR bought yesterday. I think cameras have been good enough for a while. This is obviously the case for video cameras...

My partner takes photos for her business with a Canon 60d and an iPad. That camera is 10 years old and still more than enough for most quick product photography shots for the web... Why would she upgrade?

The film market is pretty decent right now. Tons of people shoot film, but all of those cameras already exist. There are more than enough to supply to demand, unless you want a particular point and shoot, Leica, certain medium format cameras etc.

The problem with film cameras is the rapidly dwindling number of people who know how to repair them and the scarcity of spare parts. I have a lovely, almost mint, Olympus OM-2 SP (for may years my dream camera). Unfortunately it has a power issue that is relatively well-known but very fiddly, more fiddly than I want to attempt, to fix. I've been looking for a year for a company that can do it for me at a reasonable price, but to no avail. I also have a Canon 1V - once their top-of-the-range pro model - that I picked up non-working for £50. It turned out that all it needed was the batter contacts cleaning and it worked perfectly. A great bargain for me, but with the knowledge that if anything else ever goes wrong with it it's unlikely I'll be able to get it repaired.

So my point, laboured as it is, is that while there might be a good supply of cameras (although for the desirable ones that comes at some eye-watering prices sometimes) they're mostly one-shot deals as the expertise that supported the market is disappearing as people retire/die.

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It's called 'progress'. Whether we like it or not.

Maybe evolution is a better term than progress.

The one thing I am sure of is that cameras will not simply cease to exist overnight, but will instead be gradually replaced by something else.

For sure people are printing less because they simply do not value it as they once did, mostly because more convenient options are increasingly available.

It just is what it is and I personally just need to ride out 10-15 more years in the industry.

I've never been interested in tech but the tools I need to do the job I need them to do and no more than I need them to do.

6k...never mind 8k? Nah. I like 4k and arguably even that is possibly overkill but for me it's the right balance.

I hate changing kit also, I like familiarity.

Right now, I am in a kit changing phase. It's not the best time, but then what is the best time? When it ceases to work or do the thing you need it to do is the answer.

And this is something that bothers me right now and that is do I invest (more) in something more future-proof that will give me maybe the next 5 years of work, or spend less and look at it as more like a 3 year proposition.

Right now, the cheaper/3 year option is in pole-position, mostly because I don't have the funds.

If I had the funds, instead of S5's (which are superb by the way), I'd be looking at Canon R5 for stills and C70 for video...but needing 2 stills bodies + lenses for all 3 bodies, realistically, I'd be looking at 20k instead of less than 10k.

But what's that got to do with phones?

Everything and nothing.

Maybe in 5-10 years, all of this current camera tech will be replaced by phone tech. Who knows...

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14 hours ago, Tim Sewell said:

The problem with film cameras is the rapidly dwindling number of people who know how to repair them and the scarcity of spare parts. I have a lovely, almost mint, Olympus OM-2 SP (for may years my dream camera). Unfortunately it has a power issue that is relatively well-known but very fiddly, more fiddly than I want to attempt, to fix. I've been looking for a year for a company that can do it for me at a reasonable price, but to no avail. I also have a Canon 1V - once their top-of-the-range pro model - that I picked up non-working for £50. It turned out that all it needed was the batter contacts cleaning and it worked perfectly. A great bargain for me, but with the knowledge that if anything else ever goes wrong with it it's unlikely I'll be able to get it repaired.

So my point, laboured as it is, is that while there might be a good supply of cameras (although for the desirable ones that comes at some eye-watering prices sometimes) they're mostly one-shot deals as the expertise that supported the market is disappearing as people retire/die.

I love shooting on my Olympus OM-2N! The Zuiko 50mm1.8 is really incredibly sharp with nice character. 

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On 12/16/2020 at 3:00 PM, Andrew Reid said:

Take the size of the film camera market today

That will be size of digital camera market in 10 years 🙂

As standalone cameras? Sure. As part of a pocket computer, aka smartphones? The market size will approach the human population.  

How many people buy a phone because of how well it makes phone calls? How many buy a phone based on the improving cameras? 4K 10-bit, IBIS, Lidar, Dolby vision. Sadly, some traditional camera companies have been having trouble putting these features in their flagship cameras.

Consumer digital cameras are simply being displaced and integrated into another product, which isn’t unusual, as seen in the case of cassette players, CD players, MP3 players, pagers, cell phones, blackberrys, watches, etc. 

Thus, those graphs are misleading. The market for better digital cameras has never been bigger. The problem, if there is one, is that some old camera companies haven’t been able to justify their existence. 

Never have consumers, hobbyists, and professionals had such access to creative video filmmaking tools as we all do now. Innovation hasn’t slowed, it’s accelerating—over the dead bodies of dinosaurs.  

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On 12/16/2020 at 12:00 PM, Andrew Reid said:

Take the size of the film camera market today

That will be size of digital camera market in 10 years 🙂

From a POV of admitted ignorance I feel this to be true.  I'd be curious what your website visitor analytics say as a sort of weather vane to the industry --and if it confirms such opinion.

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16 hours ago, Emanuel said:

@fuzzynormal I am not and I wouldn't be worried because there's always room for excellence, no matter what device is, where your screen is and so on. Cinema is alive & kickin' whatever your game is ;- )

- E.

I'm not worried. The tools'll always be there.   It's simply the beginning of the end of an era.  I grew up with camera-bodies-and-lenses...as did those experiencing 150 years of camera technology before me.  As that model steps back from the forefront of the market it's just a bit unfortunate as it's something that's not going to be as important as it used to be.

I imagine computational photography will exist within 10 years that allow you capture hi-res images from a FF equivalent of 12 to 150 mm FOV, maximum DOF, and then you can literally choose how you want that to look in post.  75mm with a shallow DOF of that emulates f1.2?  No problem.  Dial it up in your phone, you're good to go.  You want anamorphic bokeh?  Be sure to tick that box while you're at it.

Hell, I wouldn't be surprised if it's a 360 camera and you literally can crop out whatever image you want during the time the camera was capturing.  You don't even have to compose framing on location, just have the camera in the space you deem appropriate then make the more nuanced choices later...all on a 1" sensor capturing 384MP per frame, or something crazy like that.

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  • 1 month later...
5 hours ago, Emanuel said:

On the other hand, computer industry (where our post work is based BTW let's not forget ; ) is pretty healthy, let alone in a period of pandemic...

image.thumb.png.ddc9f53ea47975cce5b1280a83803795.png

source

Yeah A lot of folks I know bought some laptop/desktops for gaming again during lockdown. But I know one couple that dont own any pc or laptop, they only use iphone which is mindboggling to me how you do everything on your phone. Searching for stuff on my desktop is way more efficiënt then scrolling through my smartphone. 

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  • 5 months later...
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I think smartphones are definitely playing in enthusiast camera market now.

Yes the Hasselblad / OnePlus branding appears to be nothing more than marketing, and they badly need to turn their sharpening down.

Yes Samsung is coasting along, in my opinion.

But iPhone 12 Pro Max is actually very nice and has some amazing tricks like the IBIS for shooting RAW in low light at low ISOs. Capable of amazingly filmic images.

Then we have the true innovators... Huawei and Xiaomi.

They are doing all sorts of interesting things and have superb folded optics. 5x zoom on P40 Pro is just a miracle basically.

Even Sony are getting their act together. Xperia 1 II and III are very capable devices in a lot of different ways. I am keen to try the variable optical zoom on the latest one

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On 12/16/2020 at 6:50 PM, Emanuel said:

image.thumb.png.03b0c60f8a778de9013773bf64fbd20c.png

https://www.statista.com/chart/15524/worldwide-camera-shipments/

 

This is absolutely a game changer whether we like it or not...

- E.

This is completely unusable metric. If there was a way of measuring "cameras in working order already sold", we could see a very saturated market, that has very little room to grow.

Most photography is documentary and not commercial or artistic (and even artistic photography does not need the latest and the greatest) and smartphones are much better in that regard.

Phones are used daily and have a shorter life span than a dedicated camera that may get used once per month on average, so more phones are sold and they provide services that are essential to everyday life and cameras don't.

And then there's the price - put yourself in the shoes of a average customer of let's say the Canon Rebel series, who buys it at full retail price and then divide that with the count of photos that could not have been taken with a phone. It's just not worth it, when most of these photos will be observed on a smallish smartphone screen for a short time.

Instead, shed a tear for the DSLR era, when the R&D of specialist PRO gear was heavily subsidized by a once-in-a-lifetime market boom of affordable entry level DSLRs. What you are seeing now, is the normalization of the market. It is time we stop whining about it and learn to use the gear until it falls apart or try out a less expensive hobby if you are not a PRO.

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On 7/8/2021 at 9:00 AM, JurijTurnsek said:

It is time we stop whining about it and learn to use the gear until it falls apart or try out a less expensive hobby if you are not a PRO.

Indeed - or, like me, only ever buy cameras that are out-of-date. I haven't bought a camera new since my GH4 in 2014. Since then I've used a FS700, C100mk2, Fuji XT-3, C100mk1 and an FS5 mk1, which I'm about to sell to cover the cost of the bargain S1 I just bought (which is my most modern camera since that GH4). In acquiring those cameras the majority of the costs were each time covered by selling the previous one, so apart from the GH4 at the beginning my outlay hasn't been toooo outrageous. Also, most of the lenses I've used on all of them have been the EF lenses I had from my still photography pre-dating the days of video hybrids.

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On 12/17/2020 at 2:26 AM, MrSMW said:

I personally just need to ride out 10-15 more years in the industry.

My take is that I'm basically at the onset of forced retirement.  

The gigs that were my level of production are basically gone, replaced by selfie vids.  And why not?  They work just as well as something a real estate agent would pay 2K for a decade ago.  If it looks "worse" than if I did it, big deal.  A former client's self-made vids do the job.

That segment of my career is over.  Obsolete.  Gotta get right with that whether I like it or not.  

So, move on to something else.  It's liberating in a way, but learning a craft to lose the craft kinda stinks.  Imagine being a blacksmith 100 years ago.

In the meantime, motion picture cameras are going to a niche market, so expect a lot of fewer choices in that market in the years to come.

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