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$6000 cameras could be the norm soon?

Andrew Reid

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  • 2 weeks later...

Canon & Adobe under the same ownership would create a problem - a market-controlling monopoly which wouldn't have been good for the users; it would have been pretty disasterous if Adobe software only worked with Canon camera files, which is no doubt what would have happened under their ownership.

I think the approach of using the mobile phone as the connection hub to the world is sensible, and camera manufacturers have been working to integrated connectivity to their ILCs. It's a bit quirky to use but it does work. Screens have been growing, and three of my four ILCs have touch-screen functionality. There are lots of so-called computational tools in the camera including focus stacking, single-shot tone-mapping, mutli-shot HDR, dozens of different visual effects, and basic editing tools right within the camera. A lot of people claim that these things are missing from cameras but they're not. Many photographers laugh at these features because they want more control and the ability to edit the images and do the "computational" part with user input on a ... well, computer, rather than be limited by the camera manufacturer's built-in software for post-processing. The Zeiss ZX1 implements a lot of editing and sharing functionality in the camera and it has been vigorously trashed on photographers' gear forums online. I can't remember any product that got so much online hatred. These people enthusaistically don't want these features on their cameras. Personally I enjoy occasionally editing an image in-camera and sending it to friends via my mobile phone. It takes a couple of minutes to do it and people catch up with what I'm doing. I then later edit the image properly on a computer based on the RAW image(s). I also use automated focus stacking quite a lot. I'm not a big fan of combining multiple exposures in "HDR"-style effects as I find the automated algorithms don't do all that great result in terms of how I like the images to look and I prefer a more manual approach called exposure blending in most cases (with treelines I sometimes do use HDR or D-Lighting). I find the mobile phone cameras suitable for digitizing bills and hand-made drawings and for such tasks, but generally for photography I find the results disgusting.

Cameras don't use the same kind of OS as mobile phones as the mobile phones take a long time to start up and people want a camera to be ready to shoot within a split-second after turning it on, instead of taking 30 seconds to boot. Additionally, many experienced (still) photographers want to time action themselves rather than shooting all moments and then selecting afterwards. It's just a creation of habit from the film world, perhaps. A mobile phone OS isn't really suitable for real-time tasks where precise timing is important. Camera manufacturers sometimes make attemtps at Android-based cameras (Nikon and Zeiss have done that) and the resulting product gets universal trashing by the online photography community. A real-time OS is what the camera manufacturers use, and it's for good reasons.

The issue behind the camera sales time course is that the world now has hundreds of millions of digital ILCs and perhaps only one million is really needed. For these cameras to stop being functional it would take a long time. Which is why there is likely to be only a trickle of sales from now on. Younger generations have fallen behind on income and thus they don't have the purchasing power their parents had, and thus they don't buy expensive luxury items such as dedicated cameras, unless they work professionally in a field that requires it. Dedicated cameras are not needed in everyday life and the mobile phone camera provides the necessary everyday functionality. Artists and journalists are now largely endangered species and also don't have the jobs or purchasing power that existed in the past. People expect content to be free now so where is the compensation for the people who produce it? I don't have the numbers but my understanding of streaming services is that the compensation to the original artist is worse than it was when physical media distribution was required to disseminate the art, be it music, or photography fo that matter. News sites created by professionals still exist but they generate less money because much of the advertising money goes to google and facebook instead of the producer of the content like it used to be in traditional media (be it TV or newspaper). So everywhere the producer of the original content is stomped upon and it becomes more difficult to make a living in this way, and large international companies reap the profits, taking advantage of the content that they did not make. This, in my opinion, is one of the key problems of our time, and it is also contributing to the challenges facing camera manufacturers.

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