Om says the iPhone is killing the standalone camera

❝ The latest data released by Camera & Imaging Products Association only reinforces my thesis from a few years ago. Just look at this chart:

❝ I am not alone. Most of us take photos and share them digitally, and we expect them to be experienced on digital devices — typically smartphones — via Facebook, Instagram or Snapchat. Sometimes, we might share them on dedicated digital displays (I love my Aura frame), but even those don’t need the spectacular quality provided by standalone cameras.

❝ Apple, Google, Huawei, and Samsung are competing aggressively on the strength of their camera — apart from the Internet, it is the most used feature on a smartphone. They are spending thousands of millions of dollars on software and hardware to improve the photography on their devices. Meanwhile, Nikon and Canon are racking up losses upon losses as camera sales stall. The camera industry is doing its best to paper over its looming doomsday scenario by releasing high-end interchangeable lens cameras that cost as much as a second-hand car. But you can see where this is going.

❝ If you think the situation for standalone cameras is bleak now, just wait until we get to the future! It is pretty obvious the smartphone cameras will improve at a much faster rate than standalone cameras, which are still locked into an older model of product development. Soon, it won’t be surprising to have everyday (not just high-end) phones with three to five lens modules that do everything from wide-angle photography to longer aperture telephotos from a single device. With software improvements coming in thick and fast, I expect this will be the new reality within 24 months.

This is excerpted from one of six articles in the latest of Om’s email newsletters on Tech and More. You can subscribe to it over here.

I’ve been heading down this road for several years. One of my oldest film cameras – 45+ years old – the favorite is becoming a collectible. A pocket-size Rollei 35B that’s been with me hiking and hill-walking from the Adirondacks to Ben Nevis. Haven’t used it in years. I have a lovely pocket-size digital Panasonic DMC-ZS8 that was in my pants pocket everywhere I walked since I retired – until my wife gave me my first iPhone. Now, it lives in my rolltop desk next to the two film cameras. Any photo of mine you see on my website or Instagram page was taken by an iPhone.

Half of World Heritage Glacier Sites May Be Gone by 2100


Click to enlargeJungfrauMartin Price

❝ Glaciers are set to disappear completely from almost half of World Heritage sites if business-as-usual emissions continue, according to the first-ever global study of World Heritage glaciers.

The sites are home to some of the world’s most iconic glaciers, such as Grosser Aletschgletscher in the Swiss Alps, Khumbu Glacier in the Himalayas, and Greenland’s Jakobshavn Isbrae…

❝ The study in the AGU journal Earth’s Future…combines data from a global glacier inventory, a review of existing literature and sophisticated computer modeling to analyze the current state of World Heritage glaciers, their recent evolution, and their projected mass change over the 21st century.

I spent some truly enjoyable time camped on the climbing approaches to the Jungfrau decades ago. Now, I wish I’d kept the photos I took. I never thought I’d be witnessing the early stages of the death of so much natural beauty at the hands of corporate carbon profiteers and their political pimps.