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.

2 thoughts on “Om says the iPhone is killing the standalone camera

  1. Marc Beebe says:

    I am not surprised. In the days of film photography the majority could not tell the difference in quality between a 110 Instamatic image printed on matte paper and a 8×10 glossy from a 2 1/4 x 2 1/4 Hasselblad. Now with the phone cameras exceeding the quality that most people are capable of discerning it is inevitable that the majority will abandon stand-alone cameras. This is not necessarily a good thing.

  2. Jimmy Click says:

    “When Fathers Die: Remembering Robert Frank” By Danny Lyon (New York Review of Books (September 27, 2019) https://www.nybooks.com/daily/2019/09/27/when-fathers-die-remembering-robert-frank/
    “Robert Frank, one of the most influential photographers of the 20th century, whose visually raw and personally expressive style was pivotal in changing the course of documentary photography, died on Monday in Inverness, Nova Scotia. He was 94.” (New York Times Sept 10, 2019) https://www.nytimes.com/2019/09/10/arts/robert-frank-dead-americans-photography.html
    “The Rolling Stones mourn the death of Cocksucker Blues director Robert Frank” https://consequenceofsound.net/2019/09/rolling-stones-robert-frank-dead/

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