Are Cameras Going the Way of the Dinosaur?
May 4, 2011 1 Comment
The most popular camera for photographers on Flickr is almost the iPhone 4 (it might be by the time of this writing, this chart is a few weeks old).
I’d be less surprised if you said this was true about Facebook or Twitter, but Flickr? I always thought Flickr was where the pros went. The wanna-be pros, the overly ambitious amateurs and people who refer to themselves as “photogs.” Those lens snobs who look down on the Shutterflys and SnapFishes.
But the times they are a-changin’.
I hardly ever use my camera any more. One problem is that I usually don’t have it with me. It’s too bulky to fit in my pocket. And while it takes very nice pictures, if I don’t have it with me, it might as well not even exist.
I’ve seen the demise of 35mm film, the rise of digital point-and-shoots, the impressive power of digital SLRs and then shrinkification of those digital cameras and inclusion into mobile devices. But up until recently, the cameras on phones were abotu convenience over quality. They were about having a camera with you all the time and being able to quickly share their images to friends and social networks.
But now we are seeing another revolution. This time it’s not about size, it’s about quality. The iPhone 4 features a 5 megapixel camera. 5 megapixels is probably sufficient for 80% of the pictures taken today, if not more. And the next iPhone, whenever it comes out, will certainly have an even better resolution than that.
Most cameras are full of features that never get used by the majority of camera owners. And those are features that people will gladly trade for the convenience of their camera phone (but really, at what point does it become a “phone camera”?). And when you factor in picture enhancement apps like Hipstamatic and Instagram you which are fun, artistic, and most importantly social, you start to see what an uphill battle the makers of point and shoots are facing.
My prediction is that we will see a thinning in the camera market. Point and shoot cameras will cease to add enough value to beat out the high quality cameras built into mobile phones and tablets, while SLRs will continue to improve and innovate (but will be of interest only to “serious” photographers).
If you don’t agree with me, look at the chart below. Compare it with the chart above and it starts to paint a pretty convincing picture.
For most people the value of the camera is in capturing the image, not creating a work of art. But when the device in my pocket can do both, it’s a win for us and a loss for Canon, Nikon and the others.
(Charts courtesy of TechCrunch)
- Bits: IPhone 4 Becoming Most Popular ‘Camera’ on Flickr
- iPhone 4 about to be most popular camera on Flickr (macworld.com)
- iPhone 4 close to being Flickr’s top-used camera (intomobile.com)
- iPhone 4 Will Soon Be Most Popular Camera on Flickr (cultofmac.com)
- iPhone 4 rocketing to the top of Flickr’s camera list (tuaw.com)