Video: Is the digital camera dead?

posted at 8:01 am on June 27, 2013 by Ed Morrissey

That may sound like a silly question in this age of instant publication of digital photography, but the rapid advance of handheld technology in photography may spell the end of an entire class of cameras. CNN looks at the fast growth in photography apps in the cell-phone market, and asks whether the point-and-shoot digital cameras have become the dinosaurs of photography less than a generation after their introduction:

The CNN clip doesn’t discuss the impact of tablets on the point-and-shoot market, but it has also been substantial. Especially after the reduction in size of most tablets, such as the iPad Mini and the Galaxy Note 8, the ability to have a multifunction device trumps the single-use-only point-and-shoot digital camera.  Even if those cameras fit easily into a shirt or pants pocket, the phone will probably already occupy that space. Why carry both — or all three, if people are inclined to carry a phone and a tablet?

These devices don’t displace serious photography equipment, such as the gear I usually carry on vacation or when going on the road to cover events.  Cell phones and tablets don’t have much flexibility in terms of zoom, lighting, and sound for videos, for instance, and anything other than snapshots requires a higher level of technology.  But that’s true of the point-and-shoot, too, and those are sometimes more trouble than they’re worth, especially since the resolution isn’t all that much better than the latest generation of hand-held devices.  I used my 4-year-old point-and-shoot at a wedding this year, and ended up switching to my cell phone.

What do readers think?  Would you prefer the point-and-shoot over a smartphone or tablet, or would you balk at having to carry the extra weight?  I’d guess that the point-and-shoot market will follow the trajectory of the film-based cameras over the next five years, and that it will be almost impossible to find any in retail stores by the end of that period — except as cheap novelties.

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Huh?

Bmore on June 27, 2013 at 11:48 AM

I hate the camera in my current smartphone, but I love the phone. So I still use my Nikon point-and-shoot camera when I am photographing anything important. My phone does actually do video better though, and uses less power when taking videos. Samsung has some neat new software that automatically takes your pictures and videos off your phone.

I expect my next smartphone will replace the point-and-shoot camera for everyday photos though. Why carry two devices when you can do with one? For serious photography you get a DSLR.

rockmom on June 27, 2013 at 11:51 AM

We don’t have a phone in the house that will take photos. Don’t want one, either. If we want to take photos, we use a camera. If we want to take videos, we use the video camera. If we want to make a phone call, we use the phone.

We actually have our photos printed so we can put them in an album and physically go through the albums every once in awhile, even while the power is out.

I see people at my kids’ sporting and dance events holding up their tablets and phones trying to take pictures and videos all the time. They block the view for anyone that’s less than 3 rows behind them, are almost always disappointed with the results, and they pretty much miss being at the actual event because their too busy messing around looking at it through a screen.

We’re looking at a screen for at most a couple of hours each day to check e-mails, get the news, and do our household accounting. Occasionally, we watch a little TV or a movie. I don’t want to see the world through a screen. I want to experience those things going on around me. Too many people are watching the world go by on a little screen.

So, no, for people like us (and there are a lot more out there than a lot of folks realize) the digital camera isn’t dead.

AScott on June 27, 2013 at 12:06 PM

The iPhone5 is a really great digital camera that happens to be a phone.

John the Libertarian on June 27, 2013 at 12:08 PM

I must be something of an oddity in this day and age. I use a cell phone to make cell phone calls. I do not watch videos, take pictures, get on the internet with a phone. I do not need a Swiss Army Knive for a cellphone. I use a camera to take pictures. I use other things for the other functions. People these days are so distracted soon they will start walking into traffic looking at a phone. It disgusts me when I see four teenagers come into a restaurant and sit down at a table. Instead of talking to each other they all begin looking at thier phones. We are becoming a society of robots.

logicman_1998 on June 27, 2013 at 12:17 PM

rockmom on June 27, 2013 at 11:51 AM

Agreed. I do like to keep a DSLR for important stuff. The cell camera is for every day stuff.

LL

Lady Logician on June 27, 2013 at 12:18 PM

I shoot 3D for Cars In Depth with a rig made from two Canon Powershot SD850is cameras running Stereo Data Maker on their SD cards. A number of cellphones now have autostereo (glasses free) 3D displays and there are phones from HTC, LG and Sharp that have 3D cameras as well but while than can shoot in 3D, they’re somewhat compromised. Also, even with an older point and shoot camera like the SD850is, it’s got a higher pixel count (8mp) than a lot of phones.

The most important rule in shooting 3D is to not get too close to the subject, generally no closer than 30 X the distance between the two lenses. Since most humans’ eyes are 65-85 mm apart, that works out to ~6-8 feet. If you get too close, it’s like putting your finger in front of your nose, your brain can’t fuse the two images because the parallax is so extreme. Knowing that people want to take portraits of their friends and other sort-of closeup work, the 3D phone makers put the lenses very close together, a bit more than an inch. That means they can shoot both near and far subject but that the 3D effect will be reduced when shooting distant objects.

I think there has always been a market for intermediate level cameras between those used for snapshots and those used by serious hobbyists and professionals. Not everyone that wants to get better results than with a phone wants to spend the money on a pro grade DLSR, likewise with those entering the hobby. I can see lower featured, simplified and cheaper DLSRs replacing the point and shoot cameras.

BTW, when I’m working auto shows, I often see people taking photos with their tablets and it kind of reminds me of old school photographers using large format cameras. As a gag item, someone should sell photographer’s hoods for use with tablets.

rokemronnie on June 27, 2013 at 12:22 PM

Point and shoots are dead.

For the casual snapshot, pretty much, if not completely dead, they are dying out. Of course, I still use a digital camera as I prefer it to my phone camera and have yet to invest in a tablet with a camera and photo app.

Just like anything else, new technology advances and leaves behind the old, such as cameras that used film.

hawkeye54 on June 27, 2013 at 12:23 PM

I don’t own a cell phone

gerrym51 on June 27, 2013 at 12:23 PM

Good lenses are required for good pictures. Adequate pictures come from cell phones.

CrazyGene on June 27, 2013 at 12:26 PM

It’s not just about seeing, it’s about how to see and how to understand what you’re looking at.

vityas on June 27, 2013 at 11:42 AM

No for most people it’s not. It’s not an artistic endeavor. It’s a way to preserve a moment, and most of us won’t carry around a camera, but we will carry a phone, so when that moment arrives it will be captured on the crappy mobile phone. Will the high end camera always exist for people like you, sure, but it will be such a small market that it won’t be worth mentioning.

DFCtomm on June 27, 2013 at 12:26 PM

Adequate pictures come from cell phones.

Mine are barely passable. Which is why I still rely on a digital camera for the most part.

hawkeye54 on June 27, 2013 at 12:27 PM

It’s not simply about megapixels, of course. A key consideration to getting high-quality pictures (on Facebook, the web, etc.) is great low-light performance and low noise.

Fuji several years back made a 6MP camera–in the era during which the Megapixel race was really heating up–that was deliberately lower resolution, but higher performance. The bigger the sensor sites are, the lower the noise can be at the cost of lower resolution.

The thing is, a 3MP image can easily be made into an 8×10, so we don’t need more pixels. We need better low light performance.

The other thing that would make cell phone cameras better, though I don’t know how you’d make it compact, is narrow depth-of-field like you can get with a wide-open SLR lens, generally on the telephoto end of things. I have an 80-200 f/2.8 zoom lens which cost more than any of my camera bodies, and it’s amazing at isolating a subject and blurring the background. Instagram blur isn’t the same!

Perhaps software and some new hardware/optics tech will come along to address these things. I would love if my cell phone could even come close to matching my Nikon D90 someday.

A440Hz on June 27, 2013 at 12:30 PM

The resolution of my digital camera can’t be matched by my phone camera.

I’m keeping it.

avagreen on June 27, 2013 at 12:31 PM

I use a basic digital camera (Sony), and sometimes an iPhone, because both fit conveniently in my pocket and therefore can always be with me. I’ve really gotten out of the habit of having some ungainly thing swinging from a strap around my neck.

The main downside is that sometimes the focus isn’t great–and that cannot really be compensated for later with PhotoShop. These devices are computers, not cameras (even tho the Sony has a decent lens). If there is a pocket-sized device that is a true camera, I’d like to know.

fatherspledge on June 27, 2013 at 12:33 PM

The technology behind the Lytro camera will make all current cameras obsolete in a few years.

warden on June 27, 2013 at 12:35 PM

I must be something of an oddity in this day and age. I use a cell phone to make cell phone calls. I do not watch videos, take pictures, get on the internet with a phone. I do not need a Swiss Army Knive for a cellphone. I use a camera to take pictures. I use other things for the other functions. People these days are so distracted soon they will start walking into traffic looking at a phone. It disgusts me when I see four teenagers come into a restaurant and sit down at a table. Instead of talking to each other they all begin looking at thier phones. We are becoming a society of robots.
logicman_1998 on June 27, 2013 at 12:17 PM

But you’re missing out on some stunning photography.

whatcat on June 27, 2013 at 12:36 PM

Gosh, us old OLD schoolers will just have to continue playing around with REAL SLRs like my Pentax ME super.

44Magnum on June 27, 2013 at 12:39 PM

I must be something of an oddity in this day and age. I use a cell phone to make cell phone calls. I do not watch videos, take pictures, get on the internet with a phone. I do not need a Swiss Army Knive for a cellphone. I use a camera to take pictures. I use other things for the other functions. People these days are so distracted soon they will start walking into traffic looking at a phone. It disgusts me when I see four teenagers come into a restaurant and sit down at a table. Instead of talking to each other they all begin looking at thier phones. We are becoming a society of robots.
logicman_1998 on June 27, 2013 at 12:17 PM

I’m with you. Absolutely hate it. Now, there is some little app that they can take the videos and immediately post them on twitter.

Blake on June 27, 2013 at 12:39 PM

I use a digital camera in my work every day. I don’t mind the phone and will use it on the odd occasions I forget my regular camera but find that the cell phone camera is difficult to use, hard to transfer photos and the photos always seem smaller.

I can’t imagine a cell phone getting anywhere near to just an average digital camera. Cell phones sell because they are small. Even a regular, average digital camera is going to be huge compared to a cell phone. I don’t see that equation changing anytime soon.

E9RET on June 27, 2013 at 12:41 PM

The camera you use
Will be the camera you have,
Whatever that is.

The best camera in the world is useless if it is sitting at home in a cabinet when the right shot comes along. So people wind up using the device they are carrying, the smartphone.

My favorite camera is a Minolta Dimage Xt, that I bought about ten years ago. It shoots good looking photographs and is smaller than a pack of cards. Newer cameras have more megapixels and slightly better lenses, but I never carry those, because they are just too much hassle. The one drawback of the Minolta is low light video performance and short battery life, so I still use the iPhone for some things.

Haiku Guy on June 27, 2013 at 12:43 PM

But you’re missing out on some stunning photography.

whatcat on June 27, 2013 at 12:36 PM

*smile* Great sense of humor.

avagreen on June 27, 2013 at 12:43 PM

I don’t own a cell phone

gerrym51 on June 27, 2013 at 12:23 PM

Congratulations

DarkCurrent on June 27, 2013 at 12:45 PM

For casual, everyday digital photography use, I don’t see a need for me to have anything other than my smartphone. Then again, I also still carry a BlackBerry, which means I may not be the best judge of what society thinks about technology. :-)

I just don’t see that much benefit from having an additional consumer-grade digital camera separate from my phone.

However, I still prefer a good, old fashioned 35 mm film camera for the best quality photography.

Shump on June 27, 2013 at 12:58 PM

Crappy compressed audio is now the accepted norm. Think itunes, ipods and their like.

The same will happen with photography.

As I get older, I can’t see of hear as good as before, so technology is actually catching up to me this time!

can_con on June 27, 2013 at 12:59 PM

I just picked up a point-and-shoot Samsung camera on woot.com this week for $80 for one reason – 26x optical zoom.

Defenestratus on June 27, 2013 at 9:34 AM

I owe you a beer.

My wife and I were talking about getting a better camera (we’re not really camera enthusiasts; we use Point-and-shoots …and these days, mostly our Nexus phones lol) with optical zoom (for backyard birding) just last weekend, and after seeing your comment I buzzed over to Woot and picked one up too.

Good deal!

Thanks!

davisbr on June 27, 2013 at 1:01 PM

Nokia’s new Windows phone has a 41 megapixel(!) camera paired with a Carl Zeiss lens. It also features optical focus, advanced image stabilization and the best low light capabilities of any cameraphone.

http://www.wpcentral.com/tag/eos

Aside from professional / artistic endeavours I don’t see why anyone would need more than this.

Woody on June 27, 2013 at 1:07 PM

Nokia’s new Windows phone has a 41 MEGAPIXEL camera paired with a Carl Zeiss lens. It also features optical focus, advanced image stabilization and the best low light capabilities of any cameraphone.

http://www.wpcentral.com/tag/eos

When you take a 41MP image you can use your computer for the zooming, no lens needed. For most things anyways, still doesn’t replace a good digital SLR for real important / artistic stuff.

Woody on June 27, 2013 at 11:06 AM

Thanks for the link. Resolution isn’t everything though. It’s really the glass. The Nikon D800 for example at 36mp has issues with blurring due to the high resolution.

dogsoldier on June 27, 2013 at 1:08 PM

Man oh man, what a get-off-my-lawn, crazy old coot thread this turned into.

Yes, you can sing hosannas to how great your 1960′s Nikon-F takes brilliant 35mm pictures, but in ten years, you’ll be scanning the negatives and trying the best you can to remove the halation effects in Photoshop as the image deteriorates. Fuzzy chemical-based photos are fuzzy.

DarthBrooks on June 27, 2013 at 1:08 PM

I’d guess that the point-and-shoot market will follow the trajectory of the film-based cameras over the next five years, and that it will be almost impossible to find any in retail stores by the end of that period — except as cheap novelties.

Uh-huh.

whatcat on June 27, 2013 at 1:12 PM

Will the high end camera always exist for people like you, sure, but it will be such a small market that it won’t be worth mentioning.

DFCtomm on June 27, 2013 at 12:26 PM

That’s what I said. Dark night. There will be no photojournalists reporting back to us with beautiful images from remote locations that speak to the heart and mind. No great war photographers, no recording of life the way that Margaret Bourke-White or Dorothea Lange did so poignantly.

Everything will be Instagram and lomo. Snapshots instead of depth, understanding and meaning. No context, just image.

That’s what our society is choosing–lives lighter than air.

vityas on June 27, 2013 at 1:16 PM

Sorry, nothing beats my old Kodak Swinger when I want a quick snapshot.

teacherman on June 27, 2013 at 1:16 PM

Man oh man, what a get-off-my-lawn, crazy old coot thread this turned into.

Yes, you can sing hosannas to how great your 1960′s Nikon-F takes brilliant 35mm pictures, but in ten years, you’ll be scanning the negatives and trying the best you can to remove the halation effects in Photoshop as the image deteriorates. Fuzzy chemical-based photos are fuzzy. – DarthBrooks on June 27, 2013 at 1:08 PM

My father saved almost all of his negatives from the 1940′s on and so did I. I have notebooks full of them. I have also taken to digital photography. But, I still love the hard copy of the negative, especially a great old black and white negative. Color negatives do tend to fade, because of they are color. The bad thing with digital photos is that they are mostly on your computer. And, if you don’t back them up and have a disk failure, they are gone for good. Too bad that Kodak failed to foresee the digital age. At one time they were in the Dow 30.

SC.Charlie on June 27, 2013 at 1:18 PM

Is this a serious topic for HA to be covering?

tomshup on June 27, 2013 at 1:21 PM

Fuzzy chemical-based photos are fuzzy.
DarthBrooks on June 27, 2013 at 1:08 PM

Yeah, you tell ‘em! As I said above, I’m impressed by the new tech.

whatcat on June 27, 2013 at 1:26 PM

Is this a serious topic for HA to be covering? – tomshup on June 27, 2013 at 1:21 PM

The NSA is looking at all your digital pictures. Is that serious enough?/s

SC.Charlie on June 27, 2013 at 1:30 PM

Sorry, nothing beats my old Kodak Swinger when I want a quick snapshot.
teacherman on June 27, 2013 at 1:16 PM

If you have a Kodak Swinger, you probably should let the Polaroid Corporation attorneys know about it.

whatcat on June 27, 2013 at 1:34 PM

But you’re missing out on some stunning photography.

whatcat on June 27, 2013 at 12:36 PM

But . . . but . . . I’m not trying to make art! ;)

francesca on June 27, 2013 at 1:34 PM

Fuzzy chemical-based photos are fuzzy. – DarthBrooks on June 27, 2013 at 1:08 PM

Apparently you don’t have much experience with old fashion photography.

SC.Charlie on June 27, 2013 at 1:35 PM

I don’t care much. I still take 35mm and slides.

Digital’s fine for many things, but those pics seem to be quickly forgotten, and are more perishable over time. My great great grandchildren are probably ten times more likely to see the chemical prints of their ancestors than digital.

Dr. ZhivBlago on June 27, 2013 at 1:35 PM

Even Hollywood is resisting the change to digital. Look it up.

SC.Charlie on June 27, 2013 at 1:37 PM

But . . . but . . . I’m not trying to make art! ;)
francesca on June 27, 2013 at 1:34 PM

What? You mean to imply phonecam shots of the burger and fries that people had for lunch and posted on Facebook aren’t a serious artform? Harruummphhh!!

whatcat on June 27, 2013 at 1:41 PM

What I’d like is a digital body that would take all the lenses and accessories I’ve accumulated for my film SLR. How about a basic digital SLR body with just TTL exposure control and adapters to fit different camera systems’ lenses and eyepieces?

PersonFromPorlock on June 27, 2013 at 8:33 AM

Cano offers two types of Digital SLR’s. Perhaps someone can clarify but they look identical, but one is fully compatible with your old film SLR camera lenses and the other is not.

Couple of interesting links:
http://www.chriscamera.com/lenses4digital.htm

This one will burn ome time up if yo really dig into it:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lenses_for_SLR_and_DSLR_cameras

Tenwheeler on June 27, 2013 at 1:41 PM

Just my preference but for photography, I still prefer the cameras that I can hold up to my eye like the old days. I hate holding some device out in front of me to try and frame the shot.

rhombus on June 27, 2013 at 8:08 AM

Which means you hate most non-SLR cameras because all most of them have is that big honking LCD screen instead of a proper viewfinder.

Me too.

Steve Eggleston on June 27, 2013 at 8:28 AM

Me, too. I have gotten used to using the LCD screen, but at first, I felt like a fool standing there holding the camera out in front of me to take a picture. How to hold it steady? Oh, right. Thus we have image stabilization. What next?

francesca on June 27, 2013 at 1:48 PM

Fun topic today. Sure beats blood, gore (not Al), lying, corruption, etc. Let’s all go out and take some pictures.

francesca on June 27, 2013 at 1:50 PM

Ugh. Hot Air has REALLy got to do something about the “auto-refresh-wiping-out-half-written-comments” problem. Once again I wrote a long comment (in this case about cameras), and before I could hit the “Submit Comment” button, the page auto-refreshed and wiped out everything I had written.

Talk about frustrating!!!!

I will not reconstruct the comment, instead turning it into this comment with a repeat of my request:

Somehow fix the issue so that when the page auto-refreshes, any half-written comment is pre-saved and re-appears in the comment edit box after the refresh, ready to continue writing and/or posting.

Otherwise, the problem seriously impinges on people’s ability to write anything other than short quips!

Zombie on June 27, 2013 at 2:10 PM

Think of humoring your wife’s photography hobby as payments on martial bliss. If you had bought the classic Mustang, it would have rotted out in the Minnesota fall/winter/spring by now, and…(rest not completed because that would be considered taunting)

Steve Eggleston on June 27, 2013 at 8:52 AM

I’m hoping you meant marital bliss. Although, in some marriages….

There Goes the Neighborhood on June 27, 2013 at 2:12 PM

My Canon point’n’shoot has 20x optical zoom. Can’t part with that!

corncat on June 27, 2013 at 2:18 PM

Call me when smartphones can make toast.

BobMbx on June 27, 2013 at 2:31 PM

I do a little art sometimes. Use a good quality digital camera often.. never use my phone camera. It’s just not the same. My phone camera just cannot compete. Besides the difference in lenses and options.. it just isn’t suited to a good picture.

JellyToast on June 27, 2013 at 2:35 PM

Is this a serious topic for HA to be covering?

tomshup on June 27, 2013 at 1:21 PM

Does everything have to be serious 24/7? 150 comments ain’t too shabby. ; )

Bmore on June 27, 2013 at 2:36 PM

I don’t own a cell phone

gerrym51 on June 27, 2013 at 12:23 PM

Do you have a computer?

Oldnuke on June 27, 2013 at 3:05 PM

My wife’s the photographer. She starts talking about lenses, filters and settings my eyes start to glaze. She rousts me out to go photo shooting but only to tote the heavy crap around.

Oldnuke on June 27, 2013 at 3:07 PM

Naa, I’ll never give up my digital Nikon SLR

stop2think on June 27, 2013 at 3:07 PM

Ugh. Hot Air has REALLy got to do something about the “auto-refresh-wiping-out-half-written-comments” problem. Once again I wrote a long comment (in this case about cameras), and before I could hit the “Submit Comment” button, the page auto-refreshed and wiped out everything I had written.
Talk about frustrating!!!!
Zombie on June 27, 2013 at 2:10 PM

What browser are you using?

(On the plus side, if you’re using a smartphone to post comments you can still take crappy pics at least. So there is that.)

whatcat on June 27, 2013 at 3:15 PM

I just started using this digital camera I received as a gift, so no.

bmmg39 on June 27, 2013 at 3:20 PM

Zombie on June 27, 2013 at 2:10 PM

Doesn’t your version of Firefox have the ability to block autoreload?
Advanced > General > “warn me when websites try to reload”

slickwillie2001 on June 27, 2013 at 3:23 PM

I’m with AScott and a couple of the other commenters above. I don’t even have a cell phone, much less a smart phone or a tablet, and I find that life manages to go on. I’m perfectly happy with a laptop, a digital camera, and a landline phone.

I fear what you said at the end of your post is right, though. It really irritates me that we’re being pushed into using increasingly elaborate technology that usually winds up being a hindrance rather than a help.

Undine on June 27, 2013 at 3:39 PM

Whatever you predict, will be wrong, and under stated.

Yes, the lens is everything, until they remove the lens…

right2bright on June 27, 2013 at 4:19 PM

Is this a serious topic for HA to be covering?

tomshup on June 27, 2013 at 1:21 PM

Well, it got you to respond…

I am a publisher, and I use a point and shoot. Many of my photographers use high end SLR’s, but when you publish at 300dpi, good is good enough, the content is what sells.

The ones that get the best photos, are the ones that have the point and shoots, quick, and any minor defects can be taken care of with PhotoShop.

The bulky SLR’s are for set up photos, or for the newbies/wannabe’s…

right2bright on June 27, 2013 at 4:23 PM

Zombie on June 27, 2013 at 2:10 PM

Zombie, do this. Abine. It will solve many of the negative issues you experience here at HA.

Bmore on June 27, 2013 at 4:35 PM

Also Zombie, had you gone back one page your comment in your comment box would have still been there.

Bmore on June 27, 2013 at 4:36 PM

It’s like when I ask about the nest concealed carry gun to buy and the guy says: “The best gun is the one you will actually carry.”

Same for cameras. And as a guy, I don’t want to carry around 50 things when I go somewhere. I always have my smart-phone, so it’s there when I need to snap a pic of something in daily-life. I use it on the plant floor a lot – snap a decent pic, immediately email to a colleague and call them to discuss.

I HAVE a point and shoot, but why carry it around? If I’m going to lug something extra I’ll take the real camera pack – with the Sony Alpha and a couple nice lenses. Otherwise, the iPhone can suffice.

I’m the last guy to be on Facebook posting crap, but my wife is a devotee and she uploads daily pics and vids right from the smart-phone. If you are going to do social media – it’s way easier with the smart-phone than with a point and shoot.

Free Indeed on June 27, 2013 at 4:38 PM

The bulky SLR’s are for set up photos, or for the newbies/wannabe’s…

right2bright on June 27, 2013 at 4:23 PM

Usually agree with you, but I do some railroad photography and would hate to be without my DSLR for it. Is a big DSLR a silver bullet? Nope – but it does make some things a lot easier!

Free Indeed on June 27, 2013 at 4:40 PM

It is sad to see horrible quality photos being the norm now. I still use my camera when I plan on taking pictures.

The Notorious G.O.P on June 27, 2013 at 4:44 PM

I have a Canon Powershot 12 megapixel camera that’s pocket-sized and does good work. I take it on trips and keep it in the car. This is the camera I use for enlarged framed-pix projects where the original is blown up often to poster size and I get a custom-framing job which I do a lot.

I also have a 7 or 8 mp camera app on my Iphone for everyday use/Instragram uploads, and that works every bit as good except that its not great for enlarging and framing but works fine for taking pix on bike rides and just putzing around town. Never gets used indoors at bars or nightclubs. No dude is allowed to take smartphone pix at a bar. Ever.

Sacramento on June 27, 2013 at 5:33 PM

The main downside is that sometimes the focus isn’t great–and that cannot really be compensated for later with PhotoShop. These devices are computers, not cameras (even tho the Sony has a decent lens). If there is a pocket-sized device that is a true camera, I’d like to know.

fatherspledge on June 27, 2013 at 12:33 PM

Me too.

No matter how they jimmy up the digital cameras under $200, there is always some kind of sampling going on, various algorithms used to correct the image. Photoshop just alters the picture more in various directions. Same with digital sound.

Which is a sore point for me. Nothing matches the beauty of analog sound, produced using vacuum tubes. People who know only digital sound think their surround sound is awesome, but it is a poor sampling of what was. I had a long talk with a fellow born blind, who hated digital sound. He craved analog but could not explain the difference to ears that had no experience

I agree most people do not understand what is lacking. Therefore they do not care. Similarly, vocabularies have gotten smaller, and thought processes for many constricted to text message size.

When electronic keyboards came out there was a contest to see who could better approximate true sound of piano or violin. Today, most people do not care and settle for the simulation

For video, people will accept a system that samples the image, as long as it extrapolates the image back to something that looks sharp on a big screen. They dont care anymore if the flower petals are lost, if the picture is pleasing.

Some would not notice if a word here or there was dropped from the Bible, or Shakespeare, as long as it is some facsimile

entagor on June 27, 2013 at 5:42 PM

For video, people will accept a system that samples the image, as long as it extrapolates the image back to something that looks sharp on a big screen. They dont care anymore if the flower petals are lost, if the picture is pleasing.
entagor on June 27, 2013 at 5:42 PM

Yup, the between film and video cinematography is probably lost on most people. Those of us with experience in both notice the difference right off the bat.

whatcat on June 27, 2013 at 5:53 PM

I’m feeling uncomfortable and threatened with all the pointing and shooting in this thread. Why can’t we all just get along? If this goes on much longer I’ll have to notify the PC police!
/sarc

Marcola on June 27, 2013 at 6:04 PM

These devices don’t displace serious photography equipment, such as the gear I usually carry on vacation or when going on the road to cover events. Cell phones and tablets don’t have much flexibility in terms of zoom, lighting, and sound for videos, for instance, and anything other than snapshots requires a higher level of technology.

Ed Morrisey
.

Naa, I’ll never give up my digital Nikon SLR

stop2think on June 27, 2013 at 3:07 PM

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The bulky SLR’s are for set up photos, or for the newbies/wannabe’s…

right2bright on June 27, 2013 at 4:23 PM
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Usually agree with you, but I do some railroad photography and would hate to be without my DSLR for it. Is a big DSLR a silver bullet? Nope – but it does make some things a lot easier!

Free Indeed on June 27, 2013 at 4:40 PM

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What Ed said.

Like Free Indeed, I do some railroad photography as well. In fact, there’s LOTS of railroad photographers out there, and websites that host their photography.

Those folks would never settle for anything less than the highest end equipment they can afford.

Same thing can be said for night photography (astronomy) specialists.

Ray Kurzweil is going to be hard-pressed to develop a cost effective (that’s key) small lens that has the same “light-gathering” capabilities of our current high-end lenses.
I’m not saying it can’t be done, but it’s still out-of-sight down the time line.

listens2glenn on June 27, 2013 at 7:49 PM

Cameras stay. Lenses are larger and better. You cannot escape that physical reality.

Sherman1864 on June 27, 2013 at 8:42 PM

I don’t have a “smartphone” but have a point-n-shoot and 2 DSLR’s the latest of which I just bought a month ago.

From what I see posted on Facebook, smartphone images are by and large horrible.

Dasher on June 28, 2013 at 11:02 AM

Thanks for the link. Resolution isn’t everything though. It’s really the glass. The Nikon D800 for example at 36mp has issues with blurring due to the high resolution.

dogsoldier on June 27, 2013 at 1:08 PM

The technology used in the upcoming Nokia uses their Pureview technology along with OIS and multiple lenses.
The camera actually takes to photos at the same time: a 36mp + 5mp

5mp is for quick sharing and small scale viewing, the 35mp is used to oversample the image so that if you cut, crop, zoom into the image you lose zero quality and there is no pixelization.

This plus Nokia’s superior camera software apps and hardware make their current Lumia’s better than all other phones.

If you can, go into a Verizon or AT&T store and check out the Lumia 928/920 phones and play with their cameras.

exsanguine on June 28, 2013 at 11:52 AM

This old geezer can hardly see his 15 million or so pixels on his giant screen when he’s using Photoshop. I suspect that to others than Anthony Weiner, size does matter.

Don L on June 28, 2013 at 12:26 PM

This observation involves some ethnic stereotyping but I was in Yosemite Valley this past week. At the bridge at the base of Yosemite Falls at least three Japanese visitors were using tablets, as awkward as they are, to take pictures from the iconic viewpoint. The only purpose-built digital cameras I saw Japanese visitors using were very high-end SLR types, along with tripods and telephotos.

In my case, about two years ago I was about to replace my Sony digital camera simply to get one with panorama mode. Ihad been piecing together single images with Photoshop. Then I found out I could get a simple iPhone app to do pretty much the same thing, plus still use Photoshop to fix a lot of issues.

kd6rxl on June 28, 2013 at 1:19 PM

Only the, “entry level,” digital camera is dead.

Phone cams are fine for capturing a casual moment, but, if you want to take a picture of landscape, or a family portrait, or any picture with greater fidelity, you’re going to have to pay for something that delivers more quality.

I mean, heck, I have a digital camera that is practically five years old, and it still takes slightly better pictures than my high end smart phone.

WolvenOne on June 28, 2013 at 2:08 PM

warden on June 27, 2013 at 12:35 PM

That’s impossible, and I don’t know what sort of voodoo you used to make me see things that clearly cannot be, but stop it right now.

DrMagnolias on June 28, 2013 at 2:28 PM

Can’t remember the last time I used the Canon Power Shot. I use the iPhone for snapshots, but I also use the Camera+ app rather than the built-in camera for better control and more flexibility. There are 6 or 7 additional photo processing apps on my phone that give pretty good results.

That being said, the Power Shot still takes better pictures. I still dig it out for the important stuff.

I’m a designer who does print, web, and video projects professionally and it’s so much easier now that everything’s digital.

jix on June 28, 2013 at 2:36 PM

I have a Nikon digital camera and the pictures are incredibly sharp and clear. I don’t care how good an app on a smart phone is, it can never compete with my camera. No matter how still you hold your smart phone there is a degree of blur simply because it is so small and it is hard when you are taking quick shots to keep it from blurring. On my digital camera I can take shots from a moving car that are sharp. So on this one I will have to say that the smart phones just aren’t as good.

neyney on June 28, 2013 at 3:08 PM

The digital point and shoot and the camera phone are good for the casual photographer. However, if you are going to get serious about photography, and in particular digital post processing, you need a camera that will output in a raw/dng format. The data in the raw files is far superior and far easier to manipulate than the processed JPG you will get from a cheap camera.

I’ve been able to breathe new life into my 10 year old Canon 20D because it can output in raw format.

E L Frederick (Sniper One) on June 28, 2013 at 6:22 PM

If you need a pic to remember it…it wasn’t worth remembering anyways…

BigSven on June 30, 2013 at 5:07 AM

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