The Future Of The Stand-alone Camera

This entry was posted by Sunday, 10 November, 2013
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Funny cartoon of someone using a camera


Your camera. How old is it?

That’s what I figured. Why would you buy a new one? You have your phone, right?

Eric Zeman (Information Week) says things are bad out there. Executives at Canon and Nikon  are walking around looking lost. Their stuff is sensational in every way. Smaller, easier to use, amazing in low light, better connectivity – all at great prices. What are they supposed to do? Give them away as door prizes when you open a bank account?

Meanwhile, you’re snapping away with your Galaxy s4 or your Iphone or your 41 mpixel Nikon Pureview.


Camera companies claim all is well. When the global economy gets better, their sales will pick up.

Graveyard whistling? Would you want  the boss talking down the company’s future?

Here’s the thing.

My digital single lens reflex- what is it – ten years old? – takes great shots. My excellent Galaxy S4 does a good job with its camera and  its camera apps but for fast high resolutions shots – especially in low light – it can’t compete. Hey. I’m just being honest, okay?

When’s the last time I used the Nikon? I’m not sure. Probably not this year. I can’t seem to remember to throw it in the car anymore. I have the phone.

The early arrival of the future messes up some good stuff. It doesn’t make sense to have a daily newspaper anymore. It was so nice to sleep late on Sunday and have the paper spread out all over the bed with the dog rumping around in it while we ate bagels. Google News, my current news source, can’t seem to discriminate between bombastic idiots and real reporters. Maybe “crawlers” can’t tell the difference since they’re looking for links instead of great reporting.

The bummer is that cameras are good things. Smartphones might get that good eventually. But maybe not. Even the best displays are sketchy in bright sunlight and they are clumsy to hold for camera shots. Phone cameras continue to improve but maybe there is a limit to what can be done in such a small package.

On the other hand, smartphones have the huge advantage that they are there when you need them. That’s the thing. But if the sales of real cameras keep going down, won’t they run into “newspaper economics”? The less they sell, the harder it is to make a buck? Then they have to raise their prices to stay in business, right? The higher the price, the less they sell..  like that. An inglorious cycle.

There’s not much we can do. Just stand around and watch it shake out. Even Mister ScienceAintSoBad can’t change the consequences of the technical revolution.

One thing. I can charge up the Nikon and snap a photo of my foot.

It’s something.

– – – – – –

That’s one of my own cartoons.

23 Responses to “The Future Of The Stand-alone Camera”

  1. Mark Coffey

    You are right on. My very good, rather small and light Canon digital camera has collected dust for about 3 years. I am now going to buy a new small form factor Sony or Lumix that has WiFi to quickly move pictures to my laptop or social media sites. Even with very good quality cell phone pics – (Samsung S3 in my case), my hope is that the small form factor and ease of moving the pictures off the camera will make this a good strategy. The digital camera lens and flash are far superior to any cell phone!

  2. MISTER Science Ain't So Bad

    For serious photography, that’s the right choice. Phone makers will come up with some great tricks – even greater than they have – in the next few years to convince you that a phone is finally “good enough” for serious photography. I already have (on my Galaxy s4, anyway) a “burst mode” that, rat-a-tat-tat, captures bunches of photos and lets you pick the best. There are often great little surprise shots in the series. Maybe, with some kind of gripper or handle, a cell phone could, eventually, hold its own in high end situations.

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