In a way, the camera industry right now puts me in mind of the Siege of Jerusalem.
I'm not even exactly sure which siege it was I'm thinking about—I think it was the one in which the future Roman emperor Titus, son of Vespasian, destroyed the Second Temple in A.D. 70. I'm thinking of a vivid account of the siege I read somewhere during a tear I made through many books of popular Roman history a few years ago. (Why any thrill junkie needs subject matter more exciting than Roman history is a mystery to me.) It describes the Romans breaching a wall by undermining it and causing it to collapse. (Must have been fun work for whomever was doing the digging.)
...Which brings us to the most interesting introduction at Photokina: Panasonic's CM1 smartphone, which has a 1" sensor.
Sensor sizes have almost met in the middle now...enthusiasts still obstinately consider 4/3 (17.5mm in the long dimension) to be "too small," while 1" sensors (13.2mm in the long dimension) are "huge" compared to the small sensors normally found in older traditional digicams and virtually all cellphones.
The CM1 is admittedly a huge leap up for a smartphone. Apple's new iPhone 6 has the same 1/3" (4.8mm in the long dimension), 8-MP sensor as my iPhone 4S, with processing said to be improved. (Here's an impressive review of the iPhone 6's video capabilities, by Austin Mann—thanks to Dave Fultz for the link.)
Illustration © 2014 by Barbara Perini / Nina Perini Photography
The traditional camera industry is under siege. DSLR sales still dwarf mirrorless in the enthusiast segment, but that might just lead to a fatal complacency on the part of cameramakers, who will keep up with the 'naughts business model until their city is sacked. Even many of our own readers (who tend not to be bleeding edge when it comes to popular tech) felt that even Nikon's new D750 indicates sleepwalking at least to some extent.
I've been scared of the eventual saturation of the digital camera market for almost two decades now. With each passing season it seems to get closer. The Romans would crucify runaway slaves by the roadside, to serve as a warning to the servants of the Empire to behave. I'm not saying the advent of the CM1 is paralleled by a dead enthusiast camera hanging grotesquely from its wrist-strap next to the Via Aurelia, but there's just that little ominous twinge to this development....
(Laughin' now. I do go on, don't I? I hope the cameramakers are at least paying attention, though. It might seem quiet out there, but the Legions of the exercitus Romanorum* are busy digging.)
Here's a nice article about the Panasonic CM1 with its Leica lens, by Vlad Savov at TheVerge.
Have a great weekend, and I'll be back on Sunday with another "Open Mike."
(Thanks to Michael, Dave, and John Camp)
*The Imperial Roman army
Original contents copyright 2014 by Michael C. Johnston and/or the bylined author. All Rights Reserved. Links in this post may be to our affiliates; sales through affiliate links may benefit this site.
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Featured Comments from:
Paul Amyes: "I like the Judean War analogy. It seems that Canon and Nikon have retreated to their mountaintop fortress in the desert and are now watching their attackers slowly but surely build the eartworks which will allow them to breach the wall. Each slightly warmed over new release is another step to the Masada finale."
Jimmy Reina: "I laughed til I cried. Thanks."