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Saturday, 06 December 2014


I agree, it's clear that the future of mainstream photography will be cellphones/smartphones (two designations that I think don't make justice to this "do-it-all" machines).

This made me remember that some years ago, in a photo-guear forum, I guessed that the displays resolution and refresh rate technology would evolve in such a manner that in the future the OVF could become obsolete. Of course I was mocked, but now we all see how good the EVFs are becoming.

Speaking of cellphones, I couldn't resist the price drop on what I believe is the greatest cellphone for photographers: the Nokia Lumia 1020. It has an almost 1" back-illuminated 41mp semnsor, a 25mm equiv. f/2.2 optical-stabilizd Zeiss lens and (best of all) can produce RAW files!
Of course the upcoming Panasonic CM1 may be a even better phone for photographers.

Uh Mike, it's 'antediluvian,' not 'antidiluvian.' That shift from 'e' to 'i' changed it from 'before the flood' to 'against the flood.' Did it pass spell-checking?

Nice picture.
Would you tell us the setting? What surface is the glass sitting on? How much post processing?


Okay, I'll bite. What does ILC stand for? I tried Google (an effort to avoid stupid questions) and found literally dozens of possibilities on various sites but none which made any sense in the context of your post.

[Sorry! Added to the post. --Mike the Ed.]

A big difference is the reaction from people when their photo is made with a cellphone camera or a box camera.

I'd rather have the Brownie. Even today.

Mike, That's a beautiful photograph!

I have been frustrated with the cameras that my previous cell phones had until now. It ain't no APS-C or FF gem, but the infrared laser-guided focus and OIS on the 13 megapixel camera of my LG G3 phone are getting me images that make my jaw drop. No low light greatness, but with the light there, it makes very good images and corrects for my not so steady hand. The image link goes to one of my wife, which I had already pinch-zoomed for composition, then cropped for Instagram's square format. The dynamic range and focus got me. https://www.flickr.com/photos/mattp9/15753611519/


I think anybody born pre 1988-90 is a digital immigrant - those born after that are digital natives. Us oldies have engineered a new world we don't understand


Be mindful of cross application.

The same technologies that can (and will) make pocket computers (er, cellphones) ever better picture capture devices, can (and most likely will) be applied to task specific picture capture devices (cameras)

And a device with more space, weight, power available will always have a theoretical advantage with any given level of technology.

In other words, it will always be possible for cameras with more physical resources to outdo cell phones. Whether that matters in the market is a different matter.

I don't think there is a future where serious users give up on lenses. Lenses are too fun. The cameras you hook them to mostly suck, but lenses are fun.

The real product area that phones will continue to crush into a pulp are fixed lens and compact cameras. But we knew that five years ago.

The other cameras will continue to suffer since the people who make them don't really understand computer systems and software, but they probably won't die.

On the other hand, generational arguments about who can and cannot understand all the modern technology are sort of misguided IMHO. Remember that the people running most of the largest technology companies (cough Apple cough) were born well before 1988. They tell the kids what to buy and what is cool and new.

Don't care about the mechanics but do say that is a seriously good photo. Well done!

Bryan Willman assumes that the same computational imaging that will be applied to cellphone camera systems (not a single camera) will also be applied to conventional ILCs cameras (one lens, one sensor).

Some computational imaging software will be applied to conventional single lens/single sensor (ILC or compact) cameras. We already have computational imaging software in some cameras e.g. panorama generation from a moving camera. You can easily see super-resolution (either from camera shake or by sensor shift as rumored for the E-M5II) as an obvious winner in the future.

But this isn't the case for a lot of the technology that's being worked on now.

Light field cameras (with a single lens and sensor) are clearly different cameras from our current ILCs. Lensless cameras.

Many computational imaging techniques use multiple cameras (from two upwards) then combine data to make a single image that is enhanced in some way e.g. adding a depth of field map for selective focus. It's difficult to see how these techniques can be applied to a conventional camera (or even that you want to do that).

The message of history is "things change". Look back across the history of photography and you can see that is true and it's not stopping now.

No smartphone can replicate the joy of a dedicated camera in terms of ergonomics and external controls. But then I guess at some point they'll sell camera-alike accessories you can slide your smartphone in to get the same experience. Well, the Hasselnuts is already a step in that direction (google it), but I'm thinking of something more compact (XT-1 size and design for example) and fully integrated.

I may be old (born before WWII), but I'm not a Luddite! The latest technology has always made my work easier. Apple Pay allows me to pay for food, etc with my primary camera, whats not to like ;-)

The smartphones/tablets will win the photo war because the smartphone manufactures live in the future and the camera companies live in the past (and just don't Get-It).

Weegee, a 1930s/40s PJ, would have a hard time believing that today PJs would be winning awards with iPhones. "The Times They Are a-Changin' "

Phone cameras are replacing pocket cameras. Pocket cameras replaced simple film cameras. Pocket cameras did not replace DSLRs and phone cameras will not, in the foreseeable future replace DSLRs, "mirror less" or equivalent cameras. Different specs for different markets.

Phone cameras have come a long way and, in the right hands, are capable of making high quality images over a range of available light and focal lengths. But that range is limited and improvements will likely be gradual and incremental.

Which means that in the next 30 days, some company we've never heard of will announce a solid state device that costs $50 to manufacture in quantity, fits in a phone and can deliver high quality images using its 10x nuclear, photonic, DNA based optics.

We can only hope.

Point 1: I love real, proper cameras for their sheer beauty, their amazing industrial design, their manufacturing perfection, their feel in my hands and their diversity. I can choose from many different models, all with a multitude of permutations in their own line and among the other brands. If I want a different function or capability, I can buy it and add it. I like carrying a camera bag.

Point 2: I will never be interested in holding a completely anonymous phone out in front of me like everyone else. Boring. I want to be different.

Point 3: where can I get a 150-600mm f4.5 image stabilised zoom for my HTC plastic wonder?

This reminds me of the advent of CD some 30 years ago, when the phonograph industry proclaimed the death of vinyl. Well, now the LP sales are growing - though vinyl is still just a niche - and CD is virtually dead. Saying iPhonography will take over is as lofty as claiming MP3 will dominate. It might do so in quantitative terms, but there will always be a demand for quality which cannot be satisfied by compressed digital files.
This is not a personal criticism by any means, but I do shout at the habit some older people maintain of trying to look extremely up-to-date by using gizmos. Living in the present, or being young at heart, is not about buying smartphones and jumping the technology bandwagon. From a youngster's viewpoint, one might have an iPhone and take pictures with it, but he's (she's) still an old fart if he fails to understand how much the world has moved on. Having a phablet doesn't make one seem younger if he or she is stranded on the morals of the 50's.
I believe it is OK to discern between real and false progress and refuse the latter. Many youngsters do it. After all, young people are the force behind the resurgence of film and vinyl. And they'll still love you if you don't shoot with an iPhone...
Now is the iPhone a good camera phone? Yes it is! Let there be no doubt about it. But only by smartphone's standards, which are and will always be considerably lower than ILC's. Excellent for casual photography, a letdown when something more is called for.

... I once managed to convince a sports photographer that it did not matter which camera he used, and I traded him my Ricoh GR for his big Nikon system.

Last I heard of him, he is now living in his parents basement, and he would really like to talk to me. I haven't gotten around to visiting him yet.

I used to scrabble back and forth with a buddy about image quality, etc. when we were shooting 'movin' pichers'. I was still shooting 16mm black & white in a Bolex, he was shooting first gen digital/video cameras like the Panasonic GH (1). His viewpoint was, within reason, he didn't care that much about the IQ, altho he wouldn't go below a certain level; but he said the ability of him to shoot anytime he wanted, and any idea he wrote down, for nominal money, and get an acceptable image, was more important than the beauty of 16mm (or 35mm for that matter) film, if you had to wait around to 'self-finance' it.

This stuff falls under that same category. To extend my buddies logic, he'd rather take a picture with a cell phone camera, of an important breaking event, or even just a situation he sees, than not to have a camera on him at all. The fact that cell phone cameras are getting good enough to do semi-pro level work is just a 'plus'. My sisters older gen iPhone already has better auto color than my generation of Nikon DSLR.

I personally have been waiting for my 'holy-grail', a high quality digital camera with a fast attached lens and electronic eyepiece, that covers the equiv. range of 35mm to 85mm; and we're getting close, at least the last Lumix was close, but 70mm is still not a portrait lens. First company that delivers this (and not all that wacko superzoom stuff with the virtually unusable and soft 300-400mm top range), is going to get my money and eBay is going to get my DSLR stuff. If I can do a double page magazine spread with a camera like that, then the equipment race is over.

The whole digital native vs. digital luddite thing is all wind and sail. I love film and will keep shooting it as long as I can buy it; I love everything about it from the technology to the workflow. I was in on the beginning of digital being marketed to professional catalog studios, and I can tell you that almost all the engineers I talked with never thought it would replace film, and the 'quality' holy-grail for them was that it looked good reproduced at a 150 line screen. that it would advance as fast as it has to this point, would have been a surprised to them back then. I always shut down those conversations by reminding people that you don't hear anyone foolishly saying they're giving up oil painting because someone invented Illustrator or In Design.

Me thinks that most of those arguments get to the level they do because a lot of people have invested a lot of time and money (especially in printers and computer set ups that need constant up-grading) learning how to spend hours in front of their computers getting an image corrected, and not only do they believe that in order for them to make more money, the "others must die", but they live in fear that one day they'll wake up and someone will say: "...oops, yeah, sorry, we were wrong, film really IS better...".

There are "digital luddites and digital natives", the same way there are "touch-tone phone luddites and touch-tone phone natives" and "automatic transmission luddites and automatic transmission natives".

Speaking of cameras...


And it's in Wisconsin!

This conversation about what will or won't happen with cameras/phone cams etc is really fun to speculate on. I guess in my 51 years I've learned not to bet against the future. I expect in 15 years (meaning 8 years) photography will be done in ways unimaginable to me now.


I can't wait for someone like Fuji to successfully marry Android with a great camera. The first company to really nail the workflow right in the camera will move things on dramatically.

The brownie is still a better camera than any phone. In fact it has the potential to be better than any digital camera, of course. Nothing digital can hold a candle to 620 (120) film. The lens is the only thing holding the brownie back, not the capture medium.

It is all so odd: on the one hand,the unrelenting quest for ease,convenience, and technical perfection; and on the other, the seeking of satisfaction associated with knowledge, effort, and unique result.

In the world of music, there is a voracious appetite for old tube amplifiers. I suspect that the magic is associated with imperfection innate to this old equipment. No two are alike. Still, the manufacturers are relentless in their pursuit of solid state amplifier improvement. Buyers continue to be attracted by lower prices and improved, or additional, features. You can use your Iphone as an amp now. The next iteration of Iphone will likely make a better and more convenient amp....But it will never be the same as a unique old tube amp. One Iphone amp will be exactly the same as all others

The herd is, will be, and always has been distracted by price and "New." Maybe that is what makes us stop in awe when we are confronted by true Art..........Technology aside.

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