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Friday, 26 February 2021


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Happy Birthday, Mike...
About the decline in camera sales. Maybe people have awakened to the fact they don't need to purchase every new, shiney thing that comes along.

Belated Happy Birthday, Mike!!! You are a gift.

A belated Happy 64th to you, Mike! Glad to read that you had a good day in weather and spirit! Did you have the Beatles’ “When I’m Sixty-Four” buzzing in your head all day like I did on that day? More to the point, did you take one photo to commemorate the date?

Is it maybe the case that a large percentage of people who bought cameras back in pre-smartphone days only actually needed a smartphone. So maybe the industry will just become nicely rebalanced? Whether the camera companies can survive is another thing - maybe not all of them, but I think Fuji will be ok...

> Apple seems very unlikely to ever make a 1DX Mark III competitor.

OTOH one could imagine that over the next 10 years the capture side (focus, resolution, detail, dynamic range, etc) of the Apple camera systems could get good enough to make pictures "as good" as the 1DIII ... you just probably wouldn't have a way to attach other lenses, esp. the giant telephotos.

The current phones are better in some (many) ways than the DSLRs of 10-15 years ago (for the sake of argument, anything before the D700, say).

Cameras and photography are doing just fine, likely better than ever. Just look at the influence of cameras and photography in the capitol riot and its aftermath, and most other recent important events. And how we increasingly consume our information visually instead of in text.

I think their cameras have become the major point of competition among mobile phone manufacturers, and a major reason that many decide to get a newer phone. The cameras are the only part of the phone whose design is still progressing rapidly. Those cameras' major shortcoming vs "real" cameras these days for most people is telephoto capability, and the phone manufacturers are working on that. An iPhone with the equivalent of a 13-65mm optical zoom is already available. Expect that upper number to increase. And these cameras already do better than many traditional cameras with low light, bokeh, etc.

And more people than ever use these cameras to make compelling photography and share it with others via methods whose reach is well beyond anything any museum or publisher could ever have hoped for. It's popular among photographers to ridicule all this, and there certainly is a lot of silly photography that has resulted from it, but for anyone willing to look there is also a lot of excellent and innovative phone photography. And just as with traditional photography these phone photographers influence each other to do better and better work.

And all this is now feeding back into traditional photography. Moment, which started as a manufacturer of accessory lenses for phones, is in the process of becoming a purveyor of traditional photography tools in addition to phone camera accessories, I suspect because their customers now want more capability and control in areas where the phones do not yet excel. They now sell Fuji and Sony cameras, which tells you the brands their young, innovative customers are interested in.

And of course while this phone revolution has been underway traditional cameras have improved enormously, if sometimes reluctantly. The big question is which traditional camera companies have the vision and capability to incorporate the tech that the phone companies have evolved into traditional cameras and create the sort of hybrid systems (adding computational to traditional photography) that might be attractive to phone owners who want to add to their kit and their capability.

There is more and better photography than ever ahead of us. Who will make the devices used in that is less important than what they will be capable of and their growing omnipresence. And the results will likely be astounding, with virtually everyone in the world, especially young people with energy and vision, carrying a camera with capabilities beyond what many "enthusiasts" used just a generation ago. And with all those people easily able to share the results quickly with everyone else. I think we're actually in the "age of the camera."

Two years ago I upgraded both my wife's and my Samsung Galaxy S4 to S10, because I wanted better pictures from the cameras that we always have with us. Next upgrade might be to an Apple phone, if at that time the camera is better.

How does that motivation affect your calculus?

64 is the new 46!

[Amen, brother. :-) --Mike]

Happy birthday, Mike. I turned 64 a few years ago and my kids bought me this When I'm 64 wave art to hang over my office door. My wife turned 64 last week.

64 is the new 46- I love it. Now that I'm 72 I was hoping it was the new 27! Probably not.

Amongst photo hobbyists a phone will not be a substitute for a camera that has the attributes which spell the difference between the two. The list of differences between the two is long. I'd start with handling to start.

Apple seems pretty unlikely to ever make a 1DX Mark III competitor, wouldn't you agree?

No, I most definitely don't. Apple is a technology company chasing sales. Expect 1DX3 performance within a few iterations—because it will increase sales. Part of the iPhone appeal is insanely great cameras. Grandmothers are now taking 4K videos of the rug-rats 8-)

Here's B&H's video using Profoto's Pro-11 2400 watt-second pack to freeze action—shooting with an iPhone https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l5CGXpm55zc
AdAms don't use 2400ws packs, but pros do. Does that tell you something?

BTW I'm listening to The Beatles Birthday on my iPhone.

64 is the new 46!

I was gonna use that, but then realized I'd rather not: I'm 66.

64 is the new 40. (Base 16, of course.)

Let's let a little math in here - not just switching digits. Sorry, Anton... you started it!

Happy Birthday Mike.
I have heard: An extensive study in the U.S.A found that the most productive age in human life is between 60-70 years of age.
The 2nd most productive stage of the human being is from 70 to 80 years of age.
So your best is here and yet to be.
Dan K.

Hi Mike,

Well engineered cameras are such lovely things to handle. All those beautiful interchangeable lenses in the camera bag give one a warm feeling. Or they used too till smartphones came along and that sort of thing seemed so yesterday. And now the smartphone market has crashed. Life really is tough!

But why should we care two hoots if we've got any old film camera, a changing bag, a developing tank and a film scanner. Those boring computers, on or under our desks, have been the real change agents. Surely we like pictures more than gadgets?

Here are a fairly recent 120 Holga snap:- https://pbase.com/hhmrogers/image/166397785
and something scanned from a long ago print in an album which I shot in 1947 with a Kodak Brownie box camera:- https://pbase.com/hhmrogers/image/54565713
Oh, and here's something taken with an cheap and cheerful 35mm Lomo 'fisheye':-https://pbase.com/hhmrogers/image/170627520
(the poet Alexander Pope is buried inside the church in the background)

Oh and I do so enjoy using a developer not very different from its 1890s recipe.


Cell phones are driving a lot of new photography technology, not just hardware (like Sony sensors), but also image processing, and even image content and style. Some of that will trickle up to enthusiast and pro cameras and enable a better next generation 1DX. But it does not provide the source of R&D funding and profit that P&S and consumer DSLR camera sales formerly provided to the traditional camera manufacturers. Higher prices for enthusiast cameras seem inevitable. But, consider the list price of a Spotmatic body in 1968 was $180, equivalent to about $1400 in 2021. And that did not include the sensor, to say nothing of all the other technology in a modern camera.

Two additional points that are somewhat related to the topic.
1-In the old film days, users and companies didn’t upgrade their cameras every year, not even every few years. Lenses lasted for decades and bodies easily for five to ten years before there was any significant improvements. Nikon made essentially five F models in some 40 years (F6 was a bit of an anomaly). Canon made F1 and then ‘new F1’, and these were the main pro bodies for what, 30 years? They did make a lot of amateur models and compact cameras as well, but not ‘new ones’ every few months. As they did with digital in the earlier days and as mobile phones are doing now.
2-Samsung is the leader in mobile phones and it also tried to make digital cameras, but gave up. Sony makes both digital cameras and mobile phones. Some mobile phones cooperate with traditional camera (or lens) companies. Zeiss with Nokia, and Leica with Huawei. Not sure how much these companies benefit from the cooperation, but there must be some reason behind it.

I suggest that the massive growth of digital cameras up to 2010 was driven by the sharing of photos on the Internet. With film P&S cameras, sharing required prints and the post office or personally handing over a photo. With the Internet, you could email digital photos or post them on websites, especially after the photo sites became widespread and popular.
2010 was about the time that cell phone cameras started coming into their own, offering higher resolution as well as the internal software to more easily share photos. A digital P&S still required downloading photos to share, so the phone became a preferred gadget for photography, along with all the other things we do on computers.
We were discussing our organizations website yesterday in regards to the fact that 55% of our technical users access most websites with a smart phone.
As to cell phone cameras becoming as capable as DSLRs or mirrorless, Probably not. The module in a phone is a tiny gadget with a tiny sensor and you know how much we discuss the merits of sensor size. Those camera modules have flattened out at about 12MP and are probably not likely to go much higher.
And while Thom Hogan (you there, Thom?) likes to lament the fact that real cameras lack the Internetization of the cameras in the phone, it makes no difference to most users who are not interested in the sophistication of a dedicated camera because they are perfectly satisfied with the work from their phone camera.
So my conclusion is the cell phone camera killed off the P&S digital camera market for an obvious reason, but only affects the lowest end of the regular DSLR/mirrorless market. Not the good stuff.

Happy 64, Mike.

Come on in, the water's fine.

I just typed "When does middle age end and old age begin?" into Bing. Views are diverse, but it appears that the older people are, the later they see middle age extending to.

So we can frolic in our middle age until our early 70s at least!

That "64 is the new 46" formula doesn't help me much. I would be 97.

Sorry Mike,

I provided the wrong link for my first picture in the message above and have removed it from my gallery above to avoid confusion. The intended one was https://pbase.com/hhmrogers/image/166278471ery

Humble apologies.


By my observations, photography as a pursuit and the use of DSLR / mirrorless cameras is at an all time high. Whenever I go to street fairs (pre Covid), music festivals, or vacationing in scenic areas, I see more “prosumer” and “pro” camera equipment being used than anytime in my life. Sometimes I’m shocked by all the fancy gear I see out there being deployed by everyone from hipsters to retirees. Also, YouTube and Instagram have been a BIG boon for the DSLR/Mirrorless market. Sure, lots of social media photography and video is being produced with cell phones and GoPros but I’m seeing a large increase of work being done with prosumer/pro cameras because many people want the look that comes along with larger sensors and interchangeable lenses. On YouTube I see lots of what we would consider non photographers, everyone from musicians teaching lessons to individuals reviewing audio equipment creating video content with DSLR/mirrorless cameras. Many signs of a very healthy market!

I don’t know the specifications of the 1DX Mark III, but I’ll just observe that the fastest shutter speed on my iPhone 11 (not the latest model) is 1/125,000 .

I think if comparisons must be made then the iPhone would be the equivalent of the ubiquitous family box camera of my childhood and the the contrast is truly amazing,

Happy Belated Birthday, Mike. Hope the year ahead is a good one for you. Just keep writing, is all I ask.

A belated Happy Reggae Birthday!

The night before I turned 64, I set the alarm clock with the song “When I'm 64” as the alarm. That day I had many things to do. I hope you had a beautiful birthday celebration Mike.

Happy belated birthday, Mike! It's great to know you enjoyed your day!

We all recognise that smart phones are the new cameras. What's interesting to me is that in his famous "One Device" presentation in January 2007, Steve Jobs hardly mentioned the iPhone camera - he made a throw-away comment to the effect that it had one, and that was it. The three devices that were actually one device that he mentioned at the beginning of the presentation were: a) a wide-screen iPod; b) an internet communicator; and c) a revolutionary new cell phone; i.e., the camera was not one of the three devices. It took a while before the iPhone camera started getting good-enough to challenge 'real cameras' - I had a 4 and a 4s, and I hardly used the cameras in them. The camera in the 6 was better, but looking through my Photos it would be with the iPhone 7 that I started using it significantly; and that was 2016. How does that map onto your statistics?

Happy birthday Mike :) And I'm exactly one week older than you :)

[Happy belated birthday Wolfgang! --Mike]

Happy birthday Mike.

Kids today... always excited about their birthdays! Happy birthday Mike. Keep on truckin'.


Happy 64th Mike. I wonder how the sales of photographs compared for those years. Is it possible that photographers' ability to sell their work is reflected in the sales of new cameras? I know I had a poor year in 2020. I saw cameras I would have liked to have bought but could not justify spending the money, not that I ever actually turn a profit.

Happy birthday Mike. For me you are a must to read. Daily.

If nobody ever makes another 4x5 camera or lens again, every future entrant into the 4x5 world can equipment herself or himself quite nicely with what exists now.

Is that also going to be the fate of the non-phone camera sector? If so, it's a good thing I'm getting lots of practice. The only GF lens I currently have for my GFX 50R camera sits in its box, unused, because I'm busy feasting off the leftovers from the film buffet of yesteryear.

I hate to type these words "out loud" because they'll surely come back to bite me, but at this moment I think that if I had to spend the rest of my days using only 50R bodies, I could do it. Of course that's bad for the industry if too many people share this view... but there you go.

c.d. embrey is rubbing off on me.


If I'm honest with myself, I would have a hard time choosing between my iPhone 11 Pro (plus anticipated upgrades every 2-3 years) and my Fuji X-T4 (which is all I need in camera, so no upgrades necessary) if I had to choose only one camera.

Happy Birthday Mike, thank you as always for TOP, and for the great readers and their insightful comments.

Welcome to 0x40! I'm a month ahead of you clearing the path.. long may I lead, and you follow.

Happy belated Birthday, Mike!
You are like an old friend I get together with everyday to discuss photography. How cool is that? So, thank you and I hope you had a wonderful day.

Happy belated birthday!

As far as the average consumer is concerned, photography is a standard feature that comes with their electronic multi-tool (phone)…kinda like the bottle opener in a Leatherman. The camera manufacturers will probably need to adapt to a world where they sell 4 to 5 million ILC’s a year along with a similar number of lenses…and that’s it.

Apple is supposed to incorporate a periscope lens in their iPhone at some point and it could provide as much as a 5x optical zoom (fixed focal length). If they combine that optical zoom with a high resolution sensor and a crop, they end up with a rather long hybrid zoom in phone speak. At some point, probably very soon, the phone companies will start to siphon away the ultra-zoom bridge camera sales.

Multi-tool companies can make all sorts of hybrid devices if they see a market big enough. I’ve noticed that Leatherman makes specialty multi-tools for hunters (gun maintenance), snow boarders (board/binding maintenance), and even a pandemic specific multi-tool (Clean Contact Carabiner) made of antimicrobial copper alloy that you’re supposed to use to minimize your touches with shared surfaces. That last one seems a bit much and must scratch just about everything you touch but Leatherman saw a market to target and rolled the dice. Who knows, at some point we could have a phone company make a thicker phone (Gasp!) with a periscope lens running the entire length of the phone to provide a reach similar to Canons 600 & 800mm F11’s.

A bit late, but happy birthday!

Well, 65 was the best for me. Why? Medicare! It is great (just do your research on things like co-insurance and part D). Has nothing to do with cameras except I'm probably saving $3-4K a year now. Hummm... what could I spend that on?

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