Smartphones are rapidly condemning a multitude of single-purpose devices to a slow descent into pointlessness. Over 50 percent of U.S. consumers now own a smartphone, and their popularity is booming in other parts of the world as well. This heady combination means it’s very likely that some products will be withdrawn from the market due to a lack of demand.
Alarm clocks, personal media players, and sat-navs are all surely goners in the near future, but will cameras join them? None of the devices previously mentioned in this paragraph engender passion amongst their users, but cameras do. They are, after all, what we use to capture memories on film, where they will remain long after our measly brains have forgotten the moments associated with them.
The future of the not-so-humble camera formed the basis for last week’s We Ask You column.
We asked you, Are Smartphones The Future Of Photography? We received a healthy number of responses, but nowhere near the number of the previous debate regarding old gadgets you still use to this day. Still, those who did add their viewpoint to the discussion helped us find a clear consensus of opinion.
The consensus is that smartphones will knock out the need for point-and-shoot cameras but that there will always be a place for high-end DSLR cameras. In other words the proles will need nothing more than a smartphone, while the professionals and amateur enthusiasts will stick to the dedicated equipment.
There were some dissenting voices, however. Some suggested that smartphone cameras will only ever be a second choice to dedicated cameras, while others think smartphones will continue to improve until the cameras on them even outdo DSLRs and the like.
I personally think the consensus will be proven correct. As more people leave their cameras at home because they know their smartphone offers an alternative, the low-end camera market will disappear. But there will always be holdouts, and DSLRs are unlikely to be beaten in terms of options and quality for a long time, if ever.
Comment Of The Week
We had great input from the likes of Rob H, Jorge Saborio, and druv vb, to name just a few. Comment Of The Week goes to Austin H, who receives the respect of myself and hopefully everybody reading this:
As an avid lover of mobile photography (both viewing and shooting) to the point that I would call myself an “iPhoneographer”, I must admit that I do not believe that it is the future of photography. It might replace a point-and-shoot, but certainly not a DSLR. Mobile photography is certainly a present-day game-changer for camera companies, and that they should be taking it more seriously.
I think that even if companies like Canon and Nikon were to ignore the growing trend toward mobile photography, they would still be successful. There is just too much that DSLR’s can do that phones will probably never compare to, especially without tons and tons of additional expensive equipment. Like amount of control over every aspect, quality of lenses (yes, I know, the SLR mount for iPhone’s exist but it’s really not the same), the physical view finder, and I’m sure there’s others.
However, they really ought to consider all the things that mobile photography brings to the table that they, currently, do not. Sharing and social media immediately come to mind. Nokia has released some point and shoots that can share to social media, but they ought to implement this in DSLR’s as well. The next advantage, and most important, in my opinion, that smartphones have is the ability to immediately edit. Snapseed, Photoforge2, Photoshop Touch, and the myriad of other editing apps allow for the quick and easy editing of photos. Not to mention the million and one apps that apply “filter” style edits. And they are only improving in quality and advanced features too.
All in all, I guess I’d say that smartphones may not be the ‘future’ of photography in that I don’t think they’ll ever fully replace a DSLR, just like DSLR never fully replaced film/analog. However, DSLR’s should take a cue from smartphones and find a way to make in camera editing and sharing a reality.
We will be asking a new question tomorrow, so please join us then. We Ask You is a weekly column dedicated to finding out the opinions of MakeUseOf readers. We ask you a question and you tell us what you think. The question is open-ended and is usually open to debate. Some questions will be purely opinion-based, while others will see you sharing tips and advice, or advocating tools and apps for your fellow MakeUseOf readers. This column is nothing without your input, all of which is valued.
Image Credit: Quinn Dombrowski