Are Digital Cameras Obsolete?
What goes around comes around. Digital cameras killed the old-school film camera market long ago. Today, some are wondering if standalone digital cameras are in danger of extinction by cameras built into smartphones, tablets, and other mobile devices. Read on to see if they're right...
Will Digital Cameras Be Replaced By Smartphones?
Smartphones are getting smarter, and the cameras that they sport are becoming more advanced. So are digital cameras the latest addition to the technology dinosaur family? Will they sit on a dusty shelf, next to your old eight-track cassette player? I think the short answer is “no,” but they will likely become rarer, more expensive, and evolve more slowly. Here's my analysis...
There is no question that smartphone cameras are more than adequate for most consumer photography and videography. They're everywhere, they're convenient, and and they're being used to capture and store images and video of pretty much everything happening around us. And because they have the advantage of being integrated with a computer, they can do tricks with software that their clunky one-trick cousins cannot.
Behold the camera specs of some of the most popular phones today:
iPhone 5: 8-megapixel iSight camera; Panorama (pics can be “stitched together” for a panoramic view); Video recording, HD (1080p) up to 30 frames per second with audio; FaceTime HD camera with 1.2MP photos and HD video (720p) up to 30 frames per second; Autofocus; Tap to focus video or still images; Face detection in video or still images; LED flash; Improved video stabilization; Photo and video geotagging.
HTC One: BSI sensor, Pixel size 2.0 µm; F2.0 aperture and 28 mm lens; Optical Image Stabilization (OIS); Smart Flash: Five levels of flash automatically set by distance to subject; Front Camera: 2.1 MP, 880 wide angle lens with HDR capability; 1080p Full HD video recording with HDR Video; HTC Zoe™ with Sequence Shot, Always Smile and Object Removal; Gallery with Video Highlights and HTC Share; Continuous shooting and VideoPic; Slow motion video recording with variable speed playback
Samsung Galaxy S4: Rear camera: 13 megapixels 1080p Full HD Video Recording @ 30fps; Back-illuminated sensor, Auto focus, Touch to focus, Digital image stabilization, Face detection, Smile detection, Exposure compensation, White balance presets, Digital zoom, Geo tagging, High Dynamic Range mode (HDR), Panorama, Scenes, Effects, Self-timer, Voice activation. Front camera: 2 megapixels 1080p HD Video Recording @ 30fps Back-illuminated sensor
Then there’s the Nokia Lumia 1020, with an incredible 41 Mega-Pixel main camera; 1.5 inch sensor; Xenon flash effective to 4 meters; and more, but I can’t get over those 41 million pixels.
I'm Not Dead Yet!
But there are a few things digital cameras can do that are still missing from smartphones. For starters, digital cameras can use high-capacity SD storage cards, capable of holding 256 GB or more. That's enough storage to hold 64,000 photos (12MP) or 42 hours of video (12Mbps).
Digital cameras typically have better optics and sensors, leading to higher quality images, even in low light. They can accommodate zoom lenses, wide-angle lenses, and filters. They also offer automatic correction of inappropriate vertical (portrait) framing. And for those who know what the heck all those buttons and dials on a camera are for, they offer fine control over shutter speed, F-stop and other stuff that point-and-shoot guys like me don't use.
Most consumers will never find 90 per cent of these features. They point, they shoot, they upload, then they go back to texting, surfing, and listening to music without pausing to put away the camera and take out the phone. To them, buying a standalone camera makes as much sense as using a match to see if your gas tank is empty.
But there will always be serious amateurs and professionals who earn their livings with cameras to keep the standalone digital camera alive. And there are also apps that enable your smartphone and digital camera to work together, such as OI.Share). Hopefully, there is enough interest to keep prices within reason while providing enough sales revenue to fund R&D. Otherwise, the standalone camera may stand still and lonely.
Your thoughts on this topic are welcome! Post your comment or question below...
This article was posted by Bob Rankin on 22 Aug 2013
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Article information: AskBobRankin -- Are Digital Cameras Obsolete? (Posted: 22 Aug 2013)
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