Prepare yourselves for a new landscape

Started Nov 10, 2013 | Discussions thread
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Slideshow Bob
Senior MemberPosts: 1,426
Re: So what you're actually saying is...
In reply to meland, Nov 12, 2013

meland wrote:

May I make a prediction? Many of you are not going to like it, but before you throw your toys out of the pram please hear me out.

In ten or fifteen years (the exact time span is not the main point of this prediction) mainstream enthusiast photography may have gone small format. Forget full frame. Forget APS-C. Forget M4/3. These may all be then regarded as medium format and as such only the province of a few professionals and quality fetishists.

Only professionals and "fetishists" want good low-light image quality, fast lenses, long fast lenses, cameras that are actually comfortable to hold, good battery life, and real viewfinders? Really?

The manufacturers are already come to the realisation that tinkering at the edges with the formats we have today no longer produces sufficient sales to support the market. The debate about mirrorless v DSLR will have long gone.

DSLR sales are holding on slightly better than most other types of camera. Phones are what is taking over the majority of the market. But phones really are not suitable for an awful lot of photography. As good as they can ever get, phones will be behind just about any dedicated camera.

They (the manufacturers) will have realised that what the markets really want is not ultimate image quality but small and convenient products.

Why? If I want to take some nice photos, why do I have to use something small? Why is small better? I have a D7000, and to be honest, it's a little bit small for my rather large hands. Why do I have to use a smaller camera in the future? This is the problem with your version of the future… no-one seems to care about what is GOOD, it just has to be SMALLER.

Using small sensors (which will have improved a bit, although not as much as many here hope or expect) it will be possible to create small systems that have tremendous mass appeal. While we accept the size of current products the new customer simply will not.

Why? Are new customers stupid? I don't "accept" the size of current products, I really like the larger ones because I can hold them comfortably for as long as I like, and they handle superbly. Unlike really SMALL cameras.

The market for people who will accept cameras the size of,say, a 6D or 700D (and I only mention those as roughly representative of the breed of DSLRs we have today) and huge lenses such as a 70-200/2.8, or even a 24-105/4 will be over once consumers are offered something much smaller and lighter.

So quality has nothing to do with it? It's ONLY smaller and lighter that matters? Will we all have to look at photographs and say "Wow, I bet that was taken with a really small and light camera!". The lenses you mentioned cannot be made really small and light, no matter how small the sensor. The only way to do something much smaller and lighter, is to lose the capability that those lenses currently give you.

In fact the whole interchangeable lens market will probably have shrunk considerably. If you can have a good quality 20x; 50x; or even 100x zoom that is about the same size as say a current 24-70/4, and with a reasonably fast aperture, only the geeks are going to be able to justify what we currently regard as normal. Why bother with interchangeable lenses at all for most purposes?

But I don't want much slower lenses. I'd actually like faster lenses, because they would help me get the shot I really want, unlike everything your suggesting we'll have.

The high enthusiasts we have today that would resist such a change will not really be a factor. Because of their current demographic many will need help in having a glass of milk and will no longer be overly concerned about anything, let alone the performance at 100%.

The sports and photo journalist professional market is already moving away from printed images. Old timers in those professions may hate this too but the future for those markets is probably video and with any still image requirement (increasingly rare) being provided for by an individual frame taken from that.

There will still be a tiny market for formats like FF but these formats will be considered rather esoteric and more like Medium Format is today. And of course this means the cost of products in this domain will be much, much higher and the choice (and rate of replacement) far less.

Perhaps they didn't quite get it right (the lenses are too big for example) but the Nikon V1/J1 is possibly a precursor to what the manufacturers are thinking long term and what we have in store for the future.


Well, that really sucks for anyone who enjoys photography the way it is right now. I don't use my camera and think to myself "I just wish it was smaller and lighter, less comfortable to hold, with slower lenses and less battery life, and had a crappy viewfinder!". I chose to buy my cameras because they were perfect for what I want to do with them.

Yes, I know you're talking about the mass market, and maybe the mass market is just as dumb as you make them sound, but ALL you've said that people want is "smaller and lighter"! I'm actually fine with the manufacturers making some smaller and lighter cameras, but you're saying that smaller and lighter is ALL they'll end up making. Doesn't that seem rather limiting to you? Doesn't that sound like it really will be the end of something that has, up till now, been rather amazing?

Let's hope that in the future the manufacturers won't be quite as myopic as you suggest they will be.


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