"And, while it’s obvious that a better camera won’t instantly make me a better photographer, it could result in me enjoying photography more."
I think this is the key point. If a camera makes it a chore to do a particular thing that I need to do a lot, it's going to annoy me every time. A camera that makes it easy to do what I need and is basically invisible in use is more important to me than one that can technically produce higher quality images but makes it less pleasant to do so.
Skipper494: A Fuji X-E2 with 35mm F1.4 is a better buy than any of these and just as compact, as are Samsung and Sony mirrorless. For a lower price, the Nikon P7700 or P7800 is hard to beat.
An XE2 + 35/1.4 is in no way as compact as an RX100 or LX100.
OrdinarilyInordinate: Well, it's great for professionals or people who have a lot of money to burn on software, but it's prohibitively expensive for an average amateur photographer. I wish they had a more reasonably priced trimmed down option, perhaps without tethering functions.
"Spending $300 for processing software is clearly excessive."
This is the point you've yet to really explain. You state it like it's obviously true, when clearly some people disagree.
Capture One is more than just 'processing software', too.
fatdeeman: I love the detail capture one gets out of files and I find it renders colours with a beautiful warmth that is great if you spend a lot of time shooting in the golden hour like I do. I wish I could get Adobe camera raw to give the same colours as capture one because I find the highlight and showdown recovery to be superior and noise levels tend to be lower although perhaps at the cost of extreme fine detail.
Another issue I find with capture one is that shadows can tend to have a blue cast to them especially in outside lighting.
I tend to go between capture one and acr depending on the file because neither quite give me exactly what I want. Some files that just look warm and glowing from C1 look flat by comparison in acr no matter how I try to tweak them. I can adjust the white balance but it adds a colour cast to the whole image.
I wonder if anyone with more technical knowledge knows if there's a way to calibrate acr to give the same colours as c1?
"Another issue I find with capture one is that shadows can tend to have a blue cast to them especially in outside lighting."
The Color Balance control in C1 could maybe help with that – add a bit of amber to the Shadow adjuster to counteract the blueness.
But will it blend?
Felix E Klee: Why not get rid of the process of taking a photo as well? The app could use GPS and compass to estimate what sight you are aiming at. Together with weather information, it could select a nice picture from Flickr, of say the Eiffel tower.
Why stop there? Mount the camera/phone on a drone, and let it wander about in, e.g. a national park, taking pictures by itself ;-) It'd be interesting to see the results, I reckon.
Quick note: live filters work on the 4S too, not just 5 and up.
(I have a 4S)
Menneisyys: 1, IMHO, it was very silly of them to put the square setting in the main mode selector. Now, it takes a lot more time to switch between pano and video/photo modes. With iOS6, it was far faster. They should have put it in filters - at least on filter-capable handsets.
2, I'll re-run the very thorough video lossless zoom / 60 fps tests I've run during the beta and report back on whether the bugs have been ironed out in the final version of the 7.0.
"a lot more time" – do you switch between the two often enough for that to be an issue? And really, it's like half a second or less – you don't have to stop at each thing on the way; you can keep swiping to go from Video to Pano in one go. Sure, some of the animations in the rest of the OS could probably do with being faster (the wake from lock, for instance), since they're used much more often.
AngryCorgi: The human eye comment is interesting. I've seen 40mm and 42mm referred to as the "same AOV as the human eye", but never an AOV as narrow as 48mm. This proves that marketing is worth exactly nil.
The angle of view of the average human eye is more like 180 degrees, as is obvious if you just test it: see how far you can move your hands back before you can no longer see them when looking straight ahead.
The 40–50mm range is, I guess, the AoV of the foveal part of our vision, which of course is much narrower.