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PetaPixel asks: What should we call connected, app-based cameras?

By dpreview staff on Oct 1, 2012 at 18:17 GMT

It's a question that's been on Michael Zhang's mind, over at PetaPixel, and ours too. If Photokina 2012 had a theme it was definitely connectivity, and recent months have seen several moves by manufacturers to introduce smartphone-type functionality into cameras. Both the Samsung Galaxy Camera and Nikon's Coolpix S800c combined a fully functioning Android-based operating system with photographic capabilities of serious compact cameras, while Wi-Fi connectivity is becoming almost standard.

There's a new generation of cameras coming out that offer similar levels of connectivity, and functionality, as modern smartphones. But what should we call them? Michal Zhang of PetaPixel thinks he has the answer. [image: PetaPixel]

In his article, Zhang points out that: 'Smartphones and large sensor digital cameras have definitely been choking the life out of 'dumbcameras' as of late, but point-and-shoots have the advantage of being able to do something that bulky DSLRs likely won’t ever do: become 'smart'.

So as camera manufacturers continue to respond to the rise of the smartphone camera with their own solutions, journalists in the industry are faced with an interesting conundrum: what do we call these things? Zhang argues for the term 'smartcamera' but what do you think? When is a device officially 'smart' and what should we call cameras in this new class?

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Comments

Total comments: 134
12
GPW
By GPW (Oct 2, 2012)

We should call them CRAP

9 upvotes
RX100
By RX100 (Oct 2, 2012)

Camera
Replicating
A
Phone

4 upvotes
MPA1
By MPA1 (Oct 1, 2012)

Toys

3 upvotes
DanK7
By DanK7 (Oct 1, 2012)

Tricorder - Mark I

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
0 upvotes
ZorSy
By ZorSy (Oct 1, 2012)

TAPCAM - touch or tapping as a method of taking photos, it's got A for either Android or application, cam to indicate it's not a phone (and has no "i" in it so Aplle can't claim the patent theft). Or just T&S - tap and shoot.

0 upvotes
Jon Stern
By Jon Stern (Oct 1, 2012)

Call them the future of compact cameras!

Despite what some of the snobs commenting here seem to think, we are moving towards a world where access to in-device post-processing and social sharing are going to be essential features for a point and shoot (compact) cameras.

Without this ability, the category is going to find itself increasingly supplanted by smartphones. The smartphone industry sees imaging as a key function and is gradually improving performance.

Even as a large sensor junkie I find myself often taking pics with my DSLR/X100 and then with my iPhone so that I can edit the photo immediately in Snapseed and share it.

0 upvotes
Don Fraser
By Don Fraser (Oct 1, 2012)

To Delacosta

Great minds...

0 upvotes
Delacosta
By Delacosta (Oct 1, 2012)

Please tell me you're writing this from the Patents Office. I'm busy buying every web address out there containing the letter "i".

0 upvotes
Don Fraser
By Don Fraser (Oct 2, 2012)

Tim will be calling you shortly with an offer you can't refuse.

0 upvotes
Don Fraser
By Don Fraser (Oct 1, 2012)

iCameras

What else?

But be prepared to be sued.

0 upvotes
Delacosta
By Delacosta (Oct 1, 2012)

How about iCams? Darn it - there's a lawyer banging on my door...

0 upvotes
57even
By 57even (Oct 1, 2012)

Spameras

3 upvotes
Trollshavethebestcandy
By Trollshavethebestcandy (Oct 1, 2012)

Redundant?

1 upvote
rallyfan
By rallyfan (Oct 1, 2012)

Call them "ephemeral."

Once phones improve in low light situations I'm done buying pocket cameras.

1 upvote
Barney Britton
By Barney Britton (Oct 1, 2012)

'flash-in-the-pan-cams'?

2 upvotes
rallyfan
By rallyfan (Oct 1, 2012)

Basically.

Today, even SLR bodies are ephemeral (in contrast, I still have my first film SLR body, a Minolta X-370 from the late 1980s!). Only lenses and ancillaries (tripods, lights, flashes, etc.) are current for more than a... flash (sorry for the pun...).

A compact camera that offers functionality first seen in mobile phones in 2007 or so isn't going to have nearly the "wow" effect its makers might hope, I don't think. To stand out, the camera has to do more than the phone, better, and cheaper. This is hard to accomplish since so many phones are subsidized and cost the end user "nothing" (there are costs but they are frequently not calculated by the end user).

Moreover, I am willing to bet more people would not leave home without their mobile vs. not leaving home without their compact digicam, so the phones will "win" by default.

2 upvotes
Boerseuntjie
By Boerseuntjie (Oct 3, 2012)

I agree this these cameras are pointless not point and shoot, excuse my pun

0 upvotes
sdw1
By sdw1 (Oct 1, 2012)

SmartCam gets my vote...

0 upvotes
Ben O Connor
By Ben O Connor (Oct 1, 2012)

It is "One of the best Step forward from a software company". Imagine, their software is so usefull that; it can be adjust to, music players, tablets and now cameras, and even to computers soon ! That is like Microsoft´s born from upside down :)

Its just make the interface standardize with many other devices around and at the same time, gives greater possibility to customize second to none !

I personally admit: Well done Google.

0 upvotes
jsis
By jsis (Oct 1, 2012)

PetaPixel asks: What should we call connected, app-based cameras?
Answer: Smartphones.

Seriously, camera should stick to what they do best, which is taking pictures.

0 upvotes
MrTaikitso
By MrTaikitso (Oct 1, 2012)

Short term, Connected Cameras. (To differentiate from the non connected.) Long term, Cameras. Why? as per my blog post here...

https://visionaforethought.wordpress.com/2012/09/27/is-the-old-way-really-better/

...like the other items I list in that post, the 'connected' camera is how cameras should always have been. In a year or so, we'll wonder how on Earth we managed prior. Consider the now:

1. Grab camera.

2. Take photo(s).

3. Locate connecting cable. "Oh bummer, I left it in the cafe/car/train/office."

4. Cable acquired, connect to camera.

5. Pull laptop or iPad from bag, or head to location where there is a USB port equipped connected device such as computer or iPad+connection kit.

6. Transfer images from camera to host device.

7. Share/upload to content distribution medium of choice.

With a connected camera:

1. Take photo(s).

2. Connect camera to 3/4G phone WiFi hotspot signal or other WiFi signal.

3. Upload photos to content distribution medium of choice.

Simples!

2 upvotes
Matthew Miller
By Matthew Miller (Oct 2, 2012)

I think you're right, but your second list is about two steps too long — #2 and #3 can just happen.

0 upvotes
QuarterToDoom
By QuarterToDoom (Oct 1, 2012)

Call it a smart mobile portable photo device and now you can get existing new patents on it and waste millions suing other companies

0 upvotes
PhotoComment
By PhotoComment (Oct 1, 2012)

Connected Application Compatible Cameras... then again CAC may not be the best acronym.

0 upvotes
Delacosta
By Delacosta (Oct 1, 2012)

Why not? It's good enough for the Paris stock exchange.

0 upvotes
Tord S Eriksson
By Tord S Eriksson (Oct 1, 2012)

CamComs, or CCs, as they are cameras that can communicate! Web-cam is already used for another type of camera, but CamCom is easy to say in most languages I know of!

0 upvotes
Delacosta
By Delacosta (Oct 1, 2012)

Then shouldn't it be ComCam?

0 upvotes
mnoach
By mnoach (Oct 2, 2012)

I agree to ComCam.
It can also stand for Complex Camera

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
0 upvotes
Trollshavethebestcandy
By Trollshavethebestcandy (Oct 1, 2012)

Call them toys

3 upvotes
What do I know
By What do I know (Oct 1, 2012)

DumbCams as in dump all the crap apps on it that makes everyone's picture look exactly the same.
They are just as stupid as people using iPad's for cameras.
The hackers will have fun with these ;)

Comment edited 3 times, last edit 5 minutes after posting
1 upvote
Fazal Majid
By Fazal Majid (Oct 1, 2012)

Smartphones.

Given the abysmal software skills of most camera makers, their allegedly-smart devices will underwhelm and die a horrible death, and in the end only true smartphones will have those capabilities. In one of the recent Photokina interviews (Fuji?), the product manager was sensibly pointing out that people are not exactly going to line up to pay for yet another data plan in addition to the one on their smartphones.

0 upvotes
Low Budget Dave
By Low Budget Dave (Oct 2, 2012)

"Phones" has my vote too. Just because they are missing a feature doesn't change the market they will be judged against.

0 upvotes
Photo Pete
By Photo Pete (Oct 1, 2012)

Camputer

2 upvotes
Cheezr
By Cheezr (Oct 1, 2012)

in the phootsteps of the phablet, i suggest we call them phameras!

0 upvotes
louiepaul
By louiepaul (Oct 1, 2012)

Camdroids.

0 upvotes
Gully Foyle
By Gully Foyle (Oct 1, 2012)

Hmm, will then these cameras come with a hands-free for listening to music? Or with bundled SD cards? And fancy covers? Wow, a whole new market waiting to be had!

--EDIT
And voice commands! You can now focus by simply talking X/Y coordinates to the camera! Man, I should be working for Nikon!

Comment edited 3 minutes after posting
2 upvotes
Gully Foyle
By Gully Foyle (Oct 1, 2012)

crAppCam

I wonder if one would be able to upgrade his camera's OS to the next version, install/uninstall apps at will, wouldn't that be one reason less to upgrade the whole camera? Oh I get it, there will be the markets, i.e NikonMarket etc. to more than make up for the one less purchase of a ph.. err.. camera.

4 upvotes
ngollan
By ngollan (Oct 1, 2012)

I was going to suggest "broken phones", but yours is better.

0 upvotes
andrew turner
By andrew turner (Oct 1, 2012)

Call them... Cameras.

I don't call my phone a smartphone.

3 upvotes
ProfHankD
By ProfHankD (Oct 1, 2012)

Of course. We've been calling them "cameras" for years already.

Every stand-alone digital camera has a processor in it and is thus "smart" even if reprogramming is limited. It's not even a huge conceptual difference between my 13-year-old Nikon 950 tethered via RS232C serial vs. (a subset of) similar control on a new Sony NEX-5R via 802.11 wireless.

Personally, I want access to all that the hardware can do, including reprogrammability.... Does that mean I want an "unlocked camera?" ;)

0 upvotes
Fred Briggs
By Fred Briggs (Oct 1, 2012)

As I suggested in an earlier comment on the Samsung device - based on the combined functionality of a tablet and a camera I would call it TabCam or CamTab.

I think this sort of device is not practical to use as an actual phone handset, but there is no reason why it couldn't provide all the functionality (contacts, etc) and connectivity (3G/4G/Wi-Fi) needed to make calls using a small separate BlueTooth connected handset.

Also nicely avoids holding a powerful radio transmitter next to your head to make calls!

0 upvotes
JackM
By JackM (Oct 1, 2012)

Mirrorless.

;-)

1 upvote
keith james taylor
By keith james taylor (Oct 1, 2012)

or as dyslicts like my self say "mindles" ;)

0 upvotes
Phillip U
By Phillip U (Oct 1, 2012)

Smartcameras, naturally. But how long until that is unnecessary? I already feel foolish saying digital camera. Even DSLR seems old already.

For the dedicated consumer camera category to survive, wireless connectivity is a must. I find it so inconvenient now that my point and shoots and SLR cannot immediately send a photo for someone to review. But my iPhone takes photos that can't match my SLR's quality. And unless the laws of optics change, I can't imagine they ever will.

So, wireless connectivity is a new must for me. At least something that can be tethered to my phone so I can send something off. Once a means of "pairing" devices becomes truly ubiquitous (NFC, bluetooth, etc.) and I can just push a button on my phone or camera to send my pics somewhere, I will be happy.

Having other photography related apps that can be added sounds interesting if they're truly innovative and experience changing. But playing Angry Birds on my camera is of absolutely no interest to me.

0 upvotes
Geoffrey Kitt
By Geoffrey Kitt (Oct 1, 2012)

Wwwameras

0 upvotes
fyngyrz
By fyngyrz (Oct 1, 2012)

"junk"

6 upvotes
Gully Foyle
By Gully Foyle (Oct 1, 2012)

+10 :)

1 upvote
jcmarfilph
By jcmarfilph (Oct 1, 2012)

I would call em iPhoneBusters!

0 upvotes
Artemaria
By Artemaria (Oct 1, 2012)

A "fad."

Which will end when smartphone cameras can take a picture in low light.

6 upvotes
rpm40
By rpm40 (Oct 1, 2012)

smartcamera

2 upvotes
imbimmer
By imbimmer (Oct 1, 2012)

appcam or apecam ... ;-)

0 upvotes
zenit_b
By zenit_b (Oct 1, 2012)

+1 smartcams - bring 'em on I say - we should have had them years ago. How many times have I had to photograph the LCD of my camera with my smartphone just to post up a photo ? Too many times. Just make sure that the slow laggy nature of smartphone OS-es isn't allowed to slow down our fast snappy cameras.

Comment edited 26 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
john175bramley
By john175bramley (Oct 1, 2012)

Cappmeras

0 upvotes
MediaDigitalVideo
By MediaDigitalVideo (Oct 1, 2012)

Thats a ABC question so the answer is easy.

0 upvotes
Dennis
By Dennis (Oct 1, 2012)

I wouldn't call either of those "serious" compact cameras ;)

The problem with coming up with a new name is that if the feature becomes ubiquitous, the name becomes irrelevant/redundant. Sort of like ... "digital cameras".

0 upvotes
grafli
By grafli (Oct 1, 2012)

Smartcams!

thumbs up for Smartcams!

5 upvotes
Cogburn
By Cogburn (Oct 1, 2012)

Dust collectors... Paper weights??? Seriously, Most photographers aren't interested in these kind of B.S. features, and the "SmartPhone" crowd are going to say "You mean it doesn't TEXT? You can't TALK on it?? Where's Angry Birds on this thing???

0 upvotes
techmine
By techmine (Oct 1, 2012)

SmartCams - Its easy to pronounce, understand and reflects the same trend that we saw with CellPhones.

2 upvotes
justmeMN
By justmeMN (Oct 1, 2012)

Gimmickcams.

6 upvotes
stuntmonkey
By stuntmonkey (Oct 1, 2012)

They should be called 'iPhones'...

Seriously, this is a product category that nobody asked for. If you want a connected device, you're posting to Facebook etc, and the image is going t be downsized anyway. Your smartphone does this already, why buy another device?

2 upvotes
Dheorl
By Dheorl (Oct 1, 2012)

Well everyone is always wanting better cameras on their phones, I guess this is just coming at it from the other direction.

0 upvotes
ngollan
By ngollan (Oct 1, 2012)

So... "iPods"?

0 upvotes
Pes Lhipchepiw
By Pes Lhipchepiw (Oct 1, 2012)

Easy: smartcams.

4 upvotes
BrightEyesOnFire
By BrightEyesOnFire (Oct 1, 2012)

Maybe this guy should worry more about writing "SmartArticles"

2 upvotes
Photo Pete
By Photo Pete (Oct 1, 2012)

Shouldn't that be smarticles?

1 upvote
jerry  eisner
By jerry eisner (Oct 2, 2012)

I Like: App-aroids. je

0 upvotes
Total comments: 134
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