Grim future for the camera makers?

Started Apr 27, 2013 | Discussions thread
tex Veteran Member • Posts: 7,404
Thom's articles on this are great, but....

(I should also say his DX/FX articles are REALLY great...)

The "but" is---sort of touched on by someone above, but not really---is that Thom seems as clueless as the camera companies.  He suggests a marketing approach for compact cameras along the lines of: "Daddy, why are your camera pix so much better than my phone pix?".

The problem here is that he assumes that a very high majority of people can actually tell the difference between a phone photo and a camera photo, quality wise, without being walked through it step by step----a laborious process best done in a classroom, not a marketing campaign.  Let's use an example, my dad.  He couldn't tell the difference between pix from different devices.  In fact, he couldn't tell the difference between between a Monet, Pisarro, or early Renoir, or any of a huge number of similar cases of artist' works over the centuries, even if the paintings came alive and jumped down off the walls and started to b*tch slap him.  In fact, they'd kill him before he could reliably tell the difference.

Well, he must be quite the dunce, you say.  Actually, he's a highly educated 1%-er(& I am not one!!!) who has been either Chairman or President or CEO of 5 Fortune 500 companies, has a house full of pretty decent antiques (good advice) and a few nice paintings (more advice), along with some bad ones (very bad advice).  He has (maybe is still serving?) on the board---& has also been president of the board--for a museum in one of the U.S.'s second tier major cities.

So, if he can't tell the difference, how does Thom (or the camera companies) expect Joe Schmoe or Sally Average to tell the difference?  Not only can't they, they don't really want to or care once you show them.  It's a picture of their kids at rec league soccer.  It's a pic of them at a bar after they're half-lit.  It's a pic of them smiling in front of (insert famous slightly OOF landmark---and it doesn't matter that it's slightly OOF because the picture is not about the landmark!).

Face it:  for most daily pic taking applications, the phone is the best way to go now.  It's small, you got it with you, and it does so many other things that are dead useful.  Even where I work, in a museum, the conservation people and the registrars are using phones for conditioning and reference photography (even these trained professionals, with far more discerning eyes than the vast majority of people, can't really tell much difference from better photography...). I'm about to get my 1st smartphone, and it will be the new Samsung Galaxy S4.  And that will be plenty of camera for my happy snaps and 99% of the photos I'd want to take of my family, & I'm not even getting it for the camera part.

And that's not because I can't tell the difference---I've now got many thousands of $$ invested in cameras from mirrorless through FF to multiple film MF to 4x5 LF, accessories for them, and studio and portable lighting, multiple cases and/or carrying bags/belts.  I'm a trained artist whose education goes through grad school.  I've been a gallery director at two places, an art professor, had shows and gotten grants, and now work in a major museum. I've been going to museums since I could walk, and after my immediate family art is what I care about the most in the world. But I almost never pull that gear out for my casual snaps (my NEX7 has been doing this of late, but once I have the phone....)---I'm not Sally Mann, whose family shots were also her pro work.

I say: hooray for these phones.  It's what we've needed all along.  The death of all these tiny little interchangeable craptastic cameras in their myriad forms and colors can't come fast enough.  Then let's have the camera companies/divisions re-group and focus on photographic instruments of a higher order.  This will mean some will die off or decide it's not worth the candle.  Oh, well.  They're companies, and companies go bust or change for sundry economic reasons(and bad decision making/strategies) all the time.  Kodak moment, anyone?  For us enthusiasts, semi pros, artists, and commercial pros, this will ultimately be a good thing.  Or do you want the camera companies/divisions to continue to divide their resources from their best products to a bunch of low order goofy consumer junk that is headed to the graveyard at light speed?

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"Photography is the product of complete alienation" Marcel Proust
"I would like to see photography make people despise painting until something else will make photography unbearable." Marcel Duchamp

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