The end of the compact camera

Started 3 months ago | Discussions thread
BrentSchumer
BrentSchumer Senior Member • Posts: 4,147
Re: The end of the compact camera

Without computational photography, the compact 1" RX100 24-200mm equivalent cameras are still nice to have in a few niches:

  • Better optical zoom than smartphones.
  • Better general IQ than smartphones.
  • Better autofocus in challenging situations than smartphones.
  • Follows traditional camera control paradigms to really craft an output from scratch.

However, phones are now beating them out in several areas:

  • One device that the user is always carrying, instead of two.
  • Every shot can be HDR; no tripod needed.
  • Better stabilization than leading compact cameras.
  • Better low-light performance than compacts by averaging many shots intelligently.
  • Eliminates the need for a lot of editing; smarter "auto."
  • Waterproof.

The camera manufacturers could theoretically leapfrog smartphone performance in almost all areas by pairing those 1" sensors and (comparatively) larger lenses with a computational imaging, but they likely lack the software talent and fear cannibalizing their more expensive models.

Over time, it may become very difficult for compacts to offer material advantage over smarter and smarter phones that contain better and better cameras.  Combine this with newer generations who are less beholden to the "camera" form factor, and compacts could very well die out.

Until then, Sony is happy to sell you an RX100VII for $1,300.  I'm guessing margins are pretty good on those compacts.

 BrentSchumer's gear list:BrentSchumer's gear list
Sony RX100 VI Sony a7R III Sony FE 55mm F1.8 Venus Laowa 100mm F2.8 Macro Tamron 20mm F2.8 Di III OSD +1 more
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