I finally got it

Started 1 week ago | Discussions
Marty4650
Marty4650 Forum Pro • Posts: 15,457
I finally got it
35

I am one of those grumpy old men who always said that smartphone photography was just a fad. Something that is only good enough for selfies and photos of your lunch to post on twitter or facebook. For anything else, you absolutely needed a real camera.

Well, it seems I was wrong.

I recently replaced my four year old Motorola Moto X Pure with a brand new Google Pixel 3a, and was shocked at how good the Pixel camera was. It seems there has been so much improvement in smartphone cameras, that they are now useful for more than just documenting where you parked your car.

I still don't think anyone will be using a smartphone to shoot a wedding, for commercial photography, for sports/action photography, or for fashion photography, but this device is now the ideal choice for travel photography, vacation photography, family photography, or for casual snapshots. And lets be honest, those subjects are around 90% of what amateur photographers shoot.

Last week I drove 600 miles to NYC to visit family for Thanksgiving. Since I has my car I could bring all the luggage I wanted. This meant I brought 3 cameras and 12 lenses. You know, "just in case." But none of them were actually used, as the smartphone was good enough and much more convenient.

Three weeks from now my wife and I are flying 3000 miles to Seattle to visit our newest grandson, and luggage restrictions being what they are today, I just might not bring any camera with me. If I do, then it will just be my Panasonic LX100.

I think the real "revolution" here is that people stopped buying more camera than they  really  needed once the smartphone camera became good enough for most everyday uses.

The dedicated camera has left the mass market and become a specialty device. And a very good one at that, but one that most people don't need very often. And that is a problem that the camera makers may never be able to solve. And this also explains why the overall market for dedicated cameras keeps shrinking, despite the fact that they keep getting better. In some ways.... quite a bit better.

People really didn't want better. They just wanted more convenient, with sufficient image quality for the task. So much so that they were willing to sacrifice versatility, best image quality and ergonomics to get it.

You may not agree, but the fact remains... a lot of people are perfectly happy with their smartphone cameras, and new camera sales are feeling the pressure of that.

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lightmeter
lightmeter Regular Member • Posts: 422
Re: I finally got it
5

Well,  if you've got it, don't get too close to me....just kidding. l felt the same way about phone photography as you did. But now l understand if your phone takes good pics and you don't want to carry a camera, why not? As for me, l've never had a phone that takes good pics. Probably because l won't spend more than about 200usd on a smartphone because they're disposable. You only keep a phone for 2-4 years. And l'm afraid to trade it in or sell an old phone because someone else could get my personal info, so l destroy my old phones.

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Bill
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digitallollygag Senior Member • Posts: 1,100
Re: I finally got it
4

Yes, no doubt about it, convenience is what drives the majority of people toward smartphones as their main or only camera. I use mine a fair bit. But this fact still didn’t alleviate my disappointment at seeing the smeared pixels from an iPhone 11 recently.

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Donald B
Donald B Forum Pro • Posts: 13,659
Re: I finally got it
7

Im going to be perfectly honest , the image distortion is just terrible with phones shooting portraits/people/ family . so lets take another 80% off good enough images. that leaves you with 10% usable

Don

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golfhov Forum Pro • Posts: 10,977
Growing
4

Seemed like a fair summary of what reasonable people have been trying to say for some time here.

Thanks for being adult enough to admit to your changed perceptions.

Edit:

You may not agree, but the fact remains... a lot of people are perfectly happy with their smartphone cameras, and new camera sales are feeling the pressure of that

Just remove the world "smartphone" and I fully agree with the statement. Look around at not only the general population who have been more than happy with a smartphone for snaps for a while BUT look at the enthusiast here. Seems MOST people on this site have been satisfied for years and upgrading is not a serious concern for them

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riveredger Veteran Member • Posts: 3,525
Re: I finally got it
5

Donald B wrote:

Im going to be perfectly honest , the image distortion is just terrible with phones shooting portraits/people/ family . so lets take another 80% off good enough images. that leaves you with 10% usable

Don

What are you talking about?

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absquatulate Forum Pro • Posts: 10,847
Re: I finally got it
6

Donald B wrote:

Im going to be perfectly honest , the image distortion is just terrible with phones shooting portraits/people/ family . so lets take another 80% off good enough images. that leaves you with 10% usable

Don

My smartphone has a 5x optical zoom, problem solved.

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Chato
Chato Forum Pro • Posts: 47,057
Re: I finally got it

Marty4650 wrote:

I am one of those grumpy old men who always said that smartphone photography was just a fad. Something that is only good enough for selfies and photos of your lunch to post on twitter or facebook. For anything else, you absolutely needed a real camera.

Well, it seems I was wrong.

I recently replaced my four year old Motorola Moto X Pure with a brand new Google Pixel 3a, and was shocked at how good the Pixel camera was. It seems there has been so much improvement in smartphone cameras, that they are now useful for more than just documenting where you parked your car.

I still don't think anyone will be using a smartphone to shoot a wedding, for commercial photography, for sports/action photography, or for fashion photography, but this device is now the ideal choice for travel photography, vacation photography, family photography, or for casual snapshots. And lets be honest, those subjects are around 90% of what amateur photographers shoot.

Last week I drove 600 miles to NYC to visit family for Thanksgiving. Since I has my car I could bring all the luggage I wanted. This meant I brought 3 cameras and 12 lenses. You know, "just in case." But none of them were actually used, as the smartphone was good enough and much more convenient.

Three weeks from now my wife and I are flying 3000 miles to Seattle to visit our newest grandson, and luggage restrictions being what they are today, I just might not bring any camera with me. If I do, then it will just be my Panasonic LX100.

I think the real "revolution" here is that people stopped buying more camera than they really needed once the smartphone camera became good enough for most everyday uses.

The dedicated camera has left the mass market and become a specialty device. And a very good one at that, but one that most people don't need very often. And that is a problem that the camera makers may never be able to solve. And this also explains why the overall market for dedicated cameras keeps shrinking, despite the fact that they keep getting better. In some ways.... quite a bit better.

People really didn't want better. They just wanted more convenient, with sufficient image quality for the task. So much so that they were willing to sacrifice versatility, best image quality and ergonomics to get it.

You may not agree, but the fact remains... a lot of people are perfectly happy with their smartphone cameras, and new camera sales are feeling the pressure of that.

Hi Marty - Long time no see.
Your post is a 100 percent reflection of my own history. What I find *odd* is my *personal* annoyance with the improvement of cell phone cameras.

I feel threatened. So if you read in the papers about some maniac gunning down cell phone photographers screaming, "This is a sin against nature" you will know who it is!... 

Jeff Veteran Member • Posts: 6,134
Welcome to the club!
2

So true.

My own experience started about 5 years ago when my then current camera, an Olympus E-3, went tumbling down a rocky lack shoreline when I tripped over some branches. I recovered from a sprained wrist, but it was a fatal for the camera which I picked up in pieces. For the rest of that summer, the only camera I had was my then current smartphone, an iPhone 4S.

That turned out to be a blessing in disguise. With patience, I learned the relative strengths and weaknesses, and got to really enjoy shooting with a small sensor camera. I've long migrated to a combination of a micro-four-thirds and smartphone for almost all shooting.

Smartphones are so much better now, as you noted. My iPhone 11 Pro is a very capable device and I use it quite often, sometimes even in place of dragging along anything else.

The thing is to embrace it for what it can do well.  Deep depth of field, a form factor that can be shoved into unusual positions for interesting perspectives. waterproofing, remarkable video capabilities.

The point is that smartphones are not an either/or proposition with regard to other cameras. It's both/and which adds new and extremely useful capabilities to a photographers set of tools.

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(unknown member) New Member • Posts: 38
Re: I finally got it
2

A very good observation!

Yes, the smartphone have become good for the travel photos. With you Pixel, you can see how nice image is right out-of-camera--the blue skies, the golden sun, the green leaf, all render very nice with good saturation. No real tweak needed.

The other stance is a nonsense view that camera sale will return to "pre-boom" days and it was all part of a cycle. It is wishful thinking that wilfully disregard existence of smartphone. I laugh at it and shakes my head. Some people will never get it.

D Lynch Veteran Member • Posts: 4,300
Re: I finally got it
1

Marty4650 wrote:

I am one of those grumpy old men who always said that smartphone photography was just a fad. Something that is only good enough for selfies and photos of your lunch to post on twitter or facebook. For anything else, you absolutely needed a real camera.

Well, it seems I was wrong.

I recently replaced my four year old Motorola Moto X Pure with a brand new Google Pixel 3a, and was shocked at how good the Pixel camera was. It seems there has been so much improvement in smartphone cameras, that they are now useful for more than just documenting where you parked your car.

I still don't think anyone will be using a smartphone to shoot a wedding, for commercial photography, for sports/action photography, or for fashion photography, but this device is now the ideal choice for travel photography, vacation photography, family photography, or for casual snapshots. And lets be honest, those subjects are around 90% of what amateur photographers shoot.

Last week I drove 600 miles to NYC to visit family for Thanksgiving. Since I has my car I could bring all the luggage I wanted. This meant I brought 3 cameras and 12 lenses. You know, "just in case." But none of them were actually used, as the smartphone was good enough and much more convenient.

Three weeks from now my wife and I are flying 3000 miles to Seattle to visit our newest grandson, and luggage restrictions being what they are today, I just might not bring any camera with me. If I do, then it will just be my Panasonic LX100.

I think the real "revolution" here is that people stopped buying more camera than they really needed once the smartphone camera became good enough for most everyday uses.

The dedicated camera has left the mass market and become a specialty device. And a very good one at that, but one that most people don't need very often. And that is a problem that the camera makers may never be able to solve. And this also explains why the overall market for dedicated cameras keeps shrinking, despite the fact that they keep getting better. In some ways.... quite a bit better.

People really didn't want better. They just wanted more convenient, with sufficient image quality for the task. So much so that they were willing to sacrifice versatility, best image quality and ergonomics to get it.

You may not agree, but the fact remains... a lot of people are perfectly happy with their smartphone cameras, and new camera sales are feeling the pressure of that.

Good post.

Photography fascinates me.  I inherited this from my Grandfather.

I love the ancient photographs I see. Daguerrotypes.  Glass plates. Photo wagons at battle scenes.

There are incredible photos being taken with cell phones.

Gear changes.

As long as images suit our purposes The way they were created doesn't matter.

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DaveL
Hazeltown

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contadorfan Senior Member • Posts: 2,359
Re: I finally got it
2

Brownies, Instamatics, & Polaroids were wildly popular with the masses for very good reasons: easy to use, good enough results. Phone cams are no different. Point & shoot is what the world wants.

(Except nowadays, the world wants Point, Shoot, & Share.)

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Lee Jay Forum Pro • Posts: 55,000
Re: I finally got it
10

Marty4650 wrote:

I still don't think anyone will be using a smartphone to shoot a wedding, for commercial photography, for sports/action photography, or for fashion photography, but this device is now the ideal choice for travel photography, vacation photography, family photography, or for casual snapshots.

I regularly use a focal length range of 8mm fisheye (sometimes panoramas using the fisheye) through 400mm equivalent or more for family and travel photography. I have used over 1200mm equivalent for that.

I could never be happy with 28mm equivalent for much of anything. Without focal length range photography is as much fun for me as oral surgery. If I were stuck with a single prime, I'd rather not shoot at all.

You may not agree, but the fact remains... a lot of people are perfectly happy with their smartphone cameras, and new camera sales are feeling the pressure of that.

I don't care about "a lot of people" as I'm not them - I'm an enthusiast. I actually care about this stuff.

Two examples (of hundreds) from a recent trip.

My wife's Galaxy S8:

My SLR:

Phone:

SLR:

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Lee Jay

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riveredger Veteran Member • Posts: 3,525
Re: I finally got it
5

Lee Jay wrote:

Marty4650 wrote:

I still don't think anyone will be using a smartphone to shoot a wedding, for commercial photography, for sports/action photography, or for fashion photography, but this device is now the ideal choice for travel photography, vacation photography, family photography, or for casual snapshots.

I regularly use a focal length range of 8mm fisheye (sometimes panoramas using the fisheye) through 400mm equivalent or more for family and travel photography. I have used over 1200mm equivalent for that.

I could never be happy with 28mm equivalent for much of anything. Without focal length range photography is as much fun for me as oral surgery. If I were stuck with a single prime, I'd rather not shoot at all.

You may not agree, but the fact remains... a lot of people are perfectly happy with their smartphone cameras, and new camera sales are feeling the pressure of that.

I don't care about "a lot of people" as I'm not them - I'm an enthusiast. I actually care about this stuff.

Two examples (of hundreds) from a recent trip.

My wife's Galaxy S8:

My SLR:

Phone:

SLR:

Me me me me me...

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Tuloom Veteran Member • Posts: 3,316
Re: I finally got it
2

Well, you were officially the last one.

What a special day!

Chato
Chato Forum Pro • Posts: 47,057
Re: I finally got it
1

Lee Jay wrote:

Marty4650 wrote:

I still don't think anyone will be using a smartphone to shoot a wedding, for commercial photography, for sports/action photography, or for fashion photography, but this device is now the ideal choice for travel photography, vacation photography, family photography, or for casual snapshots.

I regularly use a focal length range of 8mm fisheye (sometimes panoramas using the fisheye) through 400mm equivalent or more for family and travel photography. I have used over 1200mm equivalent for that.

I could never be happy with 28mm equivalent for much of anything. Without focal length range photography is as much fun for me as oral surgery. If I were stuck with a single prime, I'd rather not shoot at all.

You may not agree, but the fact remains... a lot of people are perfectly happy with their smartphone cameras, and new camera sales are feeling the pressure of that.

I don't care about "a lot of people" as I'm not them - I'm an enthusiast. I actually care about this stuff.

Two examples (of hundreds) from a recent trip.

My wife's Galaxy S8:

My SLR:

Phone:

SLR:

Marty is an enthusiast as well.

What's he's saying us that most of us often just take "snapshots" of where we happen to be or something we happen to notice, and that the modern cell phone cameras do just fine in those situations.

I'm "disinterested" because I don't even own a cell phone. So, I think I can be objective, even though I ALWAYS carry a real camera around with me...

nevada5
nevada5 Forum Pro • Posts: 14,099
So, really, nothing new
17

Marty4650 wrote:

I think the real "revolution" here is that people stopped buying more camera than they really needed once the smartphone camera became good enough for most everyday uses.

The end use is always the determining factor.  "Good enough" is suitable for a whole lot of people and they'd be foolish to buy a dedicated camera for images destined for posting online or viewing on a phone or tablet.

The dedicated camera has left the mass market and become a specialty device. And a very good one at that, but one that most people don't need very often. And that is a problem that the camera makers may never be able to solve. And this also explains why the overall market for dedicated cameras keeps shrinking, despite the fact that they keep getting better. In some ways.... quite a bit better.

People really didn't want better.

I do. And I'm a people.

They just wanted more convenient, with sufficient image quality for the task. So much so that they were willing to sacrifice versatility, best image quality and ergonomics to get it.

You may not agree, but the fact remains... a lot of people are perfectly happy with their smartphone cameras, and new camera sales are feeling the pressure of that.

If it works for you, that's what you should use.

The annoying part of (many of) these daily threads is people find that they can use their phone to meet their needs and the implication is usually that the rest of us are foolish for not dumping our cumbersome cameras.  I don't know how that part of it is different from "I used Canon for years and now I see how Nikon is superior - you're an idiot for not switching too."

Live and let live.  Nothing's changed except that you found that you can use your phone more and your camera less.  Enjoy the day!

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vzlnc Regular Member • Posts: 357
Re: I finally got it
1

Also, factor in that people's tastes have been spoiled by using phones for viewing and taking pics. On the small screens ppl dont really notice the shortcomings of the images.

Blurry, OOF, grainy, overprocessed, detail-less images are shared and liked and have become normalized. Many people have actually forgotten that optical zoom exists and what a difference it makes. Recently I was explaining this to a friend who has a D3300 he doesnt use. He never bothered to see what his D3300 can do and uses his iphone for family pics mainly.

Also, to the huge majority of people, pics only mean snaps they take at a function or get-together and as long as they can convey to the social media that they are having fun, and that they are awesome, the actual technical quality of the image is irrelevant. 99% or pics taken today are probably selfies. That itself precludes any kind of proper camera.

sean000 Veteran Member • Posts: 7,637
Re: Back to the 90's!
3

Marty4650 wrote:

I am one of those grumpy old men who always said that smartphone photography was just a fad. Something that is only good enough for selfies and photos of your lunch to post on twitter or facebook. For anything else, you absolutely needed a real camera.

Well, it seems I was wrong.

I recently replaced my four year old Motorola Moto X Pure with a brand new Google Pixel 3a, and was shocked at how good the Pixel camera was. It seems there has been so much improvement in smartphone cameras, that they are now useful for more than just documenting where you parked your car.

The thing is that even your Moto X Pure was more than good enough for the masses. Camera manufacturers enjoyed a roughly 15 year boom that was unlike anything they'd probably ever enjoyed before. I'm 49 and I can't remember another time when it was so normal to see the masses dropping $1,000+ on an interchangeable lens camera or enthusiast compact/superzoom. Prior to the 2000's, the only people I knew who owned nice cameras were professionals and a couple of amateur enthusiasts. Disposable cameras were the rage in the 90's and early 2000's, APS-film and 35mm film compact cameras had decent sales in the 90's. Before that it was mostly about 110 film pocket cameras like the ones I grew up with, and disc film cameras.

Smartphone manufacturers could have quit improving cameras a few years ago and the camera manufacturers still would have found themselves back to the 90's, but smartphone makers have kept improving the cameras... not to drive another nail into the coffins of our favorite camera manufacturers, but to give people reasons to upgrade their smartphones.

I still don't think anyone will be using a smartphone to shoot a wedding, for commercial photography, for sports/action photography, or for fashion photography, but this device is now the ideal choice for travel photography, vacation photography, family photography, or for casual snapshots. And lets be honest, those subjects are around 90% of what amateur photographers shoot.

Last week I drove 600 miles to NYC to visit family for Thanksgiving. Since I has my car I could bring all the luggage I wanted. This meant I brought 3 cameras and 12 lenses. You know, "just in case." But none of them were actually used, as the smartphone was good enough and much more convenient.

I do use my smartphone to shoot video quite often, but I don't actually use my smartphone much for still photography for the following reasons:

  • I hate shooting without a viewfinder
  • I like manual controls
  • I often shoot in lighting conditions that challenge even the latest smartphones
  • I have young kids, so fast autofocus and fast shutter speeds are a big plus
  • I shoot a lot with ultrawide, long telephoto, and even quite a bit of fisheye.

Three weeks from now my wife and I are flying 3000 miles to Seattle to visit our newest grandson, and luggage restrictions being what they are today, I just might not bring any camera with me. If I do, then it will just be my Panasonic LX100.

Congratulations on the new grandson! For babies and family photos the LX100 will be great...but it depends on what else you want to photograph (if anything). I live North of Seattle. We just got back from a weekend in Vancouver, BC. I carried my E-M1 Mark II and used mostly my Olympus 9-18mm and 40-150mm f/2.8 zooms. I had my 12-40mm f/2.8 with me, but it wasn't wide enough or long enough for many of the shots I wanted. I probably could have left it behind and taken the 20mm f/1.7 instead to provide a faster option in the 20mm range.

I think the real "revolution" here is that people stopped buying more camera than they really needed once the smartphone camera became good enough for most everyday uses.

The dedicated camera has left the mass market and become a specialty device. And a very good one at that, but one that most people don't need very often. And that is a problem that the camera makers may never be able to solve. And this also explains why the overall market for dedicated cameras keeps shrinking, despite the fact that they keep getting better. In some ways.... quite a bit better.

People really didn't want better. They just wanted more convenient, with sufficient image quality for the task. So much so that they were willing to sacrifice versatility, best image quality and ergonomics to get it.

Exactly this. It's about convenience. Those of us who are willing to carry a bag or backpack full of fiddly camera gear (and fiddle with the images on a computer before sharing or printing) are the oddballs. It's just that for about 15 years we got to feel normal and blend in with the crowds at events and tourist spots. I think the revolution was the digital photography revolution that happened in the early 2000's. That briefly brought enthusiast camera gear into the spotlight and to the masses. Now we are just seeing a return to normalcy.

You may not agree, but the fact remains... a lot of people are perfectly happy with their smartphone cameras, and new camera sales are feeling the pressure of that.

Apple, Google, Samsung, Motorola, etc. are worried too. They know people aren't upgrading their smartphones as often as they used to, so they are scrambling to give people reasons. Photography has been the focus for several years now. Apple's event that announced the iPhone 11 was mostly about the camera system. I can't think of a single thing it offers that is actually new, other than the ultrawide lens and computational photography features (and even those were mostly attempts to catch-up to Google.)

The big wave of the digital photography revolution is over, but it did produce a multitude of new photography enthusiasts and professional photographers who will continue to buy camera gear... but many of us are also at the point where we don't really need a new model or more megapixels. I do think there is a bright side to this for camera manufacturers: Better smartphone cameras in the hands of the masses mean that more people will discover a passion for photography that may lead them towards purchasing dedicated photography gear... so while they may never see the likes of the last 15 years again, they might continue to do better than they were doing in the 80's and 90's.

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John_A_G Veteran Member • Posts: 7,885
I think you're missing the point
8

nevada5 wrote:

Marty4650 wrote:

I think the real "revolution" here is that people stopped buying more camera than they really needed once the smartphone camera became good enough for most everyday uses.

The end use is always the determining factor. "Good enough" is suitable for a whole lot of people and they'd be foolish to buy a dedicated camera for images destined for posting online or viewing on a phone or tablet.

The dedicated camera has left the mass market and become a specialty device. And a very good one at that, but one that most people don't need very often. And that is a problem that the camera makers may never be able to solve. And this also explains why the overall market for dedicated cameras keeps shrinking, despite the fact that they keep getting better. In some ways.... quite a bit better.

People really didn't want better.

I do. And I'm a people.

They just wanted more convenient, with sufficient image quality for the task. So much so that they were willing to sacrifice versatility, best image quality and ergonomics to get it.

You may not agree, but the fact remains... a lot of people are perfectly happy with their smartphone cameras, and new camera sales are feeling the pressure of that.

If it works for you, that's what you should use.

The annoying part of (many of) these daily threads is people find that they can use their phone to meet their needs and the implication is usually that the rest of us are foolish for not dumping our cumbersome cameras. I don't know how that part of it is different from "I used Canon for years and now I see how Nikon is superior - you're an idiot for not switching too."

I think the point the OP was making is that if cell phones are good enough for enthusiasts to use more and more, he can understand why the casual snapshooter would not bother with a dedicated camera at all.  Something he disregarded before he actually used a current generation cell phone camera.

Live and let live. Nothing's changed except that you found that you can use your phone more and your camera less. Enjoy the day!

Again, I see the OP differently.  He's suggesting that after actually using gear he disparaged in the past, he actually saw the benefits of it.  It's a rare thing on DPR for people to admit they were wrong about something without having practical experience.  I don't think he was suggesting he's selling his dedicated gear.  Just that he now has a better appreciation for how the cell phone market could be eating up the casual shooter portion of the buying market.

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