The end of the compact camera

Started 5 months ago | Discussions
Slimpie1972 Forum Member • Posts: 81
The end of the compact camera

I have a question for all of you.

Is the compact camera dead or do we think there is a future for this kind of camera?

I haven't seen any compact camera released in the past year and longer. What is your opinion.

I would like to see the camera industrie make a compact camera that outperforms the performance of a smartphone, but with the inteligence of the smartphone. A compact camera has more room for better optics and a larger sensor so it should not be difficult to produce a compact camera that outperforms a smartphone if we put the intelegence of a smartphone in the camera.

The question that remains is: what do we think is "compact"?

I would say something like a sony rx100 would be compact.

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Mark Scott Abeln
Mark Scott Abeln Forum Pro • Posts: 17,886
Re: The end of the compact camera
1

Slimpie1972 wrote:

Is the compact camera dead or do we think there is a future for this kind of camera?

Not dead. It has a future.

I haven't seen any compact camera released in the past year and longer. What is your opinion.

I've seen one released in early 2020, and there were a number released in 2019.

In case you haven't heard, there is a world-wide epidemic that apparently got its start in late 2019 in China, and which is still going on. Besides dead bodies being piled up in the streets in some places, this has led to severe shortages of production and product development.

I would like to see the camera industrie make a compact camera that outperforms the performance of a smartphone, but with the inteligence of the smartphone. A compact camera has more room for better optics and a larger sensor so it should not be difficult to produce a compact camera that outperforms a smartphone if we put the intelegence of a smartphone in the camera.

Putting intelligence in a camera takes special skillsets, and requires access to open source code libraries for image processing—if you want the final product to be affordable. Unfortunately, this requires an advanced operating system to run on the phone, such as Linux or its Android derivative. Photography has already become extremely complicated with the introduction of digital technology, and many photographers already resent the excessive intrusion of computer stuff in their art, and so there has been a counter-trend of "pure" or at least retro-looking cameras with simple direct controls and excellent out-of-camera JPEGs.

The question that remains is: what do we think is "compact"?

I would say something like a sony rx100 would be compact.

Dpreview thinks that these cameras are compact:

https://www.dpreview.com/reviews/buying-guide-best-fixed-prime-lens-cameras

https://www.dpreview.com/reviews/buying-guide-best-compact-zoom-cameras

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jaberg
jaberg Regular Member • Posts: 353
Re: The end of the compact camera
19

I’ll bite…before this thread degenerates and gets locked.

For all practical purposes the compact camera has been successfully replaced by the smartphone. The true market for compact cameras was never the enthusiast photographer, it was the unwashed masses. All of us enthusiasts benefited from that market (either directly or through it’s underwriting of our high-end gear) but we were never really the target audience. That target audience is over it. They’re perfectly content with the images that their phones produce.

So are an increasing number of enthusiasts. I still use dedicated cameras myself, but I also produce a lot of images with my iPhone. These pictures hang on walls right next to those from the real cameras and in most cases even salon judges can’t tell the difference. (Obviously I have the advantage of picking which shots get printed — but using my real camera is no guarantee of good.) My return to dedicated cameras was predicated more on my preference for the process and feeling of shooting with them than the output. (Note that I always had an ILC for big lens work and special occassions — I’m referring here to my bread and butter everyday/travel/street photography.)

Had the camera industry been quicker to recognize the importance of computational features they may have managed to preserve a small, high end, niche for premium compact cameras. They’ve completely failed in this and I’m afraid its probably too late for them to join the party.

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Redhenry Contributing Member • Posts: 555
Re: The end of the compact camera

I am very impressed with the Zeiss ZX1 but it’s too expensive and possibly too big. A smaller camera with a decent-sized screen, 1 inch sensor, perhaps a 28-100 equivalent zoom, editing features like on the iPhone and some degree of computational input for less than $1000/£750 would sell very well. I’d certainly buy one. You may be right that ‘consumer’ compact cameras as we have been used to them are on the way out but I think there will always be a market for the ‘enthusiast’ compact.

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davidedric Veteran Member • Posts: 6,878
Re: The end of the compact camera
1

Slimpie1972 wrote:

I have a question for all of you.

Is the compact camera dead or do we think there is a future for this kind of camera?

I haven't seen any compact camera released in the past year and longer. What is your opinion.

I would like to see the camera industrie make a compact camera that outperforms the performance of a smartphone, but with the inteligence of the smartphone. A compact camera has more room for better optics and a larger sensor so it should not be difficult to produce a compact camera that outperforms a smartphone if we put the intelegence of a smartphone in the camera.

The question that remains is: what do we think is "compact"?

I would say something like a sony rx100 would be compact.

I think there is a future (else I wouldn't have the RX100 vii), but I've no idea of the size of the market.

I have a mid-range phone, and it produces decent pictures.  But I hate the "shooting experience".  Apart from the ergonomics, the 10x optical zoom is a boon, as is the exceptional AF.

Yes, it doesn't connect to the outside world as well, but since my raw photos are headed to my computer first, that really doesn't bother me.  If I want to share instantly, then I'll use the phone.

Of course there is a lot of overlap, at least for some, but for me they are different devices.  I am wary of devices that aim to do everything.

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Hike Pics
Hike Pics Senior Member • Posts: 2,425
Maybe The "End" Of Manufacturing, But.....

....not the end of people buying compacts. I am surprised at the huge numbers of compacts (and older bridge cameras) that sell on the used markets. And this in the face of ever growing number of smartphone users.

Plus, I'm talking about cameras that have a cheaper resale than the "higher-end" compacts, so the sales/purchases are not specific to that. And that's what I find fascinating.

TacticDesigns
TacticDesigns Veteran Member • Posts: 8,395
I hope not . . .
2

Slimpie1972 wrote:

I have a question for all of you.

Is the compact camera dead or do we think there is a future for this kind of camera?

I haven't seen any compact camera released in the past year and longer. What is your opinion.

I would like to see the camera industrie make a compact camera that outperforms the performance of a smartphone, but with the inteligence of the smartphone. A compact camera has more room for better optics and a larger sensor so it should not be difficult to produce a compact camera that outperforms a smartphone if we put the intelegence of a smartphone in the camera.

The question that remains is: what do we think is "compact"?

I would say something like a sony rx100 would be compact.

+1

I just came back from camping.

I primarily used my Fujifilm XP80 waterproof compact camera.

Used it at the beach, canoeing, and for hikes. Since it's waterproof and shockproof I don't have to worry about it. If my kids jump into the water, I can follow them . . . no need to run back to shore to put my camera away. For canoeing . . . I just put a floaty strap on it and I pass it between the canoes so someone can get a shot of me and my wife.

And . . . I just discovered that it had a PRO LOW-LIGHT mode that can take multiple shots (quickly in succession) and then merges them in-camera. I used that for an around-the-campfire shot this past camping trip. Not as clean as using my dSLR with an f/1.8 lens. But still pretty good! And no flash needed!

I also used the MOTION PANORAMA 360 mode to take a panorama shot at the beach. Just sweep the camera across the scene and it merges it into a single image in-camera.

My dSLR . . . I only used it once. For the long hike we took.

What I miss. My Canon S90 compact camera with the f/2.0 lens (at the wide end). But I dropped it one-too-many-times and haven't replaced it.

What I wish I had. A Canon G9X(II) (or Sony RX100) to have a camera with better low-light capabilities. More manual control when I want / need it. And still be able to toss it in my pocket.

I just have too many cameras right now. I want to sell / give away a bunch of them before adding another camera again. But I am strongly considering the Canon G9X(II) as the perfect companion camera to my waterproof compact camera for vacations / family get aways.

Take care & Happy Shooting!

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Ed B
Ed B Forum Pro • Posts: 11,604
Re: The end of the compact camera
9

Slimpie1972 wrote:

I have a question for all of you.

Is the compact camera dead or do we think there is a future for this kind of camera?

I haven't seen any compact camera released in the past year and longer. What is your opinion.

I would like to see the camera industrie make a compact camera that outperforms the performance of a smartphone, but with the inteligence of the smartphone. A compact camera has more room for better optics and a larger sensor so it should not be difficult to produce a compact camera that outperforms a smartphone if we put the intelegence of a smartphone in the camera.

The question that remains is: what do we think is "compact"?

I would say something like a sony rx100 would be compact.

Because this is a digital camera equipment forum let's get our terminology straight.

You're talking about a small camera that has a small sensor which does fall into the compact camera category but doesn't include several of the large sensor fixed lens cameras that are also classified as compacts.

I'll agree that the "need" for many of the small sensor cameras has been replaced by the cell phone. I'll also agree that many of the people who bought (buy) these type cameras would be perfectly satisfied with a cell phone and that a cell phone does provide good images with almost no effort or knowledge of photography.

Just the same there are several "compact" cameras that are supremely better than a cell phone when it comes to anything  more than casual snapshots.

Cameras like the Leica Q series, the Sony RX1 series, Fuji X100 series and the Ricoh GR series are all compact cameras that are "better" than any cell phone.

There are also several smaller sensor cameras like the Sony RX10 series, and the Panasonic FZ series that fall into the compact category that people who like long zoom lenses would chose over a cell phone.

There's also the intangible things about a proper camera that most people who love photography don't want to give up with a cell phone.

Everything in this world changes but I think it'll be a long time before compact cameras are completely replaced by cell phones.

Naturally, I could be wrong.

Fogel70
Fogel70 Senior Member • Posts: 1,544
Re: The end of the compact camera

Slimpie1972 wrote:

I have a question for all of you.

Is the compact camera dead or do we think there is a future for this kind of camera?

I haven't seen any compact camera released in the past year and longer. What is your opinion.

I would like to see the camera industrie make a compact camera that outperforms the performance of a smartphone, but with the inteligence of the smartphone. A compact camera has more room for better optics and a larger sensor so it should not be difficult to produce a compact camera that outperforms a smartphone if we put the intelegence of a smartphone in the camera.

This will not happen anytime soon unless a smartphone manufacturer enter the camera market. But it is highly unlikely as the camera market is too small for them.

But a smartphone like Sanyo Aquos R6 with a 1" sensor may be the start of this.

Camera manufacturer do not have the infrastructure or resources to compete with smartphone manufacturers. They would also need a lot higher margins on products like this because of the much lower volume on cameras vs smartphones.

Most of the tech developed for smartphone cameras is designed to solve the disavantage od smaller sensors and is often developed on sensor level. So using a much larger sensor may not give the same possibilities.

The question that remains is: what do we think is "compact"?

I would say something like a sony rx100 would be compact.

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Bob A L Veteran Member • Posts: 3,191
Re: The end of the compact camera

I agree with the possibility of them drying up, and would hope that there is a manufacturer  out there that tries to fix the situation.  Currently the only use I have for what I consider a compact camera is for telephoto capabilities.  I currently use a sony hx80 for this and my wife has a Canon 720.  Either of these fit in a small belt pouch and carried this was are mostly easily tolerated for occasional use and provide the extra reach not available with our iphones.  But the downside is that in general the image quality produced by our phone wins easily with the exception of the reach and it does not even require a belt pouch - just pop em in your pocket plus  the fact that I  would be carrying the phone anyway even if it didn't have a camera included.  But maybe if some manufacturer would utilize some of the tech used in the phone in their compact cameras so they could compete with the results there might be a chance of them surviving. But I can't see any chance of survival for fixed focal length or short zoom compacts being around much longer. I do realize that there are at least some instances where if I wanted to process the images from the compact on the computer I could at least come closer to the phone quality but freely admit that I absolutely detest processing photos on the computer and only do it if I have a photo that is super important for some special reason that is unusable without doing the computer enhancement and even then would need to take steps with the camera to allow me to stack images etc in the computer.

Bob A L Veteran Member • Posts: 3,191
Re: The end of the compact camera
1

But using a larger sensor also brings things with it that can be a problem for image quality for many phone camera users.  Show my family a bunch of photos of a family gathering that all have shallow dof and they will just push them aside. They want everything in the photo to be as sharp as possible. If little Susie is in focus but Billy who is standing behind her is not, this is an immediate delete photo in their book. The small sensor sizes are part of the reason for the success of phone cameras

JahnG
JahnG Veteran Member • Posts: 3,361
Re: The end of the compact camera
2

Ed B wrote:

Slimpie1972 wrote:

I have a question for all of you.

Is the compact camera dead or do we think there is a future for this kind of camera?

I haven't seen any compact camera released in the past year and longer. What is your opinion.

I would like to see the camera industrie make a compact camera that outperforms the performance of a smartphone, but with the inteligence of the smartphone. A compact camera has more room for better optics and a larger sensor so it should not be difficult to produce a compact camera that outperforms a smartphone if we put the intelegence of a smartphone in the camera.

The question that remains is: what do we think is "compact"?

I would say something like a sony rx100 would be compact.

Because this is a digital camera equipment forum let's get our terminology straight.

You're talking about a small camera that has a small sensor which does fall into the compact camera category but doesn't include several of the large sensor fixed lens cameras that are also classified as compacts.

I'll agree that the "need" for many of the small sensor cameras has been replaced by the cell phone. I'll also agree that many of the people who bought (buy) these type cameras would be perfectly satisfied with a cell phone and that a cell phone does provide good images with almost no effort or knowledge of photography.

Just the same there are several "compact" cameras that are supremely better than a cell phone when it comes to anything more than casual snapshots.

Cameras like the Leica Q series, the Sony RX1 series, Fuji X100 series and the Ricoh GR series are all compact cameras that are "better" than any cell phone.

There are also several smaller sensor cameras like the Sony RX10 series, and the Panasonic FZ series that fall into the compact category that people who like long zoom lenses would chose over a cell phone.

There's also the intangible things about a proper camera that most people who love photography don't want to give up with a cell phone.

Everything in this world changes but I think it'll be a long time before compact cameras are completely replaced by cell phones.

Naturally, I could be wrong.

Well stated.

We could add the Panasonic 1" sensor models ZS (TZ) 200 (and 100)

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Supisiche Senior Member • Posts: 1,136
Re: The end of the compact camera
5

Compact cameras are so much fun. I love small P&S.

Ed B
Ed B Forum Pro • Posts: 11,604
Re: The end of the compact camera

JahnG wrote:

Ed B wrote:

Slimpie1972 wrote:

I have a question for all of you.

Is the compact camera dead or do we think there is a future for this kind of camera?

I haven't seen any compact camera released in the past year and longer. What is your opinion.

I would like to see the camera industrie make a compact camera that outperforms the performance of a smartphone, but with the inteligence of the smartphone. A compact camera has more room for better optics and a larger sensor so it should not be difficult to produce a compact camera that outperforms a smartphone if we put the intelegence of a smartphone in the camera.

The question that remains is: what do we think is "compact"?

I would say something like a sony rx100 would be compact.

Because this is a digital camera equipment forum let's get our terminology straight.

You're talking about a small camera that has a small sensor which does fall into the compact camera category but doesn't include several of the large sensor fixed lens cameras that are also classified as compacts.

I'll agree that the "need" for many of the small sensor cameras has been replaced by the cell phone. I'll also agree that many of the people who bought (buy) these type cameras would be perfectly satisfied with a cell phone and that a cell phone does provide good images with almost no effort or knowledge of photography.

Just the same there are several "compact" cameras that are supremely better than a cell phone when it comes to anything more than casual snapshots.

Cameras like the Leica Q series, the Sony RX1 series, Fuji X100 series and the Ricoh GR series are all compact cameras that are "better" than any cell phone.

There are also several smaller sensor cameras like the Sony RX10 series, and the Panasonic FZ series that fall into the compact category that people who like long zoom lenses would chose over a cell phone.

There's also the intangible things about a proper camera that most people who love photography don't want to give up with a cell phone.

Everything in this world changes but I think it'll be a long time before compact cameras are completely replaced by cell phones.

Naturally, I could be wrong.

Well stated.

We could add the Panasonic 1" sensor models ZS (TZ) 200 (and 100)

I did misspell choose.

Fogel70
Fogel70 Senior Member • Posts: 1,544
Re: The end of the compact camera

Bob A L wrote:

But using a larger sensor also brings things with it that can be a problem for image quality for many phone camera users. Show my family a bunch of photos of a family gathering that all have shallow dof and they will just push them aside. They want everything in the photo to be as sharp as possible. If little Susie is in focus but Billy who is standing behind her is not, this is an immediate delete photo in their book. The small sensor sizes are part of the reason for the success of phone cameras

It would not be difficult to make the software in a large sensor smartphone to simulate the DOF from a small sensor smartphone. It would be a lot easier than implement many of the software tricks used on small sensor smartphones, FI for them to simulate shallow DOF.

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Richard B99 Veteran Member • Posts: 3,345
Re: The end of the compact camera
1

Slimpie1972 wrote:

I have a question for all of you.

Is the compact camera dead or do we think there is a future for this kind of camera?

I haven't seen any compact camera released in the past year and longer. What is your opinion.

I would like to see the camera industrie make a compact camera that outperforms the performance of a smartphone, but with the inteligence of the smartphone. A compact camera has more room for better optics and a larger sensor so it should not be difficult to produce a compact camera that outperforms a smartphone if we put the intelegence of a smartphone in the camera.

The question that remains is: what do we think is "compact"?

I would say something like a sony rx100 would be compact.

I still think the ergonomics of smartphones suck when it comes to photography. To the extent that I really want a slim, neat grip with controls. Consequently, I’m backing this on Kickstarter: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/fjorden/fjorden-iphone-photography-reinvented/comments

No affiliation with them other than as an optimistic backer but really hope this one comes off so I can use my iPhone 12 Pro more.  Otherwise it’s a very useful P&S and video camera that I’m happy to have me to supplement my other bodies.

BrentSchumer
BrentSchumer Senior Member • Posts: 4,213
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.

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sybersitizen Forum Pro • Posts: 21,338
The numbers and frequency of releases are declining, but declaring 'THE END' is premature
1

Slimpie1972 wrote:

I haven't seen any compact camera released in the past year and longer. What is your opinion.

Might just have to wait a while longer.

I would say something like a sony rx100 would be compact.

So would I ... and if any company is going to keep supporting compact camera enthusiasts with products like the RX100 series, it will probably be Sony.

Lensmate
Lensmate Veteran Member • Posts: 6,505
Re: The end of the compact camera
1

Ed B wrote:

It will be a long time before compact cameras are completely replaced by cell phones.

Two thumbs up on that!

-M

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TacticDesigns
TacticDesigns Veteran Member • Posts: 8,395
Re: The end of the compact camera
1

Lensmate wrote:

Ed B wrote:

It will be a long time before compact cameras are completely replaced by cell phones.

Two thumbs up on that!

+1

I hope compact cameras remain around.

When I retire . . . I am not going to want to keep upgrading my cellphone just so I can have a pocketable image making device. LOL. Instead, I think I might get a dumbphone that doesn't really need to be upgraded.

https://www.amazon.com/Nokia-3310-3G-Unlocked-T-Mobile/dp/B075FL4H89/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=Nokia+3310&qid=1627576441&sr=8-1

Instead . . . dumbphone + compact camera.

Currently, compact cameras don't really go obsolete. As long as it can write a JPG file (or RAW for that matter) to an SD Card, then I get pictures from it.

I am still using a Pentax ist DS dSLR camera that was released in 2004. It still writes JPG (and RAW) files to an SD Card. So it is still a viable image making device for me! 17 years and still useful. I don't have a cellphone that is that old and still useful.

I also have a Fujifilm XP50 that was released in 2012 that is still working. 9-year-old compact camera that is still relevant! I have tossed a WiFi SD Card adapter (that takes micro-SD cards) into it so I can transfer pictures from the camera to my cellphone via. WiFi if I want.

Take care & Happy Shooting!

-M

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