from Box Brownie to iPhone

Smartphones and tablets have already replaced desktops as devices for browsing the web — so  the photography created using old fashioned large format cameras is now primarily viewed on small devices with very little resolution. 

If the Box Brownie hastened the demise of the old-fashioned photography, then the smartphone cameras with their computational photography have hastened the demise of the digital point and shoot consumer standalone cameras — and much else beside. These smart phones are more palm-sized computers/cameras than phones, and as a result all camera manufacturers are suffering. The future outlook for the camera industry is looking pretty bleak as it   is becoming a smaller and smaller niche market.

seaweed, iPhone 6

Dedicated cameras have little R & D going into the new models in comparison to the R+D in smartphones. Have a look at this chart comparing camera sales to those of the iPhone from 2003 -2020 on Om Malik’s blog. it indicates why camera companies (eg., Nikon, Canon, Fuji etc) will not make enough money, or have the accumulated data intelligence, to become viable competitors to the smartphone-companies, such as Apple, Samsung and Huawei.

One major difference with Kodak is that the smartphone companies are pushing photography into new technological futures. One trajectory is artificial intelligence (AI). Thus Alphabet Inc’s DeepMind division has released thumbnail images of a range of everyday subjects: a dog, a butterfly, a hamburger and an ocean view. All were AI-generated images produced from scratch by an algorithm called BiGAN.

Another trajectory is Apple’s augumented reality (AR) based on the depth sensing Lida sensor on the iPhone 12 Pro that layers AR with real-world locations as well as improving focus for night photos and portraits. It will be the developers who will make the AR-ready apps.

One Response

Comments are closed.