#332. It’s stuff, but not as we know it (yet)

By Paul Perton | Opinion

Mar 02

Not a day has passed and I find I’m writing about stuff again to underscore just how brutally our (not so) favourite camera manufacturers are going to be violated by what has now all but arrived.


First of all take a look at this earth shattering cutting from MacNN this a.m.:


Screen Shot 2015-03-02 at 11.41.18 PM


30% faster image processing! No low pass filter! 24mp sensor! Hold me back and hide my credit card! Quickly!


Now, before your ire and gorge rise too much (mine almost did), take a look at this: Sample images


See what I see? Every shot taken with an iPhone 6. OK, the JPEG engine is a bit harsh and there’s some posterisation in places, but every image is sharp where you want it and the story runs that Apple is going to base their next major ad campaign on these images and there wasn’t a DSLR, or M43 camera in sight.


Back to my comments about Aperture’s demise? I wonder what Photos.app will do with these – especially if Apple could be persuaded to let us get at the RAW images…


Anyway, it’s late and I’m still sitting in Changi airport (Singapore) waiting for my flight. If big camera don’t get it yet, they will. As I said in yesterday’s post, RFN.


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  • pascaljappy says:

    Hi Paul, thanks for the 2 great articles.

    It’s been written on the wall for some years now that Canon and Nikon are the next Polaroid. I think the Nikon 1 sealed it for Nikon. The (void) for Canon. It’s obvious they are not getting two things:

    (1) Small sensors and their huge convenience no longer come with all the drawbacks. DR / pixel count / colour from th iPhone 6 are now more than good enough for the vast majority of users. The walls of Apple stores in the UK are lined with huge (and I mean huge) panoramas made using these cameras. And the convenience of a smartphone is just so much better than on a compact camera it baffles me anyone is still actually making those.

    (2) Ergonomics are where the tire meets the road. Canikons are well though out beasts … for the 90s and for specialist shooting. In most cases, a Smartphone is simply more convenient. After a week / 1000 shots in Oxford (95% with the OTUS 85) I realise how great the focusing aids of the Sony A7 is. Invaluable in fact. But with AF lenses, it all falls apart. Canon and Nikon are dinosaurs. I really think they’ve had it and are only holdng because of the massive momentum of brand image and the illusion that big cameras and big lenses are better. That, and incurable fan boys (as well as a minority of heavily invested pros). Sony are different. They obviously imagine that as long as they poor enough groundbreaking technology into their cameras, they can get away with so so reliability / customer service, stupid ergonomics and usability problems. In a way, I can’t hold so much of a grudge as honing their cameras would slow down releases and we’d also be unhappy. But they’ve been around a while now and should get the basics right (no, nothing can justify a camera taking 5 seconds to wake up, Sony).

    In the end, I think that innovation has disrupted our expectations. The whole model of collecting lenses is messed up. The whole idea of a long term relationship with a camera is destroyed. And the very nature of what we use gear for and how is upside down. Canikon are desperately pushing their outdated range-based business-model even though there are now 2 big categories of users : intentional photographers vs smartphone users (and even that line is blurring). No one (maybe Konost) seems to be filling the gap that Leica will leave wide open by kicking the bucket. So many brilliant lenses on the used market and no body to use them with ??

    So, I’m like you. Really, really wanting to replace my A7r now that it’s 18 months old and has seen too many clics for comfort, but no idea where to turn to for something new. I don’t recall this situation happening before …

  • Philberphoto says:

    I am of two minds here.
    On the one hand, it is obvious that the equation that applied during film times, i.e. that equipment lasted, and lasted, and lasted, and thus one could invest in equipment, is deader than a doornail. We no longer invest in equipment, we spend on it. Rather than an investment, it is now expendable. That sad truth (for value-minded consumers) has yet to penetrate the minds of the clients of Leica, who are asked to fork out a considerable sum (7000€+) for something that will be obsolete with 18 months max, if it isn’t already, as is the case today.
    Glass however, will hold its value pretty well as long as it is mounted on cameras that sport the same lens mount and use the same electronic protocols. But if, in order to keep up-to-date with your camera body, you switch lens mounts, either you make do with adapters, and that is neither cheap nor ergonomic nor conducive to better IQ, or you are back to Square One, financially speaking.
    So, in a nutshell, whereas common wisdom has it that technology improvements will level out, I rather think that we are in for short-lifespan cameras. Incidentally, that is just what Sony have been turning out, as if they knew…
    On the other hand, there is no longer any doubt that the mass-market camera is now a KISS device, meaning that it must be totally easy to carry and use. Either better cameras join the KISS bandwagon, or they will become as extinct as audiophile hi-fi, where, just like now, ease-of-use and portability trumped quality and performance.
    Until then, I join Paul in a hearty chuckle at the release of the Nikon D7200. They just don’t get it, do they?

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