As smartphones are getting better at capturing images year after year, one might be wondering when, if at all, we will see smartphones directly competing with larger cameras. Are we at the point, or perhaps might be soon approaching one, where it won’t make any sense to buy a high-end DSLR or a mirrorless camera to capture professional-looking images? Now that smartphones like the iPhone 7 Plus are shipping with dual lenses (one standard wide-angle lens and one telephoto lens to capture portraits) and some manufacturers are even pushing larger sensors to specifically appeal the photography market, it is no wonder why some photographers might think that a smartphone is all they need to get professional results. During the past few years, I have been using a variety of different cameras with sensors ranging from tiny 1/3″ all the way to medium format, so I thought it would be a good idea to write an article about this particular topic, with some images to represent different cameras and sensor sizes.
Our readers know how much we love the MIOPS Smart Trigger, which we have previously reviewed and praised for its amazing features and capabilities, including the ability to capture lightnings. Now our Turkish friends are unveiling a smaller brother to the MIOPS Smart Trigger called “MIOPS Mobile”. As the name suggests, it is primarily intended to be used with a mobile device such as your smartphone, in order to capture images with your camera. We are excited about the MIOPS Mobile, because it combines the power of your smartphone with the power of this little device in order to capture those unique moments. Utilizing your phone’s integrated capabilities such as the GPS, MIOPS mobile can take advantage of them by offering specific modes, such as “Roadlapse”, allowing one to capture timelapses from a moving vehicle. The MIOPS engineering team made sure to include all the bells and whistles it could into the MIOPS Mobile, so you will find numerous different modes to fire your camera remotely, such as Vibration, Sound, Motion, Distance and the regular Timelapse modes have also been upgraded to now include HDR Timelapses. The connection between the MIOPS Mobile and the camera is wired (connects to the camera’s shutter release port), just like on the MIOPS Smart Trigger, but the connection between the MIOPS Mobile and your smartphone is wireless (via Bluetooth), which means that you do not have to stand right next to the unit in order to trigger action – everything can be done remotely. The product is being launched via KickStarter and with only one day of funding, it looks like it is getting very close to reaching its funding goal.
One of the things that always tends to surprise me is how differently I edit images that were taken with my phone versus images that were taken with my DSLR. Of course, there are obvious differences between the equipment used, the editing software that is available and the overall quality of the final image, but after giving it some thought, I realized that this isn’t why I edit images differently depending on what was used to capture an image. It turns out that the main differences come down to my intended audience.
I recently spent some time looking at CIPA data and wrote a few articles on my blog pertaining to these camera industry statistics. I thought Photography Life readers may find some of the data of interest. What follows are a few thoughts about the camera market, based on my interpretation of CIPA data. It should be noted that data is simply data and two people can look at the same information and arrive at differing interpretations. For folks who find the data of interest you can pop over to my blog to read a bit more. If you want to see the actual data reports I would encourage you to visit the CIPA website and access the data directly…then put on a pot of coffee, grab a calculator or open up Excel on your computer…and have some fun!
Macro photography opens up tiny worlds that your eye could never see unaided. Now, scientists at the University of Houston have shown a way to make an 3-cent disposable macro lens that turns your smartphone into a moderately powerful microscope. These researchers have started a kickstarter project, and with more than 2 weeks to go they have already far exceeded their modest funding goal of $5000 !
There have been some interesting debates lately about what’s ‘wrong’ with the digital camera market as people try to understand the rather dramatic decline in unit sales that has been happening over the past 4 or 5 years, with volumes down by half from their peak. I let my old, porous brain muse on this for a while and have some perspectives to share. One way to look at this situation is to simply accept that there is nothing fundamentally ‘wrong’ with the camera market at all in terms of sales volumes. From a macro-economic perspective we could view the digital camera market as functioning exactly as every other market has done when a breakthrough technology burst onto its stage. If we look at the history of various product markets the basic rise and fall of market volumes are predictable when they have been impacted by fundamental technological shifts – in the case of cameras it was of seismic proportions going from film to digital. When any kind of ‘game changing’ technology takes hold in any market there are initial and dramatic volume surges as consumers leave their current technology and adopt the new one. That huge upward spike in initial demand then declines quickly as soon as the initial ‘change-over’ market demand for the new technology has been met. Product life-cycle planning is based on these fundamentals.
Since many of us now consider our smartphones an integral part of our photography hobby, I thought I would give you a quick perspective regarding the much anticipated Android operating system. I realize that many in the photography arena are huge iPhone fans. The global smartphone market share numbers break down to approximately 82% for the Android operating system and 14% for Apple IOS, according to the research firm IDC. Thus I suspect a healthy percentage of our readers are using Android phones. In the USA, the market share for Android and IOS is almost a dead heat at roughly 47.5% apiece. My comments below are based on upgrading a Verizon Samsung Galaxy S5 smartphone from KitKat to Lollipop.