Are Low End Digital Cameras getting obsolete due to Good Cameras in Smartphones?
Smartphone camera technology has come on leaps and bounds in recent years and phone cameras are indeed capable of producing images comparable to those from high-end cameras, with equally impressive features and functionality. But this does not prove the camera is indeed doomed. However, in the next decade camera sensor technology will also improve massively. So even if smartphones become capable of the image quality a DSLR can deliver today, just imagine how much better the equivalent camera would be as it is all relative.
So, while we may be now thinking, “Well I’d be happy with that”, we’d bet that in 10 years we won’t think that way. As technology improves, our expectations increase in line with it. So, if we get used to that higher level of quality from our camera we’ll naturally consider our smartphone to be inferior, which always will be. Smartphones have, to all intents and purposes, killed off the standard compact camera market due to the fact that most people always have a smartphone with them. However, the toughest question in all of this is whether it really matters that smartphone image quality is inferior to DSLRs and mirrorless cameras. In the end it comes down to three main things, our expectations of image quality, how much control over things like exposure and lens choice we need and what we’ll be doing with our images once you’ve taken them.
For some people, a smartphone is just like the basic compact camera they used to use anyway, while for others it’s little more than a snapshot device that compliments their main camera. The big improvements we’re likely to see in stills camera technology in the coming years will be in the areas of ISO and noise control, dynamic range and resolution.
Cameras will undoubtedly be able to capture a much wider dynamic range, that one day, could mean graduated filters become obsolete, because cameras will be able to capture all detail within a scene, no matter how much contrast there is.High-ISO noise control could be so effective that high ISO settings will be able to deliver cleaner images than low settings can today.
For the photographer who likes to get things right in-camera, we one day could see sensors where light sensitivity can be altered and graduated from one part of the sensor to another. Controlled by touchscreen technology, the ‘graduated filter’ could be ‘drawn’ over the desired part of the frame, much in the same way that we use the Graduated Filter Tool in Light room mobile. Further developments here could potentially include lower minimum ISO settings, which would reduce the need for filters. Most cameras have a minimum ISO of 100, although it’s 50 on some higher-end cameras, but how much lower this can be pushed remains to be seen. Much of this, of course, is wishful thinking on the part of photographers rather engineers, but then 20 years ago who would have thought that today we’d be walking around with touchscreen devices, connected to fast mobile internet and massively more powerful than computers of that time?
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