The death of “good” cameras

Recently I got married

We had 150 guests at the wedding and about 148 cameras (there were a couple of toddlers who I don’t think had smart phones, but that’s only a guess).

For one afternoon my beautiful bride and I owned the internet, or at least a small corner of it while approximately 7,453 photos of our wedding were posted to social media.

We had an official photographer and we’re looking forward to seeing those pictures, but at some level the moment has past. Everyone who wanted to could see 7,453 photos of us did. Time was at some level more important than quality.

Except the quality was great

I own a fantastic Canon DSLR camera, and a great compact (Canon S100) and an iPhone. I decided not to take the DSLR on honeymoon, it was just too bulky. I did take the compact and the iPhone (of course). Funny thing happened though. I took zero pictures with the compact. The iPhone had a better screen, slow motion, better exposure control and panorama shot.

The battery on the iPhone lasts a week !!!!

Now if you’ve ever been on a cruise ship you’ll know they charge like a wounded bull for data so the phone stayed in Airplane mode all week (wow that battery lasts a long time doing that!!

So I used the iPhone even though it wasn’t about uploading the pictures instantly. It was about simply being better at taking pictures. Oh and I never had to explain how to use the iPhone when getting someone else to take a photo for me.

My wedding photography didn’t use an DSLR either

I was somewhat surprised to discover that the wedding photographer didn’t use a DSLR either. She had a full frame sensor on a SONY a7R. She loves it, the quality is as good as any DSLR full frame camera (SONY makes most of the world’s sensors), but with none of the hassle of a mirror that needs flipping out of the way every time you take a picture (or shoot a movie)

Sell those Canon and Nikon shares

DSLR sales are down 17% in the last 12 months and have been declining for years. This is not a healthy market to be in. And it’s all their own fault. Canon and Nikon have built a perfect Excession Event market. Two companies fighting each other while others come along and redefine what success looks like in the market. Believe me, they will make my next keynote.

So what?

This got me thinking. If Canon and Nikon are losing out to solid state camera like the SONY a7R or even to my iPhone what chance have the Video Conferencing PTZ cameras got?

After all capturing a good quality image in a meeting room must be a lot easier than the million options that an DSLR needs to cope with.

Mute Button

The most powerful way to stop a person speaking on a Video Conference call is to move the camera to look at them. The look of fear and loathing on the face of pretty much everyone (I’m personally immune, but most are not) is palpable.

I think it’s one of the reasons  might well be onto something for large rooms and why devices like the ConferenceCam Connect from Logitech are gaining popularity. They capture the image without intimidating the users into silence. They are also orders of magnitude cheaper and fit perfectly into flexible huddle rooms. They are effectively the iPhones for meeting rooms.

There will always be “good” cameras

The death of the “good” camera is not here yet, but the amount of work possible in Software enabling a simpler device to capture the image is impressive now and will only increase at a Moore’s Law rate in the coming years. For the largest of rooms, for auditoriums and some specialised environments they will be necessary. But for that team chat in a standard huddle room the solid state camera is ideal.