nothing beats the heft and swing you get out of a long telephoto, preferably with a hefty SLR attached
One of the web's "25 most influential people" says that camera phones will soon make digital SLRs obsolete. "There will be no need to carry around those heavy lenses," Nokia's marketing EVP Anssi Vanjoki told a gathering in Helsinki, according to Reuters. Citing continuing improvements in cameraphone technology, Vanjoki said …
..use an old 1960s Russian camera, screwed securely to the end of a collapsed steel monopod.
Actually, just my Manfrotto monopod on its own is a perfectly terrifying shillelagh- just as well that I'm generally carrying a camera too, and thus have a plasuble story for the dibbles.
Please produce a cameraphone that can take a good quality picture in what us people that live in the real world call normal conditions . That is without the benefit of perfect lighting . I detest using my phones camera indoors for just that reason . Maybe you would be better off trying to make a decent camera make calls ? Surely that would be easier ......
cameras in phones vary greatly in quality
Getting in closer (to allow the flash to reach) and holding the damn thing still (and the subject, to a lesser extent), solves the "blurry night out" problem.
Comparing current cameraphones with DSLRs is a bit daft. You already know why. Predicting that one day cameraphones will match DSLRs is less daft. Which is what this bloke was doing.
DSLRs are like photoshop - both are expensive toys unless your gonna be doing that sort of thing for a living.
As a photographer myself who has 2 DSLR's, 10 lenses and a point & shoot. This guy doesn't know which planet he is on. There is no way in this world or on this planet that any pro photographer is going to even think of using a camera phone to handle the work load of shooting a set of shots to be processed for his work project.
This is about as ridiculous as the comment Mr. Gates once said. "640 K should be enough for anyone. Now look at where we are. Our super computers are approaching 640 terabytes. Boy, did he lack vision then.
DSLR's will always be far more superior to any other type of camera. Like many have already said, it's the lenses and how the picture source is handled that makes a superior shot, not megapixels.
Most pro photographers don't mind carrying 4 - 10 Ibs of DSLR equipment around their neck to get that perfect shoot. Anyone else will complain, and will use lighter equipment like a camera phone to take their personal shots, which is perfectly fine for such.
"This is about as ridiculous as the comment Mr. Gates once said. "640 K should be enough for anyone."
False quote. Gates never said that. On the other hand, I personally remember Steve Jobs saying that "128K ought to be enough for anybody", at a meeting of the Homebrew Computer Club in late 1983, as he was demonstrating the original 128K Mac, just before the public unveiling. At the time, he had a point ... people were running flight simulators in 64K!
Cameraphone problems are (to an extent) down to the laws of physics so its difficult to see how they will be overcome without a radical overhaul of the system - not the incremental improvement Nokia seem to be implying.
In your example, the flash output on a phone is terrible, and that it is without the effect on the battery, so yes, if you want a picture of your mate asleep in the pub you can move closer. This is a situtation people would *rarely* (The Flying Dutchman aside) use a DSLR for. Holding a camera phone still is, on the whole, harder than holding a DSLR still - again laws of physics and the shape of your hands dictate this.
Camera phones can easily dominate the digita compact market - to an extent they already outperform a lot of the low end compacts (say the sub £60 market) - but the chance of them matching a DSLR is vanishingly small. Try taking a frame filling picture of the full moon on any digital compact - yet it can be done handheld with my DSLR.
Physics aside, the advances that allow the camera phone to improve will also be used by DSLR manufacturers so should a Nokia N9999 or whatever one day match the capability of my mid-range DSLR, flash and lenses (10mm - 500mm), the DSLR's available will also have improved by (one assumes) the same degree.
Crucially, DSLRs are not that expensive. Yes a Hassleblad will set you back the price of a car but you can get an entry level Cannon, Nikon or Pentax (etc) for around £300 along with an 18 - 55mm lens. Throw in £10 for a PAYG phone and you can get a great camera and phone for less than £400. Compare that to an iPhone PAYG from O2 for £449.
Phones appear cheap (if you dont get the latest model) because we spread the payments out over the 24 month contracts the phone providers have foisted upon us. Even then the iPhone is £249 plus £25 a month from O2 (total over 24 months £849).
Phones are like photoshop - both are expensive toys unless you are going to be doing that sort of thing for a living.
I feel strangely...not threatened...by this.
I think he's right. With advances in materials science in lenses, filters, sensors, coatings and image processing algorithms, one day, cameraphones will probably enjoy the same level of image quality and resolution as today's SLRs.
However, by that time, DSLRs will, as today, be leaving the phones in the dust in a million ways.
I have been using SLR's for 25 years and for the last 5 years DSLR's, the quality of the photographs was always a contentious issue & photographers claimed DSLR's would never take over from SLR's, 10 years down the road we're getting there now.
You'd have to be mad to say nothing will be superior to a DSLR...on the contrary there are some pretty good devices out there now that are arguably better then DSLR's.
I've seen some stunning medium format pictures that make DSLR's like decidedly mediocre.
In the short term I would agree with you, no camera phone is as good as a DSLR, I wouldnt be so bold to say the same in 3-4 years time.
Technology is reaching a peak and the rate of developments are staggering.
There are some really interesting advances in optics and processing. Sure nokia couldn't make a camera phone that is a miniture DSLR - thats silly talk. But what about an array of 5Mp sensors each with a steerable micro lens. Lets say they cover the top third of the smart phone with these say 48 sensors over 3x3cm - do some array processing and you have an effective 3x3cm sensor.
A fluid micro lens system means you could have control on field of view (zoom) and limited directionality.
Want DOF? thats an array calculation, no problem. Want portrait quality? Use a couple sensors zoomed wide for scene and the rest zoom tight to capture fine detail on the subject area. Want high contrast? Vary the sensitivity of some of the sensors.
Sure, array/aperature calculations are rocket science - but certainly possible with fast enough chips
Obviously this guy has no clue about how cameras work.
The miniscule lens on those idiotic camera-phones have no-where near the light gathering or resolution of a large, bulky DSLR camera.
Even if they were to magically get the optical resolution (not to be confused with Megapixels), clarity, and somehow invent light out of nothing, they would never be able to provide decent magnification.
Those toy CCD chips in the camera phones are so small vs. their megapixel resolution, it's amazing they work as well as they do - they are the noisiest little chips I've ever had to work with.
As an owner of a camera phone, a pocket digital camera, a larger digital camera, and a professional DSLR camera, I'll tell you - the image quality is night-and-day, as you go up the scale.
There's a reason why DSLR's are as good as they are. There are reasons why professionals also shoot with Hasselblad medium-format cameras with digital backs.
I always knew Nokia was loosing it's place in the world. I've pretty much given up on this pathetic shell of a company. To say camera phones will supplant DSLR's is utter lunacy.
Now I can officially add Nokia to the growing list of companies that have no respect for the technology, or our intelligence. I look forward to a Nokia-free future.
The physics of light dictate that a bigger lens is going to do more for you than a smaller one.
Sensor size (pixel size) is another physical factor (consider http://www.cambridgeincolour.com/tutorials/diffraction-photography.htm the limit of diffraction issue)
You can't bypass the laws of physics !
So while phone cameras *may* impact compact camera sales in time (P&S), the DSLR with interchangeable lenses will be here for the rest of my life at least.
In summary: happy snaps for sure; serious photography DSLR's rock!
A little off topic now but......
Take a look at this web site describing a Cray computer that when completed in 2008 will have over 400 Terabytes of working memory besides other things beyond your everyday computer with 8 gigs ram. This is an old article from 2006.
A phased array design you seem to be proposing works fine in radio for three reasons: (i) wavelengths are long so mechanical tolerances are fairly relaxed, (ii) photon counts are HIGH, due to low energy per photon, and (iii) phase can be measured. This allows digital correlation of the signals. All three properties are lost in visual range. Optical heterodyning is very difficult and requires very bulky equipment. Getting solid optics down to the tolerances need is hard, fluid is worse. If the ESO Very Large Telescope in finds it hard to do, I do not think a portable version will be around soon
"Fitting a sensor of that size into a Nokia cameraphone wouldn't only be difficult space-wise, but achieving the necessary lens-to-focal plane distance in a pocketable device would result in one frightfully lumpy pocket."
While I agree with others that Vanjoki apparently has no clue about the physics of photography, I cannot resist noting that years ago I used to take lots of good shots with an old foldable 6x6cm-format camera, and it did fit nicely into the coat pocket. (For classic camera aficianados, it was an Agfa Isolette, one of the better models with a Compur shutter and built-in range finder).
A cameraphone with a bellows system in the side? Maybe not bad idea.
Well when Nokia have a phone that can match my Nikon D300 with a 10mm lens and a 500mm lens (and every step in between), as well as matching the lag and burst rates, I might be inclined to agree. However we would still have issues about stability, light levels, flash sync etc.
Mobile phone cameras are great for their role but they are phones not cameras.
Mobile phone cameras are to Digital SLRs what the old disposable compacts were to a film SLR. If you are on a night out its great to take a snap of your mates with your phone but try to spend a day shooting a wedding, then do a landscape shoot the next day, with a Nokia.
I suspect this is some one at Nokia who knows less about cameras than they do about PR stunts.
Where do "pro" photo's go? Newspapers and magazines are probably the main consumers.
Newspapers of the "sun" ilk are starting to show more and more crap photos.
More of them are moving to online services where the highest res images you can get are thumbnail sized in the middle of an article (maybe a few hundred pixels square).
Some "photos" are just going to be taken from screen grabs of "HD" film. Which may still use nice glass on big cameras.
So the mass market for pro photos is fading away and if you can't sell a good photo for much more than a bad photo, why would you spend the money on the expensive camera when you can use your phone?
DSLRs are likely to end up like turntables. Still loved by a very small minority years after they've been replaced by something "better".
(In fact the whole photo-journo thing is likely to disappear as everyone's got a camera that they can use to take juicier snaps than the pro's who look obvious when they get the DSLR out)
He's an idiot obviously.
IF he had said camera phones would take over from compact cameras i dont think a person here would argue too much, with better lenses and maybe some special optics some are beginning to get to the level of low end compacts already.
But to say DSLR's is ridiculous. The DSLR is designed with the pro (or keen amateur) in mind, and no piece of equipment which doesnt have the brilliant optics and large sensor of a DSLR will ever produce the required high end images that the pro needs.
Typical marketing bollocks - take what was probably a reasonable comment provide by an engineer (e.g. "Our phone cameras will soon be better then standard compact cameras"), twist it out of all recognition into something stupid and impossible, and release to the market to great derision and ridicule. Now we wait for the next stage where the marketing twerp blames the engineer for giving him the wrong information.
No Nokia, you cannot take deep-space photos with your camera phone, and you cannot replace a 400 mm F5.6 APO telephoto with a lens that fits into a thimble.
The guy probably believes the image enhancement effects in CSI.
I get so tired of this sort of idiots (highly paid at that). For those still doubting:
The first issue is all about photon counts. The noise in an image is determined (apart from detector noise) most fundamentally by photon noise. Because emission and detection of photons is a random process, the noise is equal to the square root of the number of photons detected. So if a pixel captures 100 photons, the expected noise is 10. If you capture 10000 photons the noise is 100, but the signal-to-noise ratio (S/N) is 10 in the first case and 100 in the latter. S/N is very important in image quality. This is why astronomers want BIG scopes, because doubling the diameter quadruples the amount of light, and doubles S/N.
No matter of post-processing can alter these facts. I teach computer vision and image processing at the University of Groningen, and have worked quite a bit on developing ways to counter the effects of noise.
The second issue is resolution: the limit of resolution is determined by the ratio of wavelength to aperture. This is why we are building a synthetic aperture telescope HUNDREDS OF MILES ACROSS for long radio wavelength. There used to be al sorts of wild claims on what deconvolution methods could do, but in the field it is now accepted that whilst you can enhance details that are faint (at the risk of increasing noise) you cannot reconstruct information that has simply been lost at the aperture of the lens.
But I thought that I'd also chip in and mention that this Nokia dude is talking utter crap.
I think this company should now be forced to produce ALL marketing and promotional materials using their camera phones. We'll then soon see just how utterly out of touch this spoon of a bloke is. From then on all new Nokia marketing materials should carry the slogan :
"Nokia cameraphones - for capturing the moment just after the moment you actually wanted."
There is the professional market sure but it is very small. Someone earning their living from photography will always require good kit. Not the most expensive necessarily but the most cost effective. They will want a dedicated DSLR for the versatility and a new technique becomes fashionable there will be an add-on for the de facto standard DSLR. They won't have to ditch and replace.
Then there is the amateur market. This goes professional-level-but-doesn't charge, who will probably have the same stuff as a professional, to the crap-but-talks-a-good-shot, who will buy the latest thing just for the bragging rights at the club/pub. Again DSLR's or whatever the newest craze is. They have a cupboard-full of previous must-have's.
Then there is the biggest market of all. The gadget freaks more-money-than-sense guys who just buy stuff because it's there. They flit from one passion to another buying all the latest kit then get bored and move on. They have DSLRs, compacts, high end compacts, film cameras, camera phones, smart phones, underwater cameras, web cams etc because it was 'best' at some point, because it's what the professionals use and because they thought it made them look good. They also have carbon fibre golf clubs and Rolex/TAG watches. These are the people who buy 95% of the top end stuff and so create a mass market and so keep the price down to affordable levels for the others.
Last of all the rest of us who want 'nice' pictures sometimes. you want something 'good enough' and convenient. we already use camera phones most of the time because it's what you have with you when the moment arrives.
That's why you won't replace DSLRs with camera phones. The professional needs something versatile and dependable. The industry need the mass market to make it affordable and the mass market will always oblige.
Aside from the glory of good lenses and large sensors (the D700 continues to impress in the worst light), he ignores ergonomics, it's a lot easier to use a DSLR effectively than either a compact or a camera phone. The better DSLRs have had a lot of thought put into them as photographer's tools and once you've got past the intimidating controls become very easy to use.
Also weight, which confers inertia and means professionals, particularly documentary and press photographers can handhold to an eighth of a second or less, on shorter lenses, irrespective of image stabilisation. Slower than this and subject movement becomes a big issue.
I am sure Nikon/Canon/Olympus/Pentax/Sony are fully aware of the state of cameraphone tech!
I own Canon 450 and 550 DSLRs and enjoy messing about for personal enjoyment. While I was staggered at how good a cameraphone can be when playing with my LG 520 (3MBP camera), it's never ever going even reach the cheaper quality of my low-end enthusiast kit, let alone a full on Nikon D3x or Canon 1D! DOF is most obvious thing that grabs you, the camera phone has no concept of DOF, preset and that's it! Great for snaps and some mid-range scenic shots in average light, but too bright/dark light and it's knackered!
Another case of PR BS and ad-men pushing their products to make 'em seem better than they are!
... and some of that demand may be changing. For example, increasingly media is no longer relying on pros (journalists or photographers) for their content and this includes photos and video.
For a breaking story, first to the market footage of an event taken on a camerphone is going to outweigh not having had a 'reporter' with a DSLR who happened to be in the right place at the right time to provide people with a superb shot of the event. Everybody is slowly becoming a reporter.
Also, with media and content increasingly online, bandwidth becomes more of an issue and some of the advantages of pictures taken well with a DSLR are negated after being heavily compressed.
Physics says camera-phones will never match DSLR's unless they beef up significantly - but they may replace demand for them.
Just to point out that not only is this guy reckless with statements about optics he is not exactly responsible on the road. Here is a story from the BBC of him receiving a world record speeding fine of 116,000 euros (although it would appear the Finnish speeding fines are fairly draconian).
As far as big lense are concerned, they are there for a good reason. That's to gather light. There are plenty of reasons why you want to gather lots of light - telephoto lenses only capture light from a narrow field of view so the lens at the front has to be proportionately bigger (which is why f stops are the iris diameter divided by the focal length). You need lots of light to freeze action, to take pictures in low light and to keep shutter speeds high enough to cope with subject and photographer movement.
Of course you can use a smaller sensor and shorter focal length which reduces the lens size required hugely. However, the absolute amounf to light is reduced too and, don't foget, light is quantized. That means the number of photons hitting each tiny photosite is so low as to introduce very substantial amounts of noise - that's absolutely inescapable and is just a matter of statistical arrival rates. It's not a theoretical problem - it's already an actual one as current sensors are already very efficient at photon capture. There is no technology that can ever overcome this - ultimately what matters for the base noise level is how many photons you can capture at a photocell site.
That's without all the other issues related to size - diffraction effects, finite visible light wavelength, depth of field and various others.
No cameraphone will ever be able to approach the performance of a modest DSLR in anything but optimal lighting conditions. That's period - not ever. Also, as sensor and optic technology improves so will the performance of DSLRs.
nb. what might kill the consumer SLR bit of DSLR is exchangeable lens cameras with electronic viewfinders, but that's hardly the issue.
The Laws of Physics - How often people who have so little understanding of them quote them as some unbreakable barrier ! Ever heard of diffraction gratings or holographic lensing techniques ? (Think Ultra-thin super powerful lenses with no chromatic aberration issues - not currently available but will be one day - probably.)
Nokia's point is this....
They will sell so many crappy camera phones that the consumer (not pro sumer, not pro) no longer buys the cheaper end of the DSLR market, which means no big wads of cash for the DSLR makers, which means no R&D, which means no new models, which means no new cash, which means end of DSLR maker.
He's not saying that camera phones will be any good, just that they will be good enough to suck all the cash out of the market place and let the big guys go bust.
Whilst lens technology can improve, the big problem with small cameras is noise. To fight the megapixel and size war, the sensors have to become increasingly smaller with denser photosite layouts.
They're now at the point where a single photosite is actually narrower than the wavelength of light it's meant to detect. This means that an adjacent site can end up detecting the light that was meant for its neighbour.
Noise cancellation algorithms can go so far in trying to unravel the data, but can so easily get it wrong and usually end up removing detail.
... can't wait to see Nokia actually do this!
For those who aren't camera geeks, know this, it's impossible for a camera phone to create the same imagery as a SLR.
To put it simply, it's the glass folks, it's the glass.
And that's just *one* aspect of it.
Strikes me that this is just marketing Fluff.
The big camera makers won't be going bust any time in the near future. Simple economics 101, if the demand goes down either the price needs to go down or the supply needs to go down. Sure, maybe some won't make it but as long as there are higher end buyers providing a demand for DSLR cameras, there will be a supply. Not everyone will be satisfied with phone-ecam quality. It's a bit like saying the Instamatic killed 35mm. Likewise, saying DSLRs are doomed because of phone-ecam ubiquity is a bit... premature.
To illustrate, I hereby announce that cell phones are doomed because I've put 3G, GPS and BT in a DSLR. Now you can take stunning photos and video of your vacation and share the experience in real time via a 3G link to your auntie on the phone, your friends on facebook and the world wide web at large. Now you too can be on the vanguard of the Web 2.718 twiddle-deeL33T! Buy your Vast Eddy cam today!
Actually, the reason why we all missed that point is because that _wasn't_ the point Mr. Nokia was making, partly because it is wrong. The most important factor in DSLR design is the lense. And that hasn't really changed much in the last century, so not much R&D spend required, unlike those trying to build tiny cameras, who are having to try and find ways to rewrite the laws of physics. Any real advancements that get made by the little guys are likely to benefit the DSLR boys as well, so no big crash.
Don't think anyone has mentioned Depth of Field yet? That's another one where the Physics is pretty clear - small lenses get you closer to being a pin-hole camera, where _everything_ is in focus automatically. By far the majority of great photos are great because they are able to isolate the subject from the background, something that requires _limited_ depth of field, which can only ever be delivered by a big lense.
As a person trained in photography I find it surprising to see so many people with very expensive DSLRs when I go on holiday. No doubt I will offend someone by saying this but I don't think these people really know how to use that camera properly. I think 80% of people who own a DSLR and for whom photography isn't their livelihood should really think harder before they purchase. I hear so many tales of people who's camera gets less than 1h usage a week and yet they have spent over £1000-£2000+ on their set-up. They then lug it round on holiday with them adding to their concern because they are worried about either capturing the right shot, missing a shot or loosing their camera.
These people should buy a Canon PowerShot G10/G11. I have a G10 for holidays because it brings me pleasure, I can take manual photos with little effort and it has quality enough for personal snaps. Yes it doesn't have the finer control of an SLR but I am never going to billboard my snaps. Frankly most of the photographs I have seen people take with their SLRs are 99% tat. I think that >90% of the time people are dependent on the auto functions, not even bothering with focus or iris control.
Yes, it is a hobby and yes you have the right to do what you want with your hard earned. But are you really sure you can't get the same benefit from a /decent/ compact? Wouldn't a /decent/ compact get more use? Wouldn't you be less worried about damaging/loosing a /decent/ compact? What else could you do with the £500-1500 you saved?
"As a person trained in photography I find it surprising to see so many people with very expensive DSLRs when I go on holiday."
Like everything people spend money on something for a variety of reasons. I see people with £200 smart phones that only use them to make calls. I see people with £1000 laptops and all they do is surf the internet.
Personally I have a DSLR and I take it on holiday with me because I prefer to use it over a G10. That is the most basic reason. I also prefer the handling, speed and ability to change lenses. Also, judging peoples use on a snapshot of time might be leading to an error - if you see me on the beach with my camera, I wont take any pictures (dont want to be arrested etc) and you might think why did he bother buying it - however when we get out walking in the mountains, I am using it all the time.
No, I am not a pro and I dont print billboard pictures out but when I do print a picture I want it to be the highest quality possible - if you dont why not get a cheap £30 digital compact from the super market? Just because *you* are happy with the level of control the G10 gives you (and are willing to trade off on future upgradability and future skill increase) doesnt mean everyone else should be.
What has not been mentioned is that as the tech improves in camera phones, so will the tech in compacts.
Look at the capability of the current compacts compared to the range 5 years ago.
Sure, if compacts stayed static, then camera phones might catch up as sensors improve and perhaps new lens technology comes along - but as with all consumer electronics as each year goes by the top end becomes the mid range, the mid range becomes the budget, the budget becomes 'obsolete'.
The computer power on a smartphone is far in excess of the original IBM PC, but strangely we still go and sit down at our desks to use some big, fixed PC rather than just work on our phones...
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