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Compact Cameras Are the Future

By: j.wilder

Compact Cameras are the Future

Compact Cameras Are The Future

Compact cameras are dead. Long live compact cameras!

There are many articles that claim the smartphone killed off compact cameras, but that's not true. What they are really talking about is low cost point-and-shoot cameras. Low cost point-and-shoot cameras are, well, pointless when everyone has a smartphone.

However...

Smartphones will never kill off advanced compact cameras because...

Compact cameras are the future.

Samsung Saw the Future

Samsung saw the future before photography enthusiasts did.

In 2012, Samsung made a modern compact camera, the Samsung Galaxy Camera, but it was ahead of its time. People didn't understand them. One tech review even wrote "Can't use it as a phone." How do you make calls on this thing? LOL.

In 2015, Samsung bailed from the camera market. So sad. They could have owned the future of modern cameras (think ecosystem).

More recently, Zeiss reimagined the camera and created the ZX-1. It was a near-complete rethinking of what a modern camera should be. The tagline was "Stay in your flow." It was released in 2020 at a mindblowing price of $6000. Of course, nothing happened.

Today, the Zeiss ZX-1 is listed as "discontinued" on Adorama and B&H Photo (the two authorized retailers).

I think Sony was ahead of the photography enthusiast with the Sony RX1 in 2012. It had a full frame sensor jammed in a compact body. But again, it has its problems.

Clearly, most camera companies are afraid of losing money by building modern compact cameras.

Today, I believe the market has matured and is ready for a modern compact camera that fits within a modern camera ecosystem.

Who Cares About Compact Cameras?

Pro and enthusiast photographers.

Pro and enthusiast cameras are pretty good today (Sony a7). But they're too big to carry with you all the time.

But what about smartphones?

Enthusiasts are finally realizing that smartphones are not cameras; they are general purpose computing and communication devices that conveniently have cameras. An iPad has a camera. Even doorbells have cameras. But they aren't cameras.

Compact cameras are real cameras, and have a unique purpose. They have the ergonomics of a camera (a grip), larger sensor, and they are optimized for daily carry.

Camera Companies Missed Opportunity

Pros and enthusiasts have realized that no matter how good smartphone cameras get, it's still a mass market general purpose computing device.

Camera companies would be foolish to allow the smartphone industry to define the future of photography.

Most camera companies were slow to adopt mirrorless cameras. They're also slow to understand that compact cameras are a valuable component within a photography enthusiast's daily life.

The Rise of Compact Cameras

Camera companies seem to operate on a scarcity mentality. Instead of creating the cameras of the future, they fight for the high-end market.

Every camera company is missing a marketing opportunity to pair a compact camera with a pro camera.

In Sony's case, they could market a trio of devices: pro camera, compact camera, and smartphone! Each device would have its own strength.

If anything, smart phones brought more people into the photography enthusiast realm.

What if every professional camera had a compact companion? The Sony RX1R seems to be a near perfect companion to the Sony a7.

Compact cameras have yet to rise to their full potential.

Make Some Noise

I recently bought a Ricoh GR III because I wanted a truly pocketable compact camera.

With the popularity of the Ricoh GR III and even the Fujifilm X100V, maybe camera companies will begin to see what Samsung saw in 2012 - a photography ecosystem that includes an advanced compact camera.

Then again, maybe we will just keep waiting until a disruptor enters the market.

Finally

At this point it's a waiting game. We will have to wait or buy compact cameras that don't fully meet our needs.

But one thing is clear.

Compact cameras are the future.

James Wilder

James Wilder is the owner, writer, photographer, designer, and developer of Parked.Photography.

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