After picking up my iPhone 3GS and using it for almost a month now, I’m officially calling it: the point and shoot camera is dead. It’s kind of a bold statement but I truly believe they are fast becoming a relic of the past. Obviously high end SLRs are not going anywhere but the middle ground between SLRs and “camera phones” is really starting to disappear and become a meaningless distinction.
The age old saying of photographers is that “the best camera you have is the one you have with you.” The reality is that carrying another device on your hip is not something anyone wants to do. In addition, there are always those unexpected moments where you couldn’t have predicted ahead of time that your camera was needed. I hate to use the word “convergence” as it seems to be something that has been promised forever but I think the current generations of smartphones are starting to get us there. Although my iPhone 3GS has about the same capability of a low end point and shoot camera from five years ago, it doesn’t matter. It is perfectly good enough for my needs and well worth it given the fact that I don’t have to carry around another device.
Just look at the most popular cameras used on the photo sharing site Flickr for example. The iPhone is second but very close to being the most popular camera used to upload photos to the service. The reality is that people don’t have an interest in printing their photos like they used to do in the film days. Today, people want to immediately upload them from whatever phone their using to Facebook or their other social networks and generate conversations around them. In a world where photos are viewed online on a 15″ computer screen and very rarely printed and blown up, your phone’s camera is perfectly fine. I think it is quite comical that the average consumer who walks into an electronics store looking to buy a point and shoot is all concerned about things like megapixel count when most of their photos will never make it off their computer and only likely be viewed as low res thumbnails on social networks or via email.
I would love to hear your feedback and whether or not you still use a point and shoot camera and why. The only real reason I see a use for them is if you are on a vacation and are in “picture taking mode” for an extended period of time. Other than that, I think the camera in your smartphone will do just fine.
Photo Credit – magikid