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Author Topic: Canon: "The market for digicams could shrink to about half in the next 2 years"  (Read 996 times)

Bart_van_der_Wolf

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https://translate.google.com/translate?sl=ja&tl=en&u=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.nikkei.com%2Farticle%2FDGKKZO40439650U9A120C1TJ3000%2F

Quote from: Nikkei Shimbun Morning Paper
Canon will shift the camera business's focus to corporate customers. President Fujio Mitarai interviewed the Nihon Keizai Shimbun, pointed out that the market for digital cameras could shrink to about half in the next two years. Meanwhile, we expect that the application of cameras will increase in industrial fields such as surveillance and medical care, and showed the idea of ​​providing lenses and other technologies to the outside. The main interactions with Mitarai Mitarai are as follows.

FWIW According to the article, Canon anticipates a shift of their Camera business' focus from 'Consumer' to Corporate customers.

If that is true, it might impact the development of new models for the Interchangeable Lens Cameras and even lower end offerings. On the other hand, it might also be a diversion tactic to confuse their competitors. Time will tell.

In the mean time:
"Canon places top five in U.S. patent rankings for 33 years running and first among Japanese companies for fourteen years running"
https://global.canon/en/news/2019/20190108.html

But there might be a shift in the applicability of those patents towards non-consumer applications.

Cheers,
Bart
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Slobodan Blagojevic

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One word: iPhone.

Bart_van_der_Wolf

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One word: iPhone.

Another word: Pixel
(The Google Pixel 2 or 3, are both excellent)
Actually, their computational photography capabilities are amazing. I can do e.g. handheld long exposure night shots that look amazingly low noise and with good color and shadow detail, and they're sharp despite being handheld.

And there are many other quite useful Smartphone cameras, which is exactly why Canon says that they anticipate a decline in cameras without a phone.

Cheers,
Bart
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John Nollendorfs

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Bart:
You are exactly right! Computational photography on phones is the future of most amature photography. Be interesting if/when computational photography comes to the larger formats.

I've been getting pretty incredible results under good lighting conditions on my 3-year-old MotoX Pure with 20MP sensor. I can put 20x30" sized prints on the wall, and you would be hard pressed to differentiate the 36 MP Nikon from the 20MP MotoX!

Of course I have no intention of giving up the Nikon, but the phone is awfully handy when I don't have the big boy around!

 
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Aram Hăvărneanu

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I don't get this computation photography hype at all. Every time I shoot in raw on my phone I get far better results that the "computational" JPG. In fact, this seems to be true even if I don't process my raw image, simply because it's not mushed by noise reduction.

I don't care about raw on my phone, because I don't really process my phone images, but sometimes I shoot in raw just to turn off the dreadful noise reduction and other "optimizations".

As for pseudo long exposures, I did that 20 years ago with basic open source software. It's not innovative at all. The "innovation" is packing imagemagick into the phone camera app.
« Last Edit: January 28, 2019, 02:31:31 pm by Aram Hăvărneanu »
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Bart_van_der_Wolf

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I don't get this computation photography hype at all. Every time I shoot in raw on my phone I get far better results that the "computational" JPG.

Depends on what you call Raw (and which camera/phone you use). In computational photography, a Raw can already be a composite of multiple exposures (aligned, multiple shorter exposure time shots added to avoid clipping and motion blur). These can also be already White-balanced and color-balanced (and saturation) adjusted 'Raws'.

Quote
I don't care about raw on my phone, because I don't really process my phone images, but sometimes I shoot in raw just to turn off the dreadful noise reduction and other "optimizations".

Some Noise reduction is better than others.

Quote
As for pseudo long exposures, I did that 20 years ago with basic open source software. It's not innovative at all. The "innovation" is packing imagemagick into the phone camera app.

Without the need for postprocessing with ImageMagick, they can do it in camera, nearly real-time.

Here are some descriptions of computational photography as used by Google's in Phone-cameras:
https://ai.googleblog.com/2014/10/hdr-low-light-and-high-dynamic-range.html
https://ai.googleblog.com/2018/11/night-sight-seeing-in-dark-on-pixel.html
https://ai.googleblog.com/2018/11/learning-to-predict-depth-on-pixel-3.html
https://ai.googleblog.com/2018/10/see-better-and-further-with-super-res.html

Cheers,
Bart
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Hank Keeton

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Well, "computational photography" is actually a long-established methodology for astro-photography (as well as radio-astro-photography) using multiple-continental instruments to record the same exposure at the same time, and then "computationally" combining those separate images into a single-final  "computed" form.

The camera manufacturer "Light" has a handheld cell-phone-look-alike on the market, giving fairly reasonable images in .jpg plus a proprietary RAW format requiring their own software for post. No PS/CS or Capture-One here.....

But the key to these examples is widely-dispersed MULTIPLE source exposures, in order to "compute" a highly detailed final result.

The "Light" camera is still working on its advanced algorithms (for their 16 separate image-sources)...I'm being patient!

Cheers,

Hank
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SeeingTao.com

Telecaster

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Well, "computational photography" is actually a long-established methodology for astro-photography (as well as radio-astro-photography) using multiple-continental instruments to record the same exposure at the same time, and then "computationally" combining those separate images into a single-final  "computed" form.

Yep. Can't wait for the (hopefully) upcoming Event Horizon Sag A* image!

-Dave-
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kers

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But the key to these examples is widely-dispersed MULTIPLE source exposures, in order to "compute" a highly detailed final result.
The "Light" camera is still working on its advanced algorithms (for their 16 separate image-sources)...I'm being patient!
Cheers,Hank

Multible sensors used simultaneously to capture the image works as long as the subject if sufficient far way ( stars for one) - if not you get parallax errors.
The amateur consumer photographer does not mind if things are not pixel perfect, like with the panorama's they shoot, and to some point they are right- depending on the subject and goal.

Coming back to the subject; if the average consumer photographer only is going to use their phone, business will become better for the pro- photographer i would think.
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Aram Hăvărneanu

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You can greatly improve S/N ratio with exposure stacking (essentially trading sensor size for capture time), but ultimately resolution is limited by diffraction (even with supersampling). Smartphone lenses that are not diffraction limited would be just as big as "real camera" lenses, and just as expensive. Since that's not happening (phones only get smaller), I conclude the hype around "computational photography" is overblown. Yes, what we can do now is somewhat useful, but that seems to be about it. Certainly won't be transformative to photography, as I often see claimed.

The Google demos are interesting when comparing with previous generation phones. But they pale in comparison even compared to a 2002 era DSLR like a Canon EOS-1Ds. Since the quantum efficiency of current sensors is extremely high, and since we won't be making bigger lenses for smartphones, the only optimization we can make is longer capture time. And since we already do that in this generation of technology, I conclude smartphone image quality won't improve much more in the future.
« Last Edit: January 28, 2019, 04:41:29 pm by Aram Hăvărneanu »
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nemophoto

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iPhones and the like have "dumbed down" photography. As a pro, can I take good shots with a phone? Sure. Would I want to? No. Like everyone else, if I see something I want to "preserve" (Like the ice on the tress from the recent snow/ice storm), I'll whip out my iPhone. Pretty decent quality even. But If I really want to shoot, I of course will grab a camera.

In a way, it's become the snapshotting of America (and the world). But, hey. Yesteryear's "snap shots" have become today's historical record.
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hogloff

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In a way, it's become the snapshotting of America (and the world). But, hey. Yesteryear's "snap shots" have become today's historical record.

Exactly. Nothing has really changed. The masses in the film days used P&S cameras and made 4x6 snaps developed at the corner drug store and put into their photo albums. I don't feel the quality of photography has been lowered...in fact I feel the quality of today's phone images are much better than the snapshots of yesterday's film.
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Benny Profane

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Another word: Pixel
(The Google Pixel 2 or 3, are both excellent)
Actually, their computational photography capabilities are amazing. I can do e.g. handheld long exposure night shots that look amazingly low noise and with good color and shadow detail, and they're sharp despite being handheld.

And there are many other quite useful Smartphone cameras, which is exactly why Canon says that they anticipate a decline in cameras without a phone.

Cheers,
Bart
Yup. My Pixel 2 is great. The fact that billions of people are walking around with this quality camera in their pocket is stunning. Pair that with mobile editing like Adobe cloud and Snapseed, and good photography is radically improved for anybody. And just down the road in a few years we'll be seeing 45mp cameras in phones. Hell, they're not really phones anymore, they're little supercomputers that take video and pictures and tell us how to get anywhere, but also make phone calls.

My one desire is for a case company to offer a product that has a sliding door or window that protects the lens from dirt and grime. Please.
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Benny Profane

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I saw an interview the other day with an older Greek photographer I was not familiar with. He was cranky about this subject. But, one has to stop with this film and older cameras were better stuff. One can walk into many museums that have a good photo collection, and find many pictures on the wall that were shot in Tri-X on 35mm. Now, c'mon, take a close look. Compared to a modern top phone image, if printed at, oh, 8x10, the quality just isn't that great. And yet Bresson and the Magnum stuff is revered. I'll bet you a few French francs that a lot of the early "street" photographers would be amazed at my Pixel 2, and buy one immediately, just like I'll bet you a season pass to the National Parks that Ansel Adams would walk out of his darkroom and never look back if shown a decent Photoshop and Epson printer setup. Time Marches on.
But, I still shoot with my Fuji because I print to a 17 inch printer. Who knows in ten years.
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Aram Hăvărneanu

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And just down the road in a few years we'll be seeing 45mp cameras in phones.

If we see 45MP phones, it will be a gimmick. Today phones at today's resolution are diffraction limited. 45MP would be useless unless lenses become physically larger. In terms of diffraction, my iPhone X's telephoto lens is equivalent to shooting a full frame normal lens at f/22.

It's pretty amazing what we can do with phones in terms of photography, but it's the best we will ever be able to do. Future improvements in quality will be marginal, at best. Sensors won't get much better, and assuming a perfect implementation, optical performance is limited by physical size. Unless phones will become bigger (which won't happen), optical performance can't improve much.

And no, the performance is nowhere near at the level of 35mm film used by Bresson (not that it matters, we appreciate Bresson for his seeing and vision, not for the technical quality of his imagery).
« Last Edit: February 23, 2019, 11:38:43 am by Aram Hăvărneanu »
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Two23

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There is another factor affecting camera sales.  I haven't bought a new one for at least six years--the Nikon D7100.   My strategy now is to simply wait a year or two after a camera has been released and buy a used one.  Same for lenses.  I'm currently shooting a Nikon D800E which I bought for $1,600, roughly half what they cost new.  Also have a Nikon D500 which I bought for $1,000, a $700 savings over new.  I'm currently waiting for D850 prices to hit $2,000.  Already I see lots of clean ones selling for $2,500, or $700 less than what they were less than a year ago.  I suspect there are lots of people like me.  If the actual marker for cameras, i.e. people doing photography, is shrinking, that makes it a buyer's market for used gear.  The performance difference between one generation and the next has become less and less.  I refuse to pay a ~$1,500 premium for a difference that is at best marginal.

Instead of buying new camera gear and taking a big hit on depreciation, I've been buying historical camera gear and learning how to use them.  The really nice stuff (Leica, Hassleblad, Rolleiflex, and premier lenses from the mid 19th century) have actually been going the other way:  increasing in value.  On my days off I get to open my closet and choose what to take out for the day.  Today it will be an 1925 Korona 5x7 with really cool 1840s landscape lens and a huge 1862 Voigtlander Petzval.  Will shoot glass plates and some film of abandoned farm houses in the snow.  Tomorrow I will take a Nikon D500 with Sigma 17-50mm f2.8, Nikon 70-200mm f2.8 VR, and Nikon 300mm f4 PF and go photo the ice races on Brant Lake.  The money I save by buying used gear goes to paying for travel. :)

Kent in SD
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Two23

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1. It's pretty amazing what we can do with phones in terms of photography, but it's the best we will ever be able to do. Future improvements in quality will be marginal, at best. Sensors won't get much better, and assuming a perfect implementation, optical performance is limited by physical size. Unless phones will become bigger (which won't happen), optical performance can't improve much.

2. And no, the performance is nowhere near at the level of 35mm film used by Bresson (not that it matters, we appreciate Bresson for his seeing and vision, not for the technical quality of his imagery).

1.  I agree that the difference between one generation and the one that follows is small, but I do see the advances over the years as substantial.  I collect old photos and photography journals.  One is from 1912--Camera Craft.  In 1912 they had anastigmat lenses made with modern Zeiss glass, reliable Compound (and focal plane) shutter, small roll film cameras, enlargers, and rudimentary flash.  At the time this was all revolutionary from the previous twenty years.  The editor of Camera Craft wrote that camera gear was now perfected and he didn't see any more major advancements. ;)  Since then we've had color film, coated lenses, in-camera metering, autofocus, motor drive shooting, ISO 800 capability (up from ISO 10 in 1912), and that just takes us to the introduction of digital.

2.  There are two ways to look this.  One is image quality and the other is quality of the image.  Image quality are things that can be measured such as resolution.  Quality of the image are the subjective factors--aesthetics.  From my own use of film up to 5x7 sheets I think my D800E produces cleaner files and more detail than my 4x5 and possibly matches my 5x7.   OTOH, I really like the classic look I get from black & white film and glass plates using lenses from the early part of the 20th century.  They seem less "sterile" than what I get from my Nikons and Sigma ART lenses.  What I use depends on what I'm after.


Kent in SD
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BJL

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A few comments obout phone-camera’s, optimistic and pessimistic.

Optimistically, I see the people who only use a phone-camera as the heirs to users of instamatics,  compact film cameras with fixed slow zoom lenses, entry level SLR kits only ever used with the kit lens and in full auto mode, and those early compact digicams with sensors not much larger than in good phone cameras, and inferior to today’s phone-sensor technology. So I do not fear any loss of photographic quality there; putting aside the sometimes obsession with the artistry of heavily blurred backgrounds, these phone-cameras are well ahead of mainstream gear of the film era.

Pessimistically, I agree that the small lenses of phones, limited to about 5mm effective aperture diameter, will never match the speed and low light handling available in even entry level ILC gear, nor the quality in telephoto shots much beyond say “portrait” range. They will never match the opportunities of a 4x zoom, let alone a 10x superzoom or modestly priced two zoom lens kit.

Optimistically again, diffraction limits on resolution worry me less; these little lenses can easily handle “normal” viewing needs of say 4K across (12MP), and are already past 35mm color film. What’s more, diffraction blurring is somewhat removable by post-processing: it is a mathematically reversible process once one over-samples the optical signal enough with “excessive” pixel counts. In short, sharpening can really work!
« Last Edit: February 23, 2019, 04:05:50 pm by BJL »
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Benny Profane

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And no, the performance is nowhere near at the level of 35mm film used by Bresson (not that it matters, we appreciate Bresson for his seeing and vision, not for the technical quality of his imagery).

Ah, but, that's the whole point. It's the vision, not the camera.

Just try to wrap your head around the concept that billions of pictures are being taken daily, and most will never see print of any sort. The modern medium is a smartphone screen. And 99% of those images will vanish into the ether, probably pretty soon.

And, I'll gladly put a 8x10 of something I've taken on my Pixel 2, with a few tweaks, up against any Tri-X shot print of Bresson's. Those prints, and other prints from his contemporaries, aren't that great, if just judging by print quality.
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Benny Profane

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iPhones and the like have "dumbed down" photography. As a pro, can I take good shots with a phone? Sure. Would I want to? No. Like everyone else, if I see something I want to "preserve" (Like the ice on the tress from the recent snow/ice storm), I'll whip out my iPhone. Pretty decent quality even. But If I really want to shoot, I of course will grab a camera.



But, sometimes, you just don't have a camera, right? But, you almost always have the phone.
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