Are classic digital cameras at risk from the lack of real innovations?

Are classic digital cameras at risk from the lack of real innovations?

After years I bought a new “more professional” camera. A Fujifilm X-T30.

Reasons: Good experiences with Fujifilm during the past and I liked the retro design. Quote

“Retro outside, top modern inside”, I assumed.

Quelle: Fujifilm

What makes a real camera better than a smartphone?

After years of only taking pictures with my smartphone (HTC U-11+), I wanted a “real camera” again. These were my motives:

  • Better quality, more resolution and scope in terms of image detail.
  • Built-in flash with clip-on flash option
  • Physical zoom, or zoom at all without technical trickery.
  • More options with interchangeable lenses.
  • Curiosity about technical development!

Without a doubt, the camera is awesome; is one of the best in its class. Unfortunately, the concept and innovations of the camera, like all other similar cameras (DSLR / DSLM) on the market, is not very innovative.

I got used to a fast, spontaneous and intuitive way of taking photos with my smartphone. The few functions and possibilities increased my creativity. Now I had a “real” camera with countless buttons and 300-page instructions. It was only thanks to the automatic mode that my first frustration was reduced for me as a “degenerate smartphone photographer”. Quote

First realization: The Fujifilm X-T30 is not for degenerate smartphone photographers.

The Fujifilm X-T30 is for people who have known the classic operating concept of a camera for years and are familiar with the aperture, shutter speed, ISO values an so on. That has to be practiced. Smartphone photographers first have to take a few courses, read some books/tutorials or watch YouTube videos until they understand the principles; but far from mastered.

How to win back Smartphone photographers

Of course there are a few goodies for smartphone photographers:

  • Automatic mode with motif programs
  • Panorama function; the professional does better with software.
  • Video function up to 4k
  • Built-in flash instead of a sad LED light
  • Touchscreen
  • Pairing with smartphone for GPS tagging and photo transfer for social media sharing. Works, but extremely slack.
  • Photo transmission via WiFi. Sometimes it works, but the software seems to be from the 90ies; works lame and unreliable; is not fully fermented.

Painfully missing:

  • Manual setting of the area to be focused; even in automatic mode like on a smartphone. It just does not work, I mean is also automatized and doe it randomly right; there is at least facial recognition.
  • GPS tagging; You probably had to do without this, because the camera quickly gets warm thanks to the 4 quad-core CPU and the battery doesn’t last too long (should be fully charged every day).
  • HDR function. Any smartphone can do these days!
    Professional solves this with a series of exposures and software (recommendation: nikcollection) on the PC.
  • You can see that the Fujifilm X-T30 is clearly aimed at classic photographers. Because even these have a smartphone, there are a few innovation crumbs from the smartphone world. More marketing driven than really useful …

Second finding: The classic camera manufacturers seem to be looking backwards rather than forwards. There is a lack of real innovations.

Is the death of classic cameras approaching?

Dear classic camera manufacturers

The camera functions on smartphones are developing rapidly. You should move! It is high time for new, innovative camera concepts so that market shares do not break away. Your customers could slowly die out. It seems as if you are waiting lethargically. “Can die out itself” like Kodak did back then.

The first camera manufacturer to invent a new, intuitive operating concept will dominate the market; at least for a while or without striving. similar to the first iPhone 2007, or Tesla in the auto industry.

Innovative concepts

Light L16 Camera: Instead of juggling with interchangeable lenses, it would be easier, all lenses are always in the camera and take pictures of all at the same time. Unfortunately, the company no longer exists but was obviously inspiring; Numerous smartphones took up the idea by continuously installing more lenses in the devices.

With the Lytro Illum, thanks to innovative light field technology, you can change the focus point as you like, even after taking the picture. The autofocus becomes superfluous; no more photos on which the wrong area is in focus. The camera doesn’t seem to exist anymore, or the company went to:


The classic camera manufacturers do too little to win back smartphone photographers.

Real innovations in photo cameras only seem to be slumbering as concepts or are being adopted by smartphone manufacturers. The classic camera manufacturers unfortunately still operate with marketing innovations that were only copied by the smartphone competition. I hope something really new will come soon!

What do you think? 

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