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Cameramakers missed the Wi-Fi bandwagon on the road to obsolescence

Glenn Fleishman | March 27, 2015
The day of the standalone digital camera has passed for all but professional photographers and those who aren't paid for their work but have particular needs a phone's built-in camera can't meet. Smartphones won by making photos easy to share online.

Is it still 2007?


The past is remembered only in our memories and our pictures, and cameramakers missed many opportunities to remain relevant. But cameramakers are getting hip. Over the last few years, more and more have added first primitive and then more robust multiplatform smartphone apps for remote control, smartphone sync, and Internet upload.

The relatively recent mirrorless Fujifilm X-T1 ($1,200 for body) was cited by several people as having great networking and transfer support, including an automatic mode called PC AutoSave that works with OS X and Windows. It's especially good at using a smartphone or tablet for remote control and for image transfer. (Reports on AutoSave are pretty dismal, though.)

Cameraphones are still scratching the surface of what's possible, though the physics of lenses always wins: there's a lot more to be tapped within the constraints of the lens size and focal length a smartphone will support. Cameras with full-size, interchangeable lenses and other characteristics will wind up being made by companies still known as cameramakers, but which now mostly reap profits from selling scientific and medical equipment, or which are shrinking divisions of larger conglomerates.

More powerful smartphones with better cameras will become better and better partners of standalone DSLR and mirrorless cameras, and computational photographic gear of the future. Smartphones won the battle for the easy end of the market, but they and tablets will be a complement of the smaller, niche market of the future.


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