This article is titled the future of cameras because the future of photography is always going to be photography! I find it weird that people talk about gear when they’re discussing the future of photography. It’s not cameras that decide what photography will look like. It’s the photographers who decide what photography will look like..With the advancement of camera and sensor technology, it no longer matters what device is being used to capture images. However for the sake of argument of this article, let us dwell deeper into the future of camera technology by breaking it down into 3 general points.
1. Building more on AI and connectivity.
You might think this is something new, but AI already works inside your camera and lenses. Most, if not all automatic features on your camera use AI technology. Automatic exposures, autofocus systems, tracking, and stabilization are only a few. They help us capture scenes better. In the future, we will see AI take over a lot more of our photographic tasks. We could all enjoy better, faster and more intuitive autofocusing as can already be seen in Sony’s mirrorless line. Photographers often spend the majority of their time editing their clicks. Once AI becomes well implemented, time spent editing will reduce. A simple example would be Nikon’s inbody editing software. Imagine in the future if you clicked a burst of images and your camera automatically filtered out the best images, you would never need to go through hundreds of images to find your best click.
The future would also involve more connectivity between your camera and you. Imagine if you could remotely upload your images clicked in real time directly on a drive externally without having to use a bunch of SD cards and XQD cards. Albeit this might be a long way down the line it is definitely a possibility.
2. Smartphones Will Kill Off Compacts
It was recently predicted that digital camera sales will fall by 50% over the next few years. This doesn’t mean that we will be capturing fewer images. What it means is that we will just use something other than DSLRs, mirrorless or compact cameras and that would be smartphones! DSLRs and mirrorless cameras that use interchangeable lenses will fare better in overall photography however for the average user a smartphone makes more logical sense.The rise of smartphones have already brought about many advancements. A DSLR from 2013 could easily lose to a smartphone from 2020 in certain fields of photography. Smartphones will soon offer better sensors, higher resolutions, and innovative concepts for far cheaper prices.This will allow people to take better pictures easier. Smartphones already have a great benefit over DSLRs and mirrorless systems and that is constant connectivity, enabling the user to click, edit and share images instantly. If you were an amateur photographer and you were going sightseeing and you already have your smartphone, it’s a hassle to carry around extra weight, particularly a big DSLR and its multitude of lenses. For most people, a smartphone does everything that they need.
The cameras that will vanish first would be compact cameras and video cams as it will no longer be justifiable to be manufactured and sold. They will no longer provide anything that the smartphone can’t do better.
3. Death of the DSLR
In 1986, the Japanese company Nikon revealed a prototype for the first DSLR camera, the Nikon SVC. In 1988, Nikon released the first commercial DSLR camera, the QV-1000C. It featured a 2.7MP sensor, a 4.5fps burst rate and a maximum ISO of 1600. That makes the DSLR camera 32 years old. We’ve come a long way since then, and it’s doubtful if they will survive the next few years, let alone another 32. Over recent years, mirrorless cameras have improved beyond all predictions. Every major camera manufacturer now has mirrorless systems.The advantages of these systems over DSLRs are they are smaller, lighter, and are thus way more portable. On top of this, the lack of a mirror means true silent shooting, less camera shake and a faster rate of continuous burst shooting. DSLRs had the edge in image quality, but that gap has now closed. The Sony A7R IV has a full frame sensor and 61 effective megapixels. The highest resolution from any DSLR in the world comes from the Canon EOS 5DS at 50.6 MP. However we all know megapixels don’t account for everything *cough*cough* Canon 1dx mk3 and Nikon D5.
Mirrorless cameras can’t compete on battery life, but that’s just a matter of time.Slowly, with the advancement of battery technologies, mirrorless cameras will pick up the slack. We will definitely see a slow but sure shift to the smaller, cheaper models of mirrorless cameras as can already be seen with The Nikon Z50 and Sony a6000 series.
In conclusion however, photography will always be about telling stories through photos and that will never change. A good photographer can tell the same story by using a DSLR, a mirrorless camera, or a smartphone. It should make no difference…