The future of the point-and-shoot (there isn’t one)

Point and shoot use on Flickr

MG Siegler at TechCrunch has put together another interesting article, this time on the future of the point-and-shoot camera. His basic point is that the industry is behind the curve and needs to evolve quickly to catch up in the social game. Though he makes some good points, I think it’s too late.

Siegler starts his article with an anecdote about his latest camera purchase, a high end Canon point-and-shoot, the S95, which he also says he uses five percent of the time. I can’t imagine why you would spend $400 on a camera you would use so little, particularly when the impetus behind most point-and-shoots is having pictures you can share. There are plenty of options at the prosumer DSLR level that can take better pictures for hardly more cost. If you need something more social, get a decent phone.

Siegler mentions all of this, but I think it’s actually too late for the point-and-shoots to make the necessary changes. Phones are just too far ahead. Sure, the S95 takes vastly superior pictures to my iPhone, but the times I want to take decent pictures I plan ahead. The rest of the time, I don’t want to be carrying another device with me. My phone is plenty sufficient if it means I don’t have to keep track of another device.

As cell phone cameras continue to improve, point-and-shoots will be more and more marginalized. Sure, there are still people buying them – a fairly significant part of the market – but dedicated devices rarely do well for everyday use. This is the same reason we aren’t going to see the Peek take off. Yes, it’s nice for checking email or tweeting, but do you really want to carry around the same device. Granted, a good point-and-shoot offers much more functionality than the Peek does, but it’s the same physical limitation. I don’t always want to have a bag with me, or worry about whether I’ll break something important if I put my camera in my pocket. I want something quick and usable, not something for taking super high-quality pictures. If I want that, I’ll take my DSLR. I don’t need an in-between.

Of course, that’s also where Siegler’s article ends. It seems for him that the dream of a connected point-and-shoot is truly a dream, and one that won’t be realized before smartphones have killed the market segment.

  

iPhone 4 still won’t kill the Flip

Flip video.One of the best features of iPhone 4 is that it records video in 720p. As with the iPhone 3GS, a lot of people have been asking whether that functionality will kill the Flip. I think the answer is still no, but it will eventually turn into a yes.

The problem is that the iPhone still isn’t prevalent enough. There are plenty of people in the world who are scared of smartphones – unsure that the additional cost of a data plan is actually worth it. For those people, the Flip is still a great option. It’s cheap, easy to use, and records great video.

As smartphones become more and more prevalent, though, its inevitable that the Flip will die off. As I’ve said plenty of times about the Kindle, I still believe purpose-built devices are a thing of the past. The Flip is no exception. The more advanced our daily handhelds become, the less we’ll need things like a Flip to fill the gap.

  

iPhone Has Become The Most Popular Camera On Flickr

iPhone Camera App Icon.The iPhone’s camera may not be perfect, but it’s quickly become the most popular camera on Flickr.

I made a post a while back sharing my impressions from the iPhone 3GS’s improved camera, and I was pretty impressed. For a camera phone, it takes some great shots, and really, that’s all I need. Some great shots. Here and there. Add to it the fact that I always have the camera with me and you’ll find me a very happy consumer.

It seems that’s the case with a whole lot of other people too, and they’re all sharing their pictures via Flickr. To be certain, the iPhone isn’t good enough to replace a DSLR or even a good point-and-shoot. It is good enough, though, for just capturing the moment, quickly and easily, and with some decent results.

  

iPhone 3GS Pics Are Enough To Shock And Awe

little-italy-9One of the most lauded features of the 3GS is the new and improved camera, which saw a 50% megapixel bump (2 up to 3). The magic isn’t in the megapixels, though, it’s the autofocus/auto exposure functions at the tip of your finger.

I took all of the photos you see in the gallery at a cemetery near my apartment (I realize that sounds a little odd, but it’s a historic site) or just down the street, and I was shocked at the quality. It’s not just that the photos focused well on the objects I chose, but that the camera could also automatically adjust for exposure and white balance, turning typically mediocre photos into some decent shots.

The best feature of the whole thing is that it’s built into the phone. Sure you can take better pictures, but carrying a point-and-shoot everywhere isn’t appealing for most people. I always have my phone, though, so I’ll be able to take great shots whenever the mood strikes. Having those shots on the iPhone also means I’ll be able to share them with remarkable ease. Emailing is fast and simple, and MMS should make things even better.

Angel shot with iPhone 3gsMy only wish now? A Picasa app, developed by Google. As it stands I can view my albums online, but there’s no uploading unless you use something like AirMe or Shozu, both of which are more complicated than they need to be. Neither of apps make clear when your photo is uploaded, and AirMe just drops the photos you upload into an album titled AirMe. I’ll do some more serious digging for this later.

With improvements like Apple has made with the 3GS, I won’t be buying a pocket camera any time soon. The iPhone now fills the point-and-shoot gap in my life. If I want something to take truly great photos, you’ll see my with a DSLR.

Enjoy the gallery. The photos have not been edited in any way, save orientation for the two portrait shots.