Chase Jarvis, a photographer and Internet personality once commented that the best camera is the one that is on you. He is right. When I was in Iceland recently, I spent way more time taking photos with my new iPhone 7 Plus camera, learning to put the new telephoto lens and portrait mode to good use. In comparison, use of my Fuji xPro 2 was down drastically, though I continued to make photos with my Leica Monochrome. I am deeply satisfied by those photos — see some examples on my photo blog — and have found a new appreciation for the iPhone camera’s capabilities.
I am not alone in putting Apple’s smartphone cameras to good use. According to Flickr data, during 2016, “smartphones accounted for 48% of the photos uploaded to Flickr, up from 39% last year. DSLR was 25%, down from 31% in 2015, and point and shoot was 21%, down from 25% in 2015.” More affirmation for my thesis that iPhone is slowly killing the standalone camera.
Last night, when dining with my friend Bijan Sabet, we talked about the iPhone 7 Plus capabilities, and wondered about the future, the impact computational photography becomes more powerful and capable. As we move forward, I suspect my standalone cameras will become specialist machines – my Leica Monochrome might be ideal for my art-focused photographic efforts, while a Mirrorless/DSLR might be used for long exposure efforts.
We are already seeing cameras evolve and become hyper specialized — Snapchat’s Spectacles, GoPro Cameras and Drone-mounted cameras for aerial work. I suspect by the time 2020 rolls around the point and shoot share of overall photography just might be down to single digits.
December 7, 2016, San Francisco