The Camera is Becoming a Luxury Item

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Zeiss 85mm f1.8 Batis first impressions product photos (2 of 6)ISO 4001-180 sec at f - 4.0

For the past couple of years, overall camera sales have dropped. The drop started before the earthquakes and tsunamis in the Eastern parts of Asia that wrecked factories. For a while, cameras and lenses weren’t put out or announced. Then when new announcements finally came, sales went up again before slowing to a trickle.

The camera, the dedicated camera that is, has hit a point in society where it is a luxury item overall. Despite the economy looking a tad better, folks (we mean those nowhere as discerning as those with dedicated cameras) are very happy with the results that they get from their phones.

Model: Asta Paredes

Model: Asta Paredes

In terms of actual needs in life, no one NEEDS a camera the way that they need a phone or a computer. So with the fact that phones are able to take such excellent photos (yes they can you snobs that hate camera phones) combined with the versatility that they offer, the cameraphone market isn’t just eating into the point and shoot market but also the ILC market. People understand that a more professional camera can (technically speaking at least) deliver better photos. But at the same time there are photographers that are making their entire living off of shooting ads on Instagram.

Cameras are luxury items in a way. They’re designed for people that want more creative control though many will buy them and shoot in Auto and completely waste their money. But society’s obsession with images are in a spot right now where mobile is king and followed by DSLRs that are slowly being dethroned for the mirrorless interchangeable lens camera offerings. Years ago, everyone needed a camera and that’s why folks even went with disposable cameras. These days, everyone has one and everyone is a photographer using their phone. But not everyone is a creative. To be a creative, you can use whatever you really want. A phone, a toy camera, a pinhole camera–it doesn’t matter. What does matter is the person with the idea.

Due to this very rapid change in photography history, cameras are bound to be updated much less often than every six months or year. And in each update we’re bound to see bigger and better things that can only be better for the consumer and the professional. But again, only the people that really appreciate and want that better image quality and creative control will go for those. With that in mind, digital cameras and lenses are bound to become items only in the hands of those of us who have a great appreciation for a specifically crafted product with attention to details like ergonomics and feature sets.

This change has happened before. First, photographers were primarily large format and medium format. Then it went into the hands of everyday men and women with 35mm cameras, and pros and enthusiasts complained. Then 35mm became the standard. After this, digital became the standard, and pros and enthusiasts complained. In today’s world, people can do great jobs with phones and enthusiasts use the web to make sales to companies and earn supplementary income.

But with all this in mind, the dedicated camera is becoming more and more of a luxury item while images (good images, that is) are becoming more and more in demand.