Modern Camera Makers Need to Stop Sitting Pretty and Start Majorly Innovating

I think that the entire tech world is trying to outdo traditional camera makers; and they need to start fighting back.

The more I look at the capabilities of smartphones and the more that I step into meetings with bigger photography technology companies, the more I start to wonder what traditional camera manufacturers think about staying ahead of the curve. If the sloth-like pace for them to create full frame mirrorless cameras and lenses is any indication, then I’m really scratching my head. Phone manufacturers, photography software companies and other companies are doing more things than ever to replace traditional cameras. When I hear verbiage like “giving designers the power to create photo-realistic images without paying for expensive photo shoots” I see the intent for disruption simply for personal profit. But I see other things too; most folks can’t tell the difference between a photo taken with a traditional camera and a phone anymore. In fact, if you didn’t look at the EXIF data you probably wouldn’t be able to tell. This is just one of the many features of the mobile web.

To that end, I really wonder why a company like Sony decided to neglect a ton of its own innovation. This comment is specifically pointed at killing their Sony Play Memories apps. For what they charge for cameras, I don’t fully comprehend why they didn’t push those features into all their cameras. Touchless shutter, time lapse, and a number of other cool apps were all available to help photographers push themselves further. But the decision was made to kill the store in lieu of charging consumers to get the most from their cameras. In my eyes, I see this as Sony shooting themselves in the foot. They gave up something potentially great that would’ve pushed the rest of the industry forward with a wake up call and would have continued to make more and more people look with more interest at serious cameras.

But that’s not all that I’m talking about. With nearly every camera having a working touchscreen, I’m not sure I understand why photoshop-like features haven’t been implemented into cameras yet. Phase One is sort of doing this with Capture One Inside, but I don’t see why we can’t apply Gaussian blur to a JPEG. “Shoot RAW and edit later!” you say as I hear you reading this. My retort: if you’re going to complain about dual card slots so much then consider the fact that JPEGs can be written to one card and those photos can edited in-camera then beamed to your phone and to your favorite social media platform. More and more, this is what photographers are doing. Putting photoshop like features inside of the cameras is a great way for camera manufacturers to allow creatives to do everything from a single device. Considering how much talent there is out there in AI and technology, I’m positive that the industry could work with companies to make better photos inside using their processors, sensors, etc.

But beyond this cool things like augmented reality could also be really cool. As insane as it sounds, appealing to folks who shoot lots of selfies isn’t enough. I say this because if you’re an observer on social media, you’ll see how many people put those silly animal ears, noses and eyes on their faces. Augmented reality is something that folks love playing with. It’s still photography; and it’s still being done in camera. But traditional camera makers should really find a way to appeal to others by implementing these features.