Robin Wong's Ten Things OM Digital Solutions must do...

fortwodriver

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Phones are very clumsy to use as cameras, and have limitations. That won't likely go away even with Alice, if that will ever even be popular.

Clumsy? To who? If they were so clumsy, nobody would use them. They certainly changed the way we take photos, but I don't think they can be called clumsy anymore. Different? Absolutely, but "clumsy" is only relative to what you're used to. It's not just an age thing either. I know a lot of retirees for whom smartphone cameras have opened up a world of travel photography. It's more related to how adaptable you are and how willing you are to go with the flow of change.

It's the camera on-hand, with software that can do a multitude of things that stand-alone cameras can't do. Most cameras don't offer an easily accessed API to try anything new, anyway.

As far as limitations go, sure, just like 35mm cameras had limitations compared to large-format film cameras - yet, were we all walking around with Sinars and Toyos at the high-point of film photographic technology in the 1990s? No.

Smartphones have taken award-winning photos and shot award-winning films. Once those two things happened, and once ASC members got their hands on those products, all bets were off.
 

RS86

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Clumsy? To who? If they were so clumsy, nobody would use them. They certainly changed the way we take photos, but I don't think they can be called clumsy anymore.

Yes I stand by what I said, they're clumsy to use as cameras, and naturally in this forum my comparison was to ILC's with controls and ergonomics outside of the screen-only, and with tilting or articulating screens, and of course an EVF for example. I know this for a fact when I use my phone camera vs. my cameras. I have not said anything about phones not being able to take great photos.

I can make an example too. If someone who has not tried an ILC says that a phone camera is not clumsy, it does not mean it is not clumsy, it just means he doesn't know better. I have handled both, so can make this claim, and am very surprised if someone in this forum doesn't agree that phone cameras are clumsy compared to ILC's.

Now, of course taking a photo with the top-end phone cameras can give great results as it uses computational photography, and you don't have to bracket exposures with your computer for example. But this has nothing to do with how clumsy phone cameras are, it's related to the ease to getting good enough results without much post-processing, and a big part of their success.
 
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exakta

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Unfortunately another thing was familiar as well: they didn't sell all that well and the whole "half frame" thing just wasn't financially sustainable.

They sold well in the Orient (surprise). When I was living in South Korea in the 1970s I saw non-ILC Pens everywhere. In fact I went into a Seoul camera store and picked up both a used Pen F (with the clip on meter!) and later a Pen FT.

Minolta, Canon and perhaps others made half-frame cameras. Canon even had an ILC RF model!

EDIT: also Yashica, Ricoh, Petri, Fuji and Konica. But by 1967, only Olympus remained.

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They just didn't sell well in the rest of the world where people bought 126 format cameras instead.
 
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PakkyT

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This has been litigated so many times it's truly tiresome and if you are curious at all I would encourage you to look to anyone else to continue the discussion. But when designing the sensor, you're looking at a density over a given area, not blindly maintaining the same pixel density of a crop aspect sensor by spacing out the exact same receptors to hit the same mp target.

Do you not understand basic geometry? I am talking about sensors of the same generation where each photocell is the same size regardless of which aspect ratio you make the sensor. If you make the sensor 1:1 and then you crop images from that 1:1 to something besides square, you will get less resolution in your resulting image than if the sensor has been sized for that aspect ratio.

My crude off the cuff drawing...
1615301899762.png
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The red is your 1:1 sensor, the blue is a more traditional rectangular sensor. Are you trying to tell me that if you take your 1:1 image (the red square) then crop it to the same rectangular aspect as a dedicated blue rectangular sensor leaving you the dotted area, that this is not less pixels had you instead started out with the rectangular sensor (blue rectangle) which fully contains your 1:1 crop area plus extra pixels around it?
 
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PakkyT

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Clumsy? To who?

I would agree that phone cameras are very clumsy since you have a very thin device that you have to hold by the edges in order to not be touch one entire side of it (the screen) or else things happen that you don't want to happen. This makes them much more difficult to use one handed when you are trying to hold the phone by the edges and also touching a "shutter" on a screen that may not be conveniently located near a free finger.

Many camera phones take excellent photos but during used (photos and especially video) they can be very clumsy to use and I think effectively train most of their users to take poorly framed shots where the user chooses ease of handling over nice framing to get the shot in many cases.
 

RS86

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I would agree that phone cameras are very clumsy since you have a very thin device that you have to hold by the edges in order to not be touch one entire side of it (the screen) or else things happen that you don't want to happen. This makes them much more difficult to use one handed when you are trying to hold the phone by the edges and also touching a "shutter" on a screen that may not be conveniently located near a free finger.

Many camera phones take excellent photos but during used (photos and especially video) they can be very clumsy to use and I think effectively train most of their users to take poorly framed shots where the user chooses ease of handling over nice framing to get the shot in many cases.

I have only dropped a phone two times in my life (and it didn't break because once it was only from 40 cm, and the other time I was able to ease the fall with my leg) so am pretty agile with my hands (and feet, having competed in footbag), but wow, I'm not sure how at ease my mind would be if I had 1000+ € camera phone I'd use all the time. And when dropped I'd also lose all my lenses.

I have had an ILC only for 5 years, but have never dropped a lens or a camera (knock on wood). This thing is also related to the clumsiness of a camera phone, and the risks it brings. Btw. are there easy-to-use wrist or neck straps for phones?
 

PakkyT

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Btw. are there neck or other straps for phones?

Ya you can buy phone cases that have the ability to add hand or neck straps. I am actually surprised that phones are not designed with the little "port" to easily add an (included with purchase) hand strap.

To me the way that phone manufacturers could make the camera soooooo much easier to handle is if they could "turn off" (oir effectively ignore touches on) half the touch screen so you could grip the phone by the front and back better rather than tiny edges. Maybe with just the portion of the screen with the shutter active.
 

RS86

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Ya you can buy phone cases that have the ability to add hand or neck straps. I am actually surprised that phones are not designed with the little "port" to easily add an (included with purchase) hand strap.

To me the way that phone manufacturers could make the camera soooooo much easier to handle is if they could "turn off" (oir effectively ignore touches on) half the touch screen so you could grip the phone by the front and back better rather than tiny edges. Maybe with just the portion of the screen with the shutter active.

Okay, that kind of strap would be nice. Although I don't use any cover in my phone to keep it small so it doesn't bulge in my pocket. This is because I so rarely drop phones (and like to live dangerously 😁).

Your suggestions is actually very good. Just like you say, having fingers on the edge of the phone makes it very clumsy, and if you accidentally press the screen it can affect AF point or settings etc. And if your fingers slip a bit from the edges, the phone can turn in a weird way and fall from your hands.
 
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mauve

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I am actually surprised that phones are not designed with the little "port" to easily add an (included with purchase) hand strap.
This was certainly heresy against the blessed words of Apple©® as compiled in St Steve holy scriptures.
My first N_k_a - shun be its name for eternity - certainly had one.
M.
 

RS86

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This was certainly heresy against the blessed words of Apple©® as compiled in St Steve holy scriptures.
My first N_k_a - shun be its name for eternity - certainly had one.
M.

For phone makers profits its surely not a good thing, so in that way doesn't surprise. Of course one would only keep it attached if taking photos or using the phone for a long period of time.
 

fortwodriver

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Yes I stand by what I said, they're clumsy to use as cameras, and naturally in this forum my comparison was to ILC's with controls and ergonomics outside of the screen-only, and with tilting or articulating screens, and of course an EVF for example. I know this for a fact when I use my phone camera vs. my cameras. I have not said anything about phones not being able to take great photos.

I can make an example too. If someone who has not tried an ILC says that a phone camera is not clumsy, it does not mean it is not clumsy, it just means he doesn't know better. I have handled both, so can make this claim, and am very surprised if someone in this forum doesn't agree that phone cameras are clumsy compared to ILC's.

I was taking a far more holistic approach to "clumsy." Many snapshooters seem to be more than happy to exchange camera ergonomics for fluid picture taking AND nearly immediate sharing. In that context, ILC cameras are definitely "clumsy" when compared to even the most basic smartphones with cameras now.

But if you're talking solely ergonomics:
Just the fact that you have to carry an extra device makes them relatively unergonomic no matter how good the hand-to-camera mechanics are.

Ergonomics don't seem to be enough to make the masses put their camera phones away and use a stand-alone camera to take photos. They're not Neanderthals and can adapt to whatever ergonomics the smartphone is based on. I'm sure you've seen concert photos or street scenes of adults holding up entire iPads to take photos, right? Looks silly to you and me, but the point is made.

In fact, they adapted so well that many DSLRs are sitting in closets gathering dust.
 
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Petrochemist

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Some of those would be worthwhile I'm sure, but overall he's Wong.
 
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No question the ergonomics of an EM1.3 are better than a phone for taking pictures. There's also no question that the ergonomic benefit is not big enough to outweigh the size/convenience/single device advantage phones have.
That said, for certain types of photography(telephoto is the largest example), cameras with external lenses still have a big advantage. There's no getting around the physics/optics, even with really good computational photography. Even the new phones with separate "telephoto" lenses still are orders of magnitude less effective than a dedicated camera with even a mid-level telephoto. Go try to to take a picture of a monkey/bird in a dim jungle 50ft away with the phone if you doubt this. There's a reason why that type of photography is the one places where superzoom point and shoots are still sold. So I think Olympus choosing to focus on that segment is a good choice...it's less likely to be replaced by phones.
As far as the Alice camera goes, seems pretty silly to me. Ergonomics are poor, and you've still got a tortuous path for the light to the phone sensor. Seems a better option would be a decent camera with a much better Wifi camera to phone interface.
 

RS86

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I was taking a far more holistic approach to "clumsy." Many snapshooters seem to be more than happy to exchange camera ergonomics for fluid picture taking AND nearly immediate sharing. In that context, ILC cameras are definitely "clumsy" when compared to even the most basic smartphones with cameras now.

But if you're talking solely ergonomics:
Just the fact that you have to carry an extra device makes them relatively unergonomic no matter how good the hand-to-camera mechanics are.

Ergonomics don't seem to be enough to make the masses put their camera phones away and use a stand-alone camera to take photos. They're not Neanderthals and can adapt to whatever ergonomics the smartphone is based on. I'm sure you've seen concert photos or street scenes of adults holding up entire iPads to take photos, right? Looks silly to you and me, but the point is made.

In fact, they adapted so well that many DSLRs are sitting in closets gathering dust.

Yes, phone cameras are easy to use with only pressing a button, and easy to share the photos, but imo this is not about "clumsiness". Most people love that you don't have to adjust anything if you don't want to, but these people are not the ones that will buy ILC's, or are the ones who buy it and leave it to the closet very soon. Sharing photos easily has nothing to do with clumsiness imo, that would need another word, because this is related to how you handle it physically. "Ease of use" or something maybe.

So our argument seems to be related that I think clumsiness has to do with physical use of the object while taking photos, and you think it's the ease of use in total, while not giving much weight to ease of physical use while shooting. And I'm talking about those people who want to adjust framing, settings and handle the camera easily, while you talk mostly about people who have switched from compact cameras to smartphones.

Enthusiast or pro photographers won't exchange ergonomics and other ILC benefits for those things (while they likely also have a phone camera and use it for ease, I do too, but never for art), just like they likely didn't exchange ILC's for compact cameras.

This is a totally different market. The prediction is that ILC's will stay at 4-6 million units sold per year, and that is because camera phones just don't cut it for more serious shooters (of course some are fine with even that while doing art), and that is related to the clumsiness and other disadvantages of camera phones.
 

mauve

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This is a totally different market. The prediction is that ILC's will stay at 4-6 million units sold per year, and that is because camera phones just don't cut it for more serious shooters (of course some are fine with even that while doing art), and that is related to the clumsiness and other disadvantages of camera phones.
See the graph below (source : https://shotkit.com/camera-industry-stats/)
smart-phone-effect-on-camera-shhipments.jpg
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4 million cameras / year is 1970s level of sales. And the industry sold films, prints and such they don't anymore ! In those days, a "competent" camera was more than one month of wages. Who's ready to put ~1.700 €/$ in an E-M10 VII ?
Tough question.
M.
 

RS86

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See the graph below (source : https://shotkit.com/camera-industry-stats/)
View attachment 877237
4 million cameras / year is 1970s level of sales. And the industry sold films, prints and such they don't anymore ! In those days, a "competent" camera was more than one month of wages. Who's ready to put ~1.700 €/$ in an E-M10 VII ?
Tough question.
M.

I'd definitely suggest one to keep compact cameras and ILC's in a different category.

Thom Hogan says that 5 million units sold per year seems to be the minimum in his latest article, and he knows a few things about the industry, more than me for sure. This would be roughly a bit under half of what the usual units sold is, if you don't take those couple top years as the reference point. With downsizing of the companies, I still think, like Hogan, that it's possible for the companies to survive.

We also cannot know how the overall photography interest will reflect in youth wanting to do more serious photography, like I wanted 5 years ago switching from a 600 € phone camera to an ILC. (Because it broke, without my mistake, after 2,5 years and fixing it would have been too expensive compared to a new phone. Not very good use of money.)

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https://www.macfilos.com/2020/10/15/where-does-the-camera-industry-go-from-here/
 
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PhotoCal

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Videos like this are clickbait. I don't watch videos of navel gazing.

The company needs to make money. And people spending money on incremental improvements due to their need for emotional fulfiilment help companies make money with as little effort as possible.
 

Hypilein

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Looking at that graph I really wonder if people are drawing absolutely wrong conclusions. It is clear, that the drop in compact cameras and the rise in smartphone photography are connected, but looking at the numbers for system cameras and lenses I don't think that connection is that strong. It doesn't really make sense either. People who weren't happy with compacts were not all that likely to be happy with phones 5 years ago. What is quite possible though, is that the drop in sales comes from the fact that cameras are just not replaced as often. I still shoot an original EM5 underwater and in terms of image quality I don't think there is a big difference to my GX8 and looking at test shots also not to the G9. Looking at the development of the Sony A7 series in the DPReview Test Scene shows the same results. In the A7R series the difference in resolution is actually quite apparent. Maybe something to consider for the anti-resultion-faction. In Mu43 if you want a noticable jump in image quality, you need to look at the pixel shift versions.

Just to make it clear, I'm not saying there is no difference between a current camera and one from 2012, but increases in IQ hardly justify spending upwards of 1k€/$. There will always be some chasing after the very best, but those are not the majority.

Incidentally, I am looking to upgrade my EM5 for underwater not because of the image quality, but because of other more modern functionality (focus peaking!) that is available on newer cameras. So Olympus who have introduced a whole host of these useful features are actually on the correct path in my opinion...
 

mauve

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[...]
It is clear, that the drop in compact cameras and the rise in smartphone photography are connected, but looking at the numbers for system cameras and lenses I don't think that connection is that strong. It doesn't really make sense either. People who weren't happy with compacts were not all that likely to be happy with phones 5 years ago. What is quite possible though, is that the drop in sales comes from the fact that cameras are just not replaced as often.
[...]
The trouble being that compacts were branded and added to the bottom line of camera companies, while phones don't (except for Sony which supplies sensors to everyone). If you earn your living with tons of consumer goods, you can dabble in luxury items at a loss ; but when revenues dry up, the fancy stuff has to go.
M.
 

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