iPhone 4S Camera: The P&S Gap Closes
At Apple’s iPhone 4S launch extravaganza, Phil Shiller proclaimed that “To many customers this will be the best still camera they’ve ever owned and the best video cameras they’ve ever owned.” Strong words, but probably not far off.
The already lauded camera on the iPhone 4, which is the leading image-making device on Flickr, boasts a lot of impressive new features, including, according to the Cupertino keynote today:
- 8 MP, backside illuminated CMOS sensor, allowing 73% more light
- 33% faster capture (1.1 second for initial capture and .5 seconds shot to shot afterwards)
- five element lens
- f/2.4 aperture speed
- 30% more sharpness
- hybrid IR filter
- 1080P video capture
- improved auto WB
- face detection
Obviously, this will not affect the buying decisions of enthusiasts and pros, except that maybe they will skimp on that second pocketable carry-everywhere camera like the S100. But camera makers are no doubt distressed about their market share in the point-and-shoot segment, which represents the large swath of cameras sold. If the device already in your pocket takes acceptable party pictures, this will be enough for the average consumer (my cousin spent countless hours extolling the virtues of his iPhone 4 camera on a recent family vacation).
And with a seemingly endless stream of third party apps which let users add faux-filters, controls and features to the built-in camera hardware instantly, upgrading your camera is now becoming a software solution. For anyone who has ever done a firmware update using one of the traditional camera makers, which seems to require an engineering degree, the simplicity of the Apple ‘it just works’ philosophy is certainly compelling.
EOSHD opined yesterday on the consumerization (my word and I’m sticking to it) of the marketplace, with innovation coming in the form of ‘sweep panorama’ and other consumer gimmicks. With the P&S market in trouble, could the silver lining of all this be that camera makers cede ground in the consumer market and reorient their focus, investing more resources into pro and enthusiast R&D?
And so, we undoubtably sit at a decisive turning point in the camera market. Is this the beginning of the end for point and shoot cameras? Give us your thoughts in the comments.