Nikon last week released its Coolpix s800c next generation camera with integrated Wi-Fi connectivity and camera apps. Although this represents a technological step forward, Seymourpowell explains why it is an offer that might have surfaced too late in the game.
In recent years, compact camera sales have suffered dramatically due to the rise of the smart phone. According to InfoTrends, in 2011 it was estimated that more than 80 billion images where taken in the US alone. The top uploaded device to Flickr was an iPhone. A new breed of photography has arisen.
The introduction of cameras and sharing services into phones began in 2001 with the Sharp J-SH04. Its release changed photography in both cultural and technical terms. The most common term to describe the smart phone phenomenon is iPhoneography. According to the Urban Dictionary, iPhoneography is ‘the act or practice of sharing quick digital pictures and performing digital processing or sharing from within the mobile phone itself.’
The key attribute of a smart phone is you always carry it. As commercial photographer Chase Jarvis said, “The best camera is the one with you”. Phone images are spontaneous and honest, they capture raw events. What a smart phone lacks in control it gains in speed, as the photographer focuses on composing what is before them. With a camera you create a moment; with a smart phone you are in the moment. This spontaneity and simplicity of capture allows you to become embedded. A photographer is no longer someone who takes a photo, but someone who decides there is a moment worth capturing.
Driving this change in identity are the tools and services that enable the consumer to become more creative. iPhoneography is a simple back-to-basics capture, with limited control. According to photographer Tom Ward, although limited control creates constraints, it can be positive as it aids consistency of style: “A camera phone strips a photograph down to its core component; composition.” Post-production is a key part of iPhoneography it allows you to turn a snapshot into a work of art and add meaning to an image. Layering tools such as Photoshop are no longer limited to the professional – amateurs can achieve the same effects through apps.
Though the Nikon Coolpix has noted these needs and incorporated Wi-Fi and apps into its functions, its major problem stems from the question, why do we need it? With the likes of Nokia N8 with a 12Meg Camera and the capability to post produce and share within the device what does the Nikon bring? At a time when people are beginning to try to simplify their lives, if your phone can already do all these things, then why do we need another piece of technology to carry?
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