Things are changing fast in the world of photography. It’s no longer just about cramming more megapixels into smartphone cameras (although that’s part of it). It’s also about improving the range of photography options available to the average person. According to Enlight App, only around 10 percent of people ever snap a photograph with a device other than their own phone, proving just how dominant smartphones have become in this space. The number of people with access to cameras is growing every month as more and more people jump on the smartphone bandwagon in developed and developing countries.
But even as smartphones get more capable, there are a bunch of other emerging technologies that have geeks pumped. Here’s just a sample.
It took a while for the photography world to really catch on to what a game-changer drones were. At first, they were kind of seen as just toys for kids. But when videos started appearing on YouTube of people flying drones over their houses and using them to record their surfing out at sea, people started to take notice. “Wait a second,” they thought, “I don’t need to pay for a helicopter to get great quality aerial shots.”
Once that realisation hit home, everything changed. Drones became fashionable, and they’ve been used to follow their owners around ever since, capturing shots that would have been totally impossible just a few years ago.
Not long ago, if you wanted a decent camera, you had to part with more than a week’s disposable income. But the technology has improved so much that there are now lots of great affordable cameras. Again, we have the smartphone revolution to thank for all this. The ever-falling price of things like sensors and lenses has led to the whole industry benefiting, as well as consumers. A decent camera with lots of modern features can be assembled for just a fraction of the price that it used to cost.
Wearable cameras started off as being that something the police did to make sure that they were protected if they were accused of abusing protesters or people on the street. Since then, however, new technologies have emerged, like Periscope, allowing people to stream their lives online. Rather than spend the whole day carrying around their smartphone, many people are choosing to make their lives easier and wear their cameras instead.
Research suggests that the wearable camera market has already reached $300 million in total sales, and the numbers are still increasing steadily. Yes, Google Glass was a bit of a fiasco when it first launched back in 2011. But many camera makers hope that a new Glass will reinvigorate the sector in the future, perhaps incorporating a camera with some type of augmented reality.
No matter how good cameras on smartphones get, they’ll always have an Achilles heel: they don’t have an adjustable lens. For things like zoom, it’s possible to get around this by using digital zoom, but the techniques are never quite as good as the real thing. Now companies like FLIR and ALM CAMLITE are making real lenses people can pop over their regular smartphone cameras to make them better.