OK, hang on: he’s talking about stills cameras, and he actually uses the more general term “smartphones.” But before Vincent LaForet was one of the very first professionals to pick up the Canon 5D Mk II back in 2008 for video (he created the seminal short REVERIE), he was a Pulitzer Prize-winning still photographer. So when HE says “…the standalone still camera will disappear from the hands of everyone with the exception of a few high end professionals,” you know something is up. Put differently: iPhones win.
It’s no secret that a bunch of us here at planet5D think Apple is an – no, THE – emerging force in the world of moving image capture (see for example: Apple shot its Oscars ad with the iPad Air 2 or The iOgrapher Comes to the iPhone).
Vincent LaForet may or may not agree with us (we’ve never met), but recently came out with a post which states what is obvious to him (and us too) in the stills world: ubiquity (a smartphone is always on you); software (built-in camera app, pre-set effects, simulated of shallow depth of field and more); and connectivity (always-on 4G cellular networks) make smartphones superior to stand-alone cameras as moment-capturing and sharing devices.
And with Apple's most recent patent, the handwriting on the wall will only become more vibrant.
OK. But the larger point remains.
While Henri Cartier-Bresson used a Leica; Vivian Meier used a Rolleiflex; and Sion Fullana and many in his generation now use an iPhone, it has always been and will forever remain the case that the person using the camera makes the image.LaForet: smartphones win. Click To Tweet
Prediction: The Age of the Standalone Still Camera is Coming to an End for all but PROS
Via Vincent Laforet:
This is bold prediction, but it’s clear to me that over the next several years, the standalone still camera will disappear from the hands of everyone – with the exception of a few high end professionals.
Professional photographers (if they still exist then… and I think many, or to be honest some will) will continue to make photographs with DSLR/ Medium format and perhaps mirrorless still cameras – but the vast majority of photographers will continue the exodus towards smartphones.
The smartphones and/or iPhones have already won.
I’ve been a photographer for 25 years now. I learned on black and white film and transferred to C-41 and then Chrome E-6. I was classically trained in a black and white darkroom and in color reversal and cibachrome printing. I was also one of the first staff photographers at The New York Times to shoot with then high-end digital cameras in 1999 – the $22,000 Canon D2000s.
Recently I’ve been working on a project called “AIR” that involves flying over cities around the world and photographing them at night from high altitude from a helicopter and I am LOVING the current cameras out there – they are AMAZING!!! We are working with the best cameras ever made today, that far exceed what film could ever have done. (Outside of 8X10 film for certain uses.)
Just two days ago, a friend (an amateur) and I went out to photograph with our still cameras and our iPhones. He had a Sony A7s, and I had a Leica M9. I also had access to a Pentax medium format 50 MP camera at the time.
Here’s what happened: my Leica M9 and his Sony A7s literally served as extremely expensive STANDS for the iPhones – to prop them up as we photographed a series of time lapses, stills, videos and slow motion videos over several hours.
The key take away here isn’t that iPhones are BETTER than still cameras. Not by a long shot. Let me repeat that again: iPhones and Smartphones are not better cameras by any stretch of the imagination to still cameras with specialized lenses.
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(cover photo credit: snap from Vincent Laforet)