Canon PowerShot - a digital camera
of the "traditional" kind

DIGITAL CAMERAS | A quite common opinion today is that "traditional" digital cameras as we all know them, are becoming obsolete because of other handheld devices that also come with a camera built in. The main competitors are of course modern cellphones and smartphones, like the Androids and iPhones. Even webcams are most likely also stealing some of the old school digicam market share. As we all know, a webcam is no longer necessarily an add-on bought separately and plugs in via USB, like in the old days. Instead they are just as often built straight into the computer, such as Apple's MacBook laptops, making digital cameras even more generic and accessible among people not looking for a camera in the first place.

However, I am sick and tired of hearing that digital cameras as we generally think of them today, will be, or already are, obsolete.
I would say that devices that are strictly used as cameras will always have their place. Not only professional photographers, but anyone who's serious about their photos and videos, will still buy straigt up cameras even in the future.

Want to know why? - The just read on....

Cellular / smart phone cameras

Held back by lack of zoom, lousy flash, slow and cumbersome operation

The Apple iPhone - worthy replacement of
your ordinary camera?
The most obvious drawback with cellphone cameras would be the lack of a zoom lens. Long optical zoom is one of strongest selling points of compact cameras, which offers a good option for users who don't want to all the way with a system camera have several lenses to carry around.

Flash and other means of lighting are improving with cellular cameras, but are still not on par with ordinary digital cameras. Furthermore, being an advanced and versatile product, shooting with a cellphone is often much too slow and cumbersome to be able to capture every golden moment that comes at hand. When the perfect picture opportunity is finally in front of you, it'll most likely be long gone by the time you've got the smartphone ready to shoot. - As opposed to a regular camera, which gets ready to start snapping within a couple of seconds from turning it on, and also often gives you the option to shoot several pictures in succession, to further assure that you ended up with at least one decent shot.

Webcams, then?

Unreliable resource hogs

WebCam Studio - demanding HD
webcam from Microsoft
Apart from the apparent limitations regarding the inability of free roaming around with the camera in hand, webcams are also very light sensitive, often have focus issues and they are huge resource hogs, which results in videos with very slow framerate, making all motions very blurry. If plan on recording HD video using a webcam plugged into your computer, you're strongly advised do some extensive research regarding system requirements for doing so first. Recently purchased Microsoft's Full-HD (1080p) webcam WebCam Studio  myself. But even though my system perfectly is capable of running most modern games of today with blistering 3D graphics and crisp surround sound, it could still merely produce hopelessly stuttering videos with broken sound, using this webcam. Then imagine what the result would be if you had other demanding softwares running simultaneously, while filming.

Future of webcams vs. regular digicams
- how about a combo?

What we really need is a webcam with some processing power built in, in order to achieve more stable, reliable recording that doesn't rely entirely upon your computer system's resources. It really puzzles me that ordinary cameras still can't be used as webcams.

How would it be to have a regular digicam with the neat feature that it can be hooked right into your computer and be used like a webcam without having to fiddle around with memory cards and readers transferring your photos and videos? All cameras already come with USB a connection, so why can't it be used for direct storage to a hard drive aside from the usual SD cards as the only option offered? Beats me...

The verdict

For a conclusion, I would say that high quality cameras will always have their place - even in the future. They may not sell like they used to, now that your casual Facebook and blog snapper now have a decent camera already available in their phone, which they probably settle with. What these modern handsets are primarily doing is making cameras more accessible. To casual users, first and foremost. You know, the kind of users who at most used to spend a few dimes on a disposable camera to shoot their holiday, back in the day...

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