Why GoPros are the only camera worth buying right now

“Apple’s latest ad campaign, ‘Shot on iPhone 6,’ uses iPhone photographers’ gorgeous still images and video to ask one question: Do you really need a standalone camera anymore?” Alex Fitzpatrick writes for TIME Magazine. “For many, the answer is no—and that shows in camera companies’ performance. Nikon’s camera sales were down 15% in 2014, Canon’s by 7.3%.”

“GoPro is succeeding in selling cameras where its bigger, older rivals are failing because it’s taking advantage of a major shift in consumer tastes,” Fitzpatrick writes. “For many people, smartphones are now good enough to replace typical compacts, like the Canon PowerShot line. There’s no reason to carry a comparatively bulky camera if your pocketable iPhone 6… can take snapshots of your family’s trip to the zoo just fine.”

“GoPro’s cameras are great because they offer something your smartphone doesn’t,” Fitzpatrick writes. “Sure, you could probably mount your precious iPhone 6 on your skateboard helmet before you go bomb that killer hill. But would you really want to?”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take:

25 Comments

  1. I beg to differ but then I am not only a consumer, I am also into the pro gear. I love a smart phone camera but sometimes tire of it’s limitations. Megazoom camera’s help out a lot here on the consumer side. I also think there are fewer people needing sports or drone cams over regular cams.

    1. More people need drone / sports cameras than are people whose needs cannot be met by an iPhone (i.e. long lens, extreme low light, etc).

      The numbers unmistakeably confirm that iPhones (in general, smartphones) are replacing vast majority of consumer digital cameras. The ones they aren’t replacing are high-end DSLRs (among professionals and pro-level amateurs), and extreme sports and other special-purpose devices (GoPro).

    2. The lack of significant optical zoom is the biggest limitation of smartphone cameras. Another major limitation is the smaller detector/pixel size – reduced sensitivity/performance under low light conditions, reduced “shutter” speed for fast motion.

      But smartphone cameras have one huge advantage – they are almost always readily available when you want to snap a photo.

    3. I’ve looked at the amazing things people are doing with GoPros these days, and I just don’t think I qualify as a true GoPro type person. Guys jumping of mountains and seemingly defying death and stuff… those are the GoPro people. Me waking up drooling at 05:30AM and checking the Internet to see if WWIII has broken out yet, meh. Not a GoPro guy.

      1. Yup. If you were to believe the GoPro ads, everyone in the world is jumping off mountains, waterboarding, biking down impossible hills. Who’s manning the world’s offices? 😀 It’s like the beer ads – all those sloshed ones look very bright-eyed and energetic as they score fantastic hockey goals or out-slam dunk Lebron.

        Having said that, I do have an entry-level GoPro and while it is limited in many ways – absolutely no zoom or other controls other than off-on – you can conveniently shoot some unique footage of activities the majority of REAL people do.

        I recently attended a carnival-like event with the GoPro mounted on my cap, and left it on all the time. What I got was a remarkable close-up look at what went on INSIDE the event, with lots of little personal things happening among people as I moved along.

        And because of the many innovative mounts available for the camera, you can capture some footage from angles which would be impossible with your ordinary vidcams.

          1. I did wonder about that before I set out, and it was a learning experience.

            For one thing, a surprisingly large number of people either just did not notice the camera or were absolutely not bothered. Those that did notice it seemed to have a momentary “freeze” but then went on their way.

            So no, no one confronted me, called their lawyer or punched me in the nose. One reason I suppose was that I was moving all the time, so I suppose no one felt “targeted”.

            I was also careful to not make eye contact with anyone unless necessary and for longer than needed.

            I suppose it all also depends on the kind of event it is, and the kind of people attending.

  2. Waterproof would have been good this past weekend. Could have gotten some great shots of water volleyball but no way was I getting in or near the water with my iPhone.

      1. Your response was rather terse, but it sounded like you consider what he is about to do somehow dangerous and death-defying (thus expecting to see an obituary).

        Exactly what is so dangerous about a hobby practiced by millions of enthusiasts (aviation), with quite a solid safety record? Let us not forget, an increasing number of those enthusiasts are attaching GoPros to wings, tails, undercarriage and other parts of their aircraft so that they can share the fun of flying with others.

        I am always annoyed when I see comments that imply that flying is somehow dangerous and death-defying. It isn’t; not much more than driving.

  3. Both GoPros and iPhones are great for the point and shoot crowd but anybody wanting to do serious photography still needs a more traditional interchangeable lens camera. Yes, Nikon and Canon sales are down but not just because of iPhones and GoPros. People are tired of carrying around the heavy gear and to that end many are opting for the super high quality, small and light form factor of the Panasonic Lumix interchangeable lens, mirrorless, cameras. Once the iPhone crowd realizes they love taking pictures, they start wanting something more powerful, but not needing to go with the ancient technology of Nikon/Canon, they can find everything they need in the new line of Lumix gear. Olympus is a player in this field as well as well as Samsung and Sony. But for my money I’ve moved almost completely over to Panasonic Lumix after shooting Nikon for nearly 40 years. Times are a changing but people still want quality images which they can get from an iPhone if a wise angle lens is all you need. Here’s more info on the changing field of digital cameras. http://naturalexposures.com/?s=lumix

    Daniel J. Cox
    Professional Photographer
    http://www.naturalexposures.com

  4. I’ve taken thousands of pictures with my iPhones over the years, and some have been spectacular. But at the end of the day, my Nikon and the big lenses I have for it, make all the difference for a real photograph. Pictures are light, and the more light you can show the sensor or film, the better the image. Bigger lenses = more light. Smartphones, and even small point and shoots, have terrible lenses.

  5. As someone who used to make a living in Photography in the pre-digital era and still does photography as an avocation in the digital era, I would qualify that statement.

    If all you do is take snapshots and simple video you can probably save yourself a whole lot of money and rely on your iPhone. For may other kinds of photography the specialized interchangeable lenses and options a “regular” camera offers you could be very important.

  6. The type of lens is very important. An iPhone lens suits portraits and general scenes, but is no good for getting close to the action during sports events. A GoPro has an amazingly wide angle lens which is excellent when strapped to something like a skateboard, but no good at all if you’re some distance from the subject.

    At the moment, there is no satisfactory solution for a telephoto lens for smartphones. Once somebody has cracked that, it will be very bad news for traditional camera makers as the main advantage of DSLRs and compact zooms will be gone as far as consumers are concerned.

    GoPro wouldn’t be threatened by that sort of development as they retain important differentiating features, such as compact size and waterproofing.

  7. iPhone is good for 80-90% of my pix, with a zoom lens Panasonic for the specialist shots.

    A great combo, just so long as you realise that one does not entirely replace the other.

    I sell plenty of A3-size prints sourced from iPhone 5s, though all need plenty of post in Photoshop to max them out.

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