Apple’s iPhone cameras not only destroyed the compact digital camera market, they completely changed society

“It’s seldom discussed, except amongst digital photography buffs, but the various smartphones, led by the iPhone, have largely killed the market for small-sensor, pocketable cameras,” John C. Dvorak writes for PC Magazine. “But that’s just the beginning.”

“Small cameras were doomed once Apple took photography seriously and managed to get professionals to champion the iPhone… even I have to admit that they’ve produced many stunning images,” Dvorak writes. “While it is unlikely that a smartphone camera will knock out the large sensor mirrorless and mirrored DSLR anytime soon, there is probably no reason to have any sort of small camera at all if you have an iPhone… This seriously disrupts the digital camera business in much the same way the digital camera revolution wiped out the film business.”

“Besides wiping out a market for small cameras and impinging on professional cameras, the societal impact of the camera phone is also remarkable,” Dvorak writes. “I wrote a column long ago discussing how small cameras have created Little Brother as opposed to Big Brother. This is playing out all the time now with the emergence of videos showing police gunning down innocent victims. Some municipalities have tried to ban these public uses of smartphone cams, but there is no stopping it.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Beyond the politics in Dvorak’s article – some may say “define ‘innocent'” – the iPhone camera did indeed wipe out the small format digital camera market. After capturing some image with our new iPhone 7 Plus cameras, it’s amazing to think that the first iPhone had only a 2 MP f/2.8 camera rear-facing onboard!

As for the politics: The police obviously need better training. Driving While Black™ is indeed a thing and it’s a contemptible and revealing thing indeed. Regardless of the color of your skin, when confronted by a police officer: Stop moving! Don’t decide to reach for anything from anywhere. Don’t move unless told to do so. Follow the instructions you’re given. If your rights are violated at any time, there’ll be plenty of time to deal with that later since you’ll likely still be alive.

Professional photographer Benjamin Lowy puts Apple’s iPhone 7 Plus cutting-edge camera to the test – September 20, 2016


  1. The best camera you have is the one you always have on you. With the iP7 Plus dual lens advantages are quickly fading for any but the most pro users. I wouldn’t give up my DSLR’s but the iPhone 7 Plus really helps to narrow the gap for something so portable.

  2. My first digital camera was a Kodak DC40, back in 1995. I think it had a 512×768 pixel sensor. It had a proprietary image compression format. Worst was no LCD, so you couldn’t see the image until you had downloaded it to your Mac and opened it with their application. Barely more convenient than film.

    1. Even more to the point the iPhone replaced the need to download to your Mac. It’s not just that everyone has a decent camera in their pocket now. It’s they also have a decent photo editor and a way to distribute the photos. That includes off sight backup. In less than an hour you can: shoot several photos of a subject; choose the best ones; edit them and fix flaws; post them so several of your friends can see them. In a day, if the photo is great or something important ( like a terror attack ) it can be seen by millions. In all of the 20th century this could only be accomplished by a large news organization with several skilled professionals. In the 00 this would take a digital camera, a computer with good software, and hours if not days to pull this off.

      Now it’s in your pocket as a add on to another device. This is the real change. We don’t have cameras ( as in more than one ) in our phones. We have photo labs and publishing companies.

  3. I use a waterproof Olympus camera for diving and snorkeling. It has a far greater zoom range than my iPhone. I’m not sure how easy the iPhone shutter will be to use under water. Plus, I would hate to take my iPhone down to the depths the Olympus will withstand. It’s a niche market, for sure. For hanging around the pool shooting photos, the iPhone may supplant my Oly.

  4. How is the iPhone camera inferior?
    Optical Zoom

    I know with the 7s this is starting to change, but anything beyond 56mm (35mm camera equivalent) is digital zoom. Since 43mm is the approximate equivalent of human vision, getting to 56mm is a negligible change. Substantial from the wide angle 28mm lens setting, but hardly any closer than real life.

    Sure compact camera sensors are typically not very good, but they do maintain full resolution when zoomed to a 70mm, or 135, or 210, or whatever 35mm equivalent focal length.

    That having been said, I hardly use my compact camera any longer. I have an iPhone in my pocket that is always with me and a DSLR for when I want more functionality.

  5. As a professional photographer, the iPhone isn’t going to replace my 5DmkIII anytime soon, but I also rarely take the 5D out for personal use. The iPhone (6s) is great for most things, but still suffers in low light.

    I carry around a Sony RX100mkII for the times when I want to take decent shots, like when I’m on vacation. Would a dual lens iPhone 7 make the Sony more redundant? Perhaps but I have absolutely zero interest in a phone of that size, so chances are I’ll never know.

  6. Now imagine if Apple made It easy to snap off the standard lenses and snap in better lenses to the iPhone Plus.
    Who would instantly sell more camera lenses?
    Where would the camera accessory market go?

    The DSLR market has been shrinking at a dramatic pace. It’s only a mater of time that they are only a very minor niche market.

  7. In The Netherlands police brutality does occur but is very rare. Suspects sometimes get shot but that is also very rare. Then again: nobody carries a gun around here. The US definitely needs more gun control. Widespread gun ownership has more cons than pros.

    1. Your post will likely stir up the natives…it is a hair-trigger topic around these parts where even college kids can pack heat and some people seem determined to recreate a twisted modern version of the Old West.

  8. This is “bloated gasbag Dvorak.” Has MDN suddenly become kinder and gentler?

    And you are behind the times, Dvorak. This subject has been discussed many times on this forum. I posted this very idea a day or two ago. You are paid far too much for your worthless pontifications.

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