Goodbye, Digital Camera; It Was Fun, But We’re Done – EE Times


Even if Kodak knew that digital was the future, and many there probably did, and they had seized on making digital cameras, it was still a shrinking business.  There was more money in film than there currently is in digital cameras.  Camera companies like GoPro are fighting a losing battle; the cameras get better and cheaper.
As for SLRs, I agree that the quality of an SLR is better than a phone, but an iPhone is still really good.  Look at most snapshots from the 80s.   Film was either really slow or fast and grainy.  You needed a flash for any lower-light conditions, and flash ruined everything.  You rarely need a flash with an iPhone.  Since the film was slow, the shutter speed was too long and everything was blurred. There was no white-balancing.  The exposure was usually off.  (The iPhone will take 3 pictures in succession to capture a large dynamic range, which is something that was only possible with great difficulty in the darkroom in the 80s.)  In short, with no skill, you can easily take a better picture with an iPhone than all but the best photographers of 1985 with their best equipment and darkroom skills.


I work for a company in Rochester and go out there from time to time.  It’s not a bad place, though it’s not what it used to be.  Kodak had 65K employees there; now they have about 2K.  People could get a good job there right out of high school.  Now the blue-collar options are not as good.  On the plus side, if you are an engineer there, the housing prices are pretty nice.

David Ashton

Nothing has really changed
Point and shoot camera —–> Smartphone
Fancy film SLR & Lenses—–> DSLR
What’s changed is that it’s so much easier to send/show the photos, and the almost limitless capacity of digital cameras, so easy to take lots of pics and chuck out the duds.


The big change that smartphones have made in camera use is that previously people took cameras with them when they were expecting to see something “special” — an event, on holiday — and took the photos, then when they got home developed the film (old days) or uploaded them to their PC (recent days) where they got looked at, maybe printed and stuck into an album which was brought out occasionally when reminiscing and shown to a few friends or family.

Digital cameras superseded film ones because of cost and convenience but the use model didn’t really change so much — if you didn’t take the camera with you deliberately, you didn’t take a photo, and even if you did only a few people saw them, usually much later.

This has completely changed, now people have their cameras with them all the time, typically they take photos (and videos) and share them on social media or online albums immediately, so many more people see them in almost real time.

Yes there are still a few people who use digital cameras, but mainly in a more professional mode — when you went out to a tourist attraction a few years ago everyone had compact digital cameras, now thay almost all have smartphones instead.

And the newer phones can take pretty good photos, even when viewed on an HD screen — maybe not quite as good as a high-quality digital camera, but then the slightly lower-quality photo you did get is better than the high-quality one you would have got if only you’d had your camera with you…

What this shows is that the vast majority of people would rather have a pretty decent camera with them all the time where they can share the results immediately (smartphone) than a better-quality one they only have with them when they plan in advance to take it (a digital camera), especially where the difference in quality for most people is pretty small and decreasing every year.


Maybe you’ve missed the key point that it’s at your own pace, you engage when you can/want to. TXT/IM is the most relaxed and comfortable way of communication. And socializing with friends is a good thing in general so maybe it’s less than ideal to think of it as being at the core of addiction or information overload. Social networks on the other hand, might create more problems than they solve.

I did not claim that there is a need for 24/7 communications. With TXT the line is open 24/7, just like voice mail if you want but it doesn’t mean that the parties are engaged all the time.  


Some might call that an addiction or being “tethered”.  If I’m doing something where I don’t want to be disturbed.  The “need” for 24/7 communications is imagined by most, and not really a necessity.  And we wonder why so many teens are stressed out.


I think what many missed was that Kodak’s business model was very much to sell a consumable product, film, and hardly at all to sell cameras. In fact, their cameras were typically mediocre to quite poor, compared with the camera competition, but were a vehicle to create more of a market for film.

As to smartphones replacing cameras, I certainly agree that they have, but only because they are so much more convenient. Why carry anything else, if you already have that smartphone. But let’s not kid ourselves. Those tiny lenses and tiny sensors do not defy mother nature. They can only gather so many photons. Most people are satisfied with mediocre quality, though, and couldn’t care much less. Plus, the newer smartphones have improved image resolution, so that deficit in quality, compared with DSLRs, is so much less of an issue, for the casual user.

Overall, though, I’m looking forward to smartphones being replaced by something else, just so we can stop seeing smartphones hyped up so often. And so we can stop seeing distracted zombies walking and driving around, glued to their smartphones. It’s an epidemic out there. Unbelievable.


A smart watch could help but your kids might argue that not having your phone with you is just crazy 🙂

Patrick Mannion

Oh, I totallly agree in the efficiency and it’s getting easier with voice to text, but the case for texting falls apart when I’m running the house or the yard, not near the phone (hard to believe, right?) and they’d rather text 5 times “Dad, I’m ready, are you coming” than call the phone so I can hear it:) So, my rule is: If I haven’t ressponded to the first one, odds are I’m not near the phone, so start dialing…


Texting and IM are convenient as you can converse at your own pace, you can have multiple conversations at the same time while doing other things and there are logs so you can go back. With the closest friends it’s a continuous 24/7 conversation that has no Hi or Bye. Reading is also faster than voice, much more efficient. Your kids are doing it right.


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