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Someone asked me how the camera companies could survive in the cell phone era. Here's how:
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62 comments
 
Now that is a cool idea. If they came out with one that worked with an iPhone and not my Android I might consider drinking the coolaid - if the camera was good enough:-)
 
A few further comments:

* I'd anticipate that you could detach and use much like a GoProHD.
* Thus the camera would still likely have a storage card in it. Indeed, given the phone's likely storage limits, that would be a good thing.
* It takes some coordination between Apple and the camera maker, as there are things you can't currently do on the connector that you'd want to.
* It would work on an iPad, too ;~)

And guess what: it's modular (semi), programmable (very), and communication (extremely).
 
It's an interesting concept. maybe not one I would forsake my dslr for (with current technology) but something I could see falling for in the future... Anything to get a better camera on my iPod Touch (4th gen)
 
I would rather see camera companies work more closely with phone manufacturers. In the next 5 years, it probably won't make a lot of difference, but an established presence or partnership in the next 10 will make a big difference. Make sure that the phone can be a remote. Share the screen so that you can either see better detail or adjust items within the shot without having to recompose the camera, even change exposure after that.
We are coming to a point where more and more technology will talk to each other and the one that integrates the best will be the winner. I personally would never do an add on like this. If I have to have the bulky second piece, I would just go with the whole hog. If however, I could use my phone to make operating the camera better, then I will be more likely to follow that forward thinking company. Once iPads have retina screen, could you imagine using that as a viewfinder for fine tuning your focal point? I can, and I think some of the Canon or Nikon people need to be thinking that way to. IMHO.
 
Sony Ericsson had a similar looking phone + separate camera thing before integrated camera phones became the norm. In use I didn't find it to be practical at all. This however was about 9 years ago so any new stab at it would certainly improve on image quality, I remain sceptical as to how practical it would be and who would want one.
 
I think I like the EyeFi approach better (though I still think they have a fair bit of work to do): i.e., let the camera be a camera, not just a slave device/module to the phone. The phone can sit in the pocket, wirelessly grabbing everything from the camera and can also be used to remotely control the camera and manage photos when appropriate.
 
It is indeed a nice concept.
For a DSLR? Well if I could attach a cable from the iPhone port to the camera I could have plenty of new possibilities. Even the simple chance to use the phone as a remote shutter would be nice, then I could transfer a snapshot to the phone and share it... the possibilities are many.
Of course a module attached to the phone is be another thing, better and affordable... and would sell a lot!
Tascam produces voice recorders for every pocket: the ONE device that a shop in my town sells the most is a stereo microphone €100 which attaches to the iPhone!
So, you are right +Thom Hogan the technology is way beyond what the Japanese companies would like to sell...
And another company (Polaroid) sells a very low end digital-camera that is also an android phone, with the risk of not being good in neither of the two...
 
+Jon Gauntt So which do you think is more likely to happen? (a) Apple design their own camera (again); or (b) a camera company convince Apple to work with them on something like this. The problem is that the camera companies are late to the game. If you don't think the phone companies haven't already been thinking about this big time, then you didn't notice the Nokia N8 or N808.
 
+Eric Souza The problem with the Eye-Fi approach is that it's YATITW (yet another thing in the workflow). I can build all kinds of elaborate chains of device A talking to B to C to D, etc., but in the end, the consumer simply won't go that way. They want it reduced to "press button, picture shows up on Facebook."
 
Lawlz...it'd be funny to see a phone with a nikon mount. I could throw my 70-200 on it and go to town.

I'd be like having a nex.
 
I too am not fully convinced of Eye-Fi, mainly because it does not use an open protocol. I would like companies to decide whether they want to sell hardware or software.
That said, the user gets almost what you describe with Eye-Fi: Turn on the wireless hot-spot in your phone, on your camera choose some pictures and mark them using the lock button, and voilà, they are on facebook.
 
I just think camera companies are late to the game. I know Nokia made some inroads, but their big push was to get good cameras into the phone. I would rather they find a way to transform uses of the phone to improve what the camera can do. I just don't know that they are willing to do it. If they aren't careful, Apple may pick up some Zeiss glass and repeat what Nokia did and really force the issue. I hope it doesn't come to that. I am a strong believer in specialized hardware that works with other hardware.
 
Now there is an easy way to get started with programmable and communicating. If the camera component could be made cheaply enough (possibly by offloading some work on the phone) its even moving towards modular. At the right price point, that would be a genius product. 
 
Thom, like I alluded to, I don't think EyeFi is all the way there yet but I think they're on the right path. That said, EyeFi Direct mode does enable "press button, post to Facebook" with the only addition to workflow being a brief wait while it moves the photos to you phone. And you can even automate that process fully if you want, by enabling automatic upload straight from the phone to Picasa, Flickr, Facebook, etc.

+Carsten Schultz , absolutely agree, the protocol ultimately needs to open up, but it is at least accessible to both major mobile platforms right now (iOS and Android).
 
If there was some way I could slap a droid to my 7D.... the things I would be able to do, especially if Canon would just release the hard code or what ever it was called so people could mod it...
 
Only if the Sensor is Nikon-1-like, otherwise it is not much better than an add-on lens, like the i-pro lens
 
You have to wonder how seriously Apple would accept this if it were really a product. They seem to be ok with extending the IOS devices, not so friendly with replacing IOS device functions. I'd buy this in an Android version for my Samsung Galaxy II, though.
Specs would have to be similar to the lens/sensor modules on the Ricoh GXR system.
 
+Carsten Schultz But not without a bunch of intermediary settings fiddling. Moreover, there are times when you DON'T want an image to go somewhere, so completely automated middle-men like this are not the answer.
 
Look, this same sort of convergence is happeing in other fields, very interesting stuff -- Mackie has a new mixer that uses the Ipad to control everything -- you can take the controls walking around the room. Awesome mix of hardware mixer with offloaded software. http://mackie.com/products/dl1608/
 
Yes, but just making the hardware does not mean it will work. Another question is why Samsung and Sony are not doing more. Here are two companies who both do tablets and phones as well as cameras. And yet...
 
Cute. Nothing like another Apple-only peripheral. Though, obviously Android compatibility for such a device would be tough, due to the differing hardware layouts on various devices. I just hate to see companies sacrifice themselves at the altar of Jobs.
 
+Stefan Chiripuci I had that phone -and I loved. I had the camera all the time with me, but I rarely used it. SInce I'm not an apple user, I don't really care about a camera solution like that. I think Nokia approach is more interesting
 
But suppose a camera had a droid built into it? Like, say, you could call people with your camera. You could text people with your camera. You could instantly upload pictures to facebook. You could download apps which could do different things in your camera (firing intervals, added software functionalities), and could edit pictures moderately with a mini lightroom like functionality. All in camera. And it could do GPS. It would be much much bigger than the Twist-n-Shoot, but would do really awesome things. By the way, a Twist-n-Shoot to me sounds like it would sell by the millions. It has a cool name, and could be quite usable. Thom, you must patent it! :) It would be really neat if it could be made and sold...
 
I have my doubts if a 3rd party phone add-on for iPhone, Android,... would be succesfull. It adds bulk to the phone, secondly there are mechanical challenges. The mock-up as shown would rather sooner than later have mechanical issues. Making a more rigid/stable contraption would add even more bulk, to the point that it has no benefit over carrying a separate camera.

If it would have made sense I guess we would have seen such product already by now...

I think that an phone integrated approach still is the way forward even though there are some engineering challenges to be overcome in improving the performance of the camera (optical path, more zoom, larger sensor).

I think the Nokia 808 and the Lytro give good clues what the direction will be.
 
How about adopting the phone for the camera instead of the other way around? Many people would rather have a great camera with a phone that's "just good enough" instead of the reverse.
 
Since cameras are bulky and smartphones nowadays very, very, flat, it would make more sense to have the phone "stick" to the back of the camera module as viewer and controller (with applications, communication, and programmability of course).
 
There are two major components that currently define the line between phone cameras and "real" cameras- sensor and lens. The Nokia PureView series (yes, it's going to be a series) takes the sensor difference out. We are left with the lens and a bunch of smaller differences- imaging ASIC, AF and exposure systems, and the physical interface. At some point some company will find a way to create a lens that is usually fixed at its minimum extension with a 28~50mm equivalent focal length, but can be extended to provide both longer and wider focal lengths (say a 24-120mm equivalent lens with minimum extension at 35mm equivalent). Integrate than in to a (just slightly thicker than usual) smartphone, and you've just killed somewhere between 10% and 50% of the compact market.
The only beef left for the camera companies will be "specialty" devices: ultra-long zooms, bigger batteries, bigger sensors, better algorithms implemented in hardware (as opposed to power-sucking software).
 
+Stefan Chiripuci That's the kind of attitude where new things never get developed. The excuses we ignored in Silicon Valley were (1) "it's been tried before and failed because..."; (2) "it can't be done."

Well, if you think either of those things, you're right, you can't do it. But someone else will ;~)

I actually think it's a bit late for that particular solution. You have to design ahead of the curve, not behind it. And you have to hope that your "ahead of the curve" takes you just long enough so that the curve catches you about when you launch. I suspect wireless will be the answer, however it doesn't change anything but the connection: you still need close cooperation between the phone module and the camera module.
 
+Chris Callahan Building the phone into the camera would be probably the wrong solution in the current world. There's virtually nothing you can reduce in size below the current iPhone (short of killing battery life or using a smaller screen), and you still have to add all the camera stuff into it and keep it all from crosstalking. Then you have to have multiple bands for communication. You have to navigate the patent nightmare. You have to come to terms with 100's of phone service providers worldwide, all of whom want their logo bigger than yours. Nokio, Samsung, Sony, Panasonic, and Apple can do that due to preexisting relationsihps. Nikon, Canon, Olympus, Fujifilm, Pentax, et.al., won't be able to, I think.
 
Way back in the day, I had something like this for my Palm (I think it must have been a Palm Color, which has been obsolete for longer than many people have been in photography). It was handy, albeit limited by the technology of the time. I think for something like this to work, though, it has to offer some very big advantages to the consumer. A sensor alone is not enough: these are starting to show up on the phone themselves. Connectivity and such are software, and again, can be integrated into the phone. The big advantage with this approach is the extra space you get for a better lens and better storage. A phone needs to be pocketable (I already find the iPhone too big) but the laws of physics say a "good" lens, meaning basically a reasonable zoom for a decent sized sensor, has to be larger than can be balanced on that thin phone.
I am not sure if we are quite ready for this yet, but I agree that within 10 years it will be mandatory for the compact camera segment.
 
As far as I am concerned I've got it all just how I like. I always have my camera with me and that will never change. I have an eyefi card in the second card slot of my D7000 and I can send full resolution images straight to my Android phone where I can publish full resolution images to my smugmug (or flickr or g+ or whatever your poison). All without ever touching my computer. This is real and available now. No cell phone will beat my D7000.
 
But your D7000 is huge and doesn't make phone calls or have any other functions besides photography...
 
I don't like the way my EyeFi connects to my iOS devices. It has trouble connecting, drops the connection, etc. But if you could have a wifi module in your dSLR that interfaced with your iPad, especially in a year or so when you've got 128 or 256GB of storage...
 
I agree that is the next step. Wifi in the camera. But I find my eyefi is pretty reliable and actually surprisingly fast.
 
So that's where Nikon is going to use leftover parts from the Nikon Coolpix 995's. ;-)
 
I think if that tiny Nikon Speedlight SB-N5 for the V1 were somehow worked into an add-on flash for a camera phone, then it would address one of the biggest deficiencies in smartphones.
 
Make it face the side, ala the Coopix 900 series. I think I'd prefer that!
 
I will not pay more than 100 u$S for that camera-phone, . I don;t think the camera companies can survive with that. i bet on Apple thinking something smarter !

Greg
 
It DOES seem like a no-brainer that Nikon could leverage smartphones. But I suppose the downside, for them, is that they wouldn't make any money off of it, vs. using a custom device. I went to Iceland a couple of years ago, and was trying to find if there was some sort of iPhone GPS interface out there.
 
I believe camera makers should make an interchangeable lens camera (DSLR or mirrorless) that can use a smartphone (ie. the iPhone) as the interface and OS (via an app). Probably something like a D5100 where you can attach an iPhone as the tilt and swivel screen. I'd imagine the high resolution and touch-enabled screen, the powerful CPU and graphics processor, the mobile network, wifi, and GPS capabilities, and the ease of application distribution (to update the camera firmware) will be a progress to what we have now. So the phone should be an attachment to the camera, and not the camera an attachment to the phone. But then again, that depends on how you see it. :)
 
+Pavan Kaul Hey Pavan: don't hijack threads. My email address is well-known. If you have a question outside of a discussion, just send it to me directly. I'll be removing your question here.
 
What about just plugging your smartphone into the camera and use it as storage/field editing. They already put a USB port into the cam...
 
The smartphone should be an extension to the camera, camera manufacturers should have a free app with basic file transfer and a paid app that can control the camera, eg time lapse, remote shutter release, off camera flash commander setting ... ...
 
+Seth Grenald +Alex Ortega To some degree that's what this concept is. The problem we're facing with all these "smart" devices is proliferation of similar components. You're buying multiple sets of RAM, multiple CPUs, multiple storage, multiple displays, multiple batteries, multiple everything. In true "convergence" you see significant reduction of component duplication because you carry one thing that does everything. In true "niche" you see significant duplication of components because you want to control one thing very specifically. So the question is this: are the cameras of the future convergent or niche devices? The world is voting convergence. Thus, you want to design with as few duplicate parts as possible: you really want the add-on device to the convergent device to only have those things that it absolutely needs on its own to function better than the lowest common denominator in the convergent device.

All these "just use WiFi" suggestions are "cameras are a niche" suggestions. They're just replacing a USB cable with a WiFi connection. Sure, one less cable, but it comes with huge costs (battery, potential bandwidth costs, more duplicate storage needed on the convergent device, etc.).
 
I'll play devil's advocate here (because I'm ornery ;-) ). The problem as I see it, with convergence, is that the camera manufacturer is going to offload a lot of control (and profit for that matter) to other companies. So if Nikon decided to make an "iCam" that connected to an iOS/Android phone like your picture, they wouldn't be able to charge a huge amount for it. And, more importantly, they would be relying on Apple or Samsung or whomever for the "computer" part of the camera. What happens when I buy an iCam, but my "Brand X" Android phone doesn't have the horsepower to keep up with it? Who will I blame? And then there's the app on the phone. We already know how good Nikon is at writing software (cough). If iOS 6 breaks the iCam software, Nikon will have to update the software to support "old" hardware that they aren't making any money from.

I suppose Nikon (or whomever) could partner with Apple, etc and build a camera module for the phone manufacturer, letting the partner design and support the software and other convergent parts. But they'd probably make almost no money on the deal, even at volume.
 
With the way things are going with cameras in mobiles, this won't even be necessary/viable in a few more years.
 
I don't see what this module buys you over the camera that is already in the phone? It's a little sensor, little lens camera, and the phone already has one. I really do like the idea of the communicating, programmable camera (I'm a systems administrator, I program all my workflows), but I don't see the advantage of docking a dinky little sensor and a little fixed lens onto a phone. Or at least - that's how the mockup looks to me.

I sorta think that a camera into which you can dock your phone (physically or by some wireless protocol) would be cool. You get all the advantages of a camera and a phone. And a synergy if when you have them both.
So think of the OMD but replace that tilting screen with a dock for an iphone.

And when you want a "real" camera with comms, GPS and an interface you can program, you just dock your phone into the back of the camera.


Actually if you go the wireless dock route instead of physically docking, you could probably do it with a D4 and the current wireless unit, an iphone, iphone app and a good healthy chunk of reverse engineering/disasembling/patching (I didn't say you could do it legally) the D4 firmware.
OK it's not as small as a phone, but if you just want small, you still have the camera in your iphone.
Do it with android, and the camera could even serve the app from the wireless module's webserver and avoid the walled garden.
Ok, granted, I'm getting a smidge carried away and a D4 might be a trifle big.
I guess what I'm trying to say there is the components are already in stock at the camera manufacturers they just got to jiggle 'em 'round a bit.
The other solution for the camera companies to stay relevant is to start making commodity sensors, asics and lenses designed as phone components. They can compete with the existing phone camera widget makers on brand, and hopefully on innovation - they already have pile of tech, they just got to repackage bits of it.

In the same way qualcomm sell radios and modem asics to apple, motorolla, sony and all the other phone manufacturers, there is no reason that Nikon could not develop and sell sensors (or would that be sony?) EXPEED mobile image processing asics and Nikkor Lite lens assemblies to phone manufacturers.

That way they can get a slice of that mobile action, a "phone cam tax" if you will and keep to their core competencies and still do R&D on image processing, optics, sensors etc.

And since there is only so much you can do with a phone, we will soon get to the point that point and shoot cameras have gone, total commodity. The camera manufacturers are now trying to sell higher margin units (e.g. OMD, XPro1). I reckon the phone manufacturers wil be doing that soon too. And having Nikon or Canon "inside" is likely going to snag you the fan boys from those companies, as well as other "upmarket" consumers who like to buy brands, rather than products.

Even in the low end of the phone camera market a phone that can shoot a pic in a dimly lit club or concert has a decided advantage over one that can't in the "change their phone every 6 month" youth market. I suspect there are not all that many cam phones that can shoot at ISO 1600 now and deliver a useable image. But I reckon the camera manufacturers could develop a sensor to do that if their corporate lives depended on it.

Be cheaper to do to, I would think as there is less product to develop. I guess what I am in effect saying is take the guts of your Module and sell that as components to phone manufacturers.

Be interesting to see what sort of effect Lytro has on this too.
A camera company from Silicon Valley where the images files (as I understand it) need to be mediated in the cloud. That is a camera ripe for convergence and designed/built by computer science guys, who LOVE programming things. As I say will be interesting to see where Lytro goes after their first couple of models.
 
+Seth Grenald Okay, I'll play devil's advocate back at ya. Nikon makes well over 10 million "don't charge a lot for it" cameras a year. That's peanuts compared to the smartphone market. If Nikon can make money off a Coolpix, they can make money AND volume off something that is a smartphone camera accessory. I just don't see that as a stumbling block. The real stumbling block is going to be cooperation. While Nokia has cooperated with Zeiss, that seems to be the exception, not the rule. If I were Apple (or Samsung or HTC, etc.) do I need the camera makers? As I discovered back in the early 90's, the answer is no. Is there a reason I might want the camera makers on my side? That's arguably yes, as branding could help, especially for someone like HTC.
 
+Josh Lazenby Unfortunately, you're correct. The window of opportunity opened about four years ago on this and is now closing. Camera makers who are smart phone makers (Panasonic, Samsung, Sony) have some ability to do interesting things, at least if they can get rival divisions in their big structures to cooperate ;~). The other camera makers (Canon, Fujifilm, Nikon, Olympus, Pentax, etc.) don't have a clear path. Their best hopes are things like (1) Nikon Inside; and (2) NikonShare via WiFi. But the windows on those opportunities are already closing fast. Something would have to already be in progress now for those to happen. Of course, I mentioned that to Nikon executives over two years ago and they're pretty smart themselves, so maybe we'll see something fly in just before the window closes.
 
+Jason Tan "Little" is relative. There's a two-stop or more difference between cellphone camera sensors and compact camera sensors. But the real issue has and continues to be lens, which is why the Nokia solution is so novel. To fit a zoom lens into a slim cellphone package, you'd have to give up battery space. Even then you'd be dealing with a folding lens design to get more ability into the lens.

The real heart of your comments gets to the convergence thing: what are people going to really value in the convergence and why? Social aspects and virtual images in the cloud, basically. They've already shown they're willing to give up plenty of other camera features for just those two things.

So what business was Kodak in? They thought they were in the chemical business. They were actually in the sharing business, and as a key enabler. Oops. Funny thing is, there is a bigger margin in virtual images and sharing than there is in chemicals.

The problem with your EXPEED example (or DIGIC or TRUPIC or any of the others) is that it isn't just a camera maker's technology in the ASIC. Indeed, more often than not it's licensed technology (NuCore, etc.). Thus, there's no reason why the phone makers can't just go to the technology originator and make their own ASIC. Note that the iPhone 4S and new iPad have an Apple imaging ASIC in them.

Lytro is problematic, in a bunch of senses. One big one is the space needed, as you need to put another array of microlenses far forward of the sensor, so it doesn't really "fit" in a smartphone.
 
+Thom Hogan I think the obvious question that I am asking (and for some time now), especially when reviewing the frumpiness of the design of posted image, is: How long 'till we see Apple make a significant foray into advanced imaging and video devices?

With the iPod, as an example, they were not the first ones to market with a digital music player, and their design was significantly simpler and less featured than all of the others out on the market when they released the iPod, but, the beauty of the product, advanced marketing, and sleek UI made everyone look the other way and Apple took over dominance in the digital music arena...

Smart phones were nothing new when the initial release of the iPhone came out, but again, they took over market share here...

MacBook... iMac... etc.

eBook readers had been battling out the feature market for years in trying to win over competitors customers when Apple released the iPad and stole not only exiting eReader customers but a huge market share that didn't even know they needed one.

Having seen a strong tendency within Apple to redesign an already accepted technology, I would doubt seeing any sort of cooperative relationship with an existing market share owning entity... thats not the Apple way... they don't want joint, they want all of it and then more.

Were Apple to release a digital camera that competes (decently) with the SLR business, would I find myself switching? Who knows... I've got stacks of Mini-Disks and DAT tapes that I never thought I give up on those... or the CDs and the DiskMan that I thought I'd need forever... Or all of these DVDs that I've had for years that I can now play on my i* devices.... I never thought I'd give up paperbacks, but, now its just too easy to download that latest Tom Clancy book instantly than having to set a paper reminder on the fridge to go grab it from the book store on the weekend... or carry my day planner around when everyone I know is sending out electronic calendar invites for everything now...

I hope you see where I'm going with this... its the normal course of evolution for technology and obsolescence... and an amazingly charismatic super-company like Apple tends to violently shake up the playing field when they come to market with a product the eliminates what appears to be a "cornered market"...

We've been musing for years about this obvious gap between DSLRs and the ease of use of camera phones.... why would it not make sense to take that market step a bit further... If we are already blowing $600 a year on a new phone, $800 a year on a new tablet, $1.5k a year on a new air book laptop, why not make that next jump up for a $2k a year on an amazing camera that follows the UI footsteps left in this direction by Apple already?
 
+Jay Pike Apple oddly enough was making a digital camera very early on in the late 1990s though it was not the consumer success they expected. As soon as the iPhone 4S came out, we could see an acknowledgement of how people use their smartphone cameras; Flickr is sort of the proof of that, since the iPhone dominates on uploads. Most people are quite casual about capturing images, and convenience trumps quality improvements, especially when very few smartphone images get printed or viewed larger than screen size on a computer. If a quality camera built into a smartphone is a perceived need, then that new Nokia should sell in big volume.
Nikon, in my opinion, went towards CX due to a simple perception amongst non-enthusiasts who wanted more from photography. The very simple concept is that if you can change the lens, then there is a perceived higher quality to the camera. Same thing going towards a (partial) metal body, which is perceived in a simple way to be higher quality than an all plastic body. I can see this when I show my V1 to someone who is not a photo-enthusiast, because the things that impress them are the solid feel and the interchangeable lenses. The other comment I here about is design, but in a way the Nikon 1 attempts to follow what Nikon thinks is Apple design language.
 
IIRC, Apple made two digital cameras, and one was basically a rebranded Fuji camera. The other, I think, was built by Kodak. I was in grad school at the time and borrowed one, and shot a few pix. Unfortunately, Apple used a custom JPEG codec, and, years later, when I stumbled across the 8 pictures I'd shot (my nieces when they were 4 and 1 respectively) I couldn't open them with any tools that I could find. Ultimately, I got lucky, and a crazy friend of mine who had a couple of Franken-Macs, was still running OS8 in 2005 and he could open them, with a copy of the codec that I found online. There's a lesson in that story about proprietary software...
 
The Apple cameras were the QuickTake 100, 150 and 200. The form factor of the first two was very similar to a Kodak digital of the time. The QuickTake 200 was more upright in design, with a grip, though didn't look much like other cameras of the time. Apple was using frog design for some of their projects then, though I'm not sure if these were in-house or frog design. The old format was called QuickTake, though you had a choice of shooting JPEG or TIFF for the 640 by 480 images.
I think the bigger question beyond design, is how much do people want to carry. Women have a purse they can slip a phone into, and probably a little more room, while men will look at pocket convenience. However, if you have to put it together that might limit the market.
The other similar camera attachment of the past was the HandSpring EyeModule (two versions). Fairly easy to use, and on a very popular PalmPilot derived platform. Sales were fairly dismal and these are quite rare now.
Nikon or Canon might have the name to pull it off, but I think they would do better licensing lens designs and branding on smartphones, rather than making attachments. Nokia is trying this with Zeiss design optics, so we shall see how that works.
 
Ahh..yes, I just looked at Wikipedia. I must have been using a QuickTake 100, and my pictures were Quicktake PICT files, which needed a QuickTake driver to display. Wiki says that DCRAW can read them, but that doesn't appear to be true
 
It would be nice to see a camera company design in collaboration with a cell phone company. I think Nikon could do a lot with a lens, sensor+electronics, and software package - to get the most out of a cell phone camera. NEF from my next cell phone could be a pleasant surprise. In my opinion it would be a great way to break into a new market that is thriving, and get some brand name recognition from stamping your logo right next to that lens. Right now, all the traditional camera companies seem to enjoy just sitting back and watching other companies help people make photos.
 
+Thomas Adams I'd be a little worried about "too many cooks." We already have OS makers and phone makers and carriers making decisions about product. Now add a camera company. The reason why the iPhone is what it turned out to be is because one company managed to roll with pretty much all the decisions. It's clean and lean in design because of that. Next best in the market is Windows Phone, where Microsoft has learned something from Apple and is trying to be the primary decisionmaker, even on hardware things. Worst is Google Android, exactly where we see some camera makers fiddling. Why? Because there's no strong control of decisions by the OS maker. So you end up with Google making OS decisions that benefit them, the hardware maker making decisions that make sense to them, the camera maker adding more decisions, and the carrier saying "no, we don't want another one of those, change this and that and this so that it's unique." And you get Phonezilla.
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