Disruption comes to digital camera market from several directions:
This week Corephotonics, an Israeli maker of dual-lens camera technologies for smartphones, has filed a lawsuit against Apple alleging that the iPhone 7 Plus and iPhone 8 Plus infringe upon four of its patents. This legal action is another evidence that computational photography technologies, in this case multilens image fusion, are changing the market landscape, leveraging superior optical characteristics of DSLR and mirrorless cameras by processing power and software capabilities.
Multiple lens camera vs DSLR and Mirrorless
Two recently released cameras, Panasonic’s LUMIX G9 and Sony α7R III, employ pixel-shifting mode to produce high resolution images from several stitched together frames. These new computational-based image enhancing features allow Panasonic and Sony to gain advantage against two industry behemoths Canon and Nikon lagging in innovation. And this is only beginning.
Currently the hardware setup of high-end DSLR and mirrorless cameras is permanently locked in proprietary software systems of major brand camera manufacturers, often suppressing camera functionality of the low-end models to differentiate market positioning of high-end models. Yet the proprietary interchangeable lens camera market is about to be disrupted, says a new market report Software Defined Digital Camera Market Forecast 2019-2024. The report forecasts inevitable collision of two worlds, smartphones and digital cameras, and migration of high end photography hardware into the connected photography universe run by operating systems and apps.
The future of the digital camera market is software defined OS-powered and mobile-enabled device whose Software Development Kit (SDK) is available to third part developers and allows building wide range of applications. Basically it comes down to “lens meets smartphone” concept presented below by several mockup photo renditions using a few Canon lenses, extension ring imitating lens mount and Nexus smartphone and tablet:
Mockup: Software Defined Camera Concept
Disclaimer: the pictures above are only the mockups illustrating the concept with use of off-the-shelf elements, it bears no connection whatsoever to any products, companies or brands.