The DSLR is dead – that's what Light CTO Dr. Rajiv Laroia has been saying for years and now former Google Exec Vic Gundotra has agreed (see his facebook post). And Vic took it a step further saying that the greatest innovations are happening in computational photography.
The end of the DSLR for most people has already arrived. I left my professional camera at home and took these shots at dinner with my iPhone 7 using computational photography (portrait mode as Apple calls it). Hard not to call these results (in a restaurant, taken on a mobile phone with no flash) stunning. Great job Apple.
Now, notice he says “for most people” – which is a significant qualifier and maybe I should have said that in the title, but I think that many of us are seeing the end. And there will be hold outs. Believe me, I love the feel of my Canon EOS 5D Mark IV with a Canon 70-200 f2.8 II IS – it is big and heavy and I feel like a “pro” when using it (and people recognize that I might be a pro as well).
Fascinating considering Google now has not only developed Android but is shipping their own smartphone. But also note that he said “for most people” and that's a good way to hedge LOL.
He also mentioned that Google has “fallen back” recently in regards to its development of computational photography software. But where Android-backed smartphone innovation lags, Gundotra said that Apple is far ahead of the competition because it “doesn't have all these constraints,” leading to the best smartphone camera system on the market.
He said that in the comments of the facebook post with this quote:
Also the greatest innovation isn't even happening at the hardware level – it's happening at the computational photography level. (Google was crushing this 5 years ago – they had had “auto awesome” that used AI techniques to automatically remove wrinkles, whiten teeth, add vignetting, etc… but recently Google has fallen back).
Apple doesn't have all these constraints. They innovate in the underlying hardware, and just simply update the software with their latest innovations (like portrait mode) and ship it.
Bottom line: If you truly care about great photography, you own an iPhone. If you don't mind being a few years behind, buy an Android.
So, he's just a man right? A guy who used to work for Google and doesn't now, but I think there are visionaries that understand the underlying technology shifts and many people think Google understands many of those shifts… and I happen to agree with him LOL.
What do you think? Is he right?