Sunday, July 24, 2011

Camera lens are getting cheeper

I have always wanted a Canon Pro Lens, one of those white and black lens that sets the serious photographer apart from the amateur.  A few years ago I rented one for an Alaska cruise we did.  Hoping to get images of big horn sheep or bear - something one typically needs a long lens to capture.

In actual practice the people with the regular lens got as good of images as I did with the super fast long lens.  Why - because they could find the target faster with the wider angle.  When I started thinking about this, it made me question the need for a 35 mm camera.  Would a typical point and shoot give me just as good vacation photos for the scrap book or slide show?

I tested this primise out on a European vacation.  I carried the pocket sized point and shoot Canon Power Shot SD1100 IS (8 Mpix with image stabilization).  While my wife carried a Canon 20D (35mm with various lens).  We shot many of the same scenes and typical tourist images, and while it is possible to see differences in the images upon inspection.  All the finner details are lost when the image ends up in a iMovie slide show and the Ken Burns effect pans across the image in 4 seconds, then transitions to the next slide.  However the different camera solutions are telling in the candid photos sitting around the table in a cafe, or standing around a town square of the images of "Man on a Horse" or "Pigeon on a Statue".  The small form factor of the pocket camera makes for easier capturing of these images and situations.  This is a large advantage for this solution.

Imagine the advantage of an ubiquitous camera solution by putting the camera in a cell phone (the iPhone rocks this solution) and the days of the amateur with a 35mm and a pro lens are all but gone.  There is no need for that pro lens unless you get paid for images.  I don't get paid for images.  So in fulfilling my childish needs - I bought a Canon Pro Lens coffee mug.

iPhone image of a fleeting moment at sunset, no time to run get the big camera.


Now I can look like the serious photographer, drink my coffee and pull out my iPhone for that candid shot without any scene prep time required.  I'll be able to get rid of this expensive setup.


So where is the value in the camera lens solutions?  Having a set of interchangeable lens is a great solution to one problem.  When you want a photograph it might be the wrong solution, the great solution that is in search of the problem.  Will this solution allow for a disruption solution to sneak into the industry or eco-system.  Perhaps a camera made into you cell phone.  Is a camera in the hand worth a wide angle lens and a telephoto lens in the bag?  If you manage a product or product portfolio you may want to think along these lines from time to time...  What is the alternative product to your baby?


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