I’ve just returned from a trip to Zion National Park where I was on a photo shoot, and once again I am struck by the number of iPhones being used by vacationers, and the almost complete lack of point and shoot cameras.
When I wasn’t hiking around in the woods, I hit some areas where lot’s of people were busily snapping away. By my rough count, about 80% of the photography was on iPhones. There were a few Android phones, mainly Galaxy models, and only a couple of point and shoots. That doesn’t bode well for Canon, Nikon and Fuji’s consumer camera divisions. There were a lot of DSLRs on hand, including me with my trusty Canon 6D, but every time I make these trips the number of DSLRs seem to diminish.
I got two answers consistently. One, they already are carrying their phone, so having a camera built-in is kind of a bonus. The other answer was that they loved the ability to share the photos from their trip with people anywhere in the world. Cellphone service is pretty thin in most National Parks, so these people sent their pics when they got back to their lodging.
I asked people of they edited their photos in any way, and most said no, other than applying filters with the Apple camera app or Instagram. I showed a few people what could be done with Snapseed, and I’m quite sure there were a lot of downloads that night.
In general, people were looking for quick and easy sharing, something that Point-and-Shoot cameras just don’t offer.
I was also interested to see many DSLR users snapping away with their iPhones as well, and one hi-tech soul who was using his iPhone as a remote to trigger his big Canon. The people I talked to were taking photos with their iPhone to send quick pix back home. A few mentioned how incredible the iPhone was as a camera, even if it didn’t have the high resolution of some of their sophisticated photo gear.
I don’t think Apple felt the addition of a camera to the iPhone was a big deal back in 2007. However, since then the camera has improved, 3rd party software has pretty much mimicked what can be done on laptops and desktops, and Apple and others have proved with their display of pro photo work on the iPhone that Apple is a force to be reckoned with in photography. By some surveys, Apple has become the biggest camera manufacturer in the world. Not bad for an afterthought.
In my own stay at Zion, I found myself using my iPhone quite a bit. Like others, I was sharing the beauty with some friends and family. And the iPhone is unmatched for quick and easy mega-pixel panoramas.
In 2012, when I first noted this trend, there were a handful of iPhones at the popular tourists spots. Now they dominate. It partly explains why Apple has pushed the envelope in photo tech, adding HDR and larger sensors, the largest being 12 mp with 4k video in the new iPhone 6s and 6s Plus.
Next time you’re out and about with tourists or at a sporting event, note what photographers are using. Apple has changed the face of photography.