All images - Panasonic CM1 smartphone
This is the completely rebuilt New Street Station complex in the centre of Birmingham. Complete with shops, restaurants, fancy concourse and of course the odd train or two. Ann and I went to see it, on the train of course, on Sunday. Shooting mainly in a rural environment these days, it was nice to get my 'urban landscape' fix, which I like to do regularly. All those shiny, clean surfaces and modern architecture make a nice change from the somewhat twee environments I spend a lot of time in, No thatched cottages, stately homes or formal gardens here. And some young people too, even better.
Like lots of others I was wandering around taking pictures with my phone. I would have loved to have captured this in all its 50MP glory with my newly acquired Canon 5Ds, but doing that I would have drawn some unwelcome attention to myself and the Panasonic CM1, without any bright sunlight to make the screen unviewable, worked just fine.
These days my photographic seems to be somewhat polarised. Having come back from a trip to Wales when I used mostly smartphone cameras, to my adventures with the 'old-school' massive Canon 5Ds, I seem to be moving from one extreme to the other. But then I was never particularly comfortable in the middle of the road. And it seems to me that this is where we might be headed. In one direction we have the ever improving smartphones, which is illustrated by some samples from the imminent new Microsoft Lumia which you can see HERE. In the other, we have Canon and Sony turning out cameras that can shoot video in almost total darkness and if anyone thought the 'megapixel wars' were over, then think again. Both companies are muttering about 100+ MP cameras and if the results from my Canon 5Ds are anything to go by, I suspect that we'll have those sooner rather than later.
And in many ways this is probably inevitable. Because if 'proper' cameras are going to continue to have something to offer over smartphones, then will probably just get even bigger and even better in terms of resolution. Sony have just released a 42.5MP compact camera and later today Leica are set to to unleash the SL on the world. (At a eye watering price, I suspect!!!) Now what we do with all these pixels and the ability to make movies of glow worms in pitch black caves, who knows, but since it's possible, we will soon have all this at our disposal.
And after a somewhat conservative few years, in which resolution and low light performance has stood still somewhat, we are off and running on the fast track merry go round of innovation and improvement again. Where that leaves mirrorless, APS-C sensor cameras and all the other variations of the middle performance, middle priced majority of the interchangeable lens and fixed lens cameras systems, who knows. Maybe they will just die out and we'll be left with souped up smartphones and the software to make their images look great and one end and monster pixelated, ultra high performance, ultra high price picture creating machines at the other. However, one thing is for certain, there are too many 'ordinary' cameras out there chasing an ever decreasing number of people who want to buy them and something, inevitably has to give.
Personally, I think the 'buzz' is coming back into photographic again and we could be in for an exciting couple of years (and I haven't even mentioned 8K yet) And I hope that technological advance is matched by interesting design innovaton too. It's about time we had something different that isn't based on SLR and rangefinder designs from the 1950's. But unfortunately I suspect that we will contine to have content over style, which at least is the right way round, but it would we nice if the aesthetics of the gear we use matched the wonders of the images it will produce. I live in hope.