digital cameras: what to expect in the (near) future?

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Sunnyfield, Aug 12, 2003.

  1. Sunnyfield

    Sunnyfield Guest

    Currently digital cameras are revolutionised at a high pace. Therefore I was
    thinking of buying a cheapish camera: Canon IXUS 400 (S400). In two years
    time I could then upgrade to something top-of-the-notch.

    Does this strategy make sense, or are the next generation cameras (in two
    years time) only going to be marginally better? In that case I will go for
    the Sony DSC-V1 now and not upgrade in the next two years.

    Right now I just want to take holiday pics, and extra features on the camera
    are nice, but not crucial. I will get the best photos professionally printed
    through the likes of to put them in my photo album.

    So basically I have two questions:
    1) What are digital cameras going to look like in 2 years time;
    2) Given my requirements will it make sense to upgrade in 2 years time?

    Sunnyfield, Aug 12, 2003
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  2. Sunnyfield

    Matt Guest

    Given the pace at which digicams are being revolutionized, you might want to
    consider upgrading every year or more. Thats what I did. I used to have an
    A40 a year ago and now I have an A70. Sold my A40 on ebay for a good return
    price. I bought my A70 for about $150 out of pocket after selling the A40.
    They are a good investment if taken well care of.

    I would expect digicams to be smaller in the future but not so small that
    you can't hold on to them. Some will break with tradition and fit inside the
    size of a small pen or even the size and thickness of a credit card. However
    the zoom optics on such units will be non-existent. In two years time I
    would expect the features to increase as they are now with cell phone mixing
    in the digicam technology. You will see lower prices as well due to a better
    mass production of circuitry and newer optics.

    You can upgrade every two years if you want but just remember that your
    camera will be outdated and your resale value will be exponentialy
    diminished by that time. My.02

    Matt, Aug 12, 2003
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  3. The revolution is over. The next two years will show nowhere near the same
    real world improvement that the last two years did. Now a 4mp camera is
    readily available at $400 (The S400, and many others), which is a resolution
    more than sufficient for most use. And while one can play the upgrade a
    year game we used to do with PCs, it's not necessary until the consumer
    digitals don't have the big shutter lag.

    The OP should just pick a nice model and be happy with it - probably better
    to spend on the lower end of the scale. The S400 or S45 would do nicely.
    Jason O'Rourke, Aug 12, 2003
  4. No crystal ball here but some things are made fairly certain by reviewing
    the last several years. Prices will continue to drop among the consumer
    grade cameras. Resolution will continue to increase among the more
    expensive cameras. More digital SLRs will be released. Some important
    things like autofocus and response time should improve a bit. More
    affordable storage media. Printers will improve a bit. Larger image
    sensors for high-end cameras. Foveon technology more widely applied
    (perhaps). More confusion caused by too many choices. More frustration
    caused by models being discontinued.

    You can upgrade any time you like. Most people do it when they perceive a
    significant increase in capability and performance in a newer camera that
    they can afford.
    Charles Schuler, Aug 12, 2003
  5. Sunnyfield


    1. Well, if things in digital cameras keep up with the steep chart line the
    same way as it has been for last few years (and to be honest, I expect that
    the digicam market will not just boom but explode in a year time) I'd say
    we're all looking at a bright future, pro's and amateurs both. Cheaper and
    faster cameras with much better image quality and technology are inevitable.

    2. It'll probably make sense to upgrade in a one year time. I am comparing
    this to myself - in last 2 years I've gone from a point-n-shoot Olympus c-1
    to a professional Canon EOS 10d, with Olympus c-220 and fuji s602 in
    BUNTOVNIK, Aug 12, 2003
  6. You can upgrade any time you like. Most people do it when they perceive a
    Amen. I plan to keep my camera for maybe another three years. It gives me
    fantastic prints and enough megapixels for the type of pictures I take. I
    hope it will continue to do just that three years from now. There are and
    will be "better" cameras every year, but I won't think on upgrading as long
    as I am happy with mine (again, for my type of photography.)

    I guess only a major revolution of CCD technology, available at a very
    affordable price, would make me upgrade earlier.


    Jorge Alvarez, Aug 12, 2003
  7. Sunnyfield

    Burt Johnson Guest

    I'm not sure I agree about that. I read somewhere a couple months ago
    about a new CCD technology on the horizon. Unfortunately I don't recall
    all the details, but it was a sensor that allowed each pixel to record
    all three colors, instead of requiring 3 separate pixels to
    independently record RGB.

    Incorporating this new sensor would instantly triple the resolution of a
    same-size chip. IIRC, they said this would start showing up in high end
    professional cameras next summer, and in consumer cameras within a year
    or two after that.

    Personally, I bought a 10D last month. I expect my next upgrade will
    have this new sensor, and be 10-15 MPixel.
    Burt Johnson, Aug 13, 2003
  8. Sunnyfield

    Don Coon Guest

    Hmmm... Fovean again. Sort of works but don't hold your breath for it to
    become a heavy weight competitor any time soon.
    Don Coon, Aug 13, 2003
  9. Sunnyfield

    Jim Waggener Guest

    Lets see how it compares to computing power, after all we are talking about
    A, 8086>8088>286>386>486>P1>P2>P3>P4 all took place in about 13 years.
    The technology is so fast and sophisticated now that ANY thing you buy now
    will be superceded by a better model. Just buy what you can afford and take
    pictures. That's what you want anyway.
    Jim Waggener, Aug 13, 2003
  10. Sunnyfield

    Jim Waggener Guest

    You are SO wrong with that statement. Two years in any technology is a HUGE
    Jim Waggener, Aug 13, 2003
  11. Consider a PC sold 2 years ago versus one today. The older one does
    virtually everything that one needs, and only a small number would need
    to replace it. For the majority of people's uses, even an older 500mhz
    P3 is adequete.

    Two years ago you needed to spend considerable more money to get a
    digital camera that would meet a range of needs. Resolution was lower,
    CF much more expensive, printing options more limited. Those issues
    have been worked out and improvements from here out will be more
    incremental. The only reason I upgraded from my nikon 880 was that
    I wanted a smaller form factor. Yet the S400 isn't that much different
    for the job at hand.

    Waiting now for a big jump is technology is silly. It nearly always is,
    but especially in a product market that is no longer immature.
    Jason O'Rourke, Aug 13, 2003
  12. That would be 23 years (and the 8086->8088 was not a step forward), but
    the point is the same.

    The 486->P4/XP present is the 13 year span.
    Jason O'Rourke, Aug 13, 2003
  13. In 1990, nobody I knew could afford a 386, let alone a 486. I would say
    that a typical new computer would be 286 based. XPs are quite affordable.

    Philip Homburg
    Philip Homburg, Aug 14, 2003
  14. Sunnyfield

    Charlie Self Guest

    Philip Homburg states:
    I recall seeing a 386 in a community college graphics class...something on the
    order of 10 grand. My SIL's comany spent $10,000 bucks for a 1 gig hard drive
    not too much later.

    I jumped straight from an 8088 (bought in '88 to complicate matters) to a 486
    about 4-5 years later when prices got semi-rational (nearly twice the price of
    the 3 gig Dell I've got now, and that 486 had a 32 mb hard drive, 650K RAM, a
    5-1/4" floppy and not much else). It does make me curious about what the
    difference will be in another 20 or so years. Today's $1700 computers will cost
    $300, and a $500 unit will offer 20-30 times what the costly ones today offer.

    Charlie Self

    "A people that values its privileges above its principles soon loses both."
    Dwight D. Eisenhower, Inaugural Address, January 20, 1953
    Charlie Self, Aug 14, 2003
  15. Sunnyfield

    c le Guest

    8 Mpix Sony chip & 5 Mpix Foveon chip are already on the horizon. The
    Sony looks promising, but the Foveon, endorsed only by Sigma - which
    does'nt have the knowhow to master noise/color accuracy - yet.
    c le, Aug 14, 2003
  16. Sunnyfield

    JackD Guest


    Right now there is already much discussion about the $199 PC in the next few

    I think the point is that even if there is no "revolutionary" change in
    digital cameras over the next 5-10 years - as Jason claims that it has all
    been done - there WILL be price reductions on the existing technology,
    bringing high end features down to point and shoot land. It would also be
    naive to state that sensor technology is mature. Given current sensor
    geometries and technologies there is certainly room for improvement by
    increasing density, speed and reducing power consumption. And on the user
    interface side there is also much room for improvement.

    Saying that "Those issues have been worked out and improvements from here
    out will be more incremental." and that the digital camera market is "a
    product market that is no longer immature." is more than a bit inaccurate.
    However, the advice that you should buy what you need when you need it
    instead of waiting is sound.

    JackD, Aug 14, 2003
  17. Some day...until then I'm content knowing that my camera is good enough
    to get the job done.

    I'm also eagerly awaiting more HD capable camcorders priced in the
    consumer realm.
    Jason O'Rourke, Aug 14, 2003
  18. Sunnyfield

    Dan Pidcock Guest

    The price difference of these two (in UK) is £85 (£435-£350), which
    isn't going to get you something "top-of-the-notch" even in two years
    time. So you will be spending an extra chunk of money then. How
    much will you want to spend? Looking at the £400 price point a year
    ago you could have got a Powershot S30, Fuji 4800, Nikon 885, Olympus
    C4000Z, Pentax 430, Sony DSC-P5, Sony DSC-S75. Now that money would
    get you Powershot S50, Powershot G2, Fuji S602, Minolta F300, Nikon
    4300/4500 (halfway between), Olympus C740/C750 (halfway between),
    Olympus C50, Pentax 550, Sony DSC-P12. Compare the specs of these two
    sets and you see how the market changes in a year. Just looking at
    MPixels has gone from 3,4.3,3,4,4,3,3 to 5,4,6,5,4,3.5,5,5 - an
    increase of 1.2. Add twice the change on and see where that gets you
    in two years time.

    Dan Pidcock, Aug 21, 2003
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