Ravens cornerback Ed Reed soaks up the Baltimore victory parade… and his sports-cam soaks up the view for posterity.
If you’re not familiar with “extreme sport” cameras such as the GoPro seen here, you’re familiar with their clips: first as a gimmick shot in gimmick sport pieces. The NFL itself experimented with “lipstick cams” in quarterbacks’ helmets. Now, consumers buy these readily, without needing hacks, and post their (mis)adventures to gimmick sites or YouTube. I’m seeing them in stores, and not camera stores either: sporting-goods retailers, camping and outdoors places, and motorcycle shops. That was when it truly hit me.
The camera world is long due for a shakeup or three: phone cams are cannibalizing the low end. Hybrids are morphing the high end. The mirrorless tide is slowly but surely eroding the middle segments. These X-cams are yet another part: the market for compact cameras is in full retreat. If you didn’t know it from seeing X-cams in nontraditional stores, selling to non-camera geeks, then the wave of waterproof compacts should have been a sign. With fewer and fewer people buying vanilla compacts, camera companies have been resorting to ruggedized, waterproof compacts. This differentiates them from bottom-feeding Casio and no-name cameras, yet are cheaper than trying to foist SLRs on the non-geeks.
Canon just posted disappointing company results. They were late to the mirrorless tide, being the last major camera company to announce their standard (EOS-M). The company cannot maintain its position trying the same two-pronged attack: SLRs for the pros and geeks, and IXUS/ELPH for the masses… even with both digital. That was a winning strategy just a decade ago, but what a decade it’s been. If mirrorless doesn’t take the wind out of Canon, then a startup like GoPro, or someone we haven’t even heard of yet, will.
The future isn’t just coming, it’s already here- whether Canon or pros/geeks like it or not. Heck, I’m seeing people hold up their tablets. Now that oughta offend the Canikon SLR purists.