Where Are We in the Camera Wars?

The evolution of camera technology has reached a remarkable juncture where the once fierce competition among manufacturers seems to have plateaued to a degree, at least with regards to headline specs, making it an intriguing period for photography enthusiasts. This shift is crucial as it suggests a move towards a more nuanced approach to camera development, focusing on features that cater to the specific needs of photographers rather than engaging in specifications wars.

Coming to you from Matt Irwin Photography, this insightful video explores the current state of the "camera wars," particularly examining Sony's introduction of the global shutter in its a9 III and its implications for the industry. Irwin discusses how Sony's claims of achieving global shutter without compromising on ISO or dynamic range have been met with skepticism, as subsequent reviews have pointed out the trade-offs. This development highlights a critical point for photographers: the need to evaluate camera features based on practical utility rather than just technological advancements. Irwin's analysis is significant, as it underscores the niche applications of global shutter technology and its limited appeal to the broader photography community, suggesting that while impressive, such features are not universally required, particularly at the premium price.

Moreover, Irwin delves into broader trends affecting the camera market, including the stabilization of desired frame rates and megapixel counts among mainstream users. By referencing a poll conducted among his viewers, he illustrates that the majority of photographers do not need the extreme capabilities that camera manufacturers have been competing over, such as ultra-high frame rates or astronomical megapixel counts. This observation points to a larger trend where the emphasis shifts from pushing the technological boundaries to refining the user experience and image quality within practical limits. Check out the video above for the full rundown from Irwin.

Alex Cooke's picture

Alex Cooke is a Cleveland-based portrait, events, and landscape photographer. He holds an M.S. in Applied Mathematics and a doctorate in Music Composition. He is also an avid equestrian.

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I found a stack of very old 35mm film canisters. Old as in 80 years old. A few contained B&W film my father shot and developed when he was in his 20's or 30's I'd guess. Some 50 years later, I set up my own darkroom, developing and printing my own B&W film. if it were around, I could probably have also used his original camera. Instead, he gave me a Retina IIIc, when I was in Grade 5. I still have it and it still works. The point is, one of the joys and the power of photography is to be able to connect with the artistry of the generations. When you enter any form of painting or sketching, you instantly connect with a form of expression that has spanned centuries. What can we say about modern photography? Should we be so excited over firmware updates and the latest AF performance? Pick up a 1970's Minolta XD-11 and look through the viewfinder. It is as bright, if not brighter than anything out today. Look at that split image focusing. You could probably focus faster with that than any modern camera in MF mode. What legacy do modern cameras produce or is it generations of technology soon to be discarded? Can we really get excited about the images cameras take today? Note, the images cameras take. Photography has always been a blend of science and artistry. My personal view is that photography has shifted so far to tech and software, the legacy is fading.

My words ... and I thought nobody thought like me :-)

"All the camera companies are about the same at this point in time"?
What about for IBIS?
I seem to have better luck w/the IBIS in my Sony A7RV than I do w/Canon's R5 and its too bad as I prefer Canon ergonomics (& less menus!) & an R5+Pancake 28 is REALLY nice for travel.

So far, for cameras that I've used the IBIS (best to worst): Hasselblad X2D [2-2-1/2 sec]>Sony A7R5[1/2-3/4 sec]>Canon R5.[1/4-1/5 sec]

Apart from (even) lesser noise on high iso i think a few built in ND filters could seduce me to a new investment.
I went from Canon5 to 5D versions 1 to 3 and then Sony a7 versions 1 to 3 but since my Sony A73 i don't feel te need to upgrade.
Also I'd like an anti dust solution and Sony please finally give me a full screen clipping in view back mode! Finally!

Try a clip in UV filter. Will block everything from hitting the sensor without degrading quality.