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Old December 21st, 2011, 10:32 PM   #1
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Are Consumer Camcorders Becoming Extinct?

Spent a month in Europe this summer. Hit a lot of tourist sites. Years ago you'd see a good number of camcorders and the odd prosumer cam here and there (that would always attract my attention). This year I bet I could count on one hand the number of video cameras I saw. Most tourists seemed content taking their video with smart phones, and perhaps the video mode of the a point and shoot camera. Obviously a smart phone isn't going to give you the video of a high end consumer camcorder but apparently it IS good enough to record the footage for needs of the average shooter ...plus it might be easier to email, send and archive shots with the iphone/Android interface, and you don't need to carry another device.

Anyway, the Mrs and I got talking about if there would be a decline of consumer video cameras and fallout as it relates to inspiring young shooters and their upward movement to more 'Pro' equipment once they've outgrown the feature-set of their consumer cam. So what might be the affect on prosumer cams I wonder?

Anybody else notice this? Comments?
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Old December 22nd, 2011, 02:59 AM   #2
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Re: Are Consumer Camcorders Becoming Extinct?

Absolutely.

In my day a consumer cam was 720x576 res and mono sound.

Today, a quarter of a century of progress later, smartphones deliver 1920x1080 res and mono sound.

When (if) iPhone starts recording decent unfltered stereo sound (prefer MS over XY over AB but take anything I can get) then I'm sure my SD900 will start gathering dust.

I'd also be interested in a smartphone that can record landscape video in portrait orientation - there's not an app for that, but ergonomically I find it easier to shoot one handed in portrait (needing two hands to shoot in landscape). It would also help when using something like the Tascam iM2 (which I've yet to get my hands on).

There's also not an app for timelapse "chunking" like old school cams - say, shoot 10 frames with sync audio every minute or whatever. (My Panny SD900 can't do that either, it's a feature I miss from my Canon E60).

In the future I think we'll definitely be seeing the market going to polar extremes, leaving the mushy middle to go extinct, or at least somewhat pruned.
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Old December 22nd, 2011, 03:07 AM   #3
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Re: Are Consumer Camcorders Becoming Extinct?

I think the biggest and most glaring consumer inconvenience is the inability to conveniently just share your videos. And by convenient I mean just play it back immediately and show someone ... which is the whole point of taking video in the first place. I think this single thing stops most average consumers from really liking to take video. So instead they're heading to phones, because guess what? You can immediately share your videos with someone.

8mm film projectors were convenient, VHS players were convenient, DVD players are convenient. But for solid state camcorders? The process is still very inconvenient.
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Old December 22nd, 2011, 04:06 AM   #4
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Re: Are Consumer Camcorders Becoming Extinct?

I must admit that I tend to leave my nikon D300 and my canon CF11 at home these days and just use the i-fone for holiday snaps and video!
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Old December 22nd, 2011, 06:35 AM   #5
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Re: Are Consumer Camcorders Becoming Extinct?

@Mark and the Mrs
I think if you back up, this isn't the first time that consumer video devices have hit the scene and changed the way young shooters are inspired. Of course it will affect it. That's no different than each of the prior waves. History says it probably won't change it in the same way and it's not a given it will change it for the better.
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Old December 22nd, 2011, 08:30 AM   #6
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Re: Are Consumer Camcorders Becoming Extinct?

Probably, similar shifts have happened in the past. As good as the iPhone 4 video is maybe it's really a camera with distribution tools built-in.
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Old December 22nd, 2011, 08:34 AM   #7
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Re: Are Consumer Camcorders Becoming Extinct?

The world is going smaller and more portable.

The consumer camcorder is going the way dinosaur, along with desk top computers. Consumers want the highest quality HD on their big screen TV, but will accept junk on their mobile devices.

The "middle" where most small time videographers are, is shrinking.
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Old December 22nd, 2011, 08:51 AM   #8
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Re: Are Consumer Camcorders Becoming Extinct?

I'm not sure it's a bad thing. When consumer video cameras first appeared, they were for enthusiasts only - and many of these became quite skilled and experienced.

The plethora of cheap good quality kit has degraded the skills to point and shoot - and worse - broadcast! Something that just didn't happen years ago. Consumer kit has got to the state of extreme point and shoot, and if that's the need, then iPhones do the job well. One button does it all. Maybe what will happen is that mass market cheap video cameras will vanish, leaving just the clever ones - and we'll be right back where we started.
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Old December 22nd, 2011, 12:36 PM   #9
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Re: Are Consumer Camcorders Becoming Extinct?

The biggest issue I have always seen with camcorders is that no one take the video off the camcorder to watch it. In my case I see parents shooting their kids sports and when they are finished the video is still on the camcorder.. With phones they get to see it, post it if they want and then dispose of it, all with one piece of equipment. And if they get a call in the middle of all of that then they answer that too.

Very few people want to go through the process to take camcorder video to watchable video on TV, web, or other forms of media. With a phone it is all done for you.
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Old December 22nd, 2011, 01:28 PM   #10
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Re: Are Consumer Camcorders Becoming Extinct?

Supposedly the manufacturers are already seeing a big decline in P&S (and I'd suspect video) camera sales.

One of the most intelligent answers to the question "what camera should I buy" is "the one you will have with you so you actually use it to capture good moments"...

The "all in one" phone, be it I-Phone or Android (or Windows...) is THE easy to take with you (you're already used to carrying it!) form factor. PDA (remember when those were a dedicated device), still camera (dubious quality, but...), video camera (again of questionable quality, but...), and a "pocket computer" that can handle light web surfing and e-mail... and a phone!

The phone (or tablet) is rapidly "replacing" a lot of other devices for many people whose needs are for an "adequate" solution for all of the above. Most people don't stress the details or the last few % of quality, as long as they get "useable" results.


I think tape based cams are pretty well "done", and the market is rapidly shrinking for other "dedicated" video cameras - I'm actually inclined to grab a P&S (TX100 or HX100) before I'd grab a video camera for "casual" use - both shoot pretty darn good 1080 60p...

Dedicated devices will ALWAYS have a place, but the "mass market" may not have any use for them...
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Old December 22nd, 2011, 02:07 PM   #11
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Re: Are Consumer Camcorders Becoming Extinct?

I think the next really popular consumer camcorders will automatically upload to various places: to your phone/tablet, YouTube or Vimeo, and to a USB stick in a well established format. I think that's what most people are looking of, just a quick way to get the video off the dang camcorder and share it.
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Old December 22nd, 2011, 03:10 PM   #12
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Re: Are Consumer Camcorders Becoming Extinct?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Wisniewski View Post
I think the next really popular consumer camcorders will automatically upload to various places: to your phone/tablet, YouTube or Vimeo, and to a USB stick in a well established format. I think that's what most people are looking of, just a quick way to get the video off the dang camcorder and share it.
You are correct. We are already seeing this with eReaders. What has to happen for this to work is wireless ISPs (Verizon Wireless, AT&T) need to grow up, get out of the cell phone sales business, and focus on providing excellent mobile data service (including voice) for a reasonable price.
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Old January 3rd, 2012, 03:59 PM   #13
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Re: Are Consumer Camcorders Becoming Extinct?

In my opinion, anything less than $1000 is a consumer camcorder.

They aren't becoming extinct, just cheaper with more features and better resolution.
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