Optical Explosion

yorkville-fire-plug-smToronto. Yesterday’s Globe business section had an intriguing graph in its visualization article illustrating the growth in annual camera sales since the late 1950s. Unfortunately the digital version of the article¬†is behind a pay wall and since I already pay for a paper version of the Globe, I chose not to pay more for the right to get an electronic version of this column.

However; the column is of interest to photographers. The graph shows film cameras peaking at about 38 million sales per year in the late 1990s. Digital cameras blossomed and peaked at about 120 million sales per year in 2010. By this year, the cameras – film or digital – have been dwarfed by the sale of smart phones all of which include a camera. Last¬†year (2014) saw over 1.2 billion smart phones sold! Now everyone who has a smart phone is a photographer and videographer. This year, the iPhone 6 even takes HD videos…

The article is slightly inaccurate as it deems modular cameras began in the late 1950s with the Nikon F, ignoring the pre-war Leicas, Contaxes, and Exaktas all of which offered interchangeable lenses and accessories galore. Or the even earlier larger format cameras with various lens/shutter combinations, flash guns, synchronizers, rangefinders, etc.

NB. The fire plug above is in Toronto’s Yorkville district and yes, I snapped it with an iPod Touch (an iPhone without the phone portion) as I walked with my wife to see her foot doctor.

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