mobile photography technology, culture and community
www.dpreview.com

Welcome to Connect

35

Simon Joinson, Editor-in-chief

Let me start by extending you a warm welcome to Connect, a new website dedicated to the technology, community and culture of 'mobile photography', including smart phones, tablets, apps, connected cameras and the creativity and community, brought to you by the team behind Digital Photography Review.

With billions of images being shared by millions of smart phone photographers around the globe, the world of photography is experiencing an explosion of creativity and engagement that hasn't been seen since the first consumer digital cameras arrived almost two decades ago. This time it's different though. It's about the power of the snapshot to tell a story, to build a community, to record the mundane as well as the remarkable. It's about people who don't even think of themselves as photographers never stepping out of the door without a camera. It's about photography's power to connect. And that's why we're here.


Erin Lodi - Editor: DPReview Connect

There’s never been a better time to introduce Connect. As always, things are changing. But today, perhaps faster than ever before.

Cameras on phones are nothing new, but it took the birth of the modern smartphone, with its full-time web connectivity and image processing apps, to really kickstart mobile photography. Most people agree that the smartphone era truly dawned with the release of the original Apple iPhone, in 2007. In the five years since, mobile photography has skyrocketed in popularity. In 2011, the iPhone 4 became the most used camera on Flickr, and its successor the iPhone 4S currently holds that title. The social networking platform Instagram has fed (and fed off) this fascination with mobile photography and more than 100 million registered users now share billions of images on Instagram, a mere two years after the service was launched.

"Before smartphones, at least for the majority of people, you would only be carrying a camera for planned events. But often the best moments are the ones that weren’t planned."
— Damian Dinning: Lead Program Manager of Imaging Experience Nokia

The growth in smartphones has put a lot of pressure on the sales of conventional compact cameras, and as sales slip, camera manufacturers are running to catch up. 

They are adding wi-fi connectivity, in-camera effects filters, and recently even mobile operating systems, which allow users to expand a camera's usefulness exponentially by installing third-party apps. As well as wi-fi, there's the promise of 3G and 4G LTE technology in the very near future, and already, Samsung is exploring that space with the recently announced Galaxy Camera. 

New slogans from major players like Canon ('The Power to Connect') and Samsung ('Shoot now, share wow') indicate only too clearly how much the traditional manufacturers want connected consumers to look beyond their phones, to a 'proper' camera. 

Simultaneously, smartphone manufacturers are responding to the demand for better and better photographic features by improving their own offerings with every new model and software update. With larger sensors, better lenses and improved digital camera technology, camera phones are performing and behaving more and more like cameras, and as you'll see from the cellphone camera reviews here on Connect, the image quality gap is closing with incredible speed. 

Some may even argue that we’re nearing a tipping point as the line between camera and phone blurs further and further until the devices must converge. 

Yet as camera and photo sharing technology becomes more powerful and more capable than ever before, many of us are feeling a stronger sense of disconnection with others. Our Facebook 'friends' number in the hundreds. We’re LinkedIn to work colleagues past, present and potentially future. When Steve Jobs introduced the first iPhone, he described it as holding "your life in your hand" and he's been proven right. These days we've got the whole world in our hands thanks to a new generation of smartphones that let us surf the web, research and write reviews of places we've been, and places we want to go, shop for most anything we need, and entertain ourselves in any number of ways, including by taking photographs. And yet, there’s a sense of separation for many of us, a sense of community that’s missing.

"Photography has always been about sharing events with others and capturing a memory. When you can instantly share an experience with others and can tell a story through a photo – that brings people together. Mobile photography makes sharing these moments quick and easy, thus increasing the sense of community."
— Reid Sullivan: Senior Vice President, Mobile Entertainment Samsung Electronics America

Maybe that’s why we love social image-sharing platforms so much. The simplicity of the medium seems to be tying us together again. As we share our images we have access to the images of millions of other people around the world. But it's not just about looking. Suddenly, we can interact with others in a way that transcends geographical boundaries and even language – a smiley face is a smiley face in any dialect. And while we may share our most intimate moments or emotions through an image, there’s an anonymity in the process that ironically makes it easier, by creating a sense of safety. Many users share under a creative handle — not their real name. You don’t even need to subscribe or “friend” someone’s feed to like or comment on an image. In this way, we can reach out without giving too much of ourselves away. Or at least no more than we want to. 

As we prepared for the launch of Connect, we did a lot of research and a lot of reaching out. We encountered reoccurring themes when talking to influencers and experts in the field. Again and again they marveled at how the small, unimposing stature of the device tends to break down barriers between photographer and subject, inviting conversation and fostering our ability to relate to one another. Over and over we heard stories of true and lasting relationships (even marriages!) that were created through Instagram, and services like it. We repeatedly heard about people who found their voice, even their calling, through a newfound love of mobile photography and the support from the communities created through social photo sharing platforms.

The rise of mobile photography has created a new way for us to express ourselves, to share our lives, to connect with one another.

We intend to continue in this spirit by delivering information and of course photographs through Connect in an engaging and accessible format that delights and inspires our readers and encourages discovery. Connect will foster community among socially-connected photographers as we enable sharing, learning and feedback related to mobile photography news, opinion, and culture. The site will serve as an authoritative source of information about smart phones, connected cameras, tablets, apps, accessories, social platforms and related services.

We look forward to connecting with you.


Barnaby Britton - Reviews Editor: DPReview.com

Today's crop of smartphones are incredible machines. I've got one, it's nuts. In one hand, I'm holding more computer power than the machines that took Neil Armstrong to the moon (although Apollo 11's on-board Hasselblad cameras were higher-resolution). 

Significant improvements in sensor technology and miniaturization, coupled with changing expectations amongst social media-savvy consumers mean that if you buy a smartphone now, the chances are you're getting a pretty capable digital camera, too. As mobile devices are becoming better at taking pictures, major manufacturers in the photo industry are beginning to include smartphone-like connectivity options in their cameras. How should we react?

“We should be more device agnostic. What matters is photos.”
— Chase Jarvis: photographer

We could put our heads in the sand and ignore this new development, but we prefer to see it as an opportunity. Not to radically change dpreview, but to speak to a broader audience.

So rather than adding a new category of content to dpreview, we decided to launch a new site - and you're looking at it. Connect is the only site on the web devoted specifically to mobile photography, and as you poke around you'll find technique articles, detailed feature stories on photographers using mobile devices, and the most in-depth reviews of phone cameras on the Internet. Inevitably, creating, commissioning and editing all of this content for launch has been a team effort, but in the long run, Connect will be a separately resourced, editorially independent site, operating under the dpreview 'umbrella.' This means that while we'll continue to share the wider team's expertise, the two sites will complement one another, rather than compete.

Is dpreview.com going to fundamentally change? No. Absolutely not. You might see some Connect content featured on dpreview, and vis-versa, especially as the new site settles into its groove, but the dpreview team will keep on doing what we've always done best - reviewing cameras and being first with industry news and product analysis.

So whoever you are, and wherever you've come from, we want to welcome you to Connect.

Comments

Total comments: 35
ElvisMoab

Why do we even need to classify "mobile" at all? A camera is a camera is a camera... I get the concept of digital vs. analog since the media and workflow is different but...

If someone wishes to discriminate photos based on what camera they were shot with then they have serious problems. Is that same individual concerned with what brand and model typewriter Hemingway used or what type of quill Shakespeare used? Does anyone ask what kind of brushes that Da Vinci or Monet used?

A camera is merely a tool. What you produce with the tool is what you should be concerned with.

BTW, I do like the color scheme. The "other" DPreview is hard to read and I admit I spend as little time there as necessary because of the color scheme.

0 upvotes
Alexander Savin

Guys, why it is so hard to add your site to the Google Reader? :D I paste this URL: http://connect.dpreview.com/news , and no, it can't find any feeds.

0 upvotes
Colin Edwards

A really super idea. You are ahead of the curve - as usual. I am enthusiastic that I will participate energetically - but I doubt that I will. I am so unreliable. Anyway, getting a peek at Erin Lodi is justification enough to go on the site - right?

1 upvote
Charles Laigo

Great idea, great website! Looking forward to a mobile version of the site, or better yet an app.

0 upvotes
HubertChen

The more I read, the more I love this place. I hope you will continue to include content on artistic and practical aspects of photography. I am at a point in my life where my gear is good enough, but I am not. Here I find inspiration on how to improve my photography. I hope you will continue the way you started. Thanks.

0 upvotes
HubertChen

Feature request to put ( Galleries | Articles ) into the Menu
I have found that the general attitude on the classic dpreview community is hostile and negative towards the connect community. This would make me feel uncomfortable if I have to switch over to dpreview to publish an Article. And I would be less motivated to write about Artistic aspects of photography or using a tablets or mobiles as it is to be expected to be flamed on the dpreview side. Thus I also would appreciate a function that I could limit visibility to connect.dpreview members only. Per Article. E.g. a review of a printer I would publish to be visible to both communities, but using a tablet or mobile in concert with a DSLR I would only publish here.

I am not sure if anyone will appreciate the irony. I am a 100 % DSLR shooter, yet I found lots of inspiration on this side but only frustration on the other. Needless to see I will add tablet and mobile phone to my tools after what I learned here. Thanks again so much!

0 upvotes
aarmanto

I like this idea as being pioneers in mobile digital photography. Your informations, tips, and reviews will be very useful in this quite new field. Definitely I will put your website as one of my preferred daily reading.

0 upvotes
Robert McGovern

Congratulations on the new adventure. As someone who uses the iPhone camera daily and rarely carry a real camera now I look forward to following this.

0 upvotes
buttha

RSS feed please! :-)

0 upvotes
Sasha in Los Angeles

Bravo for the new site in DP Review! My recent love-affair with my iPad has rekindled an obsession with making images that I haven't felt since the early 70s, when I did a lot of b & w processing and printing.

2 upvotes
LVPhoto1

DPReview Congratulation’s …as you know this is not new, but the numbers will grow and its is going to be quite overwhelming, I remember back in the early 60’s when I opened my first wedding and portrait studio, and just the thought of someone coming in with the same camera as I had (Hasselbad) but in those days there was a professional understanding that we where the official photographer,
Now all they have to-do is whip out that little box that is called a phone/camera, and capture the moment at 60 frames a second, and for the wedding /photographer I think is all going to change …and we know that it’s already happening as we speak.(the phone will soon stop rigging)
I had a great run for 47years, and I love to watch how thing have changed for the wave of future technology unfolding….lord forbid if something global where to happed and erase what we can’t find.

1 upvote
Ryansinger

Thanks for this site! Looking forward to fresh content and keeping an open mind. There are always new ways to do things and I'm glad you're embracing the new mobile revolution.

0 upvotes
HubertChen

I original was disappointed in your decision to launch a separate site and thus splitting the dpreview community into two. After spending time in discussions on the dpreview site about connect I am forced to agree you made the right choice. For this site to grow you need an open minded readership which gives constructive criticism. It is sad ( and very harmful to the original dpreview community ) that a too large portion of the original dpreview community can not embrace ( or at least leave it in peace ) this new exciting segment of photography. Congratulations again to your launch. I wish you strength and perseverance in building a new community.

2 upvotes
HubertChen

Compliments to your new site. I particularly love your approach to write about different methods using mobile & tablet for photography considering stand-alone use as well as assisting tools to DSLR. I was curious since long in both and I will use this site to read more about it prior to engage in it. Thanks for making my research easier. I also want to second the request for more Android content. I particularly loved "The iPad Workflow" and am impatiently awaiting the Android version. Please note that iPhone is not dominant in every market. I live in China. Android based tablets and phones here cost 1/3 of the iOS counterparts and they are in no regards inferior. In many regards I consider the more open OS approach of Android to be superior, such as having access to the file system. Or having so much more choices on HW. I found a 3 inch device too small to be useful and a 10 inch device not fitting in my camera bag. 7 inch works great for me and is not available in iOS.

0 upvotes
farisam

I was walking to my car the other day with my new P7700 tucked safely and it occurred to me that I was actually carrying three cameras. One was the Nikon, two was my droidX and three was my iPod nano. Still I'll miss my FE. Eye-Fi anyone? :)

0 upvotes
Big Tom

Lovely looking new site and great to see such an ambitious development. So I don't bore you (and me) by saying the same thing below every article...please make it as inclusive as possible for all, not just iPhone users (it's currently leaning very heavily towards Apple). If the article is about printing from an iPhone or taking an iPhone into the water, please headline it as such not the misleadingly generic "printing from your smartphone", as it saves us Android users wasting time reading iPhone exclusive advice. Good luck with it all and look forward to some really useful, cross-platform, stuff!

2 upvotes
Doug Pardee

I've got to second that. I'm quite prepared to be patient for Android (and other) articles and stuff to show up, but when something is iPhone-specific, it should say so (and ditto for Android).

iPhone is a minority in the smart-phone market. A significant and very visible minority to be sure, but still a minority. It's reasonable to assume that most of the readers of this site will *not* be using an iPhone, so articles that assume that readers *will* be using an iPhone are out of step.

Ah, there's so much to sort out in a new enterprise. :-)

0 upvotes
Barney Britton

We're trying hard not to make anything device/platform specific, where it's not relevant. But thanks for the feedback - and Android reviews are on their way (days away in one case). Also we're working with Nokia to get hold of their latest stuff as soon as possible. Watch this space.

1 upvote
Big Tom

Great stuff. Not to labour the point, but both the "printing from your smartphone" and "taking your phone camera into the ocean" articles had no need to be so iPhone specific, could have very easily been written from a cross-device perspective and therefore of interest to a wider audience (and as Doug points out, possibly the *majority* of your audience) and if this wasn't possible, should have made it clear they were iPhone specific in the title (which has the added bonus of getting an extra iPhone reference in for SEO purposes! ; ) ). Know it's early days though and sure you'll be taking all feedback on board.

0 upvotes
Jonathan360

Love the new design on this!

2 upvotes
Slynky

Ahhh...

For some reason, this "white" design is a welcome relief from the "black" design that DPR has had for so long. Mind you, I don't dislike the darker design of the "original" DPR but this just seems nice and bright. :)

I plan to hang around and see what's going on. Not a professional but started in cameras in 1971 and invested in a Canon F1 in 1973. Given that kind of history, you might think I'd turn my nose up at the very hint that camera phones are a photographic tool worth integrating and consideration.

Good luck !

4 upvotes
Erin Lodi

Love your message, and your willingness to explore this new genre of mobile photography with us!

1 upvote
blacksnoopy

Very good design and UI

1 upvote
Amando Hernandez Monge

Congratulations for your new web site. This is much needed since phones and tablets are developing so fast and are the only camera people carry when on the go. one suggestion: an APP for reading its content on IOS and Android devices.

Good luck!!

1 upvote
Lukáš

Nice! I only miss an RSS feed...

2 upvotes
FoToEdge

Yes... this is a good place to get a nice sampling of what is new and what others are seeing and doing with all the electronic image creating tools... it seems like things are flashing by and I do need to stay up with the blurring images of the new world. This is a good first step. It looks very interesting and seems to have a lot of value to working picture makers.

0 upvotes
Star Rush

congratulations on the new initiative and site

4 upvotes
increments

Aren't you a contributor to said site?

0 upvotes
Star Rush

Yes, I am @increments. I didn't build the site. Yesterday, was my first look, just like everyone else.

0 upvotes
RajGohil

congrats on this new site,looks good and thanks for sharing this video ;) , will be looking forward for more updates.....

0 upvotes
camerashy

All the best for the new site it looks good....now which to have as my home page, connect or dpreview.
Dave

1 upvote
Bruce McL

I was waiting for dpreview to do something with phone cams and tablets. I did not expect anything this ambitious! Best of luck.

I would like to see an RSS feed for this site, which I could use on my dinosaur desktop computer. :-)

On my tablet I use Zite and Flipboard for news. Getting listed on those two apps might be worth looking into. Perhaps you already are - I haven't checked yet.

4 upvotes
ik42

rss feed is a must

3 upvotes
Erin Lodi

Thanks! We look forward to hearing from our readers. Let us know what you think!

1 upvote
3DSimmon

Congratulations on the new site, looks great!

1 upvote
Total comments: 35
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