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The Rising Cost of Professional Photography

In recent years, photography has experienced a significant evolution with the rise of mirrorless cameras and technological advancements that have allowed for greater control over the photographic process. However, with these advancements, prices for cameras and lenses have soared, putting them out of reach for many prosumers who want to take their photography to the next level.


Take, for example, today's announcement from Canon that their new RF100-300MM F2.8 L IS USM lens will be priced at a staggering $9,499. While the lens boasts impressive image stabilization technology, a fast f/2.8 aperture throughout the zoom range, and high-quality optics, it is unaffordable for many photographers who are not making a living from their photography.


Manufacturers are partly to blame for the trend of increasing prices in the world of photography, with each new camera model and lens release having a higher price tag, yet lacking advanced functionality such as computational photography often found in today's mobile phone cameras and apps. The iPhone, for example, celebrates its 16th anniversary this year, yet "real cameras" still lack cellular connectivity (4G/5G) or a larger screen to facilitate sharing and sending out work. In computational photography, today's high-end cameras lack the ability to quickly combine photos (stacking) to produce hand-held long exposure shots without the need for a filter, which the iPhone has been able to do for a few years. While camera phones are also increasing in resolution, their computational photography skills have improved even faster, allowing for soft-focus backgrounds, blur-free long exposures, multi-face tracking, timelapses, high-quality video, and even the ability to capture images of the night sky with a surprising amount of clarity.


This trend of increasing prices and lack of computational photography features is particularly troubling for prosumers, who are passionate about photography but often limited by budget constraints. While affordable options are available, they may not offer the same level of image quality or features as their more expensive counterparts, making it difficult for prosumers to fully realize their photographic potential.


As camera manufacturers continue to push the boundaries of what is possible with their products, it is essential for them to consider the needs and budgets of prosumers to ensure everyone has access to the tools they need to create great photographs.


Ultimately, the trend of increasing prices in the world of photography is concerning for many prosumers. While technology has improved the quality of photography equipment, it has also made it more expensive and less accessible to those who are not professionals. However, the saying "the best camera is the one you have with you" still holds true, and as improvements are made in mobile phone technology, we may never need to pick up a larger camera again.


Perhaps this is why prices for "pro" gear are so high, to help manufacturers compensate for the loss of revenue from what once was a big market - the under $1500 camera. This market has mostly been lost to smartphones due to the innovation happening in our pockets.


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