This may look out of place on a list of iconic cameras, but just as the Kodak Brownie was instrumental in the democratisation of photography in the early 20th century, so the iPhone drove its own, entirely digital revolution. Indeed it’s arguably the most important camera of this century so far. Where the Brownie allowed anyone to take photographs, the iPhone opened up the process to a hitherto unimagined degree. Freed from the need to print, it enabled users to share photographs instantly with anyone else in the world, thanks to social media apps such as Facebook and Instagram. But this could be achieved using a small, slim device that slipped easily into a shirt pocket or handbag. It decimated the point-and- shoot camera market in a matter of years.
My first smartphone was the iPhone 4. I still have it.
Mirrorless had a big year in 2018, with many full frame entrants (4, or 10% of all cameras introduced), plus some good energy on either side of that size from Fujifilm. Lenses came in droves for mirrorless this year. I count 27 significant mirrorless-only lenses introduced this year (plus things like the Sigma Art series in FE mount adds quite a few more). 2019 is likely to be more of the same: lots of new lenses now that Canon and Nikon have to get their mirrorless foundries up-to-speed to match Sony.
Clearly, all the camera makers—other than Pentax, who's still wandering around in the woods somewhere seeing if trees make noises when they fall—are going to be executing significantly in the mirrorless realm in the future. We're now clearly into the DSLR-to-mirrorless transition period. How long that transition will take depends upon how fast the camera makers move.
My predictions are:
The whole camera market is moving up-market — just like the iPhone X line. We’ll see more capable, but expensive mirrorless camera bodies and better quality lenses. We’ll pay more but we’ll get a better product.
The low-end consumer cameras are dead. Advancement in smartphone cameras with AI will put a nail in that coffin. The market will refocus on the advanced amateur -- amateur is defined as one who engages in a pursuit, study, science, or sport as a pastime rather than as a profession -- and professional market.
We have cheap bicycles for people who like to ride on cool spring/autumn days and we have more expensive (and capable) bicycles for cycling enthusiasts who ride 50–60km (one way) on the weekend (just because they can).
I agree with Thom's analysis. I am in the market for a new ILC and feel that a 24MP sensor is what I want. But the current price tags of offerings from Fuji, Sony and Nikon have me feeling "cautious" and I don't feel I need full-frame. APS-C is suitable for this hobby. Thom thinks $1000 is the right entry-point for a 24MP APS-C camera. I think I would spend close to $1600, especially if a 24-70mm (35 mm equivalent FOV) lens was included within the basic kit.
One final comment for the professional crowd: one of the on-going problems professional photographers have had in the digital age is that competent amateurs often are in the right place at the right time with entry bar cameras (i.e. ones that produce usable images for the media). If the bar is at 24mp full frame, that really means that the pros have to up their game considerably, as 24mp full frame is enough for a two-page magazine spread, even at high ISO values.