BBC 6 minute English-Are smartphones killing cameras

BBC 6 minute English-Are smartphones killing cameras

BBC 6 minute English-Are smartphones killing cameras


Transcript of the podcast

Note: This is not a word for word transcript

Neil: Hello and welcome to 6 Minute English. I’m Neil

Catherine: And I’m Catherine. Hello

Neil: Now, Catherine, say cheese

Catherine: Cheeeese

Neil: [takes photo on smartphone] Thank you, a little souvenir of our time together

Catherine: Let’s have a look… Hang on a minute. You just took a selfie, I wasn’t even in the picture

Neil: Ah, well, that’s the magic of the smartphone, two cameras! You know, that’s not something you can do with a traditional camera. I mean, do you even have a separate camera these days

Catherine: I do actually. It’s in a cupboard somewhere at home

Neil: Well, that is the topic of this programme. Have traditional cameras been completely replaced by smartphones, or to put it another way, have cameras been made obsolete by the smartphone

Catherine: Interesting question. But before we get into this topic, how about a question for our listeners

Neil: Of course. We are certainly in the digital age of photography but when was the first digital camera phone released? Was it

a) 2000

b) 2004 or

c) 2007

What do you think

Catherine: Well, I actually know this one, so I’m going to be fair and keep it to myself

Neil: OK, well, listen out for the answer at the end of the programme. There are different kinds of cameras available today. There are compact cameras, which are small and mostly automatic and usually come with a fixed lens

Catherine: That’s right. And then there are SLRs and DSLRs which are bigger, and you can change the lenses on these cameras and they allow for a lot of manual control

Neil: And there are also mirrorless cameras, which are a cross between compact cameras and DSLRs. They are small like a compact camera but you can also use the same lenses on them that you can use on DSLRs

Catherine: And of course, there are the cameras on smartphones, and these are convenient and they’re becoming increasingly sophisticated

Neil: Phil Hall is the editor of Tech Radar magazine. He was asked on the BBC programme You and Yours if he thought smartphones would make other cameras obsolete. What is his opinion

Phil Hall

I don’t think so. I think while compact camera sales have really sort of dropped off a cliff, it’s the lower end, cheap compacts where people have opted for a smartphone and I think manufacturers are looking at the more higher end premium cameras, high-end compacts, DSLRs, which are the ones you can attach lenses to, mirrorless cameras. So, the market’s changing. And I don’t think there’ll be a time soon, yet, that… the smartphone will take over the camera completely

Neil: So does Phil think smartphones will kill the camera

Catherine: In a word, no. He does say that sales of cheap compact cameras have dropped off a cliff. This rather dramatic expression describes a very big fall in sales

Neil: This is because the kind of consumers who would choose a compact camera are now opting for the camera on their smartphone. When you opt for something you choose it rather than something else

Catherine: For people who want a quick, easy to use and convenient way to take reasonable quality photos, compact cameras used to be the best choice – but now it’s a smartphone

Neil: So camera makers are now moving to the more high-end market, the DSLRs and mirrorless cameras. So who is still buying these more expensive cameras? Here’s Phil Hall again

Phil Hall

I think it’s… some of it is people who are picking up a smartphone and sort of getting into photography that way and that’s a really great first step into photography and I think people are probably, sometimes, getting a bit frustrated with the quality once they sort of start pushing their creative skills and then looking to see what’s the next rung up so it’s people wanting to broaden their creative skills a bit

Neil: Who does he say might be buying cameras

Catherine: He says that people who are getting into photography might get frustrated with the quality of smartphones

Neil: Getting into something means becoming very interested in it

Catherine: And if you are frustrated with something it means you are disappointed with it. You are not happy with it

Neil: So people who have got into photography with a smartphone but are frustrated with its limitations and want to be more creative are going to the next level. They are moving up, they are, as Phil said taking the next rung up

Catherine: Now, a rung is the horizontal step of a ladder, so the expression taking the next rung up is a way to describe doing something at a higher level

Neil: Now, talking of higher levels, did you get this week’s quiz question right? The question was: When was the first phone with a digital camera released? Was it 2000, 2004 or 2007? The first phone with a digital camera was released in 2000. Now, to take us up to the end of the programme, let’s look at the vocabulary again

Catherine: First we had the adjective obsolete which describes something that has been replaced and is no longer the first choice

Neil: When the expression to drop off a cliff is used about, for example, sales numbers, it means sales have fallen significantly over a short period of time

Catherine: To opt for something means to choose something and when you become very interested in an activity you can say that you get into it

Neil: If you are trying to do something and you can’t do it because you don’t have the skill or the equipment you are using is not right or not good enough, you can become frustrated

Catherine: And developing your skills to a higher level can be described as taking the next rung up

Neil: Right, that’s all from us from us in this programme. Do join us again next time and don’t forget that in the meantime you can find us on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and of course our website See you soon. Goodbye

Catherine: Bye

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