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Practice English Speaking&Listening with: Are smartphones killing cameras? Watch 6 Minute English

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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's

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


See you soon. Goodbye.

Catherine: Bye!

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