It seems most people are satisfied with mediocrity, sadly.
First of all, I don't think that any serious photographer should belittle any gear. There is no correlation between the pedigree of the gear and the actual worth of the resulting photographs. Frankly I don't know any camera that I would deem mediocre. I seem to get along well with all of them. Although I don't love using a p&s or cell phone camera, hey, they are kinda fun for some things.
The issue for me, when I look at the SLR market and the camera market as a whole, is that the number of options has really narrowed horribly. It's quite hard to locate a camera well optimized and streamlined for a single purpose.
This is totally different from the situation ~20 years ago, when it was quite normal to get a spray and pray 8 fps slr for sports and wildlife, a quiet RF for street, a view camera or architecture, etc. Nowadays the all-in-one slrs are supposed to cover all of those bases. And they kinda do... but with many compromises. Some of those compromises are real threats to the craft. E.g. just try shooting a dslr in a classical concert hall, even if it's blimped :rolleyes:
Of course, this is just part of the current trend in technology to integrate more and more features into a box, in an attempt to produce do-everything products with very broad appeal. This is done for two reasons: (1) they can be mass produced at lower overall cost; and (2) the marketing expenses are much lower and it's easy to convince the public that although a cell phone isn't new and a tablet pc isn't new and an e-reader isn't new, the combination is fantastically new and transformative! :idea: how about adding a 20 mp dslr to the tablet...
Anyway... there is no rule that we need to buy the products they are hawking, we can simply continue keeping our task-optimized old cameras alive and well. Let us do that rather than belittling whatever the mass public thinks they want. Actually I do enjoy some of these newfangled products as well. I mean, the reciprocity chart is stored on my blackberry....
Show me where any photographers made any great photographs from a coke bottle.
They may create an interesting picture but not great photography.
Besides all that... I am not talking about good photographers, I am talking about mass population and mediocrity.
Here is a good example of where we are going in terms of of the mindshift in the oncoming postdigital society. Lomo has released a new panoramic camera, and the interseting piece for this discussion is not the camera but how it is marketed. On this howto-page where they talk about scanning the film and include the sprocket holes (it exposes the full width) a scentense got my attention: "Plus the sprocket holes simply look sexy and are unique to 35mm analogue photography."
That scentence would simply have ben impossible 10 years ago, unthinkable in promotion of a new camera. But the world has changed fundamentally. Film has started to become something uniqe with a value in that uniqeness. Gosh.. sprocket holes has become a sales argument!
Damn i must have become a very old man..
One might want to factor in how people are working longer hours and sacrificing more time to the job now more than ever. Could there be any connection to this and having just plain less energy/time to work harder at things that require it outside of work - such as allowing technology to overcome because the mind is slowly losing the battle?