The Best Camera on the PLANET for Magicians!

IphonecamIn the summer of 2011, I wrote the following article. All the information is just as relevant as it was back then. I will update it as I go along the post and compare 2011 to today, winter 2014.

I have always said, the best camera is the one you have with you when you need it – the one you carry with you every day. For most of us, that is our camera phone or smart phone.

Flickr Chart

iPhone 4 is the number one camera on Flickr in summer 2011

And at least one major online photo-sharing website agrees with me. According to Flicker, the number one used camera is the iPhone 4. Today the new winner is no surprise the iPhone 5. I think the iPhone 5S would be supreme, but with the 5C release and the smaller upgrade on the 5S, it has not taken over the top spot. I think the next release of iPhone will hit the number one spot quickly from all the iPhone 5 upgrades. Here is their complete list of the most used cameras

iPhone 5 Tops the List

While a modern smartphone’s 5-megapixel image resolution isn’t the best on the market, it is a remarkable improvement over camera phones released just a few years ago. Since the iPhone is the number one selling phone on the market today, the vast majority of the population who carries a phone also has a damn-good camera in their pocket.

Up until recently, I owned one of those big handheld monster camcorders and a digital point and shoot. When my camcorder broke, I thought to myself – my wife and I both have iPhones and my son has a Flip camera – do we really need to replace the old bulky single-purpose camcorder?

Soon after, my point and shoot digital still camera died. It was a nice camera, but I had the same thought – why replace it when my iPhone’s camera does a good job and is always in my pocket?

As technology gets smaller and continues to combine features, it is only logical that a device like the iPhone 4 would be the number-one camera on Flickr. By this time next year, the iPhone 4 will probably fall from the number one spot; bumped by none other than the iPhone 5. (This Happened.)

So what does Flickr and iPhone have to do with magic? Well, go grab your smartphone and I will tell you…

iPhone Photo Trick: One of my favorite tricks is the iPhone Cracked Screen. Search for the term “iPhone cracked screen” in Google Images, and you should be able to find a photo that works on your phone. If you are on your iPhone, click the picture you want and save it to your camera roll. Here are a couple examples:CrackedScreen2

To perform Cracked Screen, take someone’s photo. Snap the shot and say, “well, I have heard the old joke that you broke my camera with your face, but you really did it!”

Call them over to see it, and as you show them the picture, click the little square at the bottom of the photo screen (on the iPhone), it will take you to your camera roll and display the last picture – swipe past it to the cracked screen just in time to show your spectator. They broke your phone!cracked-screen

There is a trick in my “Magic with the iPhone II DVD,” where you can do some amazing photo magic – including a version of Cracked Screen that shows the actual photo of the spectator, cracked!

Smartphones create an ideal atmosphere for organic, impromptu magic. Similar to how our opportunity to capture precious moments on video and in photos has increased with the convenience of a camera in every pocket, so has the opportunity to perform extraordinary magic on the spot. All thanks to the best camera, the one you have with you!

Checkout all three volumes of my “Magic with the iPhone” DVDs, Magic City best sellers!

Check out: Magic With the iPhoneMagic With the iPhone


Five Cool Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Magic Jobbers

Magic City just celebrated its 40th year in the business (you can read more about us here). We have manufacturing and/or distribution in nearly every country where magic is made or sold. And that got us thinking, for the most part, magicians don’t know much about jobbers.

If you have never heard the word jobber before, the terms “wholesaler” and “distributor” and “jobber” are used interchangeably in the magic industry. We will get into the nuance in a future article. Suffice it to say, jobbers distribute magic to magic stores, pitchmen, bulk buyers, non-magic retail outlets, etc.

Until recently, there hasn’t been much talk among magicians about jobbers. So we thought we would start the blog off with Five Cool Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Jobbers…

1) Magic Jobbers are Invisible

Or at least they were in the past. For many years, it was a widely held industry standard that magic distributors would stay out of the public eye. Buying from a jobber was a multi-step process. You had to prove you were a store with a business license, perhaps supply a picture ID, credit references, and complete an application. If you weren’t a store, they wouldn’t even talk to you. But the internet changed all that. URL’s meant direct [anonymous] contact and browsing. Stores wanted retail pricing displayed on wholesale websites, they wanted accurate stock quantities on display, and it became the jobbers responsibility to popularize items by advertising those items direct to consumers to buy from magic shops. Before long, the word “jobber” crept into the global conversation, and now many magicians can name three or four jobbers.

2) Magic Jobbers Buy from Each Other

While it’s true that magic jobbers work on a very low percentage—the lowest percentage in the distribution chain—they still buy from each other. And at a loss when necessary. Jobbers are friendly with one another, especially when those jobbers are owned or managed by magicians who love and care about the craft. The chummiest of jobbers get together at conventions and talk like old friends—because they are!

3) Magic Jobbers Aid in Quality Control

Magic jobbers must stock the products they sell and they stock a lot of products. Magic City is aptly named because it is like a small city inside—a neighborhood of packed, overflowing shelves, manufacturing rooms, sales centers, packing and packaging, a full-scale printshop and binding station. In fact, it takes two massive warehouses to hold all of the products Magic City stocks. Quite frankly, jobbers cannot afford to stock bad merchandise so they focus on the good magic. Today, manufacturers can sell direct—even create demand for products that are not as good as they could be—whereas products that go through a jobber may get personal attention from magicians with years of training designing magic tricks and turning them into magic products fit for their intended clientele. Some manufacturers prefer to only sell direct as it means more profit for them, but some must sell direct because there simply isn’t a jobber willing to take the items. Jobbers act as agents, producers, and investors.

4) Magic Jobbers Also Make Their Own Products

Without exception, all of the major jobbers either manufacture their own products in-house, or have items manufactured for them. The bulk of what they sell is direct from magic creators, but each jobber has their own product lines—well-known brands within the industry that concentrate on staple goods and subject-specific how-to books and DVD’s. Employees within the company may be magic inventors too. The CEO of Magic City, Gerald Kirchner, was a performer and is a creator. Colleagues call to bounce ideas off him and to take the industry’s temperature every single day—who better to know what jobbers need than a jobber?

5) Magic Jobbers Stock Millions of Dollars Worth of Magic

The magic industry often operates in trends produced by a handful of manufacturers and/or performers. Walking down the isles of a jobber’s warehouse is like seeing a museum of those trends. There are sometimes whole rooms dedicated to major products that shipped all over the world—the room having emptied and refilled several times. Eventually, those products add up to millions of dollars worth of magic. And that’s not counting the cost of the machinery used to make their own product lines. Every year an item in inventory doesn’t sell, the profit margin decreases.

Talk Back Questions: had you heard the term jobber before visiting this blog? After reading five things about jobbers, what are five things you wish jobbers knew about the retail business, pitching, etc?