Are Smart Phones eating up on Digital Camera Sales

This year I was sorting through pictures for creating a collage. Interestingly, I noticed that a large portion of the pictures were clicked using my iPhone. By now you may have heard rumors or realized that smart phone cameras are preferred over point-and-shoot cameras.

Smartphones are becoming the mainstream cameras of choice, lead by iPhone as the most popular device for uploading photos to Flickr. Lately all the smart phones have camera specs listed as one of its core features. A phone with a decent pixel size camera is convenient to carry in the pocket v/s a bulky camera.

Most of the cameras developers would be worried about their product landing in the junk drawers with their old mates as the smart phones catch up with new features.

After Polaroid, Digital cameras were the next big invention in the world of photography. The digital photography revolution streamlined things for everyman. Now any one could buy a Digital SLR and become a photographer. It allowed him to shoot as many landscapes and beautiful women as he wanted without having to worry about film. Anyone with a laptop could edit like a pro.

Personally I feel buying a Canon doesn’t make you a photographer but a camera owner. It takes a bit more effort to learn professional photography and click decent photographs.

Smart phones literally hijacked the vision of digital cameras. The phones are also able to click as many pictures as wanted and upload it to social networks. You can edit, share, and order prints just a click away on a phone. While some cameras do offer to upload photos and videos online, but they are probably just not as quick, hip and cool as a smart phone.

Another factor that cameras need to worry about is the rate at which people switch phones. People don’t buy new cameras every second year.

The rate at which people use smart phones to share pictures online is much more than the digital cameras. One of the most popular smart phone apps, Instagram has 5 million photos uploaded on a daily basis, and has a user base of approx 30 million as per an article published in AllthingsD.

If you say that the cameras will beat smart phones in the megapixel race, you may be wrong. With the release of iPhone 4s this barrier has also been broken. Unless you are geared up for a poster size photograph, you don’t need more than 8-10 megapixel cameras.

Nokia introduced its first camera phone in 2001, the 7650, which included a 0.3 megpixel sensor. This year it has rolled out Nokia 808 Pure view a smart phone that has a massive 41 megapixel sensor and costs approximately QAR 2200.

On the bright side for cameras, DSLR will always remain the first choice for professional photographers. New innovations in the world of cameras will keep them ahead of the smart phones. For example, a new camera called Lytro lets you choose a focal point after you have taken a picture. This innovative feature may not be easily replicated by smart phones.

The smart phone cameras have not only affected the Digital Camera sales but also the journalism industry. Previously, large media organizations would hire photo-journalists to cover major events. Nowadays everyone is armed with a smart phone ready to take pictures of an event and send them to a media organization. Last year CNN fired 12 of its full time photo journalists due to rise in submission at iReport, a platform where people could share report of an event using a smart phone.

Smart phones obviously don’t function as a pro camera would do. They don’t take close up or wide angle shots; however an external device can change that. They don’t have optical zoom; they have digital zoom that loses pixels as it zooms in and results in a blurred image.

The holiday makers still prefer taking out the DSLR to capture the moments. This has encouraged many camera developers to introduce new piece of hardware in the market. Panasonic has recently announced the launch of Lumix DMC-FT4 in the Middle East region. The camera is customized to be used outdoors and is waterproof, freeze proof, shockproof and to suit the Middle East region, dustproof. Now can the smart phones beat that?

The usage of smart phone cameras has to do with convenience as it is easy to share photos with family and friends over social networks, blogs or email. Smart phone apps like Instagram, Hipstamatic make it fun to add effects on the image. Also, smart phones are always in your pocket to snap a light moment.

Smart phones may have managed to cannibalize the Digital Camera sales; however they are yet to overtake them. Technological innovations will decide who will lead the race.

We are conducting a survey to know your preferred device to capture precious moments.

The article was published in Qatar Today magazine’s Sep 2012 issue.


One Response to “Are Smart Phones eating up on Digital Camera Sales”

  1. bill hewson
    September 6, 2012 at 8:08 am #

    I use my smartphone blackberry 9800 with a 5 megapixel camera for all my shots i have close to 1500 on my phone and the camera has function settings for every event from night to party to snow to closeup i have taken antastic closeups up flowers animals spiderwebs its amazing i will not lug around a camera with all of its required supportr again.

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