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Digital cameras predicted to be the next casualty of smartphones and iPads

post #1 of 90
Thread Starter 
Sales of smartphones in the model of Apple's iPhone have deeply encroached upon single purpose electronics sales ranging from handheld games to music players to GPS units. Digital cameras are expected to fall next.

According to market research firm IHS iSuppli, sales of smartphones and tablets will continue to outpace single purpose devices, and as noted in a report by MarketWatch, "shipments of digital cameras and the like will start to fall."

IHS iSuppli predicts that smartphones will continue to grow at a compounded annual rate of 28.5 percent through 2015. Apple's iPhone has become the top seller among smartphones, and Apple itself has recently become the top manufacturer, edging out Samsung in the latest quarter in the race to steal Nokia's crown.

Smartphones have eaten up sales of everything from standalone music players (Apple's sales of iPods flattened out in the US and have started to decline) to dedicated gaming devices (sending Sony and Nintendo scrambling) to single purpose video cameras (like Cisco's Flip), to basic feature phones themselves.

It's not just general purpose smartphones that are threatening single purpose consumer devices. Tablet systems, which the report acknowledges are "dominated by Apple's iPad," are similarly growing at the expense of other devices, and at an even faster pace than smartphones.

IHS iSuppli predicts that tablets will grow at a compounded annual rate of 72.1 percent until 2015, more than 2.5 times as fast as smartphones.

The success of multipurpose electronic equipment, often coming at the expense of devices dedicated to a single task, is reshaping the landscape of the consumer electronics industry, wrote IHS analyst Jordan Selburn.

Selburn said tablets are truly a jack of all trades and master of most, destined to gobble up sales of dedicated e-book readers, music and video players, calendars, alarm clocks, video gaming devices, GPS and consumer digital cameras.

Apple's iPhone 4, which packs a high quality smartphone camera, has already become a top camera among Flickr users and has impressive video editing features that make it a strong competitor to stand alone video capture devices, such as the Flip camera purchased and promoted by Cisco for just a year before it was discontinued as a product.

On the other hand, Apple's tablet devices, ranging from the iPad to the iPod touch, both incorporate much lower quality cameras primarily suitable just for FaceTime video conferencing, making them less of a threat to standalone camera devices.

post #2 of 90
You mean point and shoots, right?

Because no smartphone can ever compare to a proper camera.
post #3 of 90
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

You mean point and shoots, right?

Because no smartphone can ever compare to a proper camera.

I agree!
post #4 of 90
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

You mean point and shoots, right?

Because no smartphone can ever compare to a proper camera.

It depends. If you look at Flickr's upload rates it shows the iPhone as recently beat out every other camera. I bet if you look at Facebook and Twitter, which have direct access to the camera HW in app phones you'll have even a greater percentage of photos for those sites taken from phones than from professional cameras. This doesn't imply that there is no professional camera market or that it's shrinking in fact it could be growing it just means that the most commonly used cameras are moving from single-function devices to multifunction devices.
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post #5 of 90
Even if somehow you get the performance of a good point and shoot--not possible today, how many consumers want a camera with no zoom? Even a small zoom will require a lot of thickness. People take a lot of phone camera pictures because it is with them all the time, but when you travel,for example, your phone camera isn't going to be good enough. In other words, cameras in phones are complimentary not a replacement for a camera.
post #6 of 90
Point-and-shoot cameras definitely. I had an iPod nano (1G) alongside a Moto RAZR for quite a while, then swapped both for a Windows Mobile 5 (later 6) phone, but didn't take me long to realize the music experience just wasn't up to par, so got another nano (3G). When iPhone 3G finally came out in Canada, I again swapped two devices for one. Not long after I realized that phones just weren't up to par for taking pictures, so got a nice Fujifilm camera. But now that has been collecting dust ever since I upgraded to iPhone 4, again merging multiple devices into one.
post #7 of 90
It's hard to draw a hard and fast line as to what constitutes the "point and shoot" market, however. For years manufacturers have been industriously adding pixels and options to their cheaper digicams, just because they could.

My guess is that pretty much everything that is not a DSLR will start to go away, and DSLRs themselves will continue to get cheaper. In a few years the camera section at BestBuy will be a range of DSLRs, the cheapest of which will be under $300 with a kit lens, and a handful of very inexpensive smaller imager devices (well under $100) with long zoom ranges favoring the telephoto that will be sold expressly as "get the vacation shot from far away" problem solvers.
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post #8 of 90
This might in fact be true for budget compact cameras, because the majority of photos on social sites are crappy, badly lit and overly noisy snap shots anyway - and those folks don't mind
post #9 of 90
Quote:
Originally Posted by addabox View Post

It's hard to draw a hard and fast line as to what constitutes the "point and shoot" market, however. For years manufacturers have been industriously adding pixels and options to their cheaper digicams, just because they could.

My guess is that pretty much everything that is not a DSLR will start to go away, and DSLRs themselves will continue to get cheaper. In a few years the camera section at BestBuy will be a range of DSLRs with a handful of very inexpensive smaller imager devices with long zoom lenses that will be sold expressly as "get the vacation shot from far away" problem solvers.

Lens physics will not allow an optical zoom lens in a thin phone like the iPhone. So unless consumers decide a zoom lens isn't important to them at all, point and shoots aren't going anywhere. If a camera manufactuer came out with a sub 300 point and shoot with no zoom it would not sell at all(there are expensive compact with no zoom because they have a APS-C sensor). Cameras and phone cameras will be complimentary. DSLRs are slowly being replaced by mirrorless cameras like the Sony NEX and mico 4/3 cameras. They aren't quite there yet, but they are getting better every year.
post #10 of 90
In my family, the iPhone is the go-to device for most of the moment-to-moment photo ops. It's good enough.

Even the pocketable Canon S95 is only pulled out for trips, parties, and special event snapshot taking.
post #11 of 90
And of course we're seeing a change it what it means to capture images, analogous to what happened with iPods and listening to music.

When you always have a camera on your person (and always have a way to immediately share it), "photography" changes from being a series of considered compositions for which you might want the best possible quality to more of a kind of ongoing image diary activity. Nobody cares if all those endless "here's my boyfriend in his new stupid shirt" pictures on Facebook are composed or lit or anything, because that's not what they're for.

It's not bad photography, it's good sharing, more akin to visual talking than what we've previously considered camera "for."

Doesn't mean that there won't still be beautiful picture taken by people who set out to do that, but I don't think you can compare the ubiquitous upload stream to traditional photography, since they serve distinctly different purposes.
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post #12 of 90
I'm not giving up my dSLRs anytime soon -- I have a D40 for portability, family snaps etc and a D700 for some really serious stuff. I refuse to buy a point-n-shoot, or one of those halfway-house things.

Maybe there is a market for a camera with a simple phone built-in -- just enough functions to make & receive calls via a bluetooth controller.
post #13 of 90
Quote:
Originally Posted by gwlaw99 View Post

So unless consumers decide a zoom lens isn't important to them at all, point and shoots aren't going anywhere.

It's not that it's not important, it's whether or not you're willing to carry yet another device. As I said above, The family S95 and G11 are only pulled out for special occassions.

You can be "complementary", and still be in a declining market. Full-up GPS systems are "complementary". Full-up video cameras are "complementary". Full-up game systems are "complementary".

But they're being replaced for day to day use, nonetheless.

And as megapixel counts go up (we're around 8MP, currently), cropping and digital zoom help alleviate some of that missing functionality.
post #14 of 90
Quote:
Originally Posted by gwlaw99 View Post

Even if somehow you get the performance of a good point and shoot--not possible today, how many consumers want a camera with no zoom? Even a small zoom will require a lot of thickness. People take a lot of phone camera pictures because it is with them all the time, but when you travel,for example, your phone camera isn't going to be good enough. In other words, cameras in phones are complimentary not a replacement for a camera.

Hmmmm... as camera phones get better then you can see more and more people leaving their single purpose cameras at home.

Anecdotally speaking... I know several people who travel constantly and they couldn't be bothered with a separate camera. The ease with which they are able to email their photos to friends and to be able to send their photos to FB makes it so they no longer want the added weight... and nuisance.
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post #15 of 90
This is a classic case of the "-----philes" versus the rest of us. Audiophiles will yammer on and on about vinyl, digital, bit rates, encoders, etc. while the vast majority are happy with plain old mp3. Videophiles make your eye lids heavy with 720P versus 1080P, refresh rates, Blu-ray, etc. while the rest us are very happy with 720P on our Sam's Club Vizio. Now the photophiles are up in arms about how smartphone/tablet cameras will never replace whatever DSLR. Well guess what, they already have. So the -----philes can puff themselves up all they can and look down their noses at us peasants because it doesn't matter. Anybody want ot buy some Tom-Tom or Garmin stock? I thought not.
post #16 of 90
Quote:
Originally Posted by pechspilz View Post

This might in fact be true for budget compact cameras, because the majority of photos on social sites are crappy, badly lit and overly noisy snap shots anyway - and those folks don't mind

The worst shots from a phone camera are still better the best shots from the 127s and 110s built in the 60s and 70s.
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post #17 of 90
Quote:
Originally Posted by gwlaw99 View Post

Lens physics will not allow an optical zoom lens in a thin phone like the iPhone. So unless consumers decide a zoom lens isn't important to them at all, point and shoots aren't going anywhere. If a camera manufactuer came out with a sub 300 point and shoot with no zoom it would not sell at all(there are expensive compact with no zoom because they have a APS-C sensor). Cameras and phone cameras will be complimentary. DSLRs are slowly being replaced by mirrorless cameras like the Sony NEX and mico 4/3 cameras. They aren't quite there yet, but they are getting better every year.

That's what I'm saying-- that zoom lenses will be the selling point of cheap point and shoots, since you can use your camera phone for everything else.

I think the very process we're discussing dooms micro 4/3 to niche status, because ever better cell cameras kill the middle. A phone can do most of what most people want to do most of the time, and if you want to do more why not just get a full on DSLR? I can't imagine the market for "want to take better pictures than my phone, although not the best pictures possible, while carrying a device not nearly as small as my phone, although somewhat smaller than a DSLR" is very large.
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post #18 of 90
Quote:
Originally Posted by addabox View Post

That's what I'm saying-- that zoom lenses will be the selling point of cheap point and shoots, since you can use your camera phone for everything else.

The problem is that if not enough people find that sufficient reason then cheap point & shoot loses economy of scale and becomes too expensive. It's quite easy to envisage the camera market consisting of smartphones on one hand and then prosumer and up on the other.
post #19 of 90
Quote:
Originally Posted by island hermit View Post

The ease with which they are able to email their photos to friends and to be able to send their photos to FB...

Yeah, the camera companies missed the boat on this one.

Also look at how smartphone apps let you do a million or so special effects (shooting modes), editing, and more.

A phone's optics offen leave much to be desired, but its high-res touch screen, high-speed processor (compared to a camera), and 3G/WiFi connectivity make up for an awful lot.
post #20 of 90
Quote:
Originally Posted by addabox View Post

I can't imagine the market for "want to take better pictures than my phone, although not the best pictures possible, while carrying a device not nearly as small as my phone, although somewhat smaller than a DSLR" is very large.

Depends, depends, depends. I dug out my Canon 1Ds and 70-200 f/2.8 IS for a special event last weekend... and I'd forgotten just how big, heavy, and clunky the thing actually is. Especially packing the 28-70 and 16-35 to go with...

I could, in fact, see the Micro 4/3 and APS-C sensors in a prosumer P&S "stealing" the market from the DSLRs, especially as their low-light quality improves. Studios are using 6x4.5 30MP and up medium format anyway.

So, camera phones, APS-C, DSLR, and MF. Seems like that covers all the bases.
post #21 of 90
The best camera is the one that you have with you. You always almost have your cell phone with you, so that's what you're going to use for ad hoc photographs. I don't agree that the iPhone is too slim for a zoom lens. There are some proof of concept zoom lenses that are miniscule. However, the cell phone camera will hurt the lower end of the camera market. I have two digital cameras, a pocket camera for a few photos at a barbecue or party and a super zoom for travel. Cell phone cameras are getting good enough to use for a few party photos, and I probably won't replace my smaller camera, even though it has a zoom lens. I'll always have a better camera for more serious photography. Of course, you never know what will happen to the price of cameras. If good pocket cameras drop in price, then I might get one anyway.
post #22 of 90
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

You mean point and shoots, right?

Because no smartphone can ever compare to a proper camera.

The same is true of every other one of those categories too though.

So by "proper camera," you really mean ... "complex high-end specialty device."

Which of course will always exist in each category but actually has little meaning in the context of the article and is 100% irrelevant to the trends the article is defining.
post #23 of 90
In my case iphone 4 did had a casualty in the form of my sony point and shoot. Now I only have a Nikon dslr for serious picture taking and iphone 4 as point and shoot. Makes my life much less complicated...
post #24 of 90
I have an iPad 2 and a new iPod touch and the cameras are so crappy that they are almost unusable unless you're in very very very bright conditions. Since there are no flashes on these devices they are also a poor substitute for even the smallest dedicated pocket digital cameras.

The iPhone 4 is another story though.

With the rising popularity of micro 4/3rds digitals and DSLRs I am not sure I agree that the Camera manufactures have much to worry about.
post #25 of 90
Quote:
Originally Posted by ahmlco View Post

In my family, the iPhone is the go-to device for most of the moment-to-moment photo ops. It's good enough.

Even the pocketable Canon S95 is only pulled out for trips, parties, and special event snapshot taking.

This is the direction most people are going. Real event or vacation, bring a real camera. Everything else, a good smartphone camera will cover it. Most people know that the P&S quality is better, but who can be bothered to carry yet another device when the phone is "good enough" for a snapshot at the club or similar "trivial" event?
post #26 of 90
Quote:
Originally Posted by depannist View Post

This is the direction most people are going. Real event or vacation, bring a real camera. Everything else, a good smartphone camera will cover it. Most people know that the P&S quality is better, but who can be bothered to carry yet another device when the phone is "good enough" for a snapshot at the club or similar "trivial" event?

That sums it up nicely. Simple videocams were the first casualty of the cell phone camera. There probably aren't any significant advantages of a Flip-style videocam over the iPhone 4 (unless you want to talk on the phone while you're recording something).
post #27 of 90
Quote:
Originally Posted by island hermit View Post

The worst shots from a phone camera are still better the best shots from the 127s and 110s built in the 60s and 70s.

An iPhone can take better pictures than some of the best point and shoots today also.

I'm sure a bunch of photophiles on this thread will jump in and correct me, but almost everyone I know who has a point and shoot has something like a Canon Powershot camera, and even the first iPhone camera blows them away for quality most of the time. Now the iPhone camera is HD and has a flash, I think one would have to be an idiot to buy a 'point and shoot' at all.

If you aren't happy with the iPhone camera then buying a good one with better optics and sensors is the way to go. None of the point and shoots are really in that category though.
post #28 of 90
Those market research guys. When you have no crystal ball, simply report on Apples success. You cant lose there at the moment.

Some words to their latest prediction: Maybe they are right, but only because a part of users doesnt care about image quality and "photography has become a synonyme for "wave of profile photos nobody cares of and nobody will look at in 10 years". (Everything has to be better today, but when it comes to personal photos people have just no sense for quality.)

None of the named devices offers:

- acceptable flash light
- acceptable optical (!) zoom
- acceptable battery life
- acceptable displays for outdoor use
- advanced camera functionality

I often find myself on day-trips when I suddenly realize that playing a game on the train is no good idea, since I need battery life hours later to find a train back, make some phone calls, look on the map, read something on Wikipedia. How should I use this device then for making a hundred photos? My camera wont abandon me there.
post #29 of 90
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

It depends. If you look at Flickr's upload rates it shows the iPhone as recently beat out every other camera. I bet if you look at Facebook and Twitter, which have direct access to the camera HW in app phones you'll have even a greater percentage of photos for those sites taken from phones than from professional cameras. This doesn't imply that there is no professional camera market or that it's shrinking in fact it could be growing it just means that the most commonly used cameras are moving from single-function devices to multifunction devices.

Yes smartphone cameras are great for internet photos but terrible to keep. I've often came back to the photo and wish I had a better shot.
post #30 of 90
Quote:
Originally Posted by Prof. Peabody View Post

but almost everyone I know who has a point and shoot has something like a Canon Powershot camera, and even the first iPhone camera blows them away for quality most of the time.

Are you serious? They just sucked in every aspect (like the iPads or iPod touchs camera). Always have to grimace with pain when looking at some snapshots from my old 3G.
post #31 of 90
Quote:
Originally Posted by BGW View Post

...but only because a part of users doesnt care about image quality and "photography has become a synonyme for "wave of profile photos nobody cares of and nobody will look at in 10 years".

This may be a news flash, but most digital cameras take tons of pictures that do little more than waste space on a hard drive and that no one has looked at for years. Going back even further, most film cameras took tons of pictures that did little more that fill up a shelf full of shoeboxes.

As to your other qualms, you're assuming, of course that you HAVE your other camera with you. That its battery is in fact charged. That the SD card isn't full. And so on.

Managing another device is managing another device, and that includes power adaptors, cables, and all of the other crap it needs. Why bother if -- for the majority of common use cases -- good enough is good enough.

Very, very few people need a Canon 1D Mark IV.
post #32 of 90
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

You mean point and shoots, right?

Because no smartphone can ever compare to a proper camera.

Ever is a pretty strong word. True, within the next few years, it's only point and shoot that are at risk. But eventually the "proper cameras" will also be at risk. Imagine that you had a camera that records all information available from incoming light at a given point in time (or at least, most information up to some very high megapixel/storage constraint). Then all the work of a "proper camera" would be done in photoshop.
post #33 of 90
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

You mean point and shoots, right?

Because no smartphone can ever compare to a proper camera.

The thing here is this article is like a year or two late. If you talk to anybody willing at a camera store you will hear all about the bottom falling out of the point and shoot market. This happened at least two years ago but is likely accelerating as camera phones get better and better.

As to a proper camera that is an interesting concept. I suspect in a few years finding even a SLR will be a task that takes you to a pro shop.
post #34 of 90
Quote:
Originally Posted by ahmlco View Post

Depends, depends, depends. I dug out my Canon 1Ds and 70-200 f/2.8 IS for a special event last weekend... and I'd forgotten just how big, heavy, and clunky the thing actually is. Especially packing the 28-70 and 16-35 to go with...

I could, in fact, see the Micro 4/3 and APS-C sensors in a prosumer P&S "stealing" the market from the DSLRs, especially as their low-light quality improves. Studios are using 6x4.5 30MP and up medium format anyway.

So, camera phones, APS-C, DSLR, and MF. Seems like that covers all the bases.

The Canon T*i cameras seem to be getting really popular among folks who want quality shots of important events. They're APS-C DSLR cameras, so you can use the fast lenses that give you narrow depth of field. But they don't cost thousands of dollars. A reasonable 70-200 zoom and 1.8F prime, along with a nice indirect flash and the body and you're talking under $1000 shots that can compete with low-end pros.

But who's going to carry all that around every day. Most pics will be taken with the camera phone and the special events will get the DSLR treatment. The only mid-range market I see is for kids.
post #35 of 90
Selburn said tablets are truly a jack of all trades and master of most, destined to gobble up sales of dedicated e-book readers, music and video players, calendars, alarm clocks, video gaming devices, GPS and consumer digital cameras.

What kind of a crack-brain statement is this? Totally unsported in fact. As useful as the integral camera in an iPod, iPhone, or iPad can be, they are somewhat limited in their digital camera capabilities/features and rather awkward for picture taking.

So what's next? The 'predicted' demise of the car windshield ice scraper, as a screwdriver can be for both repairs and ice scraping?
post #36 of 90
Quote:
Originally Posted by BGW View Post

Are you serious? They just sucked in every aspect (like the iPads or iPod touchs camera). Always have to grimace with pain when looking at some snapshots from my old 3G.

The point is that even a >10MP PowerShot takes crap pictures because it too has a plastic lens and a poor sensor and does't have the processing advantages the iPhone has.

The very first iPhone I got to use was the 3G because I don't live in the USA. On day one, it was taking far far better pictures than my 4MP PowerShot camera. Better in every aspect too (colour, exposure, contrast, focus, etc.) I'm no point and shoot expert and only have direct experience with my own cameras, but it seems to me the vast majority of point and shoots are not as good as the iPhone regardless of what it says on the box.
post #37 of 90
You dont need a camera when you have photographic memory and can paint like a boss.

"Like I said before, share price will dip into the $400."  - 11/21/12 by Galbi

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"Like I said before, share price will dip into the $400."  - 11/21/12 by Galbi

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post #38 of 90
Quote:
Originally Posted by 80025 View Post

Selburn said tablets are truly a jack of all trades and master of most, destined to gobble up sales of dedicated e-book readers, music and video players, calendars, alarm clocks, video gaming devices, GPS and consumer digital cameras.

What kind of a crack-brain statement is this? Totally unsported in fact. As useful as the integral camera in an iPod, iPhone, or iPad can be, they are somewhat limited in their digital camera capabilities/features and rather awkward for picture taking.

So what's next? The 'predicted' demise of the car windshield ice scraper, as a screwdriver can be for both repairs and ice scraping?

I don't see what you are talking about. The iPad is arguably better at most of the listed tasks already. It's a better book reader than the rest, the iPhone is a better iPod than anything else, both are better alarm clocks and calendars than most dedicated ones.

I mean I'm not going to go through the whole list, but if anyone is making unsupported statements it's you. On what basis do you argue that the dedicated devices are better? What's a better digital video player than an iPod? What's a better book reader than an iPad? There aren't any.
post #39 of 90
Quote:
Originally Posted by addabox View Post

It's hard to draw a hard and fast line as to what constitutes the "point and shoot" market, however. For years manufacturers have been industriously adding pixels and options to their cheaper digicams, just because they could.

My guess is that pretty much everything that is not a DSLR will start to go away, and DSLRs themselves will continue to get cheaper. In a few years the camera section at BestBuy will be a range of DSLRs, the cheapest of which will be under $300 with a kit lens, and a handful of very inexpensive smaller imager devices (well under $100) with long zoom ranges favoring the telephoto that will be sold expressly as "get the vacation shot from far away" problem solvers.

While I don't disagree with you about point and shoot I don't have the same opinion when it comes to DSLR's. I suspect they will also slowly melt away and end up begin replaced with mirror free viewing. In the end it provides for capabilities you can't easily get in a SLR type camera. Further I suspect that we will see a merger of pro still cameras and video cameras. Both Cannon and Nikon are already dabbling in this area. Once technology catches up I suspect a lot of DSLR's will be sitting in curio cabinets along with the old press cameras and medium format cameras.

Mind you I use to own a Maymia RZ so, along with a bunch of other medium format and 35 mm cameras. At this point I still see us in a transitional period where digital takes on features from the previous generation but has yet to really be innovated upon as a technology in its own right.
post #40 of 90
Quote:
Originally Posted by Galbi View Post

You dont need a camera when you have photographic memory and can paint like a boss.

boss? WTF?
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