What happened to the digital camera? Is it already obsolete?

March 16, 2018 2:24 pm


Man and camera go a long way, together capturing history’s best and worst, cataloging time and change.

From tripod still photos, to instant and now digital photography, picture taking has made leaps and bounds and allowed us to show even the sadness hidden behind smiles, the pride in some parent’s eyes, and the future awaiting in a kid’s doodles and colorful drawings.

Sadly, the portable digital camera, once a subject of fascination, is making an exit from the stage, paving the way for smartphone camera technology, inferior still, but making progress in leaps and bounds.

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Stage left

Statista quoted award-winning photographer Chase Jarvis who coined the phrase “The best camera is the one that’s with you” to best describe the impact that smartphone cameras have on the world of photography.

“When the first touchscreen smartphones made waves in 2007 and 2008, the camera industry was doing very well,” said Statista.

“In 2008, members of the CIPA, an association of the world’s most renowned camera makers, shipped almost 120 million digital cameras and probably didn’t worry too much about the upcoming competition.”

10 years ago, picture quality in smartphones was crude at best, and Instagram or Snapchat were inventions brewing in the human mind either.

Today, the picture, no pun intended, has changed, with smartphones an indispensable tool, with built-in camera lenses and sensors increasing in megapixel quality, and performance in low-light conditions.

Today global camera shipments by CITA members dropped by nearly 80% since peaking in 2010.

Courtesy of Statista (www.statista.com)

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Jan 2018: Stress fractures in camera sales

Industry site Stark Insider said that January 2018 turned out to be a tough month for camera sales.

“Canon, Nikon, Sony, Olympus, Panasonic and all the rest are likely reeling a bit from this bit of troubling news,” it said adding that Some are saying this is the worst month for camera sales in the last 10 years.

“A report out of Japan suggests sales for the digital still camera (DSC) segment fell 28% YoY. CIPA’s data show that total shipments for January 2018 were just 1,340,492 units vs. 1,867,875 units for the same period prior.”

Stark Insider reaffirmed that for most consumers, “the hassle (and cost) of carrying an extra — albeit better performing — a camera just isn’t worth it.”

Camera makers are in fact increasing prices aiming more pros of photography who are still not convinced of smartphone technology.

The problem is that smartphone producers like Apple and Samsung have a dedicated budget to market their camera capabilities, and driving a market where 1 billion photos are taken an hour worldwide, according to some estimates.

“And then there’s AR/VR and holographic technology that’s just about ready for prime time,” it said.

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Market regression

According to a recent Digital Camera Market Report, with the advent of high-end smartphones, the digital camera market has experienced a slow growth over the past few years.

According to IMARC Group’s latest report, titled “Digital Camera Market: Global Industry Trends, Share, Size, Growth, Opportunity and Forecast 2017-2022”, the global digital camera market reached a value of $7.3bn in 2016.

“With the launch of every smartphone, the camera functions are consistently getting better, side-lining the need to own digital cameras,” the report said.

“Apart from this, minimal customer engagement by the camera manufacturers and complex specifications have diminished the growth prospects of the market.”

Th report said the market is anticipated to decline at a CGAR of 4.8% during 2017-2022, reaching a value of $5.4bn by 2022.

 

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Hadi Khatib
By Hadi Khatib
Hadi Khatib is a business editor with more than 15 years' experience delivering news and copy of relevance to a wide range of audiences. If newsworthy and actionable, you will find this editor interested in hearing about your sector developments and writing about it.



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