InfoTrends Analyses the Camera Market

Ed Lee
Jun 21, 2012

I recently had the opportunity to chat with Paul Worthington of 6Sight about a number of subjects in the digital imaging market, including the topics of DSLRs versus compact interchangeable lens cameras (CILCs) and smartphones versus digital cameras. Our conversation is featured in the current issue of 6Sight Magazine.

The following is an excerpt from our conversation:

What is happening in the phone photography market, and how does it impact the rest of the photography business?

The smartphone market has had and will continue to have an effect on the camera market. We view phones and still cameras as capture devices, and so, as long as they’re both capturing photos and those photos are repurposed, then I guess I don’t try to say one’s a winner and one’s a loser.

At this point in time, we are seeing that capture behaviors are definitely changing among consumers, and more specifically, we are seeing that the younger adults tend to use their smartphone now as the camera that they use most often. So there is a shift in behavior, in that older folks are still using their still cameras as the camera they use most often, but generationally, we’re seeing more and more smartphone usage.

That’s going to affect the potential growth of the compact camera market, in that if people are using their smartphones, then unless there’s a specific function that the smartphone doesn’t have, like an ultra-long zoom, then the sales of some of the lower-end still cameras will start to drop off. We saw that toward the end of last year.

And smartphones are definitely getting better image quality. They’re still not quite there yet; there are still issues around exposure; there are still issues around shutter lag and the lack of optical zoom. But for many people, the photos they take are good enough. We just took a mobile imaging study out in the field, and a couple of quick takes from that study show that people are using their smartphones for everyday photos. But when it comes to photos for special events, it does look like the still camera is still the camera of choice. So that’s good news for the camera manufacturers.

To read more, download the entire issue here (see pages 3-8).

The annual 6Sight Future of Imaging Conference will be held next week, June 25 -26, at the Metropolitan Pavilion in New York City. It will be two full days of informative and educational sessions with well-respected industry leaders and speakers.

InfoTrends will be hosting an InfoBreakfast on Tuesday morning, where my colleague David Haueter and I will be discussing the new imaging landscape; digital cameras, smartphones, and connected cameras; and photo printing trends. We encourage you to register for the conference.

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