Smartphones spell doom for digital cameras

Posted on December 8, 2012 11:13 am

It was the fiercest debate I have been involved this year. On my side was how Cameras are on deathbed while the other side comprising three well-educated men was how Cameras will weather the smartphone and Tablet wave. My argument was very clear that with the advent of popular smartphones, the demand for point and shoot cameras especially from Japanese brands could wane at the fastest rate from 2013 as the market for compact digital cameras shrank at a faster speed and scale than we may have imagined as smartphones and Tablets with camera functions spread around the world with sales expected to double in the next two years.

My Fujifilm camera

I had no doubt arguing because smartphones and Tablets have proved a lethal rival to point-and-shoot cameras by offering an Internet photo downloading and computer and camera with comparatively high quality pictures. In Japan, camera manufacturers are spending sleepless nights trying to come up with web friendly features and boost quality that has in several occasions been surpassed by aggressive mobile manufacturers like Nokia, Apple and Samsung. Many will agree with me that the world is witnessing the beginning of the collapse of the compact camera market. Although my opposites were in agreement that there has been a significant drop in sales of digital compact cameras, they did not but into my argument that there are part of smartphones casualties and cameras have unofficially joined the videogame consoles. In fact the most exciting and latest games are available on various smartphones and Tablets brands.

Gone are the days Japanese firms like Canon, Fuji, Olympus, Sony and Nikon were the darling of every photo maniac. When digital cameras took the world by storm, they wiped in totality the market for photographic film and now we are seeing the slow death of digital camera as smartphones have torn into a camera industry. One thing I agreed with my opponents was about higher end cameras with detachable lenses that there are going to survive the current wave for the foreseeable future. Smartphone and Tablet owners are increasingly downloading free online games and store music on the devices instead of using standalone music players. When Samsung Galaxy III was released followed by iPhone 5, it was clear the camera firms had to keep improving picture quality, offer features such as water proofing and expand their Internet features, like allowing users to share pictures through social media networks as has been the case with smartphones and Tablets.

The Lens side of my Fujifilm camera

One of the opponent was trying to justify how Camera makers growth frontiers are emerging economies like Africa and Middle East where many own neither a camera nor a smartphone but for how long was my question. I have been to Africa and I can comfortably say there is a fast growing number of smartphones users with Android based phones selling millions of phones weekly. Another opponent believe that there will be demand for replacement of compact cameras by millions of owners globally. The third of the opponent made it clear to me that demand for quality snapshots is there and will forever be there and he strongly believe smartphones will never match up and also believe there are many people who need compact cameras.I do want to acknowledged that compact cameras are not facing extinction per se but whether you agree with me or my opponents, the current trend continuation will culminate in image quality in smartphone cameras which could pose more threat to commercial market cameras. I can bet my neck that compact camera market will keep shrinking and it’s going to be difficult to forecast any immediate comeback, or have any optimism.


Contador Harrison