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Smartphones crushing point-and-shoot camera market

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The article is spot on - compact cameras are unsurprisingly being crushed by smartphones. Canon and Nikon are heading the way of Sharp, Sony and Panasonic unless they they can come up with must have "wow" products soon - which is difficult to see.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

No professional or serious photographer would ever use a smartphone to take photos, especially at an event like a press conference or doing nature shooting, etc. There will always be a demand for digital cameras. I still have my film camera, too.

-5 ( +5 / -10 )

@Brainiac This is talking about Point and Shoot cameras not DSLR cameras. DSLR are a small market compared to the once large point and shoot market.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

I am not surprised. Compact camerass are up to pretty good quality today but the cameras in smartphones are not that far behind. Sure, they might not be quite as advanced, but what they bring to the table is convenience. The possibility to snap a picture and in a few seconds be able to send it across the world is simply amazing.

Even though compacts are not that big a hassle, they still involve having to bring your camera to a computer, eject/insert the memory card, donwload your pictures, opening your email program and send.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Even though compacts are not that big a hassle, they still involve having to bring your camera to a computer, eject/insert the memory card, donwload your pictures, opening your email program and send.

Actually there are any number of alternatives available that enable shoot-edit-and-send capabilities right from the camera, including wi-fi cards and cameras w/built-in wi-fi functionality.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Braniac: "No professional or serious photographer would ever use a smartphone to take photos, especially at an event like a press conference or doing nature shooting, etc...."

No professional photographer would use a point-and-click camera, either.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

Well done Brainiac! You have just stated the completely obvious. This article is about point-and-shoot cameras. There will always be a market for the professional photographers, but the avantage Joe is quite content with their 5MP and HD video smart phone camera.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

This is ANOTHER no brainer that has been in plain sight, its seems J-makers didnt see coming, guess they never noticed the legions of folks snapping pics with their phones..................DOH!

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Recently I have been getting good quality pics on my smart phone, good enough for posting on web forums, and this means that my trusty point-and-shoot camera is losing ground to it within my own daily life. Forums generally cannot host hi-density shots so the camera is always set to low quality. Whereas it was camera 95% and smart phone 5%, now I am down to perhaps camera 70%, smart phone 30% I guess. The first few exploratory shots can be taken with the smart phone, and a final good one with the point-and-shoot. This swing is happening inside myself.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

There will always be a market for point and shoot cameras. Most people who are interested in photography and use an SLR also have use for a point and shoot camera (contrary to the claim of Smith in Japan). No matter how much someone likes photography, or is a professional photograher, they are unlikely to go around with the full DSLR kit and lenses around their neck day in and day out. The point and shoot camera will still be used for unexpected situations when a decent photo is still desirable without carrying a large camera. Of course smartphones will take a chunk of the market - it doesn't matter if the market for proper cameras shrinks. They will still be in demand sufficient to make them available, and "wow" features (required by Marcelito) aren't necessary for taking photos. No doubt the smart phone will have a toaster intergrated eventually and a function for ironing socks, but that will be for the idiots who want to boast all the features thay have.It won't make much deiiference to photogrpahers. Yes, mobile phones' camera function is better then it was, but it won't in our lifetimes be a match for a proper camera uaing the tiny plastic lenses and digital zoom.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

I still take my olympus tough camera when i go snowboarding. Or if i want pictures of a night out

Not one smartphone camera (including the "infallable" iphone) can take blur-free, clear photos at night without making sure that the phone is on a stand and everyone is dead-still. Point and shoot lenses and flashes will win every time. Mirrorless/SLRs are better again, but they dont fit into your pocket (even the smallest mirrorless with pancake lens will be an unsightly bulge)

I have all four technologies at my disposal (Smartphone cam, point and shoot, mirrorless interchangeable lens, and proper SLR), and I find that each one has its place...

It shouldnt, and wont disappear completely, because then there will be a void; but it isnt going to maintain the massive sales that it did when it was the only choice between crappy cell phone pics and expensive SLRs. Hence the sharp drop in sales. In the end they will end up selling in proportion to the amount of use that they get.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Cierzo, OriginalU,

The cameras that are quickly dieing out ARENT the ones photographers buy, it the cheap small Y15-Y30,000 compacts, thats what is getting hit, shutterbugs dont buy those typically

1 ( +1 / -0 )

smithinjapanNov. 26, 2012 - 10:08AM JST

No professional photographer would use a point-and-click camera, either.

Clearly you aren't a photographer. If you were, you would have known about Alex Majoli, who is part of Magnum. He shot almost exclusively with point and shoots, and still was part of Magnum. Sure it's harder to get the shots you want, but understanding your equipment and feeling comfortable with what you have separate the amateurs from the professionals. I personally take around a small point and shoot with my even if I have $10k of camera equipment on my back.

nandakandamandaNov. 26, 2012 - 10:43AM JST

Recently I have been getting good quality pics on my smart phone, good enough for posting on web forums, and this means that my trusty point-and-shoot camera is losing ground to it within my own daily life.

They have improved outdoors daytime quality to the point that there's not much difference as long as you don't shoot into the sun and have a clean lens. Nighttime is still the realm of DSLRs, though point and shoots have come a long way there. Cellphones still have another few years before they reach a reasonable quality at night.

While the P&S (affectionately referred to as PoS) market is getting some friction from cellphones, it's only the low end, sub $100 cameras getting affected. Mid range cameras are largely unaffected, and high end ones actually are losing ground to DSLRs, not cellphones. Considering the economic contraction, DSLRs have actually come out ahead, though rapidly slowing as companies start clamping down on prices (both Nikon and Canon have instituted minimum "recommended" pricing strategies to make sure nobody undercuts their profits). We'll probably see point and shoots recover a bit when the economy recovers.

Until cellphones on average are better than the Lumia 920 (currently the best cellphone camera available, besting all others in low light), point and shoots will continue a slow struggle into obsolescence. Things could of course change, and are likely to do so, and both P&S and cellphone cameras may be obsolete in 20 years.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

marcelitoNov. 26, 2012 - 08:11AM JST

Canon and Nikon are heading the way of Sharp, Sony and Panasonic unless they they can come up with must have "wow" products soon - which is difficult to see.

Point and shoot cameras are absolutely horrible profit wise. The DSLRs are where they are banking their camera profits, and their ACTUAL profits are completely unrelated. Nikon has medical, IC manufacturing, and scientific imaging (with Olympus as the main rival), and Canon has a good selection of products including video, office equipment, motors, industrial optics, and even medical imaging. The point and shoot market is a pissing match for them, they usually don't make much in profits and most of the time it's for them to test out technologies they are developing for the industrial side (nothing better than a million beta users paying for their own test platforms)

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Braniac's post does touch on a valid point. By the same token that most professionals don't use compact cameras to do their work, the point-and-shoot market relies almost exclusively on the buying power of the average Joe -- or Josephine. So it stands to reason that the companies that sell to this segment would have -- or should have -- been better attuned to market trends before suffering crippling losses.

What simply baffles me is how often Japanese electronics manufacturers have been caught with their pants down when market trends like this crop up up to slap them in the face. Digital cameras are the issue today, but before that, it was digital music players. Anyone remember the Sony Network Player? Didn't think so. Japan, Inc. got all but spanked in the portable digital music marketplace.

Heck, even smartphones left Japanese cell phone companies scrambling to catch up. Consumers saw these changes coming long before Japanese companies did. Tech reporters saw them coming. Financial analysts saw them coming. So how do major corporations like Canon, Olympus, Sony and Nikon sit back and suffer an "unexpected" year-on-year 40% decline in sales with nary an innovative alternative on the horizon?

Seriously, what the heck are the R&D people at these companies doing with their days? And where have the decision makers been hiding over the last decade to allow their companies to fall so woefully out of touch with current market trends?

It bums me out to no end to see these companies simply wither away to irrelevance with these constant snafus.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

basroil,

Alex M uses Leica & Olympus cameras, he probably doesnt use cheap point & shoots much, dont confuse a small camera with cheap point & shoots they arent the same thing.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The cameras that are quickly dieing out ARENT the ones photographers buy, it the cheap small Y15-Y30,000 compacts, thats what is getting hit, shutterbugs dont buy those typically

I am not good enough to call myself a photographer, just something of a hobby. My P&S is a 10,000yen Olympus tough camera; something i am guessing is part of the decline in sales. I also have a 15,000yen Casio which does better night shots - thats what i take out clubbing

The article mentioned it, but waterproofing, and toughness is what they need to expand on IMO. Adding cases to phones/SLRs to make them waterproof is clumsy, and nowhere near as 'vacation ready' Taking pics while swimming, or making a tripod out of snow and taking shots in the mountains is where its at

1 ( +1 / -0 )

GWNov. 26, 2012 - 12:25PM JST

Alex M uses Leica & Olympus cameras, he probably doesnt use cheap point & shoots much, dont confuse a small camera with cheap point & shoots they arent the same thing

I never said "cheap point & shoots", I said he uses a point and shoot (actually half dozen of them back in his war reporting time), mainly the Olympus c5050 (http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/olympusc5050z). It's a high-end point and shoot, but it is NOT professional grade, nor is it DSLR or SLR-like. It also isn't a rangefinder, which he used during his leica days.

The main point is that the hardware today isn't limiting people at all as long as they know the limitations.

Speaking of hardware limitations, other than low light, the only things keeping smartphones from completely taking over the point and shoot market are:

1) Shutter button. Though Windows Phone requires all phones have buttons for shutter if they have a camera, android and ios phones often drop the button in favor of the clumsy screen press. People that grew up with cameras like the feel of a button, much more controllable.

2) Zoom. Though now most flagship phones have autofocus (though slower than point and shoot counterparts), almost none have telephoto or wide angle capabilities. If phones were 1cm thick, they easily could have it, but current engineering technology makes zoom lenses be a bad choice for the current line of 7-9.5mm phones. Either too expensive to make or too prone to failure.

3) Sensor quality. Though they have improved a lot, the hardware limitations are still visible. Ones like Lumia 920's sensor or the 808 pureview are good steps, but it'll be years before most phones have that level of technology.

4) Software, in the hardware layer sense. Most phones simply aren't optimized for photo shooting, and the device models usually just throw a program on top as if it were any other app. Because of that, phone apps tend to be sluggish at best, downright unusable most of the time (for anything other than static objects). Samsung and Nokia have gone a bit further in making better apps, but it's still missing dozens of features you take for granted on a camera. Perhaps starting with the galaxy smart camera we'll see camera chips brought over to the smartphone lines to do away with the software limitations in favor of full hardware control instead (kind of how most new computer video chat cameras have built in video encoding hardware so it acts exactly like a digital camera and your computer doesn't have to encode a ton of useless data.)

originalusernameNov. 26, 2012 - 01:20PM JST

The article mentioned it, but waterproofing, and toughness is what they need to expand on IMO.

Those things simply make their market smaller, and eventually that too will be taken over by phones like Fujitsu's Windows Phone 7.5 model for Au (waterproof to a meter for half an hour or more).

Taking pics while swimming, or making a tripod out of snow and taking shots in the mountains is where its at

I don't swim while taking photos, but I do make snow tripods and take photos in tropical rain with my SLR. If they made point and shoots that good but still kept the same shape (hate clunky "everything proof" cameras), it might be good for most people.

If the camera makers want to survive, they should make cameras for phones. Simply make a great product everyone will want, and make it THE standard for cellphones. Nokia's been trying that but they don't have the pedigree. If Nikon and Canon jumped on board and made their chips the go-to models, they could get most of the market aside from apple, samsung, and sony (though nikon has technology partnerships with sony so they would still get royalties or part orders). No sense in trying to restart a dying market, simply gobble up one that so far isn't even a market.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Smart Phone, it's easy to carry and convenience to use as Phone, Internet and Camera. Camera in Smart Phone is about useful and convenience and not about picture for professional quality photography. Also picture quality is improving time to time in Smart Phone Camera. So Nikon, Canon and other Japanese Camera makers should aware of influence of Smart Phone Camera and they should prepare another Camera revolution whatever reason dropping sale for Point and Shot compact Digital Camera.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

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