Let's be real, even the best smartphone cameras can't compete with some of the better point-and-shoot cameras out there, not in terms of overall feature-set and picture quality. Nor do they have to. The fact is, some smartphone cameras are very good, excellent even, though all they really have to be is 'good enough' to get casual photographers to forget all about their point-and-shoot cams, and that's exactly what's happening.
Figures from Japan's Camera and Imaging Products Association tell the story. Among Japanese firms, global shipments of digital cameras fell to 7.58 million units, down 42 percent compared to a year ago. Compact cameras dropped 48 percent year-over-year.
"We may be seeing the beginning of the collapse of the compact camera market," said Nobuo Kurahashi, an analyst at Mizuho Investors Securities, according to MySinchew.com.
Higher end cameras with detachable lenses declined 7.4 percent during the same time period, indicating that serious photographers are far less inclined to ditch their dedicated cameras for the ones built into their smartphones. The DSLR market isn't in any immediate trouble, but compacts are another story.
"The market for compact digital cameras shrank at a faster speed and scale than we had imagined as smartphones with camera functions spread around the world," Olympus president Hiroyuki Sasa said at a news conference earlier this month.
Compact camera makers aren't ready to throw in the towel. To stave off what might be the inevitable, they've started rolling out smart cameras like the Nikon Coolpix S800c that Ashton Kutcher's been pimping in commercials. The S800c and similar models bring Android to the point-and-shoot game in an attempt to fuse higher quality photos with the same social sharing aspect found on smartphones.
Have you ditched your point-and-shoot in favor of snapping photos with your smartphone?