Are Smartphones Killing the Digital Camera Market?

digital cameraSLR digital cameras still offer serious photographers the best quality, performance, and features for serious digital photography. But with the increased popularity of smartphones, will they eventually kill the digital camera market?

Strange as it may seem, the most popular digital camera these days isn’t make by Nikkon, Canon, or Pentax. Apple makes the most popular digital camera — it’s called the iPhone.

PC World originally reported on the phenomenon way back in June, when Flickr announced that the iPhone was responsible for taking and uploading more photos on their photo sharing website than any other device: “Apple’s iPhone 4 is officially the most popular camera on Flickr, according to stats from the site.The data is based on the types of devices members use to upload photos to Flickr. The iPhone 4’s five-megapixel camera recently leapfrogged the Nikon D90 to become Flickr’s top camera. Besides the D90, the iPhone 4 tops the Canon EOS 5D Mark II, the Canon EOS Digital Rebel XSi, and the Canon EOS Rebel T1i respectively.”

What’s particularly interesting about these findings on Flickr is that, at that time — before the release of the iPhone 4S, which now boasts an 8-megapixel camera and much-improved software for the photo-taking capabilities — the iPhone 4’s 5-megapixel camera sensor was far from being industry-leading in terms of technology. In fact, the 5-megapixel sensor was a major complaint among iPhone users about the iPhone 4 — ad one of the few hardware components that Apple managed to improve on the iPhone 4S.

Now that the iPhone 4S is selling at landmark levels — and with the prospect of the much-hyped iPhone 5 to potentially feature even more impressive camera features — there’s no doubt that the iPhone and the wide range of Android smartphones to round out the most popular digital camera devices on the market today?

So, where does this leave digital camera?

The safve bet is to assume that small, autofocus digital cameras, such as the Canon Elph, are dying a slow death in the marketplace. To be sure, photogrophers still prefer a small camera like the Elph in contrast to the camera on their favorite smartphone, but for the vast majority of people, the idea of integrating a high-quality camera sensor in with the hub of their social and business lives — the smartphone — is a stroke of genius. The reason why the iPhone is the most popular means of uploading photos onto Flickr is simple: the iPhone integrates social networking into one, consolidated digital device. n this way, taking pictures with the iPhone becomes a social event, as is loading them onto Flickr, Facebook, or some other photo tagging platform.

The average digital camera just doesn’t offer this functionality and interactivity.

There is a bit of good news for photo enthusiasts out there who still prefer the features and ergonomics of a standard digital camera to that of a smartphone: as smartphone cameras slowly consume the digital camera autofocus market, SLRs will have to become increasingly more affordable. The idea will be for companies like canon, Nikkon, and others to market even serious SLRs to “camera mortals” at prices they can afford that will in turn offer better resolutions and features. In short, the iPhone and other smartphones will manage to lower the prices on digital cameras over the next decade.

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