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Agence-France Presse: Smartphones crushing point-and-shoot camera market

The Samsung Galaxy Camera is a new product release that further blurs the line between compact camera and smartphone. At what point will point-and-shoots become completely obsolete?

The Agence-France Presse (through Yahoo) reported yesterday that global shipments of digital cameras among Japanese consumers are down 42 percent from last year, with compact cameras falling 48 percent. 

The report, released by Japan's Camera and Imaging Products Association, confirms analysts' predictions that as smartphone cameras become better, they are eliminating the need for compact digital cameras.

Detachable lens camera sales remain stronger than compact cameras, but still fell 7.4% in the past year.

According to the article:

[S]martphones have proved a mighty rival to point-and-shoot cameras, analysts say, offering an all-in-one phone, computer and camera with comparatively high quality pictures and Internet photo downloading.

"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 told a news briefing this month.

Olympus said its camera business lost money in its fiscal first-half due to the growing popularity of camera-equipped smartphones, and a strong yen which makes Japanese exports less competitive overseas.

Read the full article here.


Total comments: 9

WTF does " global shipments of digital cameras among Japanese consumers are down 42 percent from last year" mean.

Exports of digital cameras to Japanese consumers out side of Japan?

Cameras exported from every where in the globe to Japanase consumers (presumably in Japan?).

Ah among Japanese consumers....
So digital cameras that are being exported (globally) form one Japanese consumer to another. Regardless of location? Or is one Japanese consumer always in Japan?

Clear as mud.
Well done Agence-France/Yahoo.

1 upvote thoughts, precisely.
Welcome to the "cellphone logics world" - Idiocy instantly propagated by technology.
...I supposed we could call InstantNews(tm).


Compact cameras are considered obsolete at this age when most smartphones now have good quality 8MP to 12MP built-in cameras. The Nokia Pureview 808 phone produced better IQ than most mid level P&S cameras costing up to $350. Fortunately, the Sony RX100 has restored some pride in the compact market. Having that said, the difference in image quality between a good cameraphone and dedicated compacts such as Canon S100, Panasonic LX7 etc. isn't that huge, and it's nit-picking really when comparison is done between these devices.

The only area where most smartphones fail is in low light. Nevertheless, the Nokia Pureview 808's low light performance is even better than most mid-level compacts, losing out to only the top-end compact in the Sony RX100.

I predict the compact market to shrink even more in the next 2-3 years. Five years from now, we may even see major camera manufacturers stop producing compact cameras and concentrate more on larger interchangeable lenses cameras and DSLRs.


I disagree. Smartphone cameras have actually had the effect of pushing compact camera manufacturers to up their game.

I left the compact camera market behind 5 years ago for DSLR and latterly a Sony NEX and never thought I'd consider a compact camera again. But the LX7 is a full 2 stops better than any compact camera I ever used used and produces image not far off my bulky NEX-F3 with kit lens.

Low light is not the 'only' area where smartphones fail. That's not true - lack of optical zoom, performance, flash, no viewfinder, controls etc. But even just looking at low light performance - they don't just fail they fall apart completely. I would turn your statement around and say the only area they perform adequately in is good light.

The Nokia 808 is an exception, but it's more expensive than the premium compact camera you refer to (other than the Sony RX100).

One thing I think we both would agree on is that you will probably see entry level compact camera disappear over time.

1 upvote

Pertinent points. I didn't elaborate too much in my previous post due to the limitation in the number of words one can post here. I agree that the evolution of better camera phones has forced camera manufacturers to up their game. I really don't see why anyone would consider entry-level P&S cameras these days when a decent smartphone can capture photos with similar clarity and detail, if not better. Yes, it is true that these budget compact cameras offer more in optical/digital zoom, controls and viewfinder, but then not everyone needs these features, and the most important aspect of a camera, at least to me, is in image quality.

The 808 isn't a perfect phone. It runs on an outdated Symbian operating system, an OS which is extremely user-hostile when it comes to internet browsing and other common tasks usually carried out on a smartphone. As we all know, a phone is quite indispensable at this age as it will be with the user at all times throughout the day, due to... (continued below)


(continued from above)... the relatively compact form of it. The same can't be said about compact cameras although there will be folks who carry them wherever they go. People only bring out their cameras during special occasions, or when they know they will be taking some photos during that day. Otherwise, I fail to see the reason why one would carry a compact camera with him (at all times).

There are quite a few phones, not only the Pureview 808, that have made great advancements in producing stellar results in low light. The Lumia 920 running on Windows 8 platform has remarkable capability in low light even with its tiny sensor. Somehow the designers managed to tweak the software and maximize its performance in low light with limitations in hardware. With Nokia paving the way for other smartphone manufacturers, I foresee camera phones to render entry-level compacts obsolete in the next few years. Only the better ones will survive, like the LX7 or RX100 etc.


Well I can't disagree with anything you say in your elaborated comments.

The market for entry-level compacts will certainly dry up due to smartphones, but at the same time we are seeing new life breathed into the premium compact market.


Not surprising, nor is this really news as it's been mentioned for a few years now. Part of it is the rise of Instagram and other cool looking but useless apps; the rest is simple convenience. At this point the only real saving grace for compact cameras will be those of us who don't want our cameras tied to a mobile data plan.


People are choosing convenience over quality. I have seen relatives go from mostly P&S camera to mobile phone for pics and mobile phone pics are less clear or out of focus and or blurry from poor higher iso without flash. And the "flash" ok the iPhone is so poor that people turn it off and that causes the blurry pics. Plus phones (99.9%) dont have optical zoom.

Buyers confuse more pixels with quality imaging capabilities.

Total comments: 9
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