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Smartphones Continue to Eat into Compact Camera Market

Much has been said about the effects of the mobile revolution on console gaming. The past few years have not been kind to Japanese game console makers especially, as casual players get their gaming fix with mobile titles like Angry Birds and Plants vs Zombies. But smartphones are having an impact in other industries beyond gaming. Now that their cameras are much improved, point-and-shoot cameras are starting to see serious effects.

The Sydney Morning Herald cites numbers from Japan’s Camera and Imaging Products Association that say global shipments of digital cameras from Japanese companies are down 42 percent in September compared to the same time the year before. While some of this is due to a high yen and widespread boycotts of Japanese products in China, the effects that smartphones have had on the industry shouldn’t be underestimated.

Lumix, CP+ 2012

But as smartphones up their camera capabilities, camera companies will try to make smarter point-and-shoot models, with features like wi-fi connectivity, cloud storage, and social sharing becoming more common on cameras.

Samsung’s recent Galaxy Camera is a good example of this. But the Korean maker is in a good position to experiment with smart features given its dominance in the smartphone business so far. Other traditional camera makers likely won’t be as quick (although it’s good to see Nikon trying).

But given that many high-end smartphones are beginning to rival the photo quality of many compact camera, it a hard for manufactures to expect consumers to buy both. Just like many casual gamers have made a choice to move away from consoles, smartphones are only going to become a more attractive choice for casual photographers.


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