PetaPixel

CNBC: Point-and-Shoot Cameras Are an Endangered Species

CNBC ran this short segment a couple days ago in which they invited CNET’s Dan Ackerman to explain the changing landscape in the digital camera industry. He thinks point-and-shoot cameras may soon become extinct due to the rise of camera-equipped phones, but also that DSLRs are the cameras here to stay. A recent study found that phones have replaced digital cameras completely for 44% of consumers, and that number seems bound to rise as the cameras on phones continue to improve.

My guess is that in five years, we’ll see digital camera users divided into three camps: mobile phone, interchangeable lens compact, and DSLR. What’s your prediction?


 
 
  • Graham Case

    Don’t forget film users. We are a small, but important bunch :)

    PS – thanks for this blog. It is a highlight of my time on the internet everyday.

  • Dave

    Don’t get me wrong, I love my Nikon D300, but, My Iphone is always in my pocket, along with all the camera apps that I use religiously.  Most of my post-processing is now done in-camera.  In fact, I’ve sold more images this year shot on my Iphone than on my Nikon!  I’m looking for the Iphone 5!

  • Dave

    Don’t get me wrong, I love my Nikon D300, but, My Iphone is always in my pocket, along with all the camera apps that I use religiously.  Most of my post-processing is now done in-camera.  In fact, I’ve sold more images this year shot on my Iphone than on my Nikon!  I’m looking for the Iphone 5!

  • http://twitter.com/GarySoup Gary Stevens

    They’ll have to pry my Canon Powershot G12 from my cold, dead hand.  My cameraphone is too limiting, and my DSLR is just too big to lug around.

  • WetcoastBob

    I think the “super zooms” like the Nikon Coolpix p100 will stay around.  I agree the simple P&Ss can be replaced by a good cell phone camera.  There are sooooo…. many models of P&Ss.

  • http://twitter.com/XSportSeeker Renato Murakami

    My guess is there will only be two groups. dSLR or any professional cameras and cellphone cameras.
    I know it’s kinda far fetched right now, but if things evolve as fast as it seems to be, soon we’ll have reasonable sized sensors on cellphone cameras.
    So you could buy some case adaptor for lens interchange.
    They are already out there even not making much sense now.
    Don’t get me wrong, I like what Micro four thirds are doing, but the market between amateur and pro photography seems to be so small and temporary…

  • http://twitter.com/XSportSeeker Renato Murakami

    My guess is there will only be two groups. dSLR or any professional cameras and cellphone cameras.
    I know it’s kinda far fetched right now, but if things evolve as fast as it seems to be, soon we’ll have reasonable sized sensors on cellphone cameras.
    So you could buy some case adaptor for lens interchange.
    They are already out there even not making much sense now.
    Don’t get me wrong, I like what Micro four thirds are doing, but the market between amateur and pro photography seems to be so small and temporary…

  • http://twitter.com/XSportSeeker Renato Murakami

    My guess is there will only be two groups. dSLR or any professional cameras and cellphone cameras.
    I know it’s kinda far fetched right now, but if things evolve as fast as it seems to be, soon we’ll have reasonable sized sensors on cellphone cameras.
    So you could buy some case adaptor for lens interchange.
    They are already out there even not making much sense now.
    Don’t get me wrong, I like what Micro four thirds are doing, but the market between amateur and pro photography seems to be so small and temporary…

  • Travis

    The much more likely thing will be average people who don’t give two lumps about picture quality will use cellphones, the average people looking for quality in a small camera (which I believe mirrorless will be the way of), the semi-serious photographers using crop dslrs (or maybe larger sensored mirrorless cameras), and the professionals/serious hobbiest.  To think a pinhole lens and microscopic camera sensor will out perform other cameras of larger sensors and larger lenses to the point of replacing them is rediculous.

    This is just a news company making up a theory to fill some time and cause some discussion, mission succeeded.

  • AZ.photo.MAC AZ.photo.MAC

    I’m thinking about selling my DSLR body so I can afford an iPhone and the adapter hardware to mate those lenses I used to use on the DSLR body and take really good photos with… That way I’ll have the best of both worlds… I’ll have the iPhone’s compact go everywhere practicality along with the looks of an actual photographer as I’ll still have to carry a traditional camera bag to haul those old DSLR lenses around that I’m going to use on the iPhone to get mediocre photos.  DId I just say all of that out loud?

  • http://www.petapixel.com Michael Zhang

    You’re very welcome! Thanks for this comment. It’s definitely a highlight of my time on the internet today :D

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_PQ54IG5P6I73FWHYGC4LVDZQYI Michael

    The best camera is the one you actually have on you.   Hence at times a mobile phone camera will be your best camera.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_PQ54IG5P6I73FWHYGC4LVDZQYI Michael

    The best camera is the one you actually have on you.   Hence at times a mobile phone camera will be your best camera.

  • Müge

    As a lawyer + amateur photographer, I currently have a Canon Eos 7D with several lenses, a Canon Powershot G12 and a Blackberry. The G12 is always in my bag at work, I use it mostly for street photography. The 7D + lenses is for shooting nature, birds and wildlife. I have never used the Blackberry for taking photos. 

  • Tarmo

    Very unlikely that we are going to see “reasonable sized” sensors on cellphone cameras. It’s physics, larger sensor, larger lens.

  • http://sljonesdigital.com SLJonesDigital

    If you can’t shoot with the one you love, shoot with the one you’re with.   – … apologies to Stephen Stills.

  • http://profiles.google.com/slimspidey Spider- Man

    There will always bee film, it is just going to cost more and more. LOL
    With the lomography trend there is that niche that will at least allow us to still get film like 120 :)

  • Rick

    Not sure how your 5 year prediction is much different from what we have today.  It seems to me that the only group of digital users you left out was medium format.  The real issue is will the cell phone camera replace the compact digital camera.  There have been many arguments that people do not want single purpose devices.   I agree with that to some degree.  After all, who wants to carry multiple devices to make calls, listen to music, receive/send email/text, take pictures, etc.?    But when it comes to taking pictures, I prefer a device that’s designed to only do photography.   I want a camera where the designers did not have to make compromises to allow the device to function as something other than a camera.    I’ll take my Ricoh GXR over a camera phone any day and have no issues carrying both a phone and camera.  When taking pictures I want a “real” camera with all of the features you find in a device that is customized to a single purpose.  For me having a camera in my cell phone or tablet is a waste.  I will always want an interchangeable lens compact camera.

  • Fred

    I agree with Dan in that point-and-shoot camera are on the way out; however, there will still be a market for the interchangeable lens compact camera.  There is a large market of people that want a small camera that takes great pictures and has functionality not available in a cell phone.

  • Mr.New

    The emergence of “social media” requires new breeds of camera that the user can edit, experiment with apps/filters, upload/share, geotag and make comments on the images. Currently, only the mobile phones do well at all these tasks, and many people are willing to sacrifice the image quality for all these features dedicated cameras do not have. 

    In order for PnS cameras to survive, they somehow need to become “social media” devices and compete with camera phones.

  • http://twitter.com/salzmanufaktur Salz

    I don’t think so. Check out compact cameras like the Sony HX5V or the new HX9V which offers video in 1050p in camcorder quality (Reviews on YT and vimeo). There is no cellphone on the market that could beat those little beasts. 10-15x optical zoom anyone?

    Well, the Nokia N8′s included cam has a bigger sensor than my old Ixus 100. But when it comes to macro the tiny Ixus kixx the Nokia’s arse. And we should not forget the cellphone’s shutter lag which is endless compared to a proper compact.

  • Michael

    PS – Those Kodak funsaver cameras can still be developed, Polaroid is making a new generation of fun instant film and Holgas are the rage. Make sure you get your facts right before making generalizations like that.

    I don’t think point and shoot digital cameras are dying, the sales just aren’t growing explosively. The market has saturated and now it is camera phones that are exploding. Eventually those sales will stop too and then it will be something else. The only people who should be worried about these facts are camera manufacturers.

  • http://www.imagemaven.com Marlene Hielema

    The problem with point and shoot digital cameras is that they are NOT point and shoot. They are too complicated and there are just too many features and menus. In the “old” days a film point and shoot camera was just that. It basically had a choice of whether you wanted to use the flash or not. People use their cell phones because they are convenient and EASY to operate.

  • Anonymous

    I completely agree with this. This is also one of the reasons I would argue that a dslr can be easier to use than a p&s, in some ways. Like if you need a creative setting, like sports or night portrait, you just turn the dial. With a p&s, you have to flip a certain switch, then hunt through your menus. Can’t totally suck if you need to change them a lot; like walking around Disney with various indoor/outdoor lighting conditions.

  • Anonymous

    I can definitely see camera phones taking over normal p&s camera. But like someone else mentioned, the super zooms are here to stay. The basic vacationer that d

  • Anonymous

    I can definitely see camera phones taking over the normal small p&s cameras. But I agree with someone else that super zooms are here to stay. The basic vacationer that doesn’t want the limitations of a camera phone, but doesn’t want anything “fancy” that needs to have lenses changed, will keep that market going.

    And as an Orlando resident, and very frequent visitor to Disney, I’ve been seeing a big rise in the number of camera phone users, as well as dslr users; but have yet to see anyone with a micro 4/3 camera (of course they’re there, but not in the numbers to where they’re gonna be a huge threat to anything).

  • Draws With Light

    For the rudimentary P&S cameras, cellphone cameras could become a real threat. However, cellphone cameras are not a threat to the more advance ones, such as the Canon Powershots in the G and the SX series.

  • Magnetic Dynamo

    The iPhone 4 is already the most common “camera” used on Flickr. If phone cameras continue to get better (the shutter lag is awful, among other problems) and such phones become affordable to more people, then I can see point and shoot cams fading away. The phone came already killed the Flip, right?

  • Chris

    If my phone shot pictures with a quality similar to, say, a Canon SD1000 (6mm sensor, 17mm lens)  I would abandon P&S forever and just use the phone and the DSLR.  I laughed heartily at Nokia’s suggestion that phones are going to replace SLR for pro photography, but I don’t see how P&S possibly survives in the long run.

  • http://www.facebook.com/djnomore Dj Nomore

    Point and shoot is here to stay forever. Not everyone who shoots a pic is camera-geek. i have all kinds of cameras, i have my periods with each one of them.

  • Lmccabe

    Yeah definitely — superzooms and compact zooms will be around for a while. Cheaper and less intimidating than dSLRs, faster, more feature-packed and more versatile than point-and-shoots. Compact zooms especially, since they’re still pocket-sized.

  • Lmccabe

    Yeah definitely — superzooms and compact zooms will be around for a while. Cheaper and less intimidating than dSLRs, faster, more feature-packed and more versatile than point-and-shoots. Compact zooms especially, since they’re still pocket-sized.

  • Vaporizel

    so next gen phone will have tripod attachment hole ? i dont think so

  • Vaporizel

    so next gen phone will have tripod attachment hole ? i dont think so

  • Vaporizel

    so next gen phone will have tripod attachment hole ? i dont think so

  • Vaporizel

    so next gen phone will have tripod attachment hole ? i dont think so

  • Vaporizel

    so next gen phone will have tripod attachment hole ? i dont think so

  • Vaporizel

    so next gen phone will have tripod attachment hole ? i dont think so

  • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/LJRJIW2N7TV7TV5JAJGY6VGK3I j

    don’t worry film will make a comeback!

  • http://www.facebook.com/priyankeshu Priyankeshu Parihar

    My 50$ canon digital camera takes better photos and videos then a 300 phone.

    I have more control on the image with it. Mobile phone is good only if you can spend too much money on most expensive ones.