DSLR Sales Surging Despite Onslaught from Camera Phones

Over the last year or so, as camera phones and “phoneography” have taken off, many have feared and/or expected the death of the digital camera. In many ways this fear has come to fruition — point-and-shoot cameras are becoming a thing of the past — but for another segment of the market, the advent of the camera phone has benefitted companies and consumers alike.

According to a recent Reuters article sales of digital cameras (and particularly DSLRs) have actually increased; Japan shipped close to three times more cameras in January of this year that it did 9 years ago. The difference is in the types of cameras that people are buying. There’s no denying that smartphones have taken over the “capturing of everyday moments” section of the market: if you want to snap a photo of your dog doing something funny you’re probably going to pull out your phone and add an Instagram filter to boot. But the moments we consider most precious in life we still capture using high-end, high-quality equipment.

This is why DSLR sales are doing well, why mirrorless cameras are exploding onto the scene and why the average price for a DSLR has dropped so significantly. Of course, to get a 5D Mark III you’ll have to pony up some serious green, but the soccer mom who wants to capture her family over the next several years won’t be doing it with an iPhone or a point-and-shoot, she’ll be doing it with an entry-level SLR  from a brand she trusts.

The idea that photography as an industry is dying is losing ground; we as the consumers have simply been given more choices. And when it comes to capturing the moments that matter, or at least the ones we have time to plan for, the statistics have us reaching for more expensive, higher-quality cameras that will get the job done right.

(via Reuters)

Image credit: Nokia exec says cameraphones in future will make DSLR’s obsolete by mackarus

  • Edward De la Torre

    There’s a disconnect between what IS popular in sales and what SEEMS popular in the blogosphere.

  • Yello

    It’s because people took what they thought were great shots with Instagram and their phones, so they plopped money down on a camera when everyone said they took such good photos.

  • Faisal

    Now if only Nikon would ship my D800 that I pre-ordered the day it was announced.  Still waiting… 

  • Joey Duncan

    This whole fear of smartphones taking over the world and destroying the DSLR stature is flat out stupid, and I’ve always thought so. DSLR have higher quality glass and sensors, something that smartphones can’t offer, and will not be able to. People were freaking out over the Nokia that has 46,000000000000000 Pixels that it hacks up to 5MP and makes the image “better” but it still doesn’t mean the quality is there, and for that people are going to want the DSLR, people like options and people like to play. SLR might be replaced by mirrorless but that’s fine because that’s just correct progression of technology. To me this should have come out years before it did, but that’s just the industry I guess. 

  • jdm8

    SLRs aren’t competing directly against phones, so I don’t think this is a surprise.

    If compact cameras were thriving, then that would be a surprise, as phones are getting “close enough” in quality that it’s generally not worth getting.

  • Igogosh

    I would like to see a smartphone that can come close to what a modest 50mm F1.4 can do, given that both are shot by the same man. 

  • Kyoshi Becker

    What is actually happening is that most consumers want a basic camera and a “serious camera”   The P&S is being replaced by the phone but these same consumers want a good camera for their kid’s birthday party so instead of getting a P&s they get a Dslr or EVF for the better camera

  • tightsandtea

    funny you compared smartphones to DSLRs–I feel smartphones would affect compact camera sales moreso than DSLR sales.

    people use compact cameras mostly out of convenience and portability, which are both areas the smartphone excels in.. DSLRs are on a whole different playing field imo.

  • Jonas Nordlund

    Interesting. I thought sales would at least plateau as high-end compacts have matured, with the NEX-7, X-Pro 1, OM-D, … These are competing with DSLR’s even more tham phones. Maybe it’ll take a few more years still. Idon’t think this trend will continue. I think DSLR’s will end up mostly as bulky cameras for those who truly need fast sequence shooting, very accurate AF, etc beyond what is the norm.