Goodbye to the Days of Point and Shoot


According to a report in today’s Wall Street Journal, the market is not looking great for digital cameras. The report states that as the popularity of smartphones has increased, sales of digital cameras have decreased.

Findings from the research firm, IDC, the global digital camera market peaked in 2010, with approximately 144 million units sold. This year, that number could shrink to 102 million with the biggest decline in the point-and-shoot camera market.

What a surprise, right? And in other news, water is wet and fire is hot.

To make matters worse, Canon reported last week that consumers are “prioritizing price over features,” delaying purchases of more expensive interchangable lens cameras, and Sony, the leading supplier of image sensors for smartphones has improved their sensor quality to the point that it is now competing with it’s own camera business.

powershotnYes, it’s no surprise that the smartphone has taken the world by storm with people snapping more images than ever, leaving camera manufacturers floundering as how best to compete.

Canon plans on focusing on “higher-value” models with greater features, like the PowerShot N, which allows the user to apply filters to the images and then send the photos straight to your smartphone device.

Listen, if Canon and Nikon want to compete with the smartphone industry the solution is simple: create a camera that makes telephone calls and allows us access the internet. I guarantee that a DSLR that allows you to Facebook or check email while waiting on your bride would sell like hotcakes.

You heard it here first.

Image credit: Point and shoot by Leszek.Leszczynski

  • jrconner

    No surprise here. But there’s probably still an enduring market for small point-and-shoots of the Nikon P330 genre if they add eye-level viewfinders, use sensors that are significantly larger than those found in smart phones, and extend the zoom a bit on the tele end.

    Phone cameras mainly serve casual shooters, while P330-ish cameras serve more serious, more deliberate shooters. Sure, there’s some overlap. There’s enough of a difference in the market that certain small point-and-shoots can survive. But there’s no longer much of a market for very small point-and-shoots with the mediocre image quality produced by most phone cameras.

  • DIS Ottawa

    Waiting on your bride? Sounds quite uncomfortable.

  • enrique

    lol at canikon making smartphones. there is a lot to those things, or so ive heard. what they need to do is create a branded camera module that they can sell to apple, samsung, htc, etc. either way, who cares. most point and shoots are going away because they cost too much and they also suck. i say good riddance.

  • dee

    I, like many people don’t want or need a smartphone, right now i don’t have any phone, but a P&S camera is always with me, and i think there is a market for these cameras, but manufactures should do better, i think Sony have the right idea with RX100, Nikon, Canon, Fuji and others have large sensor cameras.

  • gerlos

    Actually, that point & shoot cameras market is eroded from both sides: not only by smartphones from the lower end side, but also by mirrorless from the same manufacturers from the high end side.

    So again, no surprise: people already have decent cameras on their smartphones (no need to buy and carry a crappy camera), and if they need something better may decide to buy something substantially better, like a mirrorless. Without even thinking about DSLRs.

  • Renato Murakami

    The point and shoot market has to make a big move (that should’ve been done quite a long time ago) if they want to recover some of the market.
    It’s kinda innevitable that it’ll be replaced by smartphones and other stuff as tech advances, but I do believe there is still a strong market for it.
    But they have to cut down the number of models, simplify the whole thing, and realize that their biggest market is the people who can’t be bothered by choosing between 10 (or more) different models that has minor spec differences that doesn’t matter to them.
    Seems to always be the case these days that amateur photographers comes with the exact same question: which camera should I buy? If I go with this brand, which model?
    And then, when they can’t get an immediate response to that, they just keep shooting with smartphones or whatever.
    It became an overly complex market even for the people with the tinyest of needs.
    So, between wasting x ammount of money on a dedicated camera they don’t really know if it’ll perform that much better, they just keep shooting with what they have.
    dSLRs are also getting on that level. The naming convention for models are bad, they are intricate and confusing, models overlap each other with functions, and new models are getting released with upgrades so minor that even pros get confused if they should or should not upgrade.
    This market needs simplifying options and making things clearer and better to understand urgently.
    I’ll take Canon for instance (because I’m a Canon guy). There used to be a time when you had one entry-level model, one mid-range, and one pro (the time I was choosing what to buy). It was already kinda cumbersome, but didn’t take too much research.
    Nowadays, it’s plain nightmare. You have tons of models with overlapping characteristics. You have entry level stuff with pro level components. It’s not something as simple as “if you want video and don’t need water resistant body, go with this”. Too many options to go with minute detail differences. Paradox of Choice. And for point ‘n shoot, it’s like 10x worse.

  • quarter20

    Totally agree but- I think both Nikon and Canon are working overtime add IN capabilities to the DSLR. I hope they price the feature and put it popular priced cameras, not just full-frame @ premium coins.

  • zooperchuck

    It is true, there are some very good cameras in smartphones and see the storm coming for the P&S segment. I think a step forward should be that manufacturers add bigger sensor + lens in a module, like Ricoh did, but attachable to smartphones. interface would over Android or IOS so no need to start from scratch…

  • Bo

    People don’t buy what they need. They buy what we tell them to buy.

  • Jay

    Another important factor to consider, is that there have been no major breakthroughs in technology. P&S cameras are reserved for more casual hobbyists or, in extreme cases, backup bodies for photographers who are going on trips and don’t want to lug around lots of [expensive] gear. With those points in mind – that audience, who may have bought a camera within the last year or two – might look at the current P&S market and question whether it’s worth upgrading? That’s another big potential factor. Normal people just don’t have the money, or don’t want to spend the money, upgrading all the time. It’s the same reason why many people still use older versions of Photoshop. It’s the same reason I’ve used a 400D for 4 years. If there’s nothing to entice an upgrade besides of minor spec advances, nobody will buy it.