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?
Needed a Polaroid picture for a project I’m working on, so I purchased a Polaroid One Step camera for $15 off a guy on Craigslist and a pack of Polaroid 600 film that expired back in 2003 for $26 with shipping from eBay. I was a bit concerned that the film wouldn’t work anymore, but found that the battery in the film pack still had some juice and that the film still developed, though the upper corners of the image are messed up.
Expired 600 film is selling for up to $50 to $60 a pack (10 photos) on eBay these days, even though new Impossible film for 600 cameras costs $24. You can also buy unexpired performance-guaranteed 600 film for about $5 a shot in bulk. Seems like a lot of Polaroid lovers are still snatching up Polaroid film while they still can.
Production issues experienced by Canon and Nikon (caused by the earthquake and tsunami) may soon allow competitors to eat into their dominant DSLR market shares and, according to a story by USA TODAY, Sony is pegged as one of the main benefactors:
Canon has 44.5% of the digital SLR market, followed by Nikon at 29.8%, Sony with 11.9% and Olympus at 5.1%, IDC says.
[...] At a time when many Canon SLRs are hard to find, due to production issues, the Sony models are not only in amply supply, but discounted to sell with special promotions.
[...] Sony has the name recognition, and ample shelf space in prominent stores.
These gains would likely be limited to first time buyers who are looking for their first DSLR — camera owners already committed to Canon or Nikon’s mounts are unlikely to switch systems just because of a temporary shortage.
Market research firm IDC released its findings about the worldwide digital camera market recently, with interesting details about the current market shares of camera manufacturers. From 2009 to 2010, Canon’s share remained perfectly constant at 19%, while #2 player Sony increased its share from 16.9% to 17.9%. Nikon also grew from 11.1% to 12.6%. The worldwide market for digital cameras is also growing — last year it increased 10% to 141 million cameras sold. Read more…
The stock prices of major camera equipment manufacturers took a major — and expected — dive after the earthquake on March 11, 2011. Though they made a brief recovery afterward, they’re continuing to fall due to the risk that gear prices may soon skyrocket soar once decreased production isn’t able to meet demand.
[...] GE is looking to introduce its first Micro Four Thirds-like camera before the end of 2011. While no other details were revealed, it is clear that the company is hoping to be treated more seriously as a camera-maker. And with GE’s strategy focused on producing affordable cameras, it will be interesting to see how it will change the ILC industry. For consumers, this may also mean that ILCs will finally hit mainstream prices.
General Electric-branded cameras first hit the market in March 2007, and are also known by the brand name “General Imaging”. Who knows… maybe in the future they’ll be one of the dominant players in the camera market.
The camera market may look vastly different in the future than the Canon and Nikon dominated one we see today if recent trends continue. Amateur Photographer is reporting that the combined share of Canon and Nikon dropped a whopping 11% in Japan through 2010, and is currently at 60.4%. What’s more, Sony has increased its share to 15.2%, and has in fact overtaken Nikon in the UK, capturing 25% of interchangeable cameras sold compared to Nikon’s 20%.
The photo-sharing startup scene is getting hot, with social apps on mobile devices receiving quite a bit of money and attention lately. Instagram has hundreds of thousands of users now after just a month, and competitor PicPlz just raised a cool $5 million from the same VC firm that invested in Instagram.
Another app that’s receiving attention is PhotoRocket, which raised $1.3 shortly after going into private alpha last week. It simplifies photo sharing for the non-technically savvy by allowing people to broadcast photos to people and social networking services by right clicking photos on their computer and selecting to share. The short 30 second demo above gives you a glimpse into how the service works.
Olympus is ditching the entry-level DSLR in favor of its Micro Four Thirds mount PEN line of EVIL cameras. In an interview with Fotopolis, Toshiyuki Terada — the Product Manager of Olympus’ SLR Planning Department — is quoted as saying,
We do not have concrete plans to replace the E-620 and other recent SLRs. The entry level SLR class can be completely replaced by the Pen system in terms of performance.
Later in the interview, Terada seems to say that leaving the DSLR market entirely is one of the company’s goals. Read more…
Here’s a fun bit of trivia: did you know that at one time Apple (then named Apple Computer) made compact digital cameras? Launched in 1994, the Apple QuickTake was actually one of the first digital cameras available to consumers. Three models were built by Kodak and Fujifilm, and the cameras boasted a whopping 0.3 megapixels and the ability to store eight photos at this resolution. The camera had a flash, but lacked zoom, focusing, image review, and file deletion (the entire contents had to be wiped). Read more…