Market Share Declining for Point’n’shoot Cameras

A recent article in Device Magazine online says that 27 percent of all photographs posted on the Internet for 2011 were taken using a smartphone.

The article in Device Magazine is a re-hash of an article at Gigaom by Erica Ogg. The article at Gigaom has the following headline [the image links to the Gigaom posting].


This headline claims that 27 percent is “almost 1/3 of photos” but 27 percent is barely over a 1/4 and is actually, numerically, some distance away from a 1/3rd.

But anyway, the point they are making is that people are using their smartphones to take more of their pictures and especially those that they are posting to the Internet.

The Gigaom article goes on to say that point’n’shoot unit sales are down 17 percent but also points out that unit sales of high-end and DSLR-type cameras is up 12 percent.

I posted some notes on this back in October (here) were I pointed out that the quality of pictures produced by the current generation of high-end smartphones was as good as those produced by low-end point’n’shoot cameras.

If the type of pictures you take are casual family, friends, pets, children, travel, and party pictures for posting on the Web, and in those cases where you need to use a flash the subject is no further than about 3 to 5 meters away (max), then a current generation high-end smartphone camera is probably about all you are going to need. Seriously I would not bother wasting money on a buying a point’n’shoot camera to cart around as well.

But if you want to take serious pictures of family, friends, pets, children, travel, or parties, and you might need the flash to be useful out to around 8 to 10 metres, and you could be wanting to print your pictures larger than 6x4” in ‘correct’ colour, in focus, and with no noticeable camera shake blur, then you probably need to think about a high-end compact or a low-end DSLR-type camera.

The four primary reasons that these cameras take ‘better’ pictures are:

  • Physically larger sensors (physical sensor size trumps larger megapixel size).
  • Better lenses.
  • Anti-shake (image stabilisation) systems.
  • Ability to take ‘negatives’ (RAW image format).

So basically—unless they pull a rabbit out of the hat—this means the end of the low-end point’n’shoot camera market.