Digital cameras will obviously be around for many years to comes, but it’s amazing how quickly they went from a novelty item to a serious camera, then as the mainstay of consumers, and finally, they are now a tool for professional users. It’s not the fact that all of this has happened, but it’s the speed at which the entire market transitioned.
Digital cameras have been around since the 1970s but didn’t start to make an impact in the market till around 2000, and from then till about 2008 sales increased exponentially hitting about 1-billion units sold that year. The market held pretty steady for about 4-years, then began a nosedive dropping to about 15 million units last year. And why? Smartphones as still-image and video-capture devices in place of those cameras. The early consensus was that the image quality of the smartphone camera, with its tiny lens and mediocre CMOS image sensor, would not rival better digital cameras for the foreseeable future. But as we have seen so often with modern technology, that so-called “foreseeable future” doesn’t last as long as was expected.
Today, pretty much every feature that you would want on your specialty DLR camera is available on your phone, low light, wide angle, telephoto, colour correction, cropping, you name it and it’s there, although you may need to buy a new phone to get all that stuff. Another thing that has changed the kinds of things that people are taking pictures of. Back in the day when you got 12 pictures on a roll of film, then parted with $10 to process them, you were careful about what you shot, but today when the only considerations are battery life, storage and sorting them out later, it’s shoot till you drop, or just leave your camera in burst mode and capture the world.
Reporting for Computer Insider, I’m Bob Pritchard