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Death of Point and Shoot Cameras?

A new point-and-shoot camera seems to pop-up every 6 months or so since digital became mainstream, however, in recent years, the demand for higher-quality, serious backup cameras to large DSLRs made niche point-and-shoot cameras a necessity.

The higher priced cameras like the Panasonic LX series, the Olympus XZ-1, Canon G-series, and Nikon P series, for example have been popping up in the market, but they face a difficult segment where the price of these cameras are too high for what they deliver, especially with mirrorless cameras like the Olympus E-PM1 being so affordable for about the same footprint.

The Point-and-Shoot Conundrum

The pocketable, entry-level point-and-shoot cameras, however, have faced a different dilemma. For years, they’ve been the cash cow for manufacturers. They’re relatively easy to produce and the target market is usually split to two segments only, those who want cheap, or those who want small.

The cheap cameras are usually nothing more than hand-me-down parts from old cameras packaged in a relatively ugly shell that sells for under $150 range.

While the small and sleek cameras cater to those with one sole purpose – not wanting to bring a big camera.

We’ve seen ridiculously thin cameras from Sony, Canon, and Casio throughout the years and they’ve enjoyed healthy sales with relative ease.

Death of Digital Point and Shoot Cameras with Smartphones

The Mobile Juggernaut

Mobile phone cameras have long been a joke, nothing more than ‘better than nothing’ image capture devices.

A bit of trivia here, Philippe Kahn invented the first camera phone with sharing capabilities, not out of engineering discovery, but for necessity (hey, it is the mother of all inventions, right?). Kahn merged a Motorola Startac, a Casio QV-10, and his laptop while waiting for her daughter Sophia to come into the world, I’ll save you the history by referring you to his blog post.

Anyway, the success of social media sharing prompted mobile phone manufacturers to spend more time designing phones that can take not only usable photos, but good photos.

The lenses, sensors, and processors of modern mobile phones have reached a point where the target market of cheap, thin point-and-shoot cameras’ needs are met in a device they carry all the time anyway.

The Best Camera Is The One You Have With You

Everyone’s connected online these days, and with smartphones taking over the mobile phone industry, having a great camera with the phone is a no-brainer.

Yesteryear’s slim and light point-and-shoot camera is now obsolete and too heavy.

Why?

The camera in your phone doesn’t take up any space at all! You carry the phone anyway, the camera’s there! Like a magical, weightless, spaceless device ready to be summoned when needed!

I’m amazed with the crop of camera phones we have today (mid-2012), and with specifications like f/2.0 lenses, zero-shutter lag shooting, 6-8 frame-per-second shooting, HD video recording, instant photo sharing with GPS tagging, point-and-shoot cameras cannot compete at all.

Take a look at these ridiculous features from some higher-end models:

Let’s start with the oldest and most popular model, the Apple iPhone 4S:

Apple iPhone 4S

  • 8 Megapixels
  • f/2.4 Lens with Built In UV Filter
  • Face detection
  • In-cam HDR
  • 1080p 30fps video
  • Image stabilization

Samsung Galaxy S3

  • 8 Megapixels
  • Zero-lag shutter
  • 8 fps shooting
  • 1080p 30fps video
  • Image stabilization

Nokia 808

  • 41 Megapixels
  • Carl Zeiss optics
  • 1/1.2 Sensor Size
  • Lossless 4X digital zoom
  • Built-in ND Filter

HTC One X

  • 8 Megapixels
  • Simultaneous video/photo shooting
  • f/2.0 28mm lens
  • Slow-motion capture
  • Distance-measuring flash exposure

Those are only for this mid-year’s crop of camera, imagine how good they’ll be once a large sensor and large lens becomes a norm.

The pocketable digital point-and-shoot camera is dead…

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