Nowadays, when most people want to take photos, they use smartphone cameras, which are very portable and inexpensive compared to true standalone cameras. Since the early 2000s, when the early versions of the smartphones we know came out, they brought with them their wearable cameras, which began to subvert the standalone cameras that were the dominant photo-capture devices of the time.
Today’s smartphones are so advanced that, according to the CEO of Sony’s semiconductor manufacturer, smartphone cameras will soon start producing better-quality photos than those captured by the highest-end camera, a DSLR.
But while the question of whether smartphones will replace professional cameras is still a contentious issue, there is one absolutely clear point that while smartphones have been on the rise over the past decade, digital camera sales have plummeted.
In an animation by James Eagle, we can see how annual film camera and digital camera sales data compare to smartphone sales over the years. This was done only so that the smartphone industry’s full impact on the camera industry could be realized.
Back in the early 2000s when this all started, smartphone cameras were significantly less powerful than their standalone counterparts and so the latter were preferred. For example, one of the first camera phones on the market, the SCH-V200 from Samsung, could take photos at 0.35 megapixels; That was pretty good for the time, but there was a catch as the phone could only take 20 photos as it ran out of storage. And the hottest camera of the year was Canon’s EOS D30, a digital camera that could take lots of photos with a resolution of 3 megapixels.
But after the iPhone and other more accessible and higher quality camera phones came out, they quickly caused many people who disliked standalone cameras to switch to the more portable and multitasking camera phones. As an example, the Google Pixel 7 released earlier this year has multiple cameras with a 50-megapixel wide-angle rear camera and a 12-megapixel ultra-wide rear camera, but on the other hand is Canon’s enthusiast EOS 850 with a 24.1 – megapixel sensor. Not to mention that camera phones are much cheaper and can do multiple tasks at a mid-range price, while specialized cameras can only click pictures, and at a high price too. So, ultimately, it makes sense that people would switch from specialized cameras to camera phones.
Illustrating the smartphone effect on the camera market by Visual Capitalist.
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