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News & Insight

SmartPhones Killed The Point & Shoot But Extends Life Of DSLR Sales

By Kishore Sawh on August 22nd 2016

When we think of the Hindustan Times (not that we do very often), it’s not typically a reputed source of photographic news, much less photographic insight. However, they’ve recently published a piece stating implicitly that smartphone photographers are driving DSLR sales.

The basic postulate is that iPhonography (or whatever-phonography) has offered a peek behind the photographic net-curtains, and given those otherwise unexposed to photography a taste, and, expectedly, they want more. We are living in a culture of visual media, with consumption at an all-time high with burgeoning photographers everywhere, so should this come as a big surprise? Probably not.


For some time now we’ve been aware of the rapid decline of the point and shoot, and it doesn’t take much to put two and two together and conclude that it’s largely due to the closing gap between the capability of the camera-phone, and the point and shoot. Where the valley between them was once Grand Canyon-esque, the gap now is like the gap between Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg. The only caveat there is the premium end of the point and shoots, which is indicated by the proliferation of the type. Frankly, unless you’re paying north of $300 or even $400 for a point and shoot, you can probably get away with buying none at all.

But what phone cameras seem to be doing most is not simply filling the shoes of small compacts, but introducing people to the joy of photography. Now, as any photographer knows, once bitten the effects is rarely cured, so very quickly it seems users become unimpressed with the phone and want something with better ‘quality’, and naturally associate a DSLR with that.


So that’s one possible reason DSLR sales haven’t declined the way we expected, or perhaps that’s just in an emerging market like India. It would be interesting to see what level of DSLR is being bought, and fair to assume the entry-level models likely do best as they satisfy most of the wants of those who aren’t severe enthusiasts, or working photographers. That begs the question though why mirrorless wouldn’t be as popular. Maybe it just hasn’t caught on.

Other interesting notes in the piece were about the standing sales and marketshare of the pillars of the industry, Canon and Nikon. Nikon reportedly has 55% marketshare and according to Kazutada Kobayashi, president and CEO of Canon India, who spoke to the Hindustan Times, “…this phenomenon has led to the demand for DSLRs increasing at steady pace.”

[REWIND: How Apple Views Photography | Here’s What’s Coming & It’s More Than Just Raw Capture]

Canon is also doing big things in India as they saw a 26% sales spike in DSLRs in the region just in the first half of 2016, and there are 200 Canon stores in India with new plans for 40 more by years end. That’s 10 new Canon shops a month!

With this kind of growth in the emerging markets and primary BRIC nations, it may seem the life of the DSLR will be longer and will be more prominent that we may have thought, even with the advent of mirrorless.


Incidentally, I still stand by the fact that if you’re looking to use your phone but want better photos without any bulk, the DxO One continues to deliver over and over again. You can see my review of it here.

See the original piece here.

Source: Reddit

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A photographer and writer based in Miami, he can often be found at dog parks, and airports in London and Toronto. He is also a tremendous fan of flossing and the happiest guy around when the company’s good.

Q&A Discussions

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  1. Dave Haynie

    The curious thing about the smartphone is that, since the camera became a big selling point, smartphone cameras have actally become better cameras than lower-end P&S. It’s not simply the “free” camera, but the competition.

    My LG V10 has a 1/2.6″, 16Mpixel sensor with f/1.8 lens. And it shoots raw. That’s a tiny sensor, but it’s not diffraction limited with a lens that fast. Your typical P&S would have something around 1/2.3″ with an f/3.5 zoom, which limits practical resolution to around 10Mpixel, no matter what the “marketing pixels” tell you.

    Naturally, I’d rather have a real camera with me, but I don’t always. The smartphone has also helped push the envelope on better P&S models. And it’s got many, many more people interested in photography.

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  2. Ralph Hightower

    I often forget that my smartphone has a camera. Its biggest problem is the focus “hunt-and-seek”. I can take a photo quicker with my manual focus film SLRs or my DSLR.

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  3. Paul Wynn

    Phone cams serve a purpose and make photography more accessible at a basic level. Personally I don’t see anything wrong with that. If camera manufacturers want people to buy point and shoots, then they need to up their game and make the products more appealing with tangible benefits. My issue is with the people who get a basic dslr with kit lens, then think they are professional photographers.

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