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.”
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.