Practicality ahead of quality
The advent of affordable and feature packed smartphones has already buried portable music players and PDAs. Now it seems cheap point-and-shoot cameras and low-end camcorders are next to go the way of the dodo.
According to new study by NPD, the overall percentage of photos taken with smartphones rose to 27 percent in 2011, up from 17 percent last year. Meanwhile the number of photos taken by dedicated point-and-shoot cameras declined from 52 to 44 percent. NPD claims point-and-shoot camera sales dipped 17 percent in 2011, while camcorder sales dropped 13 percent.
Although smartphones still can’t come close to even the cheapest point-and-shoot cameras in terms of image quality, they are just more practical. Phones don’t have the proper optics for serious photography, so they can’t deliver wide shots or zoom, and very few feature a decent flash. Nevertheless, many consumers are finding phone cameras sufficient for their needs and who could blame them?
High end phones already feature 8MP sensors and the trend it shifting to 12MP units, so they have plenty of resolution for cropping, although their performance in poor lighting is still abysmal. Compared to cheap camcorders, smartphones stand up rather well. Most already support 720p video and 1080p is also possible thanks to speedy chipsets, although storage still could be an issue for some models.