More casual users turn to smartphones for their point-and-shoot needs

While digital cameras — and the company's ineptness at reinvention — have led to Chapter 11 bankruptcy for Eastman Kodak, smartphones are posing a threat to the technology Kodak itself invented in the 1970s.

A report issued by marketing analyst group NPD found that casual photographers are increasingly using their smartphones — many now standardly equipped with 8-megapixel cameras — to capture spontaneous moments. 

Last April, we reported that the iPhone was dominating point-and-shoot cameras in usage statistics. Around the same time Cisco to killed its once-popular Flip camera division.

"There is no doubt that the smartphone is becoming ‘good enough’ much of the time; but thanks to mobile phones, more pictures are being taken than ever before," said NPD's Liz Cutting in a press release.

That's all beginning to have an effect on point-and-shoot camera sales.  NPD found that the point-and-shoot camera market was down 17 percent in units sold for the first 11 months of 2011, while pocket camcorders were down 13 percent and traditional flash camcorders declined 8 percent.

And while the point-and-shoot market is already feeling the impact, the threat to DSLR and higher-end cameras is imminent as smartphone technology improves. With popular apps such as Instagram and Hipstamatic, and the addition of lens-improving attachments such as the ones available from Photojojo, many smartphone-camera enthusiasts can now recreate near DSLR-quality photos without the need for extra expensive equipment.

NPD's study, however, found that cameras with detachable lenses and those with 10x optical zoom or greater actually saw increases in units sold (12 percent and 16 percent, respectively), meaning the high-end market has no need to worry just yet.

But that's not stopping manufacturers Samsung, Canon, and Sony from introducing new standard features to stave off the smartphone wave. "All manufacturers, including Samsung, need to focus on the value proposition of a camera and what differentiates it versus a smartphone," Reid Sullivan, a senior vice president of Samsung, told Bloomberg.

The news shouldn't come as much of a surprise, as smartphones and tablets continue their march towards becoming an all-in-one device, putting stand-alone MP3-player and GPS manufacturers at risk, as well.

Source: NPD

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