Leaving Your Point-and-shoot Camera Behind

82% of US households have some sort of point-and-shoot camera. And this camera may be the last of a dying breed. According an article by Sam Grobart, NY Times Business Day Technology, the point-and-shoot camera, which has been a part of American households since George Eastman introduced the Kodak Brownie in 1900, is endangered.

Leaving Your Point-and-Shoot Camera Behind

Consumer sales figures dont lie. Smartphone sales continue to skyrocket, while unit sales of point-and-shoot cameras fell nearly 16 percent from 2008, according to the market research firm NPD Group. Even though most of us have a point-and-shoot camera, many even digital, these cameras will likely be the last single function camera we buy. It only makes sense. Personally, I used to carry my camera and my cell phone around in my purse all the time. Now with the 8 megapixel camera on my Droid X, I have stopped carrying the camera, which was only 5 megapixels. I get great photos from my Droid X, and it is so much easier to email or share the photos. With my standalone camera, I have to hook it up to my PC and then transfer the photos before I can email them or edit them.

The compact camera market is pretty stagnant, said Christopher Chute, an analyst at the market researcher IDC. The ubiquity of a 5- or 10-megapixel camera phone in your pocket is hard to overcome.

The market opinion is split between serious photographers and casual users. There is no comparison between a Smartphone camera and a nice SLR digital camera. That being said, according to the NY Times article, Analysts say this suggests a split in the market, as casual shooters remain happy with the convenience of their Smartphones, and dedicated enthusiasts seek out the more advanced cameras. And they predict that the point-and-shoot market will drop further over all.

Camera manufacturers disagree. According to Sam Grobart, David C. Lee, the senior vice president at Nikon, acknowledged, The markets peaked a little. Still, he said he was not worried. Its going to go up and down, but it will stay solid, he said. Lee said the Smartphone camera would encourage more picture-taking generally, leading to more demand for traditional cameras. Other camera manufacturers feel pretty solid about the future of point-and-shoot cameras. This makes me wonder if they are getting good advice from their financial wizards. While I know several people who got new cameras for Christmas, the majority of folks I know just use their Smartphones. It will be interesting so see how it plays out in the coming sales figures.

Single function devices are pass. The answering machine, the desktop calculator, and the Rolodex are all part of Smartphone technology these days. Even in your kitchen you will find that most traditional toasters have been replaced by toaster ovens. We are a society of gadget users, but like the convenience of having it all in one. Lightening the load in my purse by only having the Droid X instead of carrying a standalone camera as well, only makes sense to me. What are your preferences? Still carrying a camera and a cell phone? Or do you use your Smartphone for everything like I do? BOLA TANGKAS