The Smartphone and digital camera showdown

photographyBas Belfi, Sales Director, EMEA, Eyefi, discusses the shift in photography technologies and the battle between quality and convenience.

It’s hardly a secret that smartphones, to some extent, have cannibalised digital camera sales.

According to the International Data Corporation (IDC), smartphone sales crossed one billion in 2013, up 38 percent from the year before. In the same period, the Camera & Imaging Products Association (CIPA) showed a 36 percent drop in digital camera sales – shipments plummeted from 98 million in 2012 to 63 million units in 2013.

The thing is, in the smartphone versus digital camera showdown, the digital camera emerges the clear winner in terms of photo quality. Plus, if armed with a digital camera such as a DSLR and a working knowledge of its features, you can use the different tools and options to really bring an image to life – think lens versatility, manual control to tweak shutter speeds and aperture, and a real zoom.

So why exactly is the smartphone diminishing the point-and-shoot market?

At its core, the smartphone versus digital camera dilemma boils down to a question of quality versus convenience. One cannot deny that smartphones made sharing, playback, and even image editing to some extent a lot more convenient. When it comes to photographs, we all like to work as fast and as efficiently as possible – we don’t enjoy anything that slows us down, and we’re constantly on the hunt for more intuitive solutions.

Initially, digital cameras lacked the connectivity of smartphones. Fortunately, to tackle this, many solutions have come into play since: first the introduction of Wi-Fi enabled SD cards, then later the increase in the number of Wi-Fi enabled cameras, and photo management apps that automate syncing of images with every device you own. So now many of the advantages of a smartphone have been integrated into digital cameras.

In spite of the direct negative impact on the volume of camera sales in recent years, the increased proliferation of smartphones has also had a positive impact on the photography market: the technology has not just prompted innovative solutions to facilitate digital camera connectivity, but has also scaled up photography market.

Thanks to smartphones people are taking more pictures than ever before, and combined with the popularity of apps like Facebook and Instagram, photography as a whole is more alive than ever before. Smartphones have brought more people in touch with photography, and now there’s a group of enthusiasts wanting to upgrade to more serious DSLR or mirrorless cameras. Of course, people have also simultaneously gotten used to the convenience of instantly being able to share pictures via email or social media, so any digital camera has to offer wireless connectivity in order to be relevant nowadays.

Photographers want to focus on the act of taking a picture rather than be bogged down with the details of photo management. New technologies support the photographer’s workflow and improve digital camera connectivity and image syncing because it is the only way to tie together the impressive convenience of smartphones and the photo quality of digital cameras.

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