Imaging Industry Roundtable
Cutting: I believe it was Woody Allen who said that "90 percent of success in life is just showing up." Consumers embrace mobile phones as "good enough" to capture the moment, because they are with us all the time. Point-and-shoot cameras have to earn their place in the microcosm of image-capture devices. So far they've been keeping up appearances, witnessed by the fact that in the over-$200 price point range they were up 2 percent in units and 1 percent in dollars YTD September 2010 versus prior year. Yet the overall compact market was down 4 percent both in units and dollars versus prior year. Doubtless, the compact camera industry will lose some low-end consumers to camera phones and we are already seeing some of that cannibalization come to pass.
Lens quality, bigger sensors, long zooms, fast auto focus, continuous shooting mode, and more features packed into smaller bodies have all contributed to enhancing the pure experience of taking a photo with a point-and-shoot camera. With a smartphone, however, we can do so many things on the fly with our pictures—zap to Facebook, or send them to print on a home printer, online, or to pick up at a local retailer. For now we compromise for the sake of convenience, but few camera phones can boast superiority over point-and-shoot cameras.
Bracing for the future, point-and-shoot cameras need to stay a step ahead of mobile phones to retain relevance. Compact cameras must surpass mobile phone capabilities beyond basics like image quality and shutter lag by integrating functions of convenience. Capabilities such as wireless transfer, in-camera editing, facial recognition and GPS must demonstratively save time for, and bring joy to, Mom (the main user) so she can organize, keep and print her memories long after she's "Facebooked."