Why is everyone blaming smartphones?

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samfan
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Why is everyone blaming smartphones?
4 months ago

TL;DR: Why blame the smartphones? I believe that even if smartphones didn't exist, the camera industry would be the same as it is. In decline because of market saturation and unrealistic expectations.

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Every time there's a mention of declining camera sales, somebody mentions smartphones as a primary factor.

I call bull. Yes, people take way more photos with smartphones than with cameras. Well, people also make way more phone calls with smartphones than with cameras. How does that prove anything?

The largest problem is that digital cameras were in constant, often accelerating growth for a decade and for some reason, manufacturers expected this to go on forever. Well, tough. Everyone has a camera already. Most people simply don't need another one. It's a saturated market.

My anecdotal story. At the end of 2005, I was buying a digicam. In a brick&mortar store, I asked the clerks to show me 2 cameras so I can try them and pick one (Canon A610 and some Panasonic IIRC). It wasn't possible, because the store was FLOODED with people buying cameras for Christmas. The clerks were handling camera boxes like bread in a world of Fallout. If someone hesitated just for a second between red and blue, clerks were almost shouting at them to hurry up. It was crazy.

Just one year later, again before Christmas, the same store was almost empty. People were buying cameras but it was no longer the avalanche the year before. Everyone already had a camera (from the year before, apparently). Yet the smartphone revolution didn't really happen until a few years later.

Same thing happened with DSLRs later. Everyone who wants it already has one. Not many people need more. Right now, MILCs and high-end compacts seem to be the best chance to sell yet another camera to people who need either better than a p&s (or phone) or smaller than a DSLR.

And regarding the phones. Yea, people take pics with phones all the time, but it seems most end up on social sites, buried within statuses and invites. The way I see it, most people take phone photos simply because they have the phone already in hand (see all those Instagrams of food and feet). With cameras it's the opposite - I take the camera in my hand because I want to take a photo or something. Nothing is going to change this mechanics.

Also, I believe ILC manufacturers are stupid for always marketing new cameras instead of lenses. I never saw a TV ad for a lens (I don't watch TV but I searched YouTube). Not even for something like a 50/1.8. Wouldn't it make more sense to market a cheap lens for low-light or some other specific use then to try to sell yet another camera to someone who likely already has a couple?

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