The latest wave of smartphones may be the likely cause for the recent drop in high-end DSLR camera sales. The improved quality of photo editing software being the main reason folks are reaching for their small, lightweight smartphones rather than their bulky, overpriced DSLR cameras.
This past year has shown a dramatic decline in interchangeable lens shipments, the high-end lenses that allow you to swap out a specific lens for a specific purpose. They are mostly used by professional photographers, but lately many amateurs have gotten in on the act. These days it seems that everyone who has a high-end DSLR camera has a small photo business on the side.
Nikon and Canon, the top two manufacturers of DSLR cameras, have lowered their sales forecasts for their fiscal year, which ends in March. In addition, top manufacturer Tamron had to revise its sales outlook after it was reported that they sold approximately 20 percent fewer interchangeable lenses during the first half of 2013 than it had at the same time last year. All three are claiming the same problem. The weak global economy. The companies are all in agreement that this is a temporary situation, however an executive from Tamron has acknowledged that the improvements being made in smartphone software pose a real threat to the industry.
Smartphones may be the likely cause for the sales drop in high-end DSLR cameras because of a few reasons. First, they are highly convenient. Most everyone carries their smartphone with them wherever they go. It’s very easy to reach into your pocket to grab that picture perfect moment. Secondly, they are much more affordable than even the most modestly priced high-end DSLR camera. Third, ease of use. The point-click technology of the smartphone has high appeal for anyone who finds interchangeable lenses, focus knobs, and more buttons than necessary confusing.
Another feature that the smartphone has over DSLR cameras is the ability to upload directly to social media networking sites. Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ have made it very easy to upload images taken with your smartphone. A downfall for DSLR cameras is lack of instant gratification.
Even professionals are getting in on the act and ditching their high tech cameras. Many photographers are now turning to their iPhones because the images are a lot easier to manipulate, thanks to Apple’s wide range of editing options. And the slim, lightweight phones are easier to lug around than the cumbersome camera bags.
Some manufacturers are taking the drop in high-end DSLR camera sales a little too hard. Takafumi Hongo, a spokesman for Canon, has likened taking pictures with smartphones to cooking with inexpensive ingredients and relying heavily on artificial flavors. While taking photos with a Canon DSLR camera with interchangeable lenses is like cooking with natural ingredients.
With the holiday season rapidly approaching many retailers are finding that smartphones may indeed be the likely cause for the drop in high-end DSLR camera sales. It seems that these days everyone fancies themselves an amateur photographer. I wouldn’t count on your wedding photographer pulling out his smartphone anytime soon, but with the advances in smartphone software you can definitely expect to see less bulk with similar results.
By Mary Kay Love