Smartphones edging point-and-shoot cameras out of market

The point-and-shoot camera era is almost coming to an end, thanks to increasing penetration of smartphones with megapixels and ultra-pixels cameras.

While Nokia started the trend with its 41 megapixel camera, cameras on most recent smartphones are between 8 and 16 MP.

To counter this ongoing onslaught, traditional camera manufacturers including Canon and Nikon have moved towards creating a higher-end version of digital still cameras with built-in lens but still capable of capturing images with DSLR quality and thereby creating a niche which no smartphone cameras can achieve as per the existing technology.

Canon earlier this week launched –in the UAE – four new models in the PowerShot series, which it says offers DSLR-standard performance in a compact body apart from 30x optical zoom, features that are not available in smartphone cameras.

Nikon, on the hand, in May announced two new additions to the Nikon 1 System of compact interchangeable lens cameras - the Nikon 1 J4 and Nikon 1 S2. The range is clearly aimed at those looking to upgrade from a point-and-shoot camera or move away from a smartphone.

Worldwide shipments of digital still cameras have dropped drastically since 2012.

March and October are months when camera sales peak and, according to latest statistics by the Camera and Imaging Products Association, a Tokyo-based industry group, the numbers dropped from 9.52 million units in April 2012 to just 3.8 million in April 2014.

Similarly, the number of global shipments as far as cameras with interchangeable lens are concerned have not been so bad. While April 2012 saw global shipments of 1.46 million units, April 2014 saw the numbers drop by 220,000 to 1.24 million.

In May, Nikon released its latest financial result for year ending March and the company posted its lowest performance in three years as net income for the last fiscal year and profit outlook missed estimates.

According to reports Canon itself has witnessed a 22 per cent drop in year on year sales during the first quarter of 2014.

Reuters reported Chief Financial Officer Toshizo Tanaka as stating that that sales of more expensive compact cameras had actually increased “after Canon adjusted its camera production and line-up in the first quarter to meet customers' demand for more sophisticated products.”

Tanaka’s sentiment was reflected by a local Canon official who said while sales of simple point and shoot cameras had flattened out this year, a slightly higher range of products had been performing better with a 20 per cent increase in sales.

“We will continue to lay emphasis on cameras with interchangeable lens and cameras with better Zoom. More and more users are opting for DSLR and semi-professional cameras. People are simply not satisfied with ordinary pictures. There is an appetite for quality pictures,” the official said.

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