Well, it is finally here.
The iPhone 5 officially went on sale Friday, September 21, 2012. Never mind that Apple started taking "pre-orders" on Monday, September 17, and sold 2 million iPhones before they even went on sale. What is ahead? Gene Munster with the investment bank Piper Jaffray estimates that Apple will sell at least 6 million iPhones in the first weekend, but believes that "an 8 million launch weekend is achievable".
So why am I writing about iPhones in a photo blog? Because they all have cameras built in. Very good cameras.
In 2010, Canon, the number one selling digital camera manufacturer, sold 26.8 million cameras worldwide. In half that time, just the six months from October 2010 thru March 2011, Apple sold 30 million iPhones. Sales of point and shoot cameras fell 30% by value in 2011 compared with 2010. Meanwhile, the iPhone 4 became the most popular camera from which photos were uploaded to the picture-sharing site Flickr. A Pew Internet Project survey from February 2012 found that 46% of US adults owned a smart phone and the figure for 25-34 year olds is 71%.
It seems that the future of everyday, consumer photography is going to smartphones. The standard for today's smartphones seems to be the 8 megapixel resolution offered by the likes of the iPhone, Droid Razr or Samsung Galaxy, along with six shots per second and Full HD 1080p video. As of January 2012, there were more than 100 million of these “cameras” in the US and more than a billion worldwide. This goes a long way to explaining the 200 million photos uploaded to Facebook each day.
The new market segment of mirrorless compact interchangeable lens cameras (CILCs) is also growing. Compact system cameras from Nikon and Sony have 12 to 16 megapixels, with the Sony Nex-7 topping out with more than 24 megapixels.
While sales of point and shoot cameras are falling, sales of digital single lens reflex cameras (DSLRs) continue to grow, up 24% over last year, continuing a trend of double-digit increases going back to 2006. New DSLRs are arriving with 21 to 24 megapixels. The current megapixel champion is the Nikon D800, a professional DSLR offering 36 megapixels.
According to National Geographic, last year 37% of the images taken in the U.S. were captured with camera phones, and this number is expected to rise to 50% by 2015. Market researcher Infotrends expects interchangeable lens cameras, both compact and DSLR, to account for more than 50% of total US digital camera sales by 2016.
It looks as if point and shoot cameras might be going the way of Instamatics and film. In the continuing drama in Rochester, NY, Kodak, the inventor of digital photography, announced in February that they would stop making digital cameras in the first half of 2012.