The Instapundit linked to a post on the OM Blog that digital camera sales are declining sharply. The reason, of course, is the rise of the smart phone and the improvement of its photo taking ability.
Camera sales are continuing to falling off a cliff. The latest data from the Camera & Imaging Products Association (CIPA) shows them in a swoon befitting a Bollywood roadside Romeo. All four big camera brands — Sony, Fuji, Canon, and Nikon — are reposting rapid declines. And it is not just the point and shoot cameras whose sales are collapsing. We also see sales of higher-end DSLR cameras stall. And — wait for it — even mirrorless cameras, which were supposed to be a panacea for all that ails the camera business, are heading south.
My first camera was a Kodak Instamatic 100 that used 126 film and flash bulbs. I eventually moved up to 35mm with a used Canon Canonet QL 17 rangefinder which I picked up for $10 in an antique store. My first single lens reflex didn’t get purchased until I was well into college. It was a Canon AE-1 with your standard 55mm prime lens. I think I paid somewhere in the neighborhood of $250 at one of the camera stores in New York City.
The really cool kids had Nikons. They were way out of my price range especially since I was just an amateur. Nonetheless, I lusted after them.
Today the Complementary Spouse and I went to a church bazaar in Hendersonville. By the time we arrived, prices had been cut 50%.
The first thing I saw was this Nikomat EL priced for $2 meaning I paid one whole US dollar for it! The Nikomat was the Japanese market version of the Nikkormat. It has one minor dent on the viewfinder housing, some brassing of the body, and a little dust. It came with the Nikkor 50mm f1.4 lens.
On the same table I saw another Nikon for sale. It was the Nikon FM which also cost me $1. Given I had picked up my last Nikon for $35 at Goodwill, I think I did damn good getting not one but two classic Nikons for $2.
I think if you need any proof that the film camera market is dead this was it.
I do have a couple of digital DSLRs (Canon and Olympus) but like most people I use my cell phone for the quick shots. I could upgrade them but, like most rifles in terms of accuracy, they can do more than I am capable of doing. Adding insult to injury, I took the pictures of my new Nikons using my iPhone.
I’ll leave the final word to Om Malik from his OM Blog.
But mostly, our pictures — even the best ones — function as glorified postcards on Instagram, Facebook, or some other messaging app. No one on WhatsApp cares if you made a photo in 50 megapixels or 12 megapixels Just as, in the cloud, no one gives two hoots if your server is Sun, Dell or HP.
I have a five-year old camera, and I can’t conceive of a convincing reason to get a new one. The one I own was very good at the start of its life, it cost me a lot of money, and I suspect it has a long life ahead of it. And to be clear, I am extremely fond of my camera. I find absolutely no joy in the demise of the standalone camera.