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Are digital cameras still relevant?

Sam Chada • Nov 13, 2013 at 1:00 PM

Last week Juro Osawa from The Wall Street Journal published a blog titled “Phones Imperil Fancy Cameras: Shipments of High-End Models Are Falling as Mobile Devices Gain in Popularity”. In this post, Osawa finally calls out the elephant in the room:  the realization that high-end cameras may eventually succumb to the rise of smartphone cameras. According to research by IDC, the premier global provider of market intelligence, shipments of what’s called “interchangeable-lens cameras” or high-end models that let users swap out different lenses are expected to fall 9.1%--from 19.1 million units to 17.4 million units.

In defense, camera makers have argued premium products, like Digital single-lens reflex cameras (or digital SLRs), shouldn’t be affected since they offer a level of control and picture quality that smartphone’s tiny lens and sensor can’t replicate.

Canon spokesman Takafumi Honga uses a food analogy to articulate the difference between smartphone cameras to digital SLRs, stating that “taking photos with smartphones and editing them with apps (i.e. Instagram) is like cooking with cheap ingredients and a lot of artificial flavoring. Using interchangeable cameras (i.e. digital SLRs) is like slow food cooked with natural, genuine ingredients.”

It’s easy to see both sides of the coin in this particular argument. However, with the emergence of smartphone camera accessories I wonder if digital SLRs will be able to maintain their vitality in our ever-evolving, technologically advanced society. Online companies like Photojojo! have developed a niche in this market space by providing tips and tricks for photography projects, ideas for DIY projects, a book (available in our Adult Nonfiction section) and accessories for your smartphone camera.

Through the Photojojo! online store, photo and smartphone enthusiasts can purchase a variety of telephoto phone lenses (like fisheye, wide or marco), attachable spotlights, and gorillapods, a tripod for smarthpones that has three sturdy, bendy legs that stand up or twist around anything you see (which is on my holiday wish-list this year!).

I tend to use my smartphone to take photos because of the convenience and the fun photo editing apps that are available. But I agree with Takafumi Honga from Canon: using a digital SLR camera to snap a photo often captures the enriched and organic emotions that can be felt through thoughtful photography.

Do you have a digital camera preference? Leave your thoughts in the comments section! 

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