Smartphones create unique trends in camera sales

MINNEAPOLIS -- Trick question, what is the best camera on the market?

The answer: The best camera is any camera you have with you.

Right now, 70 percent of cell phones sold have a camera in them.

In a six-month period, measured this year by the NPD retail tracking group, point-and-shoot camera sales fell 26 percent compared to the same period the year before.

So, all of this begs the question, have we gotten to the point where the point-and-shoot is dead?

"Photography is based on technology. It's always going to change and those phones are creating an impetus for people like us and manufacturers to change and evolve and give the consumer a better product," Gil Robles, a manger at National Camera Exchange said.

Robles thinks the phone actually helped the camera, in a roundabout way because what the phone camera has done is reinforce the act of taking pictures in the first place.

"It's creating an interest in photography that they never had before because of the accessibility and convenience," Robles clarifies.

Think about it. All of us are photographers right now. We take pictures of everything we do everywhere we go.

Case in point, in July of 2012 Instagram, the photo sharing social media app, had 80 million users. By this past summer it surpassed 130 million users.

Robles says taking so many pictures has led many to want to take better pictures.

Think of the phone as the gateway drug, it hooked people on picture taking so then they wanted to upgrade to take better shots.

While point-and-shoot camera sales are down, high end cameras, called SLRs are up 5 percent compared to last year.

For 15 years, Carlos Gonzalez has been documenting our community for the Star Tribune as a photojournalist.

You would think he'd hate the darn iPhone with the phone users now crowding into his chosen career path, but you would be wrong.

Gonzalez uses his phone and his point-and-shoot in his work, and the results from both are simply incredible.

Pictures are the name of the game he says and that's why he isn't threatened.

Gonzalez feeds his editor the photo galleries online and to social media because each of them wants pictures of every variety.

"No more so than ever before because people are so visual and there are so many mediums now to see the images," Gonzalez said.


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