Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Evaluating Camera Options for the Weekend Photographer

For the weekend photographer, your camera selection is largely dependent on the type of photography you will be involved in as well as your budget. There are many genres of photography from portraits to landscape and everything in-between.

You will need to carefully assess your needs to identify the correct camera to serve as your tool for your area of interest.

Segment differentiation is split between two categories:
·        Digital still camera (DSC)
·        Interchangeable-lens camera (ILC)
Digital still camera (DSC) is mainly comprised of smartphone cameras and compact point & shoot cameras. This is the focus of this particular blog post. ILC will be discussed in later posts.

Some of the most popular smartphone cameras include premium flagship phones such as the:

  • Apple iPhone 5s, iPhone 6 and iPhone 6S Plus
  • Samsung S Series
Smartphone Cameras are not to be overlooked as reliable tools for capturing impressive photographs. Well-known photography web site Flickr gathers data on the most popular cameras used for images that are uploaded to their Flickr galleries. One of the leading brands on Flickr is the Apple iPhone as shown in figure 1.

Figure 1.

Market research firm IDC reports that smartphone sales topped 1 billion in 2013, up 38 percent year over year. In contrast, CIPA (the Camera & Imaging Products Association) shows a 36 percent drop in digital camera sales over the same period: Shipments plummeted from around 98 million in 2012 to 63 million units in 2013, with the biggest losses coming among mid- and low-priced models.

However, currently smartphone sales are starting to flatten. Analyst Gartner states:

"We are expecting a big drop in smartphone sales growth, projecting the market will shrink from 14.4 per cent growth in 2015 to just 7 per cent in 2016 — with only 1.5 billion smartphone units being shipped globally this year.

The high watermark for smartphone sales was back in 2010, when Gartner notes the market grew 73 per cent."
Compact Point & Shoot – As you can image the explosive growth of smartphone has led to a big decline in sales for most compact camera manufacturers.  Decreasing market share in this market segment has most camera manufacturers shifting their research and development dollars to high-end enthusiast point & shoot cameras such as the impressive Sony Cyber-Shot DSC RX-100 IV which commands a premium price tag. The reviews are overwhelmingly positive.

In closing, when evaluating your options it is best to go to your local retail store and handle cameras to ensure the ergonomics, the button layout and the menu system work for you.

Read reviews online and watch YouTube videos to learn product strengths and weaknesses of each camera that you are considering before you begin your weekend endeavor.