If you’ve used an iPhone 4s camera phone, chances are upon looking at the image quality you got you said “Wow!”

Smart phone cameras in general are improving quickly. The ability to snap and share in seconds is drawing millions of people to these devices. It’s fun, fast and highly addictive.

Hooking up something like Instagram to an iPhone allows connectivity, coolness and fun in spades.

Since these phones are getting better cameras, falling in price and becoming more available, it’s getting harder and harder for casual shutterbugs and even serious photographers to justify buying a separate point and shoot camera.

If you’re a very casual photographer with a $200 point and shoot, it’s unlikely that the images you’re making are much better than those you could make with an iPhone 4s or similar smart phone. So if you already have a very capable smart phone camera, why buy and carry around a second device? It’s just one more thing to manage.

Well this story does have a plot twist and here it is – features matter.

You can successfully argue that we don’t need the inexpensive point and shoot because the smart phone cameras are just about as good and add connectivity.

But there is ONE way the point and shoot makers could survive and even thrive. That’s to add must-have features that separate their cameras from the smart phone cameras.

For instance, if a compact point and shoot could affordably and easily shoot very high speed stills or video and then bundle the camera with easy software to make slow-motion clips, that would be a great reason to buy that camera IN ADDITION TO a smart phone camera. That’s just one example. These cameras would require a niche. It could be high speed, it could be underwater, etc.

For now, I think that compact point and shoots will survive, but looking at the sales data from the past decade, there can be no doubt that compared with historical averages, their sales have been impacted and industry experts lay the blame squarely at the feet of the smart phone.

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Join the conversation! 3 Comments

  1. [...] read more on the subject, check out Scott Bourne’s blog post yesterday as he questions if compact cameras will [...]

  2. [...] Scott Bourne over at Photofocus published an article questioning if smart phones will ever replace point-and-shoot cameras. He [...]

  3. [...] Scott Bourne over at Photofocus published an article questioning if smart phones will ever replace point-and-shoot cameras. He [...]

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