The digital camera market

From David Pogue, writing in the New York Times

Big changes are in the photographic air. First, there’s the astonishing collapse of the film camera market. By some tallies, 92 percent of all cameras sold are now digital. Big-name camera companies are either exiting the film camera business ( Kodak, Nikon) or exiting the camera business altogether (Konica Minolta). Film photography is rapidly becoming a special-interest niche.

Next, there’s the end of the megapixel race. “In compact cameras, I think that the megapixel race is pretty much over,” says Chuck Westfall, director of media for Canon’s camera marketing group. “Seven- and eight-megapixel cameras seem to be more than adequate. We can easily go up to a 13-by-19 print and see very, very clear detail.”

That’s a shocker. After 10 years of hearing how they need more, more, more megapixels, are consumers really expected to believe that eight megapixels will be the end of the line?

So, what’s next?

In no particular order, Pogue predicts:

  • Image stabilisers
  • Improved movie recording capabilities
  • WiFi connectivity to printers and computers
  • changing appearance — there’s no reason why a digital camera has to look like a film camera
  • Better batteries
  • Onboard GPS
  • Better screens
  • Smaller SLRs
  • Er, that’s it.