There's still a market for hand-held digital, non-smartphone, cameras, even with apps like Instagram to make photos "look cool" and attachments that can turn a smartphone into a fully-functioning professional digital camera. Those factors have decreased the popularity of Canon Powershot-type devices, but it has also allowed another digital camera category to flourish: The low-end of high-end camera business is "booming" per The Wall Street Journal's Daisuke Wakabayashi. Cheaper versions of the digital SLR subset, which have capabilities a smartphone could never attain but run in the $500 to thousands of dollar range, these mirrorless SLRs have doubled in sales over the last year, as compact camera sales continue to decline. Just as we were ready to eulogize the death of another technology by smartphone, camera makers have found a way to stay alive.
For a couple of years now, we've heard that the digital point and shoot is on the decline. Use of smartphones as a go-to camera has grown, with recent NDP stats finding 44 percent of all photos are taken on fancy phones, with general use up to 27 percent from 17 percent last year. The way people share photos has changed, with the Internet and smartphone apps acting as the medium for sharing. Facebook sees 100 million photo uploads daily, from all sorts of photo-taking implements, but seeing the value in the mobile-camera market, spent $1 billion dollars for the free Instagram app, which gets over 5 million new shared images each day. The iPhone 4 tops Flickr's popularity charts, beating a bunch of more standard Canon and Nikon models. And, with the iPhone 4S camera's 8 megapixel lens, who needs anything better? Instagram (or Hipstamatic, or whatever app you like) will make photos look more professional or hipper right then and there, sans the editing it might take to doctor a digital camera photo. Plus, having a camera smartphone combo, makes the sharing process direct, eliminating steps between shooting and sharing.