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Joe Casabona

Developer, Author, Nerd

November 12th, 2010

Are Point & Shoot Digital Cameras Becoming Obsolete?

Christmas time is around the corner and it’s right about the time of year that I start to think about the gifts I’m going to give to friends and family. As a tech geek, obviously tech oriented gifts rank pretty high up on my list of possibilities. A popular one is the point and shoot digital camera; I’ve picked one up for my brother and my dad in past years. It crossed my mind again today while I was at Best Buy, but came to the realization that the people for whom I would buy one have a cell phone with a camera on it, which brought me to this question: are point & shoot digital cameras becoming obsolete?

Let’s take a look at PC World’s #1 point and shoot on the market right now: The Canon PowerShot S90. It’s a lightweight 10MP camera and it has the regular shooting modes you’d expect most cameras to have. Now, by comparison, The Droid X and Incredible have 8MP cameras, the iPhone has a 5MP, most non-smart phones have a 3MP camera. Let’s focus on the smart phones. They, by and large, and thinner and probably lighter than the PowerShot, and while they lack the number of megapixels, most of the time we aren’t using our point & shoot to take stunning photography. We’re using them to capture moments while we are out. 5-8MP is perfectly fine for this.

I feel a point and shoot serves as a burden now, since my phone can handle the point and shoot moments for me. This will only become more popular as camera phone technology becomes better/cheaper. I can see in 5 years cell phones completely replacing point and shoot cameras. They are more convenient as we’re more likely to have our cell on us and we won’t have to shell out extra money for a digital camera or remember to take it with us. Plus, 8MP is plenty for photos from a night out, or even vacation photos. Finally, the cell phone allows us to share these photos instantly with the world by connecting us to the Internet. Take a photo, upload it to Facebook. I can’t imagine a point and shoot having the ability to connect to a 3g (or 4G) network and uploading photos on the spot.

What do you think? Do you currently have a point and shoot? Do you use it? Can you see your next cell phone replacing it? Let me know in the comments!

3 Comments

  1. Matt Breig says:

    Long time Joe, I stumbled across this on Facebook and was interested since I just bought my girlfriend the Powershot SD1400 IS. I wondered about them becoming obsolete as well, but realized she is part of the large population of tech ‘non-savvy’. She is happy with her call and text ‘dumb’ phone and I can’t ever imagine her spending the extra money each month for a smart phone. So, as long as there is a population of people like her, I see them sticking around.

  2. Chris Truszkowski says:

    Hey Joe. For the moment I still use a basic phone that has a 1.3mp camera for my calls and a 12mp cheap Kodak camera for my point and shoot needs. From my experience, apart from a few bad cameras, my point and shoot camera has always taken a better picture than my phone even at the same picture resolution. My phone pictures tend to be more grainy and blurry than the camera pictures, and since I don’t think my hands magically are more stable while holding a camera I have to attribute this to the tech inside the device. I’m planning on going Droid soon, but even with the resolution increase I’ll probably still carry around a point and shoot if I know I’m going to be taking pictures. Plus I’m a lot more comfortable handing someone my camera to take a picture than my phone.

  3. Joe Casabona says:

    You guys bring up a couple of good points. I wonder what the camera landscape will look like in a few years though (it seems smart phones are quickly becoming the norm, and even “dumb” phones are getting better cams).

    It is worth noting that it’s still easier to take pics on a point and shoot, but I think better cell phone hardware will change that. I do suppose, however, I’d feel better handing off a camera than a cell phone.

    I guess it all comes down to usage. I don’t really take the typical pics you’d take with a point and shoot, as it seems your GF (Matt) and you (Chris) take.