Smartphone photographers are driving DSLR sales

Aug 22, 2016

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

Aug 22, 2016

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

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It’s no surprise that smartphone cameras haven’t become the “DSLR killers” that some suggested they might. Instead, the opposite seems to have happened. Smartphones are fuelling the sales of DSLRs, at least according to the Hindustan Times.

There’s little doubt that smartphones have usurped compact cameras as the “gateway drug” to photography. Many people I know, photographers or not, have completely ditched their compacts in favour of the phone they always have with them. But, many feel themselves wanting more than their phones can deliver.

The Hindustan Times cites 27 year old Avishek Chakroborty, a business consultant in India. Starting with an iPhone, as many do these days, he just wanted something more. The article begins…

An Apple iPhone 6s made Avishek Chakroborty develop a passion for photography, which the 27-year old practices. But with more and better snaps, Chakroborty started feeling that the device’s camera — considered one of the best among smartphones — could not match his abilities.

For those of us that started with DSLRs or even film SLRs, this might seem obvious. If you don’t include disposables and my mother’s Instamatic, the first camera I owned or used regularly was a Nikon N90s. I jumped straight in with an SLR and didn’t bother with compacts.

There’s no doubt that smartphones have all but annihilated the compact camera market. Except for a few unique features, such as underwater shooting, superzooms, or flippy up LCDs for vloggers, compacts just aren’t really needed any more. Smartphones plug pretty much every hole that compacts once filled.

These days, I also shoot my iPhone a lot. Sometimes it’s to grab a quick behind the scenes shot. Other times it’s because I want to get a photo and it’s all I have with me. I also shoot my DSLRs a lot, too.

Whenever I do use my iPhone, the limitations of the hardware and software are kind of liberating, in a way. But, at the same time, they’re also restrictive. Those getting into photography now are also discovering how quickly you can grow past those limitations.

DSLR manufacturers have taken note. According to HT, more than 55% of the DSLR sales in India are coming from amateur photographers. And the major brands are jumping on the buzz that smartphone photography has created.

Nikon has been using the hype created by smartphone brands as an advantage to promote photography

– Kazuo Ninomya, Nikon India Managing Director

Nikon are not the only ones taking advantage of this, either. Canon reportedly saw a 26% spike in DSLR sales in the first half of 2016.

With the advent of smartphones, the number of clicks has increased considerably and the market for the imaging industry is set to expand. With so many images being uploaded every moment, the differentiator becomes the quality. And this is where a DSLR camera scores heavily

– Kazutada Kobayashi, Canon India President & CEO

As I said at the start, smartphones have become the “gateway drug” to photography. Phones like the Huawei P9 are taking things a little further, but they’ll still never offer the capabilities of a DSLR (or a mirrorless). I think if we looked at the numbers throughout the world, we’d observe similar patterns in other countries.

Whenever I see the Smartphone vs DSLR argument, people seem to forget that the two are not mutually exclusive. A smartphone might be enough for some people, those who might have stuck with a compact in the past. And that’s just fine. For those serious about photography, there’s no reason the two can’t live side by side.

A DSLR or mirrorless camera is certainly never going to replace a smartphone. Smartphones are so much more than “just a camera”. As long as larger cameras can offer something smartphones can’t, they’ll continue to be the tool of the serious photographer.

Which do you prefer shooting? Do you believe that smartphone cameras are simply a gimmick and cling to your DSLRs or mirrorless? Are you perfectly happy with your phone, and don’t feel the need to step up to something more advanced? Or do you just happily shoot away with both? Let us know in the comments.

[via Hindustan Times]

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John Aldred

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

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5 responses to “Smartphone photographers are driving DSLR sales”

  1. udi tirosh Avatar
    udi tirosh

    Its nice to see the wheel tuning the other way for once.

  2. Albin Avatar
    Albin

    Smartphones are killing compacts, the downslide in DSLRs was caused by … DSLRs. Millions were sold for big dollars during the mid-00s boom and the aspirational “prosumers” saw their investments obsolete two or three years later. Technology is now at a functional plateau for non-commercial purposes and lessons were hopefully learned and absorbed on that expensive learning curve.

  3. crumblegg Avatar
    crumblegg

    I went from a compact digital in 2004 to a smart phone and then to another smartphone, back to the 35mm film and then finally to a full frame DSLR. And I started way back with 35mm film. “Either or” is replaced with “as well as” in my book.

  4. Ralph Hightower Avatar
    Ralph Hightower

    To me, photography using a smartphone is frustrating with its autofocus “hunt and seek”. I can take a photo quicker with my manual focus SLR than I can with a smartphone. I often forget that I have a camera in my pocket.
    To me, photography using a smartphone is frustrating with its autofocus “hunt and seek”. I can take a photo quicker with my manual focus SLR than I can with a smartphone. I often forget that I have a camera in my pocket.

  5. SIMON FOLKARD Avatar
    SIMON FOLKARD

    I agree,its whatever the individual wants,i’ve started late and bought a bridge camera at 41!,just moved onto a DSLR and i love the feel of an actual camera.Having said that i never had one years ago.It depends on what you want to do with it.