Charting the Smartphone Effect on the Camera Market
The smartphone camera has come a long way since the early 2000s, and its impact on the overall camera market cannot be understated.
In fact, modern smartphones have become so sophisticated that the CEO of Sony’s semiconductor manufacturing company predicts that smartphone cameras will soon produce better quality images than DSLR cameras.
Whether smartphones will be able to completely replace standalone cameras is still a contentious debate topic, but one thing is clear—while smartphone sales have skyrocketed over the last decade, digital camera sales have plummeted.
This animation by James Eagle compares annual sales data for film cameras, digital cameras, and smartphones over the years to show just how much smartphones have impacted the camera market.
A (Brief) History of Standalone Cameras
Below, we’ve broken down the history of cameras into three overarching periods: early cameras, film cameras, and digital cameras.
Cameras have been around for thousands of years, with descriptions of camera-like devices found in historical writings dating back as far as the 4th century:
- 330 AD: Ancient Chinese texts describe a device known as a camera obscura. Similar to pinhole cameras, these didn’t produce actual photographs, but rather reflected light onto screens which could then be traced to produce a lasting image.
- Early 1800s: It’s generally accepted that Joseph Nicéphore Niépce invented the first photographic camera in 1816. Using silver chloride, Niépce managed to develop an image that’s still around today.
- 1840s: Early cameras produced negative (Read more…)