Are digital cameras on the way out?

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iol scitech june 29 iphone REUTERS The fact that I now needed a device to keep me occupied was not a happy discovery.

London - It does not seem like that long since they saw off the film camera – but digital cameras are facing the scrapheap.

The popularity of smartphones such as Apple’s iPhone and Samsung’s Galaxy series which have cameras built in, means families are no longer buying separate cameras.

Sales of digital cameras have plummeted by 29 percent in the past five years, according to retail analysts Mintel.

Smartphones often include a decent quality stills and video camera, as well as letting users make calls, browse the internet, listen to music and play games.

Mintel said the value of the digital camera market has fallen from £843-million in 2006 to £598m last year and predicts it will fall further to £523m by 2016.

Camcorder sales have fallen by 21 percent over the past five years from £354m to £279m. The figures show that only eight percent of people use a traditional film camera, while 40 percent use a digital camera and 45 percent rely on their smartphone.

Samuel Gee, Mintel’s technology analyst, said, while smartphone picture resolution is lower than that of the best digital cameras, many people would not be able to tell the difference in the images.

He added: “Camera manufacturers must choose to either invest in a web service that complements captured photos or video, or to focus on including new, innovative hardware capabilities and modifications, to retain consumer interest.”

In another blow, Kodak announcedit will close its Kodak Gallery website on Monday, meaning thousands of British families risk losing the digital photographs they have uploaded to the site. - Daily Mail

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