Can a good smartphone replace a more bulky digital camera? Chatting to my local specialist Nikon dealer the other day, I discovered that the lower end of the point-and-shoot market, priced up to £150, has collapsed under the pressure from camera-equipped smartphones.
The new iPhone 4S has an excellent camera and, in some ways, can out perform many basic digitals on the market. Low-light performance is outstanding. More to the point, this camera is always in your pocket and isn’t something you have to pack or consciously carry around.
Despite this, the higher-end of the digital camera market remains healthy. I seem to see more and more dSLRs slung around necks, especially around far-eastern necks in popular European tourist haunts, than ever before. A massive Nikon or Canon makes a great fashion accessory.
The emphasis now is on interchangeable-lens cameras. Anything with a fixed lens is increasingly under threat from the smartphone at the bottom of the food chain or from the new diminutive lens-swoppers, including Micro Four Thirds and Nikon’s new Nikon 1 series of mirrorless cameras, at the top end.
For the past two weeks I have been playing with both the Nikon J1 and V1 cameras with their Lilliputan interchangeable zoom lenses. They are great cameras and I’ll be reporting more on my experiences. They prove to me that reports of the death of the serious digital camera are exaggerated.