As we enter 2013, we spoke with IDC’s Christopher Chute about some of the emerging digital camera trends that will occur next year. Chute, who is the research director of IDC’s Worldwide Digital Imaging and Small/Mid-Sized Business (SMB) Transformative Technology Research Practices and one of DT’s go-to experts, covers the digital imaging sector closely and shares with us his view on Wi-Fi, mirrorless technology, and the eventual abandonment of entry-level point-and-shoot cameras.
Digital Trends: What are some digital camera features that consumers can expect to see more of in 2013?
Christopher Chute: Vendors have concluded that two competitive advantages over smartphones are optical zoom and larger-sized image sensors, so we can expect to see more of that in the compact space. Furthermore, vendors need to roll out [built-in] Wi-Fi across more of their lineups; failure to do so at this late date is at their peril.
Are there any new features being introduced that we should keep an eye on?
Full-frame DSLR and mirrorless models [like the Nikon 1 V1 shown above] will continue to trickle down in price. Cameras with Android and Wi-Fi will also become more prevalent.
What are some trends you see emerging in 2013? What direction do you see companies moving toward?
Expect companies to introduce far fewer compact camera models than in years’ past, as they continue to focus on promoting growth in DSLR and mirrorless.
Will mirrorless cameras disrupt the point-and-shoot and DSLR segments in the short and long run?
In the U.S., mirrorless has been more embraced by second-time buyers who have DSLRs. That being said, vendors have had difficulty moving to this more digital platform (DSLRs are simply analog cameras with an image sensor in place of the film plane).
Are there any products or features that surprised you, either because they succeeded or failed?
A lack of Wi-Fi models. [Cameras] incorporating Android has been a surprise. The imaging conversation is being defined more by vendors in the mobility space, to the detriment of the traditional photography market.
What are your thoughts on non-traditional camera companies?
An emerging consumer electronics trend is start-ups that can offer unique value. GoPro and Lytro are two examples of this. These two companies are able to contain costs using some off-the-shelf components, and then add their specific IP value. They are not large public enterprises that seek to satisfy shareholder sentiment.
With more and more digital cameras handling video, where do you see the camcorder sector heading?
The camcorder market will be more of a high-end hobbyist market geared toward prosumer and pro-content creators.
Is there a place for entry-level digicams in the future?
Not really, expect (at some point) the market leaders to move upstream and abandon the $149 and below space.
(Wi-Fi image via lirf/Shutterstock)