When thinking about the most important qualities in a digital camera it might depend on your perspective. Professionals are looking at chip size, resolution, dynamic range and speed. Most consumers just want to be able to take nice pictures and send them to grandma.
In 2001 Johnathan Kaplan and Airel Braunstein formed a company called Pure Digital Technologies to create an inexpensive digital camera to compete with disposable film cameras. The idea was to have customers bring back their digital cameras for printing, just like a disposable film camera. The company would save money by not needing to manufacture a lot of cameras, which they sold for $20 each.
The idea bombed because customers wanted a cheap digital camera, but they didn’t want to bring them back. Some people were content viewing their photos on the tiny 1.4 in screen, others figured out how to hack the cameras and download the pictures.
Lots of camera sales, but few returns destroyed Pure Digital’s margins and the camera failed. But it did point out that consumers were willing to sacrifice lots of quality for price and convenience.
It comes as no surprise then that PCMag.com Reader’s Choice Awards for 2011 reflect the changing trends in the consumer market.
The trend seems to be toward convenience of sharing photos. This is reflected in an increase in people using their cell phone cameras for more of their photography needs. Cell phone manufacturers have wisely responded by making cell phone cameras better.
In the Reader’s Choice Awards, consumers are going for the models that make sharing easier. At first I was skeptical of wifi-enabled models like the Samsung SH100 and Panasonic FX90, but now it appears they had the pulse of consumers all along.