Whether you’re shooting snapshots of friends and family with one of the new wifi-enabled Panasonic Lumix FX90s (review) or professionally with your trusty Canon 5D MKII, the biggest trend in digital imaging right now is connectivity. Whether your camera is set up to enable real time connectivity or not, it’s a trend that’s going to influence both the selection of cameras and how you do business as a professional.
You can blame improving camera phones for raising expectations for immediate sharing, but the trend has been developing since the world wide web came into being.
Another part of the equation is the trend toward social media and the democratization of news reporting. People expect news and information almost as its happening.
With the digital camera market basically saturated at this point, everyone who wants a camera already has one. From here on out the deciding factor for many consumers will be the features of the camera. As cell phone cameras get better, the impact will be most immediate in the point-and-shoot market.
I think the big picture impact on the low end of the camera market has been overstated. Camera phones have been getting better for a long time and sales of point-and-shoot cameras have remained fairly healthy. What will make the difference for consumers is connectivity. Phones have that feature built in, cameras will need to catch up to stay competitive.
These trends will combine to put pressure on professional photographers to start looking for ways to satisfy the customer’s desire for immediate gratification. While it’s unlikely the low end of the digital camera or cell phone camera market is going to make a dent in high end camera sales, there is already a push for more immediate delivery of product.
In the highly competitive market of digital photography, I believe this presents an opportunity for the technically savvy to set themselves apart with value-added services such as live blogging weddings and trade shows and packaging content quickly so guests can make product selections on the spot.
If you wait until the systems are pre-packaged so anyone can use them, it will be too late. The opportunity is there now, you just have to figure out the technical details.