Gateway Drug: Are Smartphones Driving DSLR Sales?

Gateway Drug: Are Smartphones Driving DSLR Sales?

If you take photos with your smartphone, you may be more likely to buy a DSLR. This could be the reason behind a noticeable spike in sales of low end DSLR Canon and Nikon. What does this mean for amateur photography, and can these statistics be trusted?

The results are in, and according to Hindustan Times, there is a new wave of budding photographers pulling DSLRs off the shelves in India. So far in 2016, Canon has noticed a 26% increase in sales across all of it’s DSLRs in the region. However is this just the effect of an emerging market, or is it really a sign of an increase in amateur photographers?

Why Is This Happening?

Well, whether you believe the statistics or not, it makes sense. We’re seeing an increase in amateur photographer for two reasons.
Firstly, a consumer that owns an iPhone 6, is arguably less likely to buy a point-and-shoot camera. Why would they? Unless the point and shoot offers an amazing zoom range and low light performance, what will it offer over your phone? Will a point and shoot have the same level of connectivity that a smartphone offers? Of course not. Canon has expected that it’s compact camera sales will drop by a massive 24% in 2016.

The other obvious reason for an increase in amateur DSLR users, is that there are so many more people being bitten by the photography bug. Never mind Instagram or apps built for photography; even your Mom is taking photos on her smartphone.
Is it any wonder that a selection of these new consumers want something better to step up to? If they won’t graduate to a point-and-shoot camera, then all that’s left is a low end DSLR.

So it’s not difficult to believe that India’s showing a sign of the times. This low end market may be a key focus of manufacturers over the coming years to meet the growing demand. We’ll have to wait and see where it goes, and welcome the next generation of amateur photography.

What do you think? Is there a noticeable difference in the amount of low end DSLRs reaching the regular consumer?

[via Hindustan Times]

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7 Comments

Steven Gotz's picture

I was always into video, but a few years back I took a Smartphone photo that I really liked. I wondered, if I could shoot an image like that with a smartphone, what could I do with a "real" camera?

So I bought a Panasonic GH3. Good video, and I could shoot stills. And my photography got better. Not because of the camera, but rather, because I started to take it seriously and study everything I could.

A couple of years later I outgrew the crop sensor (wanted to shoot stars and wanted a lot wider shots, among other reasons) so I went with a full frame Nikon D750 with the Holy Trinity of lenses, the 105mm Micro, and the 200-500mm. Now I can shoot with speedlights and I have enough megapixels to crop if needed and still get a good print. (Sometimes even 500mm is not enough glass when shooting wildlife or sports.)

The only problem I have now is a lack of excuses if my shots don't come out right. I have the camera, lenses, lights/modifiers, etc. If the shot doesn't come out, it is not the gear.

So, yes. A Smartphone is a gateway drug to a DSLR. Or, at least it was for me.

Travis Alex's picture

We have a lot of customers here at the store who say a lot of their reasons for buying a DSLR is because "They can't quite get the reach/quality" they want from their phone, which has been a really great opportunity for me to push Sony Products, because they are still small with a lot more power to last the average everyday consumer years.

Ralph Hightower's picture

I don't know the answer to the question. But what I do know is that I am frustrated with taking photos from my smartphone with its difficulty of finding focus. I can take a picture quicker with my manual focus film SLR than I can with my smartphone. If something is in between the subject and the camera, such as glass, then all bets are off with autofocus. I often forget that I have a camera in my pocket. It's frustrating to use a camera phone.
My wife wanted me to go DSLR in 2011, but when I found her budget was a Canon T3i, I talked her out of it. In 2013, she bought me a 5D III. Okay, call me a "full-frame" bigot, but shooting 35mm film since 1980, I wanted a full frame sensor. The FPS of the 5D matches the FPS of my A-1 and New F-1 with their respective motor drives.

Lino Paul's picture

In the last two months 4 of my friends came to me , asking me to suggest a low end dslr.

baba lala's picture

yes smartphone is a gateway drug. I'm from India and as soon as I had enough money to afford an entry level canon 700d i got it. instead of buying another expensive phone now i spend the same on buying lenses. i have a L series 70-200 non is and sigma 18-35 1.8 art.
yes i'm addicted:)

Simon Patterson's picture

As I was shooting my 2yo daughter on a swing during a pretty sunset tonight, I really wished I had brought a better camera than just my phone. I'm sure I'm not the first to think this when shooting with a phone.

joe o sullivan's picture

I moved from my Samsung Galaxy S3 to a DSLR to get better editing capability originally.. and to get better image quality. But the more I read up on DSLR's the more interested I became, and the more I got into photography. Then I ended up buying an LG G4 so I could take raw images when I didn't have my DSLR with me. It's a slippery slope...