Digital Cameras Vs Camera Phones

August 13, 2005 | Mark Goldstein | Camera Phones | 6 Comments | |

The following press release by the CEA claims that camera phones are unlikely to replace digital cameras as the device that you primarily use to take a photograph. What do you think? Do you reach for your camera phone first, or are they the work of the devil (well, relatively speaking!)?

Consumer Electronics Association Press Release

CEA Research Finds Digital Cameras Remain Primary Picture Taking Device

Survey Underscores Need for Industry Involvement in Consumer Archiving Awareness

Arlington, Virginia 8/12/2005 - Even as they increase in popularity, camera phones are not likely to replace digital cameras and camcorders as consumers’ primary picture taking device, according to a study recently released by the Consumer Electronics Association(r) (CEA), which found that some 91 percent of digital camera owners consider their digital camera to be their main photography device. CEA’s “Digital Imaging Study: Sharing and Storing Pictures and Video,” also revealed that consumers are unaware of the need to archive their digital photos and video - an issue of increasing importance as the penetration rate for digital cameras nears 50 percent with those camera owners snapping billions of pictures each year.

Steve Koenig, senior manager of industry analysis at CEA, said, “Consumers are fortunate that today’s digital imaging product shelf is festooned with convergence photography devices in addition to the still camera - still cameras that capture full-motion video, digital camcorders that take still pictures, camera phones, PDAs and wireless phones with image/video capture capabilities; the list goes on. Many consumers own several photo-capture devices, but our research shows the digital camera remains consumers’ primary picture taking device and we expect that to continue. Camera phones and other convergence devices will likely experience improved resolution capabilities, but the vast majority of consumers will turn to a digital still camera when their primary purpose is picture taking.”

Consumers report they expect to share photos and video electronically from their digital camera or camcorder, through computers, e-mail and wireless phones. About two-thirds print their photos and half of them burn images onto a CD to share with others. A small but significant number of consumers share their digital photos by printing.

“Consumers tell us electronic sharing of digital imaging content is the way of the future,” Koenig continued. “To make this happen, consumers really need more Internet bandwidth for e-mail, more processing power for computers, greater media storage capacity and more robust wireless phone data networks.”

Koenig added that the survey’s red flag is the lack of knowledge or practice of archiving digital imaging content. According to the more than 1,100 U. S. adults surveyed by CEA, consumers are unaware of the need to back-up digital photos and video. Only 48 percent said they back-up all or most of their images, while the same percentage of video is not backed up at all. Less than half of the consumers are even concerned about losing their imaging content.

“Many industry groups are addressing the need for consumer awareness and education about archiving digital images, including CEA through the Digital Imaging Special Interest Group (SIG),” Koenig concluded. “This survey demonstrates the industry must continue to beat the drum and encourage content archiving to help consumers avoid disaster.”

“The Digital Imaging Study: Sharing and Storing Pictures and Video” was administered online to 1,156 U.S. adults in May and was designed and formulated by CEA Market Research, the most comprehensive source of sales data, forecasts, consumer research, international research and historical trends for the consumer electronics industry. The complete study is available free to CEA member companies. Non-members may purchase the study at

About CEA:
The Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) is the preeminent trade association promoting growth in the consumer technology industry through technology policy, events, research, promotion and the fostering of business and strategic relationships. CEA represents more than 2,000 corporate members involved in the design, development, manufacturing, distribution and integration of audio, video, mobile electronics, wireless and landline communications, information technology, home networking, multimedia and accessory products, as well as related services that are sold through consumer channels. Combined, CEA’s members account for more than $121 billion in annual sales. CEA’s resources are available online at, the definitive source for information about the consumer electronics industry.

CEA also sponsors and manages the International CES - Defining Tomorrow’s Technology. All profits from CES are reinvested into industry services, including technical training and education, industry promotion, engineering standards development, market research and legislative advocacy.

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#1 Jeff

Digital photography is nice and all, but I don't think that camera mobile phones are worth the extra silicon required to put them together. Many customers that I work for don't allow cameras on premisis - that would leave me without a phone. But, I have yet to see a quality picture taken with a camera phone. I would like to see the world get over it's fascination for making the mobile phone a "mobile do-everything device" and am in full agreement that stand-alone digital cameras are and will continue to be the mainstay of the digital photographer - both professional and amateur.

5:41 pm - Saturday, August 13, 2005


Good point about security. Even so, I am of the mindset that, if I must carry around a phone, then I would also want it to fulfill the functionality of whatever other electronics I might want/need with me, i.e., camera, audio player, picture viewer, PDA, GPS, radio, TV, and TV remote control ... just to name a few.

There is no question in my mind that electronics manufacturers currently have the technology to combine all of the features you would want in an ultra-compact digital camera, with all of the features you would want in a cell phone, and house it as a single unit. The only problem would be in the dimensions of the housing, since the ideal dimensions for a digital camera are not necessarily ideal for a cell phone, and vice versa.

Still, I am confident that manufacturers will soon find a way around this problem, as they did with the flip-phone. Come to think of it, my wallet would be the perfect dimensions for a digital camera ... hmmmm. :)

8:54 pm - Saturday, August 13, 2005

#3 siobhan

i didn't even read this website so i wouldn't know

1:51 am - Monday, August 15, 2005


I'll take your word for it, since I didn't go there either.

6:06 pm - Tuesday, August 30, 2005

#5 Steve

These guys do a great job of helping seniors with digital cameras:

3:45 am - Tuesday, October 19, 2010

#6 mroz

...hmmmm, a leather folding back pocket thing.

8:39 pm - Tuesday, December 28, 2010