The world may be changing but we still love photos, writes Jennifer Dudley- Nicholson
The digital revolution
PHOTOGRAPHY has never been more popular. Australian consumers now capture more than 146 photographs each month on average – 288 for DSLR owners – and more than 80 per cent of Aussie homes have a digital camera.
The newly released Canon Digital Lifestyle Index also shows Australians splashed out $ 320 million on cameras in the last six months of 2011. But the news is not all good for the industry.
Camera prices have dropped 68 per cent since 2003, to an average of just $ 221, and photo printer sales are also falling, down 62 per cent this year.
Camera makers are fighting back, however, with evidence on show at the largest digital camera event in the southern hemisphere.
At The Digital Show, held in Melbourne recently, makers showed off new high- end cameras to encourage users to invest more and emphasised photo sharing over photo printing to adapt to our new lifestyles.
Imaging and Digital Entertainment Association consultant Katherine Singson said the show was renamed this year to reflect the convergence in the photography industry.
She said the rise of multi- megapixel mobile phone cameras was having a wide- reaching impact.
‘‘ With the onset of ubiquitous smartphones and more devices like tablets with cameras inside, people are discovering a love of photography,’’ Singson said. ‘‘ A lot of people might not have considered themselves photographers until they started taking photos with their phones.’’
But rather than print those images, many new photographers just shared them online, she said.
‘‘ There’s probably a whole generation of people who haven’t held a printed image of themselves,’’ Singson said.
Digital Show exhibitors addressed this trend, displaying new ways to save, store and show off photographs.
Eye- Fico- founder Ziv Gillat announced the Australian arrival of the company’s unique wi- fi- enabled memory cards. They store images like a regular memory card but also connect to wireless internet hot spots to automatically save images from your camera to social networks or a computer.
Images can automatically be uploaded to Flickr, Picasa or Google, as well as Eye- Fi’s own servers.
‘‘ Mums are a big target demographic for us,’’ Gillat said. ‘‘ She’s busy and she doesn’t want to bother with cables and uploading photos. By the time she is able to upload photos, they’re not as fresh. This way it’s done automatically.’’
Gillat said three types of Eye- Fi memory cards would arrive in Australia this month, from a 4GB card for $ 60 to an 8GB card for $ 118.
Other sharing- focused devices on show included the $ 249 Looxcie – a camera resembling a Bluetooth headset that can stream live video to the web – and the return of Polaroid cameras, including digital models, that can edit and print photos instantly.
Another trend on show was the rise of more advanced cameras, which bucked sales trends in Australia last year.
Digital SLR camera sales jumped 26 per cent in the last half of 2011, outperforming everything from LCD TVS to personal video recorders.
As such, at the show Nikon paraded its new entry- level D3200, which features a glossy red exterior and headline- grabbing 24- megapixel resolution, while Olympus pitted its new OM- D EM- 5 compact system camera against full- sized DSLRS.
Olympus Australia managing director Marc Radatt said OM- D sell- outs showed Australians were still interested in advanced cameras.
In addition to showing off its new DSLR cameras, the 5D MKIII and 1D X, Canon chose the Digital Show to launch a photography school, the Canon Academy, offering online and offline courses, plus workshops. To find out more, phone 1300 646 644 or visit urcreative. com.au.