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Smartphone Cameras Make Gains on Point-And-Shoots

The next time you snap a picture of your family, friends, or that huge rat you saw crawling along the subway tracks, you might just reach for your cellphone rather than your trusty point-and-shoot camera. According to consumer research company NPD Group, the number of photos taken with smartphones has been steadily increasing over the years, while the number of photos taken on cameras has decreased.

In its latest Imaging Confluence Study, NPD states that the number of pictures consumers shot using smartphones increased from 17 percent  in 2010 to 27 percent in 2011, while the number of photos shot using cameras fell from 52 percent to 44 percent. NPD points to smartphones' ease of use, compact size, and relatively long battery life as the reasons consumers have started turning away from classic point-and-shoot cameras in favor of their phone's camera

Overall, the report indicates, the camera market saw a 13 percent drop in the first 10 months of 2011. That being said, consumers are still spending on detachable lens cameras, such as SLRs, which saw a 15 percent increase in units moved, and point-and-shoot models with an optical zoom of 10x or more, which grew by 11 percent.

The reason for the increase in the higher-end camera segment is simple, said executive director and senior imaging analyst with NPD, Liz Cutting. "Cameras haven't lost their core place in the eyes or hands of mom as the core memory keeper, nor the imaging enthusiast. Consumers who use their mobile phones to take pictures were more likely to do so instead of their camera when capturing spontaneous moments, but for import events, cameras are still the device of choice."

So while your phone may be loaded with pictures of the ridiculous and asinine things you see while out and about, you'll more than likely still capture those truly important moments with a "real" camera.