The photography sector is facing another upheaval: Towards the end of the 1990s, digital cameras started replacing analog models. Now there is a new trend to replace digital cameras with cell phones with camera capabilities.
A representative study carried out by optical component specialists Schneider Kreuznach confirms the potential of cell phone photography. Around 1,000 users in Germany, China, India, and the U.S.A. were interviewed about their specific usage patterns relating to picture-taking with digital cameras and cell phones.
One out of four respondents indicated that in future they would exclusively use cell phones for picture-taking (early adopters), provided the quality matched that of today's upper mid-range digital cameras with approximately 6 million pixels. Under certain circumstances, 43 percent would be willing to replace their digital camera with a suitable cell phone. At present, only 32 percent would still prefer a digital camera.
Users in India and China were particularly open-minded towards cell phone photography: In these countries, eight out of ten of those questioned (79 percent) could imagine using only cell phones for picture-taking in future.
While in India and China more than half of all respondents (60 and 52 percent respectively) already take pictures with their cell phones several times per week and in the U.S.A. more than a quarter (26 percent), Germany has the lowest number of so-called 'power users' (12 percent) and at the same time the highest number of non-users (59 percent).
The image quality of cell phones currently available on the market is regarded as mediocre in all four countries. One result of the survey indicates unanimously in all four countries that unsatisfactory image quality is one of the main reasons for not using the cell phone camera.
Cell phone manufacturers have recognized the need for optimization and are developing models with higher-resolution sensors and more powerful lens systems. This is where specialized lens manufacturers come in. Through their professional know-how, they will play a key role in improving the camera function of cell phones.