February 16th, 2006
Snapping up the market
have almost completely taken over the camera market in Canada, according to new data from an industry group. Are the days of overexposed shots and buying film really coming to an end?
Explainer takes a snapshot of Canadian camera sales.
1. This old puppy, which uses film, is on its way out, even among many professionals. According to the latest information from the Canadian Imaging Trade Association (CITA), "Conventional film camera sales declined significantly in 2005 and are expected to continue to drop this year." Sales of camera film also took a major dive in 2005. "Total sales of film closed out the year at 20.6 million rolls," reports CITA, "...a decline of about 34 per cent compared to 2004." And it gets worse: The organization predicts film sales will drop another 30 per cent in 2006, bringing sales down to 14.5 million rolls. Sales of professional film also saw a drop, with sales of colour reversal film declining 40 per cent and professional colour negative film sales dropping 44 per cent. "Digital cameras have completely, completely taken over," says Brian Redstone, 33, a Montreal photographer. "The beauty of digital is you can take endless photos and not be charged more for film."
2. This be the digital scallywag that's killing off film. So how dominant are digital cameras today? "Canada's switchover from film-based picture-taking to digital picture-taking is close to being complete," according to CITA. In 2002, approximately 880,000 digital cameras were shipped
to Canadian retailers. Last year there were 2.5 million, nearly enough to outfit one in every 10 Canadians. Along with causing a decline in film camera (and film) sales, the rise of digital photography has put a dent in sales of disposable cameras. "Unit shipments in 2005 were 5.8 million, representing slightly less than a 23 per cent decline compared to 2004," according to CITA. If you're one of the remaining film lovers, Redstone has a bit of advice for you. "The truth is you rarely need to use anything beyond 4 or even 3.2 megapixels," he says. "You should have a 4 megapixel camera to print decent 8-by-10 photographs, which is all most people need it for." As for Redstone, he uses an 8.2 megapixel Canon EOS 20D digital camera that cost between $2,500 and $3,000 when it first came out. A top of the line professional digital camera can cost as much as $15,000, according to Redstone.