Let’s travel back in time, like we’re Michael J. Fox and Christopher Lloyd in Back to the Future. The year is 2010. Barack Obama is president, the Olympics are being held in Vancouver, Canada and a 7.0-magnitude earthquake has devastated the Caribbean nation of Haiti. Also, a financial crisis has rocked the U.S. and the world, resulting in high unemployment, which continues to thwart recovery efforts.
A Decade Of Digital Cameras, from 2010-2019: By The Numbers
- The total number of new digital cameras introduced: 170 cameras (2010), 42 cameras (2019)
- New interchangeable-lens cameras introduced: 30 ILC cameras (2010), 27 ILC cameras (2019)
- New point-and-shoot cameras introduced: 140 point-and-shoots (2010), 15 point-and-shoots (2019)
- Number of new cameras that had image sensors larger than an APS-C-sized sensor: 1 model (a medium-format digital camera) (2010), 6 models (2 medium-format digital cameras and 7 full-frame mirrorless cameras) (2019)
- Number of frames per second that Doug Mills, veteran photographer for the New York Times, said his Sony A9 full-frame mirrorless camera could capture, with autofocus, in 2018: 20 frames per second
- In 2016, number of frames per second that the Canon EOS 1D X Mark II could capture, with autofocus: 14 frames per second
- Digital camera sales: 121.5 million (2010), 19.4 million (2019)
- The year High Dynamic Range, one of the first uses of computational photography, appeared on mobile devices (iPhone’s iOS 4.1 release): 2010
- The year Instagram launched (as a mobile app for the Apple iPhone): 2010
- The year Facebook bought Instagram for $1 billion: 2012
- Number of lenses included on the failed Light 16 point-and-shoot computational camera: 16
- In 2016, number of reported drones sold in the United States: More than 2.5 million
- Number of projected sales of drones in 2020: More than 7 million
- Estimated number of selfies, which millennials will shoot during their lifetime: More than 25,000
But as the figures above show, even in the dire economic environment of 2010, the photo world—or more specifically—the camera industry seemed more or less unfazed. In 2010, it’s business as usual. Even Kodak is still around. Looking at the numbers, you’d never guess there was anything problematic taking place, particularly in the consumer market.
But the camera companies were in for a rude awaking. They hadn’t recognized the havoc the introduction of the smartphone and its ubiquitous camera would have on the stand-alone digital camera market, particularly at the low end. In 2010, three years after the introduction of the first Apple iPhone in 2007, the camera companies brought 140 point-and-shoots to market. Ten years later, in 2019, camera makers have only introduced just 15 point-and-shoots!
And yet even that doesn’t tell the whole story about these point-and-shoots. In part, it’s because the models that are currently being introduced are almost always advanced point-and-shoots, with larger sensors, more manual controls, hot shoes, etc. For the most part, the most recent crop of advanced point-and-shoots continue to be quite impressive cameras.
It’s also intriguing to note that after ten years, the number of interchangeable-lens cameras has more or less stayed the same: 30 models were introduced in 2010, and 27 debuted this year.
But again, there’s more to the story: Consider this: Back in 2010, there was only one camera introduced that year, which had an image sensor larger than an APS-C imaging sensor. And it wasn’t a model that had a full-frame sensor, but one that was larger: The Pentax 645D medium format camera. All other cameras used either an APS-C image sensor or a smaller Micro Four Thirds.
But in 2019, there a number of very impressive pro camera introductions, particularly those photographers who needed high-resolution—such as the Fujifilm GFX 100 (102 megapixels) and the Hasselblad X1D II 50C (50 megapixels), both medium format cameras, and Sony’s A7R IV, which has a smaller sensor size than Hasselblad’s, but has a higher megapixel count (60 megapixels).
There are more intriguing figures and tallies that I hope will capture your interest in the above list.