Where Are Digital SLRs Going?
A conversation with Canon’s Chuck Westfall offers a glimpse of the future
By Ibarionex R. Perello
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the moment it was created, photography has been inseparably connected
to technology. Born of light-sensitive substances coated on a metal
plate and now evolved to today’s CCD and CMOS sensors, photography’s
growth has been measured as much by its technological advances as it
has by the creativity of its photographers.
This is especially the case today as sensors and memory cards have
quickly replaced film as the mediums used to record images. Yet as
digital SLRs have become more affordable and included feature sets
photographers have come to expect, it doesn’t mean that we’re seeing a
slowdown in what cameras can and will offer. Moving well beyond the
megapixel wars of recent memory, we’re discovering that new lens,
battery and camera designs will deliver amazing capabilities that will
improve quality and efficiency.
Our conversation with Chuck Westfall, Canon’s Director of Media &
Customer Relationship, Camera Marketing Group, reveals what the future
is likely to hold for cameras and photography.
PCPhoto: Currently, the
biggest market for digital cameras is the digital SLR. How is this
increasing interest and demand likely to affect the market?
Chuck Westfall: The digital
SLR is definitely the hottest category at the present time in digital
cameras. The reality is setting in that the market for compact digital
cameras is starting to plateau in sales. When profitability
deteriorates, companies look for other opportunities. The digital SLRs
become exactly that. It’s becoming more and more popular because prices
are becoming more affordable.
PCPhoto: What’s leading to the increased affordability of these cameras?
Westfall: The volume in sales
is what’s helping to drive the costs down. In years past, the actual
volume of cameras sold wasn’t that much. As a result, it made it
difficult for manufacturers to reduce the price of the SLRs as compared
to compact digital cameras. Last year, 80 million compacts were sold as
compared to 4 million digital SLRs. Those are the things that have a
big impact on pricing.