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To survive, canon and nikon must partner with handset makers

February 19, 2012

While it’s very easy to point a finger at Kodak for missing the digital revolution, but those who did make the jump, Canon and Nikon face a serious challenge for their own survival from smartphones.

The revolution in computing power and miniaturization now means capable cameras can now be found in the average smartphone. More people are using their smartphone their main camera and for the past year of so, the iPhone has been the most widely used camera on photo sharing sites like Flickr.

The challenges for the Japanese camera makers look like becoming further exasperated by an onslaught of new camera technology for phones that’s just around the corner.

Chip maker, Qualcomm has just announced an S4 Camera or ISP (Image Signal Processor) which allows it to shoot up to 20 Megapixel stills as wells shoot video at 1080p (30 frames per second) and can employ up to three cameras for 3D capture. The technology also comes equipped with auto focus, auto exposure, white balance and enables features such as blink detection, smile degree, and gaze estimation. It’s also possible to enable active “Range-Finding”, zero shutter lag, and image stabilization.

This ISP technology can already be found in the HTC Titan 2 phone.

The digital camera companies face a tough time as powerful technology gets placed inside of everyone’s phone. While they can try and compete by pushing their technologies to stay slightly ahead for the moment- a bigger size camera and higher price points mean that they can use higher powered processors and obviously better lenses, but resistance to the phone seems futile.

Instead of resisting or ignoring the massive transformation- Canon and Nikon need  to partner with handset makers right now while they sill have the chance. This demands a radical technology re-think and a shift too much more of a software-based state of mind- think cool apps like Instagram.

The space is there for hybrid technology that combines the everyday, easy accessible appeal and power of the smartphone with the quality and control that Canon and Nikon are known for.

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