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Compact camera sales drop by 60% – but prices still rise

compact cameras
(Image credit: Future)

Despite the fact that the number of compact cameras being sold is decreasing, the cost of them is actually on the rise. In years past, compact cameras completely revolutionized camera technology, they were the leap from film to digital and made photography accessible to more people. So why are they getting more expensive now?

The best compact cameras (opens in new tab) and the best point-and-shoot cameras (opens in new tab)are easy-to-use, and lightweight pocket-sized cameras that are perfect for anyone who doesn't want to invest in a bulky kit. While you can get very cheap and basic compact cameras, models such as the Sony RX100 VII (opens in new tab) boast impressive features such as a 1-inch stacked sensor, 20fps black-out free shooting and a super-fast 425-point autofocus system.

According to BCN+R (opens in new tab) the reason the number of compact cameras being sold is falling is due to the fact that smartphone cameras are just so good. The best camera phone (opens in new tab) will boast multiple lenses, 50MP sensors and impressive shooting modes such as portrait, wide-angle and macro. Since the demand for compact cameras is falling, the ones that remain are becoming scarce – hence the increase in cost. 

In February, the average cost for an entry-level point-and-shoot reached 30,000 Yen or roughly £182. Once upon a time, Canon and Nikon were the market leaders when it came to compact cameras but they have significantly lost out to other brands such as Sony, Fujifilm and Ricoh. Even Panasonic and Olympus have released some pretty good little point and shoots such as the Panasonic TZ-90 which has one of the best zoom ranges for a compact camera and the Olympus Tough TG-6 which we think is one of the best waterproof cameras.

Let's hope pocket-sized cameras don’t disappear completely because as good as smartphones (particularly like the best iPhone for photography) are, I think they still have a place. If you get one with a slightly larger sensor and a decent number of megapixels, your image quality will be better and so will its low light capabilities. Sometimes it’s nice to take time out completely away from your phone and forget entirely about social media and messaging people. Compact cameras enable you to do that, while still capturing memories you want to preserve. 

Perhaps this is just a blip while we are still experiencing a shortage of chips in this post-pandemic world. Manufacturers are likely prioritizing using the tech they have on hand to continue production of new camera systems, leaving the number of older models dwindling.

Read more:

Best Nikon cameras (opens in new tab)
Best Canon cameras (opens in new tab)
Best Sony cameras (opens in new tab)
Best Fujifilm cameras (opens in new tab)

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Hannah Rooke
Hannah Rooke

Having studied Journalism and Public Relations at the University of the West of England Hannah developed a love for photography through a module on photojournalism. She specializes in Portrait, Fashion and lifestyle photography but has more recently branched out in the world of stylized product photography. For the last 3 years Hannah has worked at Wex Photo Video as a Senior Sales Assistant using her experience and knowledge of cameras to help people buy the equipment that is right for them. With 5 years experience working with studio lighting, Hannah has run many successful workshops teaching people how to use different lighting setups.