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Where Are Digital SLRs Going?

A conversation with Canon’s Chuck Westfall offers a glimpse of the future

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Where are D-SLRs Going?

From 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. 

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