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Nine Great Reasons Why Point & Shoots Will Survive and Prosper in 2013

February 2013 By Jason Schneider
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The conventional wisdom, widely and loudly proclaimed by photo industry pundits over the past few years, is that the point-and-shoot camera category is doomed, or at least destined to become a far less significant niche.

Faced with stiff competition from vibrantly expanding compact systems cameras (CSCs) and evolving DSLRs on the one hand, and ever more advanced high-res smartphone cameras on the other, the point-and-shoot category has clearly taken some hits and is not the dominant category it was, say, five years ago. But, as Mark Twain famously observed when he read his purported obituary, “Reports of my death are greatly exaggerated.”

So it is with point-and-shoot cameras, which have evolved from an era of mostly competent middle-of-the-road compacts to an exciting, engaging and highly marketable group of subspecies that really comprise a new high-energy category.

Essentially, P&S is kind of a “default” category to begin with, because it automatically includes any camera that doesn’t have interchangeable lenses. However, while there is still a fair number of compact, moderate-zoom, price-point cameras in this class, it also takes in an array of scintillating upmarket niches—everything from waterproof adventure cameras to ultra-slim high-res credit-card-size compacts.

There are two significant groups in this category: 1. High-end enthusiast-aimed models sporting such features as SLR-like mode dials, high-performance sensors, fast lenses and metal bodies. 2. Ultra-long-range zoom models with astonishing wide-to-super-telephoto zoom ratios, slim or SLR-like body configurations and eye-level electronic viewfinders (EVFs).

In other words, many of the hottest new P&S models provide a sweet combination of DSLR-level performance and image control with a cool, often somewhat retro, compact form factor. These cameras have character, and that’s why they become personal possessions that not only take great pictures but also say something about their owners’ taste and discernment.

In an era when many cameras have become consumer electronics commodities, these fascinating upscale point-and-shoot models offer something different—and that’s why dealers should sit up, take notice and display and demonstrate these cameras, many of which are not often found at big-box stores.

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX1. If you think a P&S selling for the same price as an upscale DSLR is an anomaly, think again. This cult classic has enthusiasts waiting in line. The RX-1’s signature features are a full-frame (24x36mm) 24.3MP Exmor CMOS sensor and a 35mm f/2.0 Carl Zeiss Sonnar T* prime lens, making the RX-1 the first and only full-frame, fixed-lens camera. It also includes a 3.0-inch 1,229k-dot Xtra Fine LCD, dedicated focus, aperture and macro rings with MF assist, High Speed AF, JPEG + RAW capture, Full HD 1080p video capture at 24 and 60 fps, a built-in pop-up auto flash, auto HDR, quick navi controls, SteadyShot image stabilization, and a hot shoe for an external flash or viewfinder. There’s much more, plus a maximum burst rate at 5 fps at full 24MP resolution. $2,799.99. sony.com
 

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