Smartphone to Replace Point-And-Shoot?

MG Siegler on TechCrunch:

Last week, I bought a brand new Canon S95 camera. It’s a great point & shoot. Maybe the best out there right now. It captures beautiful 10-megapixel images. It’s great in low-light. It’s fast. And it shoots HD video. I anticipate I’ll take about 5 percent of my pictures with it in the coming year. The other 95 percent will be taken with my iPhone. How do I know? Because I had the S90 last year and that was my exact usage pattern.

The two reasons why? He has his iPhone 4 with him all the time but even more importantly his smartphone is connected; the S95 isn’t. He points to Flickr for evidence: the most popular ‘camera’ is the iPhone 3G, by a large margin (#2 Nikon D90, #3 Canon Rebel XSi, #4 Canon Rebel XTi, #5 Canon 5D MII). It is interesting to see that there is no point-and-shoot in the top five, but maybe that’s because there are so many point-and-shoot models out there. I wonder where the iPhone 4 is.

Will point-and-shoots die out because of the smartphone? Probably not. If you take all the Canon point-and-shoots and combine them the number of photos on Flickr are huge, dwarfing the iPhone photos. Connectivity isn’t exclusive to the smartphone. Take for instance the iPad. With the camera kit you can simply plug the SD card into it and start sharing photos. And the photo quality will be significantly better if you compare the S95 to the iPhone 4.

Then there’s the Eye-Fi. It’s a SD card that gives you WiFi connectivity. It’ll hop on an open WiFi connection and then allow you to share your photos. With gadgets like MiFi you can get a WiFi connection anywhere you have 3G, which is pretty much everywhere. Eye-Fi works with Facebook, Flickr, YouTube, Picasa, SmugMug, etc. Geo-tagging is becoming popular and with smartphones it is automatic, with Eye-Fi it is also automatic: the photos are geo-tagged while going through Eye-Fi’s servers on their way to one of the sharing sites.

Siegler has a good point in that smartphones are becoming the go-to point-and-shoot cameras because they are always with us and connected. But that doesn’t mean that point-and-shoots will become extinct anytime soon. The photos and videos from the S95 are far superior to the iPhone 4. If quality is important to you, and to many folks it is, the S95 and other point-and-shoots are a much better choice. Sharing instantly is convenient but having quality photos for years to come is probably more important to more folks.