Disruption in the Digital Camera Market: Software-Defined Photography is Coming

Currently the hardware setup of high-end DSLR and mirrorless cameras is permanently locked in proprietary software systems of major brand camera manufacturers, often suppressing camera functionality of the low-end models to differentiate market positioning of high-end models. Yet the proprietary interchangeable lens camera market is about to be disrupted, says a new market report Software Defined Digital Camera Market Forecast 2019–2024. The report forecasts inevitable collision of two worlds, smartphones and digital cameras, and migration of high end photography hardware into the connected photography universe run by operating systems and apps.

The future of the digital camera market is software defined OS-powered and mobile-enabled device whose Software Development Kit (SDK) is available to third part developers and allows building wide range of applications. Basically it comes down to “lens meets smartphone” concept presented below by several mockup photo renditions using a few Canon lenses, extension ring imitating lens mount and Nexus smartphone and tablet:

Photo Credits: Posters.org. Disclaimer: the picture above is only the mockup illustrating the concept with use of off-the-shelf elements, it bears no connection whatsoever to any products, companies or brands.

The report forecasts that by 2024 the interchangeable lens OS-powered mobile-enabled software defined digital devices will capture about 18% of the interchangeable lens camera (DSLR & mirrorless) market.

What are market drivers for emergence of Software Defined Digital Camera market?

  • Availability of open-source/proprietary operating systems, SDK tools and apps turn white-box hardware into Software Defined Digital Camera;
  • Availability of open-source OS, SDK tools and apps lowers barriers for OEM manufacturers to enter into new markets;
  • End user gets freedom to define and set up a custom imaging system supporting wide range of legacy lenses;
  • A wide range of apps is available for end user, most of them free;
  • Benefits of connectivity and sharing.

The report covers key concepts and developments in software defined & mobile enabled digital camera market, major implementations, products, technologies and services associated with this market and it impact on existing ecosystem. The report analyzes impact of software defined digital camera technologies on existing market landscape.

The report provides forecasts for the following software defined digital camera market segments:

  • Fixed lens camera;
  • Interchangeable lens camera (by four retail price tiers);
  • Computational photography device.

The report estimates impact of mobile-enabled software defined digital camera on the following photo app ecosystem segments:

  • Lens mount specific apps
  • Image acquisition apps (focus & exposure)
  • Post processing apps
  • Connectivity, storage, sharing & publishing apps

Companies and brands mentioned in the report: Amazon, Apple, Blackmagic, Canon, Fujifilm, Google, GoPro, Lytro, Microsoft, NiKon, Olympus, Pelican Imaging, Pentax, Panasonic, Samsung, Sony, Sigma, Tamron, Tokina.

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