As of February 2012, nearly half of American adults were smartphone owners, according to the Pew Research Center.
With so many people walking around with high-quality cameras
built into their phones, where does the digital camera industry
now stand? Just fine, say industry experts.
"People may use their cell phones to take a quick photo here and there, but they are still not
sophisticated enough to trust with your most precious
memories," says Heather Chevreau, special accounts manager for
Fujifilm North America. "Cell phones also don't work well in
low-light conditions. Digital cameras with large zooms do
extremely well in the incentive business because they appeal to
both men and women of all ages," she adds.
Cameras still have broad appeal. "Digital camera products
continue to be the 'universal incentive product,'" says Shelly Colla, national sales manager, premium
incentive group, Sony Electronics. "The romance of capturing
memories plays directly into the rewards business," adds Carey
Berg, vice president of special markets for Vivitar.
Scott Crawford, Nikon's manager of special markets, points out
that Facebook is one of the largest repository of images in the
world. "This is a result of people wanting to share their
lives. Every moment is a photographic moment and they always
have a device to capture them," explains Crawford.
Crawford reports that there has never been greater demand for
digital imaging. Although the basic entry-level digital cameras are
losing ground to smartphones, single-lens-reflex (SLR) camera
sales are up double digits, year-over-year. The benefits of a
SLR camera are the quality and variety of lenses and the fact
they excel in low-light situations.
Kimberly Carrette, manager, special account sales, Canon USA,
agrees that there is a need for a dedicated digital camera even
in the age of smartphones. "You will find that digital cameras
far surpass the image quality of any smartphone," Carrette
As smartphone cameras improve, camera companies have responded
by creating even more unique offerings such as rugged cameras
that can be used underwater or in icy conditions - situations
where smartphones cannot be used.
The PowerShot D20 (shown above) and PowerShot SX260 (not pictured) are two of Canon's most popular
incentive program models. The SX260 is a long-zoom model, while
the D20 is waterproof to 33 feet, temperature resistant from 14 to 104 degrees, and shockproof up
to five feet. Both cameras include GPS tracking, which is ideal
for travel. $349.99 for both models www.usa.canon.com/corporategifts
The Fuji FinePix S4500 has a 30x (24mm-720mm) Fujinon optical
zoom lens that captures everything from wide-angle landscapes to amazing
close-ups filled with detail. Easy-to-use features include a three-inch LCD screen, automatic scene recognition, face
detection with automatic red-eye removal, and various pre-programmed scene modes that do all the work to create the
perfect shot. It also captures movies in high definition.
According to Crawford, the Coolpix L810 does what
a smartphone cannot: It brings zoom and sharp focus to images
taken when you can't get close, capturing stills and movies
with 26x optical zoom versatility.
Incentive winners can overcome the elements with the rugged
Sony DSC-TX20. Waterproof, dustproof, and shockproof, it
captures stunning 16.2-megapixel pictures and high-definition videos. The user can view creative picture effects on its
three-inch touchscreen LCD display before shooting.
Vivitar's ViviCam i7 makes it easier than ever
to upload photos and videos and share them online through
Facebook and YouTube. The iPad-docking digital camera captures
images with 7.1-megapixel resolution, and includes an iPad
photo editing app that lets you edit, organize, and add special
effects. $100. www.vivitar.com