These days, it seems like everyone's a
photographer - especially anyone who owns a smartphone. The
popularity of image-driven social media platforms such as Instagram (with 80 million registered users as of September 2012), Flickr (75
million users), Tumblr (70 million blogs), and Pinterest (20
million users), is proof that we live in an increasingly visual
digital age. According to a September 2012 Pew Internet Project study, 45 percent of all American adults owns a
smartphone. Many smartphone owners use them to take photographs
that they then post onto social media sites.
"We've become a world and a nation of photographers," explains
K. Scott Crawford, special markets and OEM manager for Nikon.
"Unlike the days of film where you only took out the camera for
special occasions and you had to be mindful about using your
film, today, every moment and opportunity is a 'Kodak moment,'
an opportunity to capture our world."
So, it may surprise you that, despite the growth of smartphone
ownership and improvements in smartphone camera technology,
sales of traditional, professional-quality cameras are still
robust. When it comes to incentive redemptions for cameras,
digital single-lens reflex cameras, or DSLRs, are in high
demand. Although they may be larger - and bulkier - than your average smartphone, the
picture quality that they deliver far surpasses that of any
photo taken on a smartphone or compact digital camera.
"DSLRs and similar products, what some people call 'bridge' or
long-zoom cameras, are seeing increasing demands in both placements and redemptions," says Crawford. "This follows similar trends in retail. These are aspirational products and
the increased demand is being driven, we believe, by
The more people take photographs on their smartphones, Crawford
explains, the more they begin to realize that the picture quality of these photos simply cannot
match that of a professional camera model.
"Everybody wants to take better pictures," he explains.
"Smartphones are poor in being able to define images, have poor
optical zoom capabilities, cannot perform well in low light,
and lack high image quality when it comes to printing an image.
DSLRs do what the smartphone won't do, or can't do, well."
Because DSLRs have larger sensors than smartphone cameras or compact digital cameras, and
larger lenses, the picture quality they can produce, even in
low-light situations, is without compare. The ability to swap
out lenses and add extra flash expands their capabilities.
The higher price points of DSLRs - most range in cost from $500
to more than $2,000 - make them an even more aspirational and
motivating item than other camera models. "When an employee has
an opportunity to own something like this, without busting his
budget, it's very much a motivator," Crawford says.
Shelly Colla, Premium Incentive Group national sales manager
for Sony Electronics, agrees, adding: "Even though the price
points are higher for DSLR products than standard
point-and-shoot cameras, we continue to see strong demand in
the incentive channel for the newest technology. There is
trophy value in these higher-end products."
Here are some of the newest DSLR and bridge cameras available
through the incentive market.
Fine and Dandy
The Fujifilm FinePix HS30EXR is a bridge camera that's well
suited for serious photographers who want the performance of a
DSLR without the bulk or expense. It has a high-performing
16-megapixel resolution sensor, a three-inch LCD screen and a
30X wide-angle optical zoom, and the ability to film in high
Rebel With an Eye for Images
The Canon Rebel T4i With 18-135mm
STM Lenses captures photographs with an 18-megapixel resolution
sensor, performing extremely well in bright and or dimly lit
conditions. An enhanced EOS Full HD Movie mode allows you to
film your most treasured moments, as well as view them on a new
three-inch touchscreen LCD monitor that's smudge-free. New
filters and imaging features let you enhance your photos like
never before. $1,199. www.usa.canon.com/corporategifts
For Serious Pros
The Nikon D600 is, as Crawford describes, "for serious pros."
It captures full-frame, high-resolution images and
cinema-quality high-definition video with a 24.3-megapixel
resolution sensor. By plugging in Nikon's new WU-1b Wireless
Mobile Adapter (redeemed separately), photographers can
instantly send images taken from their D3200 to their
smartphone for easy uploads to Facebook, Instagram, and more.
You can also use the WU-1b adapter to remotely capture images on your camera by using your phone. $2,099.95. www.rewards.nikonusa.com
Shoot in Style
The sleek Polaroid iS2132 is a compact and stylish bridge
camera that offers a 21X optical zoom on a 25-millimeter wide-angle lens that can take panoramic photos.
It uses a 16.1-megapixel Sony sensor and also films video in HD. It's available in black as
well as a pearlescent red finish.
The Compact Camera For a Pro
Sony's new DSC-RX1/b model, which debuts in December, is like a
point-and-shoot camera on the outside, but performs like a DSLR
with a full-frame 24-megapixel-resolution sensor, a fixed 35-milimeter lens, the ability to film HD video, and a three-inch
LCD display screen. $2,799. www.sony.com/motivation
This compact bridge camera from Vivitar, the VS1527, has a 15X
optical zoom and takes photos on a 16.1-megapixel resolution
sensor. It also films HD videos and allows you to add special
color effects. $299.95. www.vivitar.com