SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- Forget that old film camera. It's a pixel
that's worth a thousand words these days as more and more consumers
become familiar with the advantages of digital photography and
prices for the advancing technology drop.
In just a few short years, digital cameras have captured 13
percent of the worldwide camera market. Electronic images now rank
second only to e-mails as the most-shared personal content on the
Internet, according to InfoTrends Research Group.
Succinctly put, "We are on the threshold of... an era of personal
visual communication," InfoTrends analyst Michelle Lampann said in a
Research firms have been forced to boost their estimates of
digital camera sales. Infotrends recently predicted digital camera
sales in the United States alone will double this year to nearly 7
Digital cameras capture an image by separating it into tiny bits
of information, called pixels. The more pixels a camera can create
to store an image, the sharper and clearer the image.
One advantage of digital cameras is that most come with view
screens that allow users to instantly see the image they've just
captured so they can keep only the images they want.
And because the images are electronic, editing software can
easily manipulate images to crop them, paint over red eyes, add
effects or create collages.
"You can do a whole range of things that were quite difficult to
do before," notes Willy Shih, president of Eastman Kodak's digital
and applied imaging division. "It opens up a whole new world."
The added features are a hit with consumers, who are using the
equivalent of 30 rolls of film a year with digital cameras. That
compares to 10 rolls of traditional silver halide film that must be
processed, according to Kodak, the world's largest photography
Michael T. Miller, a networks system consultant for San Francisco-
based FuseNetworks, is one convert. He recently bought a Canon Elph
digital camera for $599.
"The idea of being able to get up to 450 shots in one camera
without changing film or without having to send it out for
processing and going back to pick it up made a huge difference,"
"You can have all the images downloaded within a view minutes to
your computer, then can e-mail them off to friends and family or
print them out."
The demand for digital cameras is so strong that some
manufacturers are having a hard time keeping up, particularly with
supply constraints on some components.
"The only question for the remainder of the year is, `Will
manufacturers be prepared to meet the insatiable appetite that
consumers have for digital cameras? …