The average digital camera costs twice what it did three years ago

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Camera companies are shifting their focus away from lower value, mass produced cameras and towards devices that cost more but sell in smaller volumes, according to data from the Camera and Imaging Products Association (CIPA). 

Worldwide, the average digital camera price in 2022 came to 85,000 yen ($927 AUD) - more than double the figure from three years ago, CIPA data has confirmed. 

The data suggests that the lower end of the market, which was once the domain of point-and-shoot cameras, has all but been lost to smartphones, while the higher end, defined by feature-rich mirrorless models, remains relatively buoyant. 

Image: Getty
Fujifilm's X-Pro1 mirrorless camera from 2012. Image: Getty

This is backed up by the camera companies themselves, with both Nikon and Panasonic confirming late last year they will quit developing low-end digital compact cameras.

The rising price of cameras comes after a particularly challenging decade for camera sales. Global digital camera shipments totaled roughly 2.16 trillion yen and 120 million units in 2008, but just twelve years later in 2020, the figures had dropped by a whopping 93% and 81%, respectively, according to CIPA.

However the global economy has been recovering rapidly following Covid, with camera shipments climbing around 40% by value in 2022, according to CIPA.

And while volumes still remain a shadow of what they were a decade ago, the average price of digital cameras has been steadily increasing, rising sixfold in roughly the last decade as manufacturers began focusing on high-end models, according to Nikkei Asia.

"Interchangeable lens cameras are becoming more popular," said CIPA President and Sony Group Vice Chairman Shigeki Ishizuka.

"The spread of smartphones has made photography an everyday activity, leading to a surge in skilled photographers that are gravitating toward [interchangeable lens cameras]."

Other CIPA data suggests that the rise in popularity of interchangeable lens cameras is almost solely confined to mirrorless models, with DSLRs continuing to decline in both price and popularity.

But for photographers seeking to upgrade to an interchangeable lens camera from a smartphone, the reality is the cost to do so is considerably higher than it was just a few short years ago. 

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