Are you going to the Melbourne Cup this year? If you aren’t, imagine for a second you are. What will you be doing as the horses race down the straight past your vantage point? Will you have your Smartphone or digital camera out ready to capture the moment, or will you be watching the race?

This Tuesday 100,000 people will be pack into Flemington Racecourse to watch the ‘Race That Stops A Nation’, the Melbourne Cup. People will be getting dressed up, enjoying a drink, socialising, having a bet and enjoying what is an amazing experience. One upon a time every single eye would have been glued to the race as horses and jockeys raced around the track. It’s safe to say a huge percentage of the crowd will have their Smartphone out at some stage, ready to take a photo or shoot video footage of the horses as they race past.

Times have changed dramatically since the early 2000’s

The mobile phone is arguably the number one technology that has changed our lives over the past 10-15 years. How many of you can go a week, a day, or even an hour without it? Think about it, our mobile phone is now our calendar, camera, Internet device, email, mp3 player, mobile game console, and last but not least, a telephone.

Ten years ago people would have gone to the Melbourne Cup with a digital camera in their pocket or handbag. Of course Smartphone’s were making their mark at that stage, but the in-built cameras were of such poor quality that it had no impact on the increasing rate of digital camera sales. However, all that was about to change in 2010.

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When Smartphone’s killed the compact digital camera

The iPhone 4 and 4s had a profound effect on the digital camera industry. It was the first Smartphone released with a backlit-illuminated sensor, producing brighter pictures with accurate colours, the equal of any decent compact point-and-shoot digital camera. People only had to take one device with them to capture moments, and digital cameras were sacrificed.

Shipments of compact digital cameras from 2010-2012 dropped by 40% worldwide, and sales are continuing to decline drastically to this day. Smartphone’s have dramatically increased the sophistication of its in-built cameras with big senses, more megapixels, touch screens, apps for editing and sharing in an instant. The Nokia 1020 is widely considered the current market leader in Smartphone cameras, with advanced sensor and image processing, coupled with an insane 41-megapixel lens. Unlike with the digital camera, you don’t have to download images from a smartcard to your laptop or desktop, edit them and then share or store them. The dynamics of photography have changed forever; at least it has for the amateur.

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Sales heading in drastically opposite directions

People are taking more photos than ever, yet compact digital camera sales are in severe decline. In 2012 there were 147 million digital cameras sold worldwide, this year that figure will drop below 60 million. Meanwhile Smartphone sales topped one billion in 2013. It’s not a coincidence that sales of each product are going in drastically opposite directions.

Nearly 400 billion photos will be taken this year alone, with 300 million of those uploaded to Facebook every day. At this Tuesday’s Melbourne Cup, people will be willing to forgo the total live experience in exchange for capturing the moment on their Smartphone in order to preserve those memories forever and share them online instantly.

What is your preference, diminish the live experience at least a little to capture it forever on your Smartphone, or fully enjoy the Melbourne Cup as it’s happening but miss the chance to capture the moment for prosperity?

Image Courtesy: Betfair, Business Insider

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