The camera phone may pose an even greater threat to sales of digital compact cameras as the consumer spending slowdown bites, warns a UK photo industry chief.

The camera phone may pose an even greater threat to sales of digital compact cameras as the consumer spending slowdown bites, warns a UK photo industry chief.

As budgets are squeezed the public may plump for a camera phone over a compact camera because this serves both purposes, said the Photo Marketing Association?s UK director Nigel McNaught.

McNaught was speaking after Sony last week unveiled a 12.25-million-pixel CMOS imaging sensor for camera phones, in a move the firm hopes will rival image quality produced by the latest digital compact cameras.

Due for release in March 2009, the 12.25MP ‘IMX060PQ’ Exmor sensor was announced alongside a new f/2.8 lens module, designed to produce the 35mm viewing angle equivalent of a 28mm optic.

In an interview with Amateur Photographer, McNaught said that there is no evidence yet that consumers are switching to camera phones but next year may be a different story, as the economic crisis takes hold. ?There is no doubt that the public is moving in that direction,? he told us.

However, McNaught believes it easy for people to get ?hung up? on the idea that ?megapixels? are the key to a good quality product.

And he pointed out that consumers still look for a ?decent lens and flash coverage? in a compact camera.

Ultimately, said McNaught, the rise in camera phone use is good news for the industry as it means ?more people using image capture devices?.

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