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More than a quarter of photos taken on smartphones

Capturing photos and videos while out and about has become so ubiquitous that a recent study tags smartphones with shooting more than 25 percent of all pictures taken by U.S. consumers.

The NPD Group's new "Imaging Confluence Study" shows that the percentage of photos taken on a smartphone grew from 17 percent last year to 27 percent this year. Those gains come at the expense of point-and-shoot cameras and camcorders, which dropped from 52 percent to 44 percent of photos and videos taken.

Given the recent Nielsen study that presented evidence that almost half of U.S. mobile phones are smartphones, and that those smartphones are coming out with even better-quality cameras (rear- and front-facing) and HD video recording capabilities, it shouldn't come as any surprise that more are taking pictures using their new-fangled devices, and probably sharing them, too. How many of us have seen our friends turn their serendipitous moments into Facebook photo art? Besides, who needs to drag around a few gadgets when you can do almost everything with just one? Not to mention the apps that also make photo-taking so fun nowadays.

1000memories' 2011 Year in Review also shows this trend of upward mobile photography (up 34 percent) and downward point-and-shoot (down 13 percent). Their findings also show consumers' mobile phone purchases eclipsing other gadgets, including digital cameras. It also shows how sharing, especially on Facebook, is a big part of our lives today.

The NPD study asked participants to fill out an online survey in November.

According to NPD's Retail Tracking Service, stand-alone, point-and-shoot cameras are "down 17 percent in units and 18 percent in dollars for the first 11 months of 2011. Pocket camcorders were down 13 percent in units and 27 percent in dollars and traditional flash camcorders declined 8 percent in units and 10 percent in dollars."

“There is no doubt that the smartphone is becoming ‘good enough’ much of the time; but thanks to mobile phones, more pictures are being taken than ever before,” said Liz Cutting, executive director and senior imaging analyst at NPD. “Consumers who use their mobile phones to take pictures and video were more likely to do so instead of their camera when capturing spontaneous moments, but for important events, single purpose cameras or camcorders are still largely the device of choice.”

That's not to say all cameras were hit with losses. Pros and amateurs who care more about those images are buying more detachable lens cameras (average price: $863) and point-and-shoots with 10x and greater optical zooms (average price: $247).

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