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Facebook Inc (FB), Canon Inc. (ADR) (CAJ): Will “Super Camera” Smartphones Be the Next Big Thing?

People usually consider Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) a revolutionary step in expanding and maintaining social connections, which transformed the niche hobby of sharing content over the Internet into a mainstream one.

However, many people often overlook an industry that Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) has permanently altered – digital photography.

Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB)

Living our Lives One Photo at a Time

Prior to the rise of Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB), people usually shared photos organized into albums on blogs and personal websites. After Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) became the standard method of social networking, people became much more spontaneous with their photo sharing. Single photos of food, drinks, pets and friends became much more common. For better or for worse, our society became a lot more obsessed with sharing otherwise mundane daily events with our whole social web. The numbers are astounding – every day, 300 million photos are uploaded to Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB), 40 million are sent to Instagram and another 4.5 million go to Flickr.

At the center of all of this social media-fueled digital photography is the smartphone. The ability of smartphones to instantly share photos to Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) or Twitter has turned digital cameras into a clunky, outdated technology.

Instagram Makes my Food Look Good, but a DSLR Makes it Look Even Better…

As people grew more obsessed with cultivating their online personas via digital photography, the quality of regular smartphone photos started to look poor compared to photos from higher-end DSLRs.

I’m sure many of us have witnessed the 21st century practice of taking photos of food with DSLRs before. This is an issue that Facebook attempted to address with its $1 billion purchase of Instagram, which enhanced smartphone photos significantly with DSLR effects.

In response, shrewd camera makers such as Canon Inc. (ADR) (NYSE:CAJ) produced more higher-end cameras, in a bid to remain competitive with smartphones on an image quality basis. This prompted an interesting response from two major players in the smartphone industry – Nokia Corporation (ADR) (NYSE:NOK) and Samsung (NASDAQOTH:SSNLF). Both companies recently introduced smartphones that are equipped with high-quality optical zoom lens, rather than software-driven digital ones.

Meet the Super-Camera Amartphones

First of all, current generation high-end smartphones are no slouch in digital photography. Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)’s iPhone 5’s camera takes photos up to 8.0 megapixels, Nokia Corporation (ADR) (NYSE:NOK)’s Lumia 920 series goes up to 8.7 megapixels, and Samsung (NASDAQOTH:SSNLF)’s Galaxy S4 is at the top of the class at 13 megapixels. For most casual users, the quality difference in photos taken by these three smartphones is hard to spot. For purists, however, mechanical parts in dedicated cameras are still considered superior to software-driven substitutes.

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