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Cheaper DSLRs to drive digital camera sales

Industry analyst group updates forecast on digital camera sales because digital SLRs are hotter sellers than previously thought.

Digital cameras are like wallets--pretty much everyone has one. And it's generally unthinkable to go to any event without one--particularly for those of us with a Flickr or Facebook photo-tagging mindset.

Perhaps as a result, amateur photogs are snapping up digital cameras at faster rates than even industry analysts expected. The global digital camera market is expected to grow from 122 million cameras shipped this year to more than 138 million by 2011, according to IDC.

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The last four years of digital camera shipments showed declining growth rates, most likely meaning that the consumers who wanted a digital camera purchased one. In fact, IDC says the number of cameras owned by the average household has remained steady at 1.4 each. But recent stronger growth in 2007 shows that current owners are now starting to buy replacements.

In addition, prices of DSLRs have come down far enough so that even less-sophisticated photographers are upgrading from simple point-and-shoots. That, combined with more interest in photography, will lead to DSLRs being a more important factor in the camera market than previously expected, IDC said.

This is good news as cheaper DSLRs will possibly mean improved quality of the photos you're tagged in, but a serious drawback is that a DSLR doesn't fit quite as nicely in a back pocket.