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Summer 2011 in photos: Cellphone cameras boom, digital cameras wane

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Summer is the high season for vacations, and that means it’s also prime time for taking photos. But the old stereotype of the tourist with a big camera strapped around his neck is quickly becoming a thing of the past: New research shows that the summer of 2011 saw more people using their mobile phones to take photos than ever before.

Cellphone camera usage has taken off significantly in the past eight months alone, according to a “Summer Photo Usage Survey” sponsored by Photobucket, (s nws) which polled more than 2500 participants during July. Fully 58 percent of respondents said they had used a camera phone to capture and share photos, up from 27 percent during the company’s 2010 Holiday Survey conducted in December.

Meanwhile, digital camera usage decreased six percent since the December survey, showing that cellphone cameras may well be replacing — not just complementing — traditional single-purpose photo gadgets.

Increasingly, people aren’t just using their cellphone cameras to capture static images. Forty-five percent of survey respondents said they use a mobile device to capture video at least once a week, while 17 percent said they use a mobile device to take video at least once a day.

But despite the overwhelming popularity of mobile phone cameras, people are showing some uncertainty about how exactly to share and store those snapshots and videos after they take them. Forty-one percent of survey respondents have photos uploaded to three or more different photo websites, which could indicate that people are confused by the ever-growing number of photo organization and sharing websites out there.

With Google (s GOOG) sunsetting a number of its photo-sharing apps with the closure of its Slide division, consumers’ options have been narrowed slightly. But with the kind of blockbuster growth the segment is currently seeing, it’s safe to assume that the more mobile phone photos there are, more new apps and sites will pop up to host them, and a major shakeout is probably a bit further out on the horizon.

Image courtesy of Flickr user bareform.

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