Summer's officially over, Labor Day celebrated, so welcome back to work. We hope you had the chance to follow Mr. da Vinci's advice we offered up last month and take some time off to "go some distance away and put your work into perspective."

Most people who went-some-distance on vacation likely captured their time with photographs. Of course, when we say "photographs" we don't mean film we mean pixels. Digital. So consumers were out using their digital SLRs and point-and-shoots to immortalize their time and space whatever distance they went.

But sad to tell for that industry, that would be fewer consumers than in years past. With smartphone technology constantly improving, and the quality of smartphone photos and videos virtually indistinguishable from dedicated digital devices like SLRs, when you combine that with smartphones' abilities to review, edit, and immediately transmit, it's no surprise the dedicated digital imaging devices are rapidly becoming obsolete. In fact, Brand Keys estimates that this year 55% of photos and video are now being shot with smart phones, up nearly 20% from last year.

OK, you can look at the other side of the usage ratio and say that 45% of photos and videos are still being shot with traditional cameras, and this year, in our Customer Loyalty Engagement Index, we did track digital camera brands. But with newer smartphones in sight and consumer smartphone-adoption levels constantly on the rise, one cannot be precisely sure for how long the category will remain viable – in retail or in our survey. So for those of you who are focused on when the sales of traditional digital cameras will begin, here's how the current range of digital brands rank:

Digital SLR Cameras

  1. Canon
  2. Nikon/Olympus/Leica
  3. Sony
  4. Pentax/Panasonic
  5. Fuji

Digital Point & Shoot Cameras

  1. Canon
  2. Nikon
  3. Panasonic
  4. Sony
  5. Casio
  6. Samsung
  7. Fuji
  8. Pentax
  9. Olympus
  10. Kodak

The photographer Ernst Hass, once noted, "There is only you and your camera." But with the increase in picture quality and the ubiquity of we-do-everything smartphones taking the place of dedicated digital cameras, we expect we may soon have to amend that to "there's only you and your phone." Which puts the category's continued presence into real perspective too.

Welcome back.