In the last decade, the quality of cell phone cameras has vastly improved. A huge amount of research has gone into the camera and how to make it better. It doesn’t feel like long ago that the first iPhone was released and we were bowled over by the camera. Apple and many other leading companies have come on in leaps and bounds since then. And we continue to demand higher-quality images and great control over the photos we take.
Because of this strong focus on the smartphone camera, the amount of actual cameras sold has dramatically decreased.
People these days who don’t own a smartphone are few in numbers. However, is this just a trend or is the camera phone actually a better choice than the camera? Here we explore the reasons why we think it’s the best option for now and the future to come.
Let’s talk money first. The price of a smartphone with a good quality camera ranges from around $600 and can reach $1000 if you want the newest and shiniest model. Because of the drop in sales, you can indeed buy a decent compact camera for around $200. Perhaps you are a passionate photographer and looking for something more professional.
A DSLR will set you back at least $600 and can cost far more than $1000 if you’re looking for the best. Yes, the point-and-shoot cameras are considerably cheaper.
However, the quality of a cell phone with a decent camera rivals that of a basic camera. Further the interface is far easier to use. Because of this, you are better off shelling out a bit more money for a device that takes photos as well as many other things.
The camera phone is essentially a perfect middle way between the failing compact cameras and the professional expensive SLRs.
The convenience factor of the smartphone is its biggest selling point as a camera. As mentioned above, it is an all-in-one. Not only does it take photos, but its your means to communicate with people.
Many carry their phone on them at all times and this is another reason why the smartphone trumps the camera. With a phone always in your pocket, you are ready to capture any moment as it happens. There is no worry of leaving your camera at home when it is your phone. The lightweight factor is also important because it emphasizes just how portable smartphones are.
Unlike cameras, the touchscreen and simple interface of smartphones makes taking photos easier and faster. It strikes a good balance between a basic compact camera and a complicated DSLR.
The photojournalist Ben Lowy started using an iPhone to capture his work in conflict zones around the world. His argument for using a phone instead of a DSLR was about intimacy and anonymity. Even if you are not a serious photographer yourself, this can also apply to you. Taking photos with a phone brings down that wall between the subject and the object. This means creating more candid natural photos, even if it is just between friends.
We live in a world where we see smartphones everywhere we go. If you are someone that is very self-aware when taking photos, then using a phone instead is perfect. This blurs the line between the observer and the photographer, allowing everyone the chance to try their hand at photography.
Another feature that the cell phone has over the camera is this element of sharing photos with others. With the touch of a finger, the photo you just took can be shared all over the world for people to experience. You can share photos using a camera, but you need a camera that has a Wi-Fi setting. Even then, the interface is often clunky and not as instantaneous as with a phone.
Your phone has an exhaustive amount of social media apps available in order to connect to and share photos with friends and family. On a professional level, this is also time-saving and efficient when you work on the go. Instead of waiting until you find internet or get home, you can ensure your online presence is up to date and in our there in the real world.
This connection opens up a whole new virtual world of fanatic photographers that you can share your photos and experiences with. Now more than ever, people are connected worldwide due to common interests such as photography.
Being connected directly to the internet is an advantage in more ways than one. Not only do you have apps to share photos at your fingertips. There is also a huge market of camera apps that can help you with your images in many different ways.
You might want help becoming an amateur photographer. If that is the case, then an app that shows you the ropes when it comes to exposure, white balance and focus might be the one for you. If already a keen photographer, there are apps with different camera modes. These utilise your camera lens in a way that is wasted without the app. Post-production is also possible directly on your phone. There are high-level apps that give you almost as many options as Adobe editing. They can even support RAW image format.
If this is all a bit too technical and you simply want to take great snaps, there are also options for you. Certain apps give you the freedom to play around with your pictures, such as add filters or doodles. This is a feature that is growing more and more popular due to the selfie craze and it’s something that normal cameras don’t support.
Not only are there virtual accessories to maximise your photography experience. There are also plenty of additions you can buy so your phone acts as a real camera. Lens attachments such as macro, wide angle and fisheye are available to fix onto your smartphone. These lenses are great for tackling zoom or range problems.There are also tripods on offer which attached to your phone, overcome the low light issue that many smartphones still have.
‘The best camera is the one you have with you’
Although cliché, this saying couldn’t be closer to the truth in the current world we live in. Perhaps a DSLR is more powerful, and a compact camera cheaper, however it is your smartphone that is in your pocket right now. This convenience factor gives all of us the chance to be photographers in one way or another. And with such a huge market out there, you can beat the limitations your phone camera may have with one app or another.
Whether you are a selfie lover or a professional photographer, how you use your smartphone camera is up to you. This freedom to have as much control as you wish beats the fixed functions that cameras have. The camera phone gives you flexibility when it comes to who sees your photos. If you wish to stay private, that is your decision. However, smartphones give you the ability to connect and share your photos to worldwide communities as soon as you’ve captured the moment. And as our phones live in our pockets these days, that moment could be anytime. This phenomena is something relatively new and arguably what makes the camera phone special and superior to the traditional camera.