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Can your phone replace your camera? Smartphone vs Camera

  1. #1
    sharang_3
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    Default Can your phone replace your camera? Smartphone vs Camera

    I have a Panasonic Lumix Fz-35( one of those big, black and heavy cameras out there). More often than not I find it too bulky to carry around with me at all times. As such most of the times I find myself cameraless when I accidentally bump into my old buddies or while looking at sunsets glorified by the clouds in the sky making everything a golden hue.

    Three months back I was also looking for a mid range smartphone when this idea occurred to me. Why not buy a decent camera phone that can solve my problem. I was looking for a sub-20000(400$) phone and finally picked up a Sony Ericsson Neo-V.

    This phone has got a 5mp shooter on its back that can even shoot videos at 720p. On paper this all looked good. I usually take photos at 6mp on my camera (to keep the file size within limit) and they are crisp and sharp. As soon as I got my phone I took it out for testing. It had a panorama mode other than the usual landscape, night, beach modes every other phone has. The shot looked sharp, crisp and impressive; only as long as I saw them on the 3.7'' screen on the phone. As soon as I plugged the phone into my pc I realized the truth.

    The snaps were nowhere close to the pics my camera is capable of shooting. Even the 3mp shots from my camera were way better than what this phone had clicked. The pictures that looked good on the phone looked blurry and vague on my pc. After doing a little research of my own I finally learned the reason.

    As much as the mobile manufacturing companies may claim, the truth is most of the phones in the market aren't even close to the quality of even a point and shoot camera. The companies try to fool people with the mega pixel gimmick that has been around in the market since the first digital cameras came out.
    Know this; a higher pixel count on the sensor doesn't guarantee a higher quality image. Even though the smartphones may boast of sensors as high as 8 or 12 mp they can still be outperformed by cameras under 250$.

    One reason for this is the aperture size on the camera. The bigger the aperture size on a camera is the more amount of light it can intake. In layman's term more light helps to capture better images by reducing the noise(graininess on your photo). Only a few phones like Nokia N8 or iPhone 4s have got aperture sizes comparable to P&S(point and shoot). As such the phone requires sufficient light(daylight and outdoors) to produce decent images.

    Other reason is the file compression on the phones. Most of the pictures on my phone are under 1mb at 5mp. As such you can expect the quality to be compromised.

    So to sum it up, if you are looking for a replacement for your good old point & shoot( dSLR is out of question here) don't entirely rely on your smartphone. Ive seen result from a Samsung Galaxy R and a Galaxy SII and though it is one of the best smartphone the results aren't still impressive. With time as the technology gets better( the recently announced 41mp snapper from Nokia), it may be that we can finally put our old cameras to rest. But that is still some time away and cameras are here to stay even if only for a while.
    Last edited by just4kix; 27th March 2012 at 08:23 AM.

  2. #2
    Guardian Angel just4kix's Avatar
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    Besides aperture, there is one more factor ...

    A digital camera contains a CCD chip or a CMOS chip that converts light/colours to the digital equivalents. This is the roughest and crudest explanation in layman's terms.

    It naturally follows that the size of the chip will determine the quality of the picture. Now does anyone wonder why DSLRs are so expensive? This is because the chip inside the camera is really massive and the size of 24mm. Top end DSLRs even have a full frame or 35mm chip. This is really massive. The cost of manufacturing such a chip and ensuring zero defects is mind boggling. Imagine the typical Intel i5 CPU. The chip size inside the CPU is no more than a typical finger nail, about 8mm by 8mm. This CPU is produced in mass scale and yet the price is typically Rs. 12,000 to Rs. 15,000.

    Those of you, who have used film cameras, must have seen the 35 mm negative. So imagine the cost of chip of this size.

    Coming back to the question of quality, the smartphone camera chip is no bigger than 2mm by 2mm. In the typical P&S camera, it will be 6mm x 6mm or thereabouts. So there you go. You can never go by the "mp" classification. A 3.2 mp P&S camera will shoot better pictures than 8mp camera found in high end smartphones.
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  3. #3
    Silver Member Tubelight's Avatar
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    That's one nice camera you have. Regarding your question of whether a phone can replace your camera, well it cant. Phones do have good quality cameras and the picture quality of some are good which include them being HD quality, but if photos taken with a camera you will find that the camera photos turn out to be much better. You also get better accuracy with cameras, which you get only sometimes with a phone camera.

  4. #4
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    I think both have a very different role. Smartphone cameras don't capture pictures as good as a DSLR, but the smartphone features are revolutionizing rapidly. Many big brands are now coming with some great cameras in their smartphones and the competition is getting stiff day by day. From UltraPixel to Laser autofocus, each and every new feature is adding up.in smartphone cameras to make the camera quality even better. I think smartphone cameras are going to dominate the DSLRs in future but as of now, the competition is still being lead by the photography cameras.

  5. #5
    Silver Member pwarbi's Avatar
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    While smartphone cameras have got a lot better, you still can't compare them with a stand alone didital camera in my opinion.

    If you want to just take a few pictures here and there they're good enough for most of us, but a digital camera will always be the better option if your serious about your photography.

  6. #6
    Gold Member webworld's Avatar
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    I don't think smartphones can replace camera as both have their own role to play. Yes, in case of tiny compact digital camera it may be possible to some extent by using a high end smartphone. But when it comes to advanced zooming technology there is no alternative for cameras and the perfection it can offer cannot be found in mobile cameras.

    But it is a fact that the advent of sophisticated camera phones, the demand for compact cameras might have been affected adversely. I think they should explore possibilities to enhance its features alongwith mobile technology. Instead of keeping camera as a standalone product they should try to find out ways to use it along with mobile phones.

  7. #7
    Silver Member pwarbi's Avatar
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    It's true that a smartphone camera can replace the smaller compact camera as I think the people that used them won't be using them for any more reasons than what you'd use a smartphone camera for so in that respect the compact camera will begin to lose there appeal.

  8. #8
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    I agree that a smartphone camera can't replace a digicam, but after seeing so many changes and improvements in smartphone cameras over last few years, I feel the smartphone cameras could give a tough fight to the digicam in near future. But for now, a digicam definitely performs better than a smartphone camera.

  9. #9
    Silver Member pwarbi's Avatar
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    I think as newer technology becomes available then there's no question that the smartphone camera will get better and better, but of course at the same time, so will the stand alone cameras.

  10. #10
    Bronze Member Mihailo's Avatar
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    I have no camera at the moment. But my two devices, Sony M2 and Samsung S3 Neo, have very good cameras. I am taking pictures everyday.
    But when the Lollipop came our for Sony M2, camera was awful.

    I hope they will fix that problem as soon as possible.

  11. #11
    Gold Member webworld's Avatar
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    I have a Samsung Galaxy which gives good picture quality. But at the same time on holiday trips I would like to carry by Sony Cybershot with me which is more comfortable to take pictures and videos. May be I am used to it. But when we compare the quality of snaps, a phone camera cannot give the same quality and comfort level which is given by a Sony Cybershot in my experience. Also a digital camera is enriched with many features to make our life easier.

    The main drawback is that you need to carry it separately. If you have a camera in your phone, you don't have to worry about this as it will be available with you all the time. That is definitely a big positive point of phone camera.

  12. #12
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    There are big differences between a smartphone and a digital camera. The trend of digital cameras is to have better zoom, better sensor, better lens and better image processors; while the trend of smartphones is to be thinner, smaller and faster in terms of data; and offer a wide range of functions, such as taking pictures, record video, have a voice recorder, television, etc.

    This results in that the Smartphone is becoming a multi-action device. The truth is that even with this range of functions that can be very practical and convenient for the user, simply by physical tendency of a mobile device, it is impossible that the quality of images from a digital camera is replaced.

  13. #13
    Silver Member Cashewfruit_wine's Avatar
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    Photos taken by digital cameras looks beautiful when printed. Phones taken by a mobile phone only looks great in social network but the quality is awful when they were developed. People don't care though because people print pictures rarely nowadays.

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