Everyone these days has a smart phone it seems and uses it for taking photos on an almost daily basis. Back in the day it was more common to see people walking around with a digital camera rather than a phone for this purpose, so what are the differences?
Without a doubt if you are simply out and about doing everyday things and suddenly decide you’d like to capture a moment, your smart phone is going to be just what you need as you are probably already holding it and thus it’s a quick maneuver to take the photo. What you may not appreciate is that the image will not be of the utmost quality and for most of us that may not be a concern. However, it’s worth noting some of the things that a digital camera can do infinitely better than a phone before we dismiss them as being unnecessary.
The digital camera has the ability to perform a variety of functions that the phone camera just can’t do quite as well. When taking pictures indoors or in poor light the compact camera can ensure a clearer result because it’s light sensors and flash capabilities will be superior. In addition, when you are looking to zoom in on a subject, the phone camera has serious limitations compared to good digital models. Mobile phones cannot replicate the quality of these cameras because they rely on a digital zoom rather than an optical zoom, which eradicates the need to stand so close to your subject. For quick snaps you may not be troubled by this but in short it will result in a photo where your subject just doesn’t stand out against the background so well.
Similarly, the performance of the smart phone, when taking photos at night, is somewhat compromised by the lack of suitable light sensors and a certain amount of instability, which works against the need for a longer exposure in this lack of light. Preset modes on digital cameras will also give you multiple options that cannot be found on your phone, such as the ability to take moving subjects with greater clarity due to the automatic focus, that works with greater speed and definition then a phone. Ultimately, we cannot expect the smart phone, however smart, to replicate the overall quality of photos taken on a digital camera.
What to Choose
Most people probably don’t think it matters that the smart phone isn’t quite as good as the digital camera and it might seem that the digital’s days are numbered. However, consider a few factors. Most photos you take on your phone are likely unplanned and often not kept for very long but what about when you want to keep that memory and perhaps even have it replicated and printed or even enlarged on canvas. For these reasons it’s good to have a real camera with you when you are planning a photo shoot and it is unlikely that the phone will ever fully replace the camera for special events. In actuality the smart phone has effectively turned everyone into a potential photographer and no doubt encouraged many to go one step beyond their simplicity to explore the fascinating world of photography.