Smartphone cameras vs digital cameras

How do smartphone cameras compare to dedicated digital cameras? Would a budding novice like me notice much difference? I'm trying to decide if I should buy a really good smartphone or...... a really good digital camera and a basic phone. Thanks!

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JanSt / MOD  May. 21, 2013 at 21:59

Some fairly good smartphone cameras - iPhone 5, Lumia 720 & 920, HTC One and quite a few more. Shortcomings, in my experience: Zoom. The Pureview 808 - from all I have read and seen - is the only camera phone that offers decent digital zoom. But obviously, running Symbian it is not exactly outstanding in any other area - apps, speed etc...

My better half has a Samsung Galaxy Camera... essentially a mix of an SGS3 and a digital camera with a proper 21x optical zoom. It has sim-card support for 3G web browsing, email, etc. The problem is: Zoom aside (great for wildlife shots etc) the photos are not that great. Better than smartphone photos, but not as good as photos taken with a digital camera for the same kind of money. But instead you get most smartphone features except for actual phone calls.

But then again: since you say you're a novice, a good smart-camera-phone may be a good start. You get the bonus of easy uploading to social networks etc, editing on the phone (vs transferring photos from a camera to a PC first) etc etc... and when you want to upgrade to a better shooter, you can sell the phone and use funds towards a camera and a dumbphone.

Enjoy. (I know a few folks who never had a fancy camera - and they are totally thrilled by what they can do with an iPhone 5 or a Sony Z, HTC One or Lumia...) :)

satchef1  May. 21, 2013 at 23:07

What sort of cameras are we talking about here? And what sort of photographs?

A smartphone will (in certain circumstances) give a mid-range compact camera a run for its money. The smartphone falls down when it comes to zoom. The only phone that is able to take good photographs while zoomed is the 808 Pureview (which incidentally is very highly rated as a camera, giving expensive compacts a run for their money - a pity it isn't a very good phone).

A smartphone won't stand up to an SLR. If you're looking at spending this kind of money and want to learn photography, forget smartphones.

Avoid the Galaxy Camera. It's basically a cheap compact with a powerful zoom and an Android phone welded to the back. It could have been good. It wasn't.

Deltaone  May. 21, 2013 at 23:16

The camera you have with you is better than the camera you left at home, pretty much in all cases. I expect for a professional photographer you'd have both but I tell you since getting a K800i I have got better and better camera phones and still have the same digital camera which is normally in a case at home, my current Xperia Z is even waterproof so ok for splashing around in the pool this summer.

JanSt / MOD  May. 21, 2013 at 23:27

agree. I wasn't harsh enough on the Galaxy Camera. It's rubbish. The thing is: some of its 'issues' are software-based (it IS the buggiest Android device I ever used, and its UI is, in some areas, truly idiotic!).
Also agree re the 808.


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