Compact Digital Cameras

Compact Digital Cameras: Why They Remain a Good Buy in the Face of Smartphone Competition

There’s no denying that the world’s move to smartphone and tablet devices has caused many consumers to doubt whether compact digital cameras remain a good buy. With many phones sporting camera sensors that can produce pictures of between five and eight megapixels, the competition between these devices is really heating up. Even so, traditional digital cameras remain a really great buy for consumers in the face of smartphone competition. While much of the world is focused on convergence, the single-feature nature of compact digital cameras actually boosts their position and their value for the average buyer.

When it comes to the battle between digital imaging devices and those that are supposed to be sending text messages, don’t listen to the hype that proclaims the end is near for digital cameras. Instead, listen to the common sense that notes the ongoing usefulness and superiority of today’s compact digital photography options.

Digital Cameras Still Take Far Better Pictures than Smartphones

Apple’s iPhone takes pictures that can be as large as eight megapixels, unless users are employing the panorama mode. Many Android devices, like the HTC One X and the Samsung Galaxy S III, take pictures at the same size that the iPhone does. While eight megapixels sounds really impressive in the realm of smartphones, and it generally is, it really doesn’t compare to what can be done by today’s compact digital cameras.

The vast majority of digital cameras currently on the market wouldn’t dream of taking a picture at 8 megapixels. In fact, they haven’t taken pictures that small for the past several years. Manufacturers today are focused on allowing consumers to take pictures at least 10 megapixels in size, with many compact models taking 14-megapixel pictures that are perfect for large format printing and high definition sharing.

In fact, many of today’s cameras have a better handle on high definition than most cameras do. For the past several years, compact cameras have shot 720p and 1080p high definition video that has exceeded the quality offered by smartphones. Sure, smartphones do shoot video in the same league as compact cameras, but their emphasis on steady video and noise reduction is far inferior.

Single-Function Operations is a Very Big Benefit for Digital Cameras

The focus of today’s leading smartphone manufacturers seems to be permanently directed toward thin, light, compact, and easy to hold. Those things are also squarely in the minds of companies that produce digital cameras, but they demand less religious devotion than at mobile phone companies. Today’s digital cameras are focused on being thin and light, sure, but they’re also focused on being highly functional and able to surpass smartphones.

That’s why, even as phones have become digital cameras, the digital cameras on the market haven’t focused on becoming anything beyond their core functionality. And that’s where they really succeed. Smartphones need to fit camera sensors into devices that are always getting smaller. When camera sensors are forced to get thinner and lighter, they sacrifice a certain commitment to quality that can noticeably be seen in the pictures they produce.

Today’s digital cameras perform a single function because that’s the best way to make sure every picture produced looks professional, is focused on the subject, and can be used both digitally and in print. Smartphones are a good substitute, but their small camera sensors make them simply impractical for taking the kinds of pictures that will be stored in photo albums and shared with future generations.

Shooting Modes are Too Limited on Mobile Phones

Digital cameras, thanks to their single-function nature, come with a far better set of controls for taking advanced digital images. Shoot modes, for instance, can be selected based on the conditions inside or out. In the snow or at the beach, pictures can be adjusted for brightness. Inside, they can accommodate for different types of lighting or a distinct lack of it. Smartphones, conversely, offer far less control over a picture in divers situations.

Smartphones usually make up for their lack of picture control with “styles” that can be applied to the picture after it has been taken. That’s why most cameras won’t adjust how they take pictures at the beach, but will gladly offer to take pictures in black-and-white styles or even using infrared technology. That might be fun, but no one is going to snap an infrared picture of their child’s first birthday and share it with friends. That just isn’t a realistic expectation.

Optical Zoom is a “Killer Feature”

The difference between optical zoom and digital zoom is pretty clear. While optical zoom maintains a picture’s high megapixel count and zooms in using the camera’s lens, digital zoom actually crops the picture and resizes it to be larger. It makes sense, then, that digital zoom results in a serious loss of quality when it’s used in pictures. Most smartphones offer between 3x and 5x optical zoom. It sounds good, and it is for mobile phones, but it’s easily surpassed by digital cameras.

Today’s compact digital cameras offer optical zoom that can go as high as 15x, virtually eliminating the need for digital zoom. It produces an entirely different class of pictures that just look more professional and are more easily able to be shared with friends and family members in print, away from the screen.

Battery Life is Another “Killer Feature”

Smartphones are always on, and their batteries must power everything from taking pictures to mobile data, text messaging, phone calls, applications, and a wide range of other features. The batteries in cameras are used to take pictures. This allows digital camera batteries to last not for days, but for weeks or even months. When it comes to snapping a picture at a moment’s notice, the long life of a digital camera’s battery is a killer feature that beats smartphones without much effort at all.

Smartphones are Just Not Ready for Digital Imaging Prime Time

It would be wrong to deny the leaps and bounds of improvement made by today’s mobile phones when taking pictures. It’s an impressive feat, and one that should be commended. The improvements made to smartphone camera sensors have allowed them to be a really great backup camera. It has not, however, allowed the smartphone to be a primary device for capturing life’s milestones. That responsibility lies with the compact digital camera, and it will likely continue to do so for many years into the future.

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