By: Moshe Benaim of MB Photography
If you own a smartphone, you’re likely part of, or at least aware of, the heated debate about whether or not you still need a plain ol’ camera. With strong contenders on both sides, many people have passionate opinions on the issue. Small camera sales have steadily decreased as iPhones and the like have increased in sales. Do you really need both? Have beloved point and shoot cameras become obsolete? Are there any advantages to keeping your old camera? Is your smartphone just as good? You’ve probably entertained some or all of these questions.
In case you’re not sure and you haven’t formed your own opinion yet, this is a rundown of some of the main features of most point and shoot cameras that may, perhaps, make them worthwhile for you to hold onto.
1. In general, most point and shoot (P&S) cameras have higher megapixels than standard phone cameras. For most pictures, this won’t matter, as a picture on a screen only needs about three mps to look perfect, and most phones have that. If you are printing lager pictures, you’ll need a higher resolution, or if you’re cropping parts of the picture you’ll want higher resolution as well. Nine mps are usually enough even for those, so all the newer cameras with super high mps are a bit of a gimmick, unless there’s a reason you need to get that small. The best phone cameras often have as high if not higher mps than the lower quality small cameras.
2. Small P&S cameras have larger sensors, which allow in more light and allow for greater precision in the photo. For the most part, a good phone camera will give just as good results. In fact, all sorts of anecdotal evidence points to not being able to tell which photo comes from which camera. Specific cases might warrant a small camera over a phone, such as where light is limited, like night time photos, because you’ll get more light and a nicer photo. There are apps you can download on your phone to edit and improve the image, but they don’t beat the real thing.
3. Optical zoom is something oft-discussed. On a phone you can only get digital zoom, which is not as precise. Again, this isn’t something that a layman will generally notice or care about, and most people clicking away with their phones are not aiming to get the perfect photo of a dramatic event. If you are, you would probably be the one toting a small camera anyway.
4. P&S cameras come with all sorts of extra settings you can use to get exactly the photo you want- black and white, toy effect and more. For split-second photos where you don’t really need it, these are unnecessary, and a phone is great. For a more glorified photographic experience, these are fun and can net really special pictures. Many phone camera enthusiasts will say these are just overload that no one uses anyway, and in fact most camera salespeople won’t even be able to explain how to use them properly. If you can take the time to figure them out, you’ll probably enjoy using them.
5. Shutter speed on small cameras means you can get the picture you want the second you want it, and you can get your child in action without blurry photo quality. The truth is, even most P&S cameras can’t really get you that, but a dslr can. A quality dslr camera is expensive, but if you enjoy taking good pictures, it’s probably worth the money.
6. If you take pictures often, you’ll drain the battery from your phone camera pretty quickly. But weigh this vs. the ease and convenience of having the phone camera on you at all times. Many people won’t carry both.
What should you take away from all of this? It really depends what you use your camera for when deciding what you need. For taking pictures and developing standard size photos, or for sharing online with friends, phone cameras are probably the better and easier choice. The photos go straight to your email, whatsapp or any other application you use online seamlessly, with beautiful quality. For more professional results, with greater setup time and if you use your camera frequently, stick with your point and shoot. And for the most reliable and expert photos, where you can control all of the factors, invest in a dslr, which will give you photos you’ll love forever.