Are Smartphones replacing our point-and-shoot cameras?
OK, so a day has passed since the announcement of the iPhone 4 and after thinking about it and other high-end Smartphones I'm left with this question: Have our phones replaced point-and-shoot cameras?
In the last several years the iPhone and many of the Smartphones on the market have become Swiss army knife multimedia tools we carry in our pocket or purse. At school events I look around and most parents now use their phones to record the important moments in their childrens' lives. We have a point-and-shoot camera but I can't remember the last time I used it. For school and other events that require the reach of a telephoto lens I still break out a real camera but for daily family photos I use my iPhone 3GS about 99% of the time. This year I even produced a breaking news piece completely on my iPhone and published it to YouTube using an app called Reel Director.
So is it time to get rid of our point-and-shoot still and video cameras and just use our phones? Well, yes and no.
The photo quality on these new phones is pretty amazing. The new HTC EVO 4g Android phone has an 8-megapixel sensor. The Nokia N8 sports a 12-megapixel camera and the iPhone 4 is now 5 megapixels. All three shoot 720p HD video. Take a look at this photo sample from the iPhone 4 and make sure you click on the photo to view it at it's largest size.
These specs make the top-of-the-line phones capable of replacing your point-and-shoot camera for daily snapshots and make having a Flip or Kodak Zi8 compact video camera pretty unnecessary. But still, they have their limits. With any cell phone you aren't going to get much usable video of your child at a little league game or good pictures of a chorus concert from the middle of the auditorium.
But what about digital zoom? Bah! Digital zoom is an electronic gimmick that gives you virtually-zoomed images at the cost of major quality loss.
Don't get me wrong, I'm excited about the prospect of having an HD video camera and 5-megapixel camera in my pocket at all times. But we all need to remember that in certain situations a real camera is still the best choice.