Smartphone Camera: Capabilities and Functions

cell phone in hand and country sunset

Everyone who owns a smartphone has a camera in their pocket. People who have never owned a digital camera are taking photos and posting them online. Does this mean the end of digital cameras, or just a change in photographic tastes?

Sophisticated Smartphone Camera Technology

Digital cameras are receiving stiff competition from cell phone service providers and manufacturers. They sell phones with multi-pixel, high-resolution cameras. They offer unlimited data plans that people use to post millions of smartphone photos online each year. Flickr reports the top three most popular cameras used by its customers are all models of the iPhone, according to The Age.

The habits of the smartphone camera user are what makes that device popular for picture-taking, Digital Imaging Reporter says. Smartphones are always with the consumer. Most people do not carry a separate digital camera with them. Photos taken with a smartphone are often meant to be shared in raw form.

People tend to take a couple of photos at a time with their smartphone. But with a digital camera, it comes out of the case with the intention of taking many photos. These will be edited and mounted or framed, or used in books and albums. The intention behind the use of the digital camera is different than that of the smartphone camera.

So, What Should I Buy?

Which is better? It’s an apples to oranges comparison. People don’t buy a smartphone for its photographic capability, although it can be a factor. And digital camera buyers don’t look for cameras that have a high-speed Internet connection, although manufacturers are looking for ways to improve that, as well.

You should buy what works best for your photographic needs, The Economic Times suggests. If you are posting photos of family outings and vacations to Facebook so your friends can track your summer activities, a smartphone camera will work just fine. If you are planning a month-long safari and want to take some dazzling pictures to match a National Geographic photographer’s work, you’ll want a capable digital camera. That way, you can take the charging rhino shot from a distance and not risk dropping your smartphone in the dust when you turn to run.

Buy what meets your needs. In the meantime, here are two cool photo apps to try out on your smartphone.

  • Photoshop Touch: Edit like a pro with this app from the makers of the most-used photo retouching software, Photoshop. This app has hundreds of settings and dozens of icons to do the job. If you’re familiar with the desktop version of Photoshop, you may find this easy to pick up and use right away. It is available for a low price ($4.99) on iOS and Android.
  • Photoshop Express: For those people who just want to do a little red eye-removal or crop the angry squirrel out of the family photo, this app is for you. It is a scaled-down version of the Photoshop Touch app but includes all of the features the casual photographer may want. This app is available for free for iOS and Android.

What is your favorite mobile photography app? Do you prefer shooting photos with a smartphone or digital camera, and when? Tell us in the comments.


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