Smartphone vs Compact Camera

Smartphone vs Compact Camera: 7 Reasons to Use a Digital Camera


Thin, light and easy to carry around, mobile phones are overtaking compact cameras when it comes to taking photos on the run. However, they are still far behind compact cameras in terms of the quality of photos taken in a variety of environments.


Mobile phone cameras have evolved considerably in recent years. In spite of this, compact cameras are still far superior when used in a variety of situations. Here we take a look at the strengths of compact cameras.


A real zoom

That’s the difference. Mobile phones don’t have an optical zoom. They only have a digital zoom, which re-frames and edits the photo, and often results in pixilation of the image. This shortcoming obliges you to get closer to your model rather than using the zoom. If you like taking extreme close-ups, you need to bring your mobile right up close to the subject. As a result, the subject won’t stand out as well from the background as it would with a compact camera.


Weak light, weak photo

When light conditions are less than perfect, like for inside shots or a snowy landscape for example, mobile phones generally won’t give you as good a photo as a compact camera would. The reduced picture quality is due to the small size of the light sensor. The most state-of-the-art phones have a CMOS sensor that can compensate for this, but the lack of a powerful flash still limits their performance.  


Nighttime: a mobile phone’s enemy

Compact cameras take much better photos once the sun goes down. In order to capture the magic of the night, a camera must be able to take pictures using long exposure times without moving. Mobile phones have neither a suitable light sensor, nor sufficient stability to take pictures in the dark. It’s therefore more difficult to take an evening portrait or capture the feeling of a city at night.


Less adaptable

Compact cameras have a wider variety of preset modes compared with most mobile phones. As well, the automatic focus feature of compact cameras is always a lot better, and is generally faster too. This is particularly important when the subject is moving, like when photographing winter sports.


Less autonomy

The battery life of a mobile phone is shorter than that of a compact camera, especially if you use it for surfing the Web or making phone calls. Its memory will also become full more quickly if you accumulate apps and HD videos. You are better off taking along your compact camera when you go on vacation or a long walk.


Image quality

  • Megapixel count
    Even though some smartphones offer as many megapixels as the 2009 and 2010 compact cameras (the iPhone 5 has 8 megapixels), the most smartphones don’t have a photo capability of more than 5 megapixels. Low megapixel count combined with other factors, like a small sensor, affects the image quality. Lower resolution of the photos reduces the possibility of editing them or getting good quality prints. If you want to blow up a photo that you love into a poster, the camera on your smartphone had better have at least 8 megapixels.
  • Blurry pictures
    Artistic blurriness can be interesting, but it’s frustrating when it’s accidental. Luckily there are stabilisers that help prevent your photos from being spoiled by shaking. Unfortunately, most mobile phones have a digital stabiliser, not an optical stabiliser. The former is less efficient and can make photos look pixelated. One consolation is that the newest smartphones use optical stabilisers that are increasingly effective.


Think in the long term

Sometimes we take pictures of comical situations, just for fun or to share. We don’t usually hold on to these pictures for very long.  But, we also take photos as souvenirs of special moments, so we can look through old pictures and experience these events again and again. In this case, a beautiful photo can be worth printing in a large format, on a framed canvas or in a photomontage. You might regret having used your phone instead of a camera. For memories worth keeping, always choose a real digital camera.