DavidK wanted to do an article about the death of point and shoot cameras with the rise of decent camera technology in newer smartphones. I was of the dissenting opinion that, despite having high mega-pixel ratings for camera phones, they still fall very far short of traditional camera designs for several reasons. We were too lazy to duke it out but we did want to know what the readers thought. To do an overall comparison between the two products we wanted to narrow it down to several categories for overall product value and not just performance. The rundown will go like this: Price, Connectivity, Quality, Ease of Use, and Convenience. Some of these categories will be a little more or less important than others, but I’ll try to keep the tech jargon to a minimum to get my point across. I’ll run a poll after the breakdowns so you can tell us who was right or at least less wrong than the other. Read on for perspective.
Price: This is a toss up. DavidK thinks that because you already have a cell phone that price is a winner for the Camera Phone. Considering that said cell phone costs you roughly 500-600$ is sort of a difficult deduction to make. If you go into your electronics retailer of choice you can get a camera for 89.99$ or sometimes less that has more features and better photo quality than even the highest end cell phone. Yes the phone does other things, and I get that, and it’s definitely something to include in your decision making process. Moving onward…
Connectivity: Hands down cell phone wins. With at least 3 or 4 different wireless connections it’s like a sore dick. You can’t beat it. Cameras are catching up though. With things like THIS wifi SD card. Still, I’m going to go ahead and rule this as no contest with cell phones dominating all over the place.
Quality: Holy crap I could go on for days and the camera will continue to win until people start carrying bricks around for cell phones. The first thing that everyone needs to accept is that a camera’s megapixel rating is not directly indicative of it’s quality. Image sensor size makes all the difference in the world to the sharpness of photos. Inform yourself. Now that you know that the size of both the lens aperture and image sensor itself determine overall picture quality for both color and sharpness you can see that this is incompatible with all of our desires for thin and compact mobile phones. The camera’s smaller image sensor is specifically worse at its main purposes: photography and low light. The low light quality of camera phones is due to the smaller lens and lack of quality auto-focus measurements in lower lumens. Another major difference holding back camera phones is no optical zoom. Digital zoom blows like a battalion of hookers trying to make rent in a huricane. So before I get long winded I’ll call this in favor of point and shoots.
Ease of Use: I’m not really sure what to make of this one. DavidK thinks that because it has important settings like white balance and on phone editing for the photos that it does a decent enough job at being easy to use. I want to ask one question to make my point here. If someone walked up and saw two devices sitting side by side. Let’s say just an average ordinary camera like the one I mentioned above or this thing, better known as the HD2 since it would be of the closest quality to basic point and shoot we see above, which would be the easiest to snap off a picture with? From a completely turned off device to successfully capturing an image I can almost promise you it will be the camera every time. Even if it were some other notoriously easy to use phone would it be quicker or easier with the camera. Which brings us to our last category.
Convenience: Again this is a no brainer between phones and cameras. With the smaller form factor and the necessity of having a phone anyway the camera phone easily bests even the slimmest of cameras.
Totals (by my count, you decide in the polls): Point and shoots get the ease of use and quality categories with camera phones taking convenience and connectivity. Price to me is still a toss up. I’m not sure what to say about that. This is where the readers take over. Hit up the poll and let us know if point and shoots have a future, or if camera phones will be their end.
[Oh and we’re leaving SLRs out of this – they’re a different breed all together:)]