Smartphone cameras are looking pretty flash these days, writes Jennifer Dudley- Nicholson
Smart phone cameras are looking flash
WILL the smartphone defeat the digital camera?
It’s a phenomenon that’s been dubbed ‘‘ phoneography’’ in reference to the growing number of photographers reaching for the camera in their pocket rather than the one in their backpack.
A new British study reveals 45 per cent of photographers are using a smartphone to capture images and video, compared to just 40 per cent of snappers using a dedicated camera alone.
The trend is evident on online photosharing sites. Apple’s smartphones have risen to become the top two cameras used to capture Flickr photos, with the iPhone 4 and 4S beating Canon’s full- frame EOS 5D MkII camera ( which is more than $ 2000 more expensive).
Experts say phone cameras cannot yet reproduce the image quality of dedicated cameras and manufacturers need to keep innovating.
Mintel’s British photography study showed more than four in five photographers use their phones as cameras, with 8 per cent of respondents saying they would use a smartphone rather than buy a new camera if their model breaks.
Mintel technology analyst Samuel Gee says these camera phones are constantly improving and results could become ‘‘ too high for consumers to reliably distinguish between competitors’’.
Manufacturers are certainly taking up the challenge. Nokia recently released a 41- megapixel camera in its 808 PureView phone, breaking resolution records.
Multi- megapixel phones are becoming more common in Australia, too.
HTC’s Titan 4G comes with a 16- megapixel camera and Sony’s new Xperia S flagship offers a 12- megapixel shooter.
Others, like the iPhone 4S, offer extra camera enhancements such as backlit sensors and infra- red filters for better quality images.
Telsyte senior analyst Rodney Gedda says there are more phones than people in Australia, with 24 million connected handsets at last count.
‘‘ Close to 100 per cent of those phones come with built- in cameras,’’ Gedda says.
‘‘ And the beauty of having a camera inside your phone is that you can not only take a photo quickly but you can share it quickly, too.’’
Gee says manufacturers need to embrace the trend to ensure photographers keep investing in new dedicated cameras.
‘‘ Camera manufacturers must choose to either invest in a web service that complements captured photos or video, or to focus on including new hardware capabilities and modifications to retain consumer interest,’’ he says.
Innovations such as internet- connected cameras and memory cards are already emerging. And new DSLR and compact system cameras are working hard to recruit more advanced photographers.
They face increasing competition from photography apps, however. Instagram alone hosts more than a billion photos and its users add more than five million daily.