Modern digital cameras really made their mark a few years ago. First introduced in the 1990s, it took some time for them to become more popular than the traditional, film-based cameras we had all come to know and love, but it wasn’t long before digital cameras would become the most obvious choice for professionals and amateurs alike. Now, with modern smartphones so prevalent, and with built-in cameras of their own, do you really need a digital camera at this point?
Cost and Functionality
First, you need to consider the cost and functionality of these devices. Although certain smartphone models can be quite costly, basic models are actually quite affordable. It’s not uncommon to find a decent smartphone for $50 or $100; and this gives you the ability to make and receive phone calls, exchange text messages, download apps, and take digital images.
On the other hand, a digital camera has only a single purpose. You can’t use it for anything else, apart from shooting live video, and you won’t be able to add any new functionality via download apps. What you do get, however, is a dedicated device that likely has more photography-related bells and whistles than an entry-level smartphone.
Professional-level digital cameras are something else entirely. Often costing thousands of dollars, these cameras are often compatible with extra lenses that allow for some additional creativity when taking photos. Most entry-level digital cameras are not compatible with add-on lenses and your smartphone isn’t, either.
Many smartphones also support data recovery. If one of your saved images ever becomes corrupted, there’s a good chance you’ll be able to successfully recover it with an app on your smartphone. If you experience data loss on a digital camera, however, you’ll have to plug the memory card into a computer to attempt the restoration.
When considering image quality, the earliest digital cameras were more comparable with film-based cameras of the time. As technology improved, so did the number of megapixels seen in the digital cameras. This resulted in higher image quality than ever before.
The cameras seen in smartphones underwent a similar evolution. Earlier models had extremely basic cameras that lacked the features of standalone digital cameras. The cameras of today’s smartphones, however, have evolved by leaps and bounds over their predecessors.
It’s not uncommon to find a smartphone camera with a higher megapixel count than an entry-level digital camera. According to some tests, certain smartphone cameras outperform some standalone digital cameras when it comes to image quality and affordability.
But the megapixel count isn’t everything. In most cases, smartphone cameras are inferior when it comes to taking low-light shots or when zooming in on a subject. It’s also difficult to come across as a professional photographer if your only camera is a smartphone.
In summary, professional photographers should definitely stick to standalone cameras. Amateurs and hobbyists, especially those who are just trying their hand in photography, are better off using their smartphone to start with. They can always upgrade to a standalone digital camera at a later date.